Are you feeling uninspired or disconnected in your role? HR leadership coach Andrew Bartlow is here to share his wealth of knowledge gained over the past 25 years to help you maximise your work impact, smash your targets and become a more strategic leader.
Not working in HR? Fear not, this episode is packed with nuggets that can be applied to any level of profession. Throughout, Andrew delves into the unique position HR professionals often find themselves in, offers valuable time management hacks, and shares steps you can implement to shift your mindset, make your mark, and create a happier working environment for all. Further key points throughout include:
– An introduction to Andrew Bartlow
– How human resources professionals are insider-outsiders
– An insight into human resource management challenges
– The secret to developing a strategic thinking mindset
– Recruitment strategies for hiring the right talent
– The impact of disconnected goals in the workplace
– Waterfall planning: the importance of recruitment, retention and productivity
– The key to becoming a valued team member
– What being Happier at Work means to Andrew
“You can be as successful as you choose to be if you are willing to allow yourself to adapt and shape over time. Being strategic is a choice.” – Andrew Bartlow.
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Book: Scaling for Success by Andrew Bartlow and T. Brad Harris
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[00:00:00] Aoife O’Brien: Andrew, welcome to the Happier Work Podcast. I’m so looking forward to this conversation today. We’re gonna talk about HR and all things, but before we get into that, do you wanna give people a little bit of, of a, kind of a brief history of, of what brought you to where you are today? . Sure. And, and thank you.
[00:00:22] Andrew Bartlow: Just so good to be with you. Sure. I’m a lifelong career long HR guy. So I’ve been doing work in human resources both independently, inside giant Fortune 50 enterprise organizations and really everything in between for the past 25. and I had this wonderful in some ways capstone experience. About about four years ago, I was the head of the human resources function at a real estate technology company that went public and got really big and is now known as Invitation Homes. And as part of the continued growth of that company, it went through a number of mergers and PE sponsor exits. I, at one point pulled my golden parachute and, and the equity vested and the severance plan kicked in and oh my goodness, that was like leaping off a cliff. Mm-hmm. But that has led to me being independent and now working with individuals and companies and investment organizations Helping them to help their organizations be more effective. Mm-hmm. I wrote my bucket list book scaling for Success. It’s behind me on camera. And I, you know, put together a series of educational programs for other HR people, you know, trying to help them navigate the, the experiences that, you know, we share maybe with a little bit more gracefulness than, than I did in, in my many years you know, stub toes and knock knees.
[00:02:07] Aoife O’Brien: I loved how you described that. I think it’s from our mistakes and setbacks. That is where we grow and where we learn and where we want to see the change that we want to make in the world as well. Dare I say. And interestingly, kind of similar path to yourself, Andrew coming up in nearly five years ago, actually, and by the time this podcast comes out, it’s probably around five years ago that I left a corporate career, didn’t have anything like a golden parachute. I had a, you know, oh this parachute is absolutely actually a napsack my experience more so than, than a golden parachute. But you know, I kind of reached a stage in my career where I thought I could have a bigger impact doing, doing something different. I wasn’t necessarily working to my strengths, I wasn’t living my values. All of those kind of things are quite important I think when it comes to work. But often people think that given my podcast and given the kinds of things that I talk about, that my background is in HR, but it’s not, my background is more commercial. I, you know, I worked with clients. I worked mostly in agencies in fast moving consumer goods. and, you know, delivered projects to clients, analytics, delivering presentations building revenue, all of that kind of stuff. So kind of different to HR but I also have that commercial mindset when it comes to talking about business as well, which I think is a benefit. So maybe where we’ll start giving, given your background, like what are the big challenges that you see for HR and, and interestingly before we kind of go onto that, I just wanna maybe say back to you what you said. It’s like all of the shared things that we have, and I think HR in particular are very, they have a unique set of skills and a unique set of experiences at work that are not found in other parts of the organization. Would I be right? Would it be fair to say, I.
[00:04:02] Andrew Bartlow: I think that’s right. I, I may make up a term on the spot here and we’ll see if it sticks or not.
[00:04:08] Aoife O’Brien: Love it.
[00:04:08] Andrew Bartlow: I feel as though human resources professionals are the insider outsiders. Mm-hmm. Or maybe they’re the outsider insiders that’s, that’s maybe more accurate. The outsider insiders, where you’re often part of the leadership team. You’re often aware of how decisions are made inside an organization, but you’re not always strongly influencing. How those decisions are made. Yeah. You’re, you’re often carrying out the decisions of the, the senior leadership team and, and maybe you’re at the table, but you’re often bringing the, the donuts rather, rather than being part of the core decision making group. Yeah. And, and that’s, that’s something that, you know, I, I’m very actively trying to change and help other HR people grow and evolve out of it. But it is this interesting role where, You’re straddling a number of different stakeholder interests. You’re looking out for the best interests of your workers, you’re trying to help the organization meet its financial goals, you’re trying to help the organization maintain a strong long-term reputation. You’re trying to help the investors, you know, get a return on their investment. You know, there are all these stakeholders that have competing interests and the HR professional ends up being stretched in a thin and often awkward way between those different groups.
[00:05:34] Aoife O’Brien: Mm-hmm. So, would you say they’re the kind of two main challenges that you see? So the first one being that HR well, they may have a seat at the table. They’re not actually making any decisions. So companies, even if they have a C H R O, they kind of maybe default to the finance for the ultimate decision when something needs to happen.
And then the second one being that the, the unique challenge of trying to manage multiple competing stakeholders would, would you, would that prefer to say anything else to add on top of those
[00:06:06] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah. I, I, I think I’d agree with the competing stakeholders for sure. That’s a challenge. And, and I, I don’t think it’s quite as binary as you make all the decisions or you make none of the decisions.
[00:06:15] Aoife O’Brien: Okay. It’s more about how do you interact with Yeah. The other members of the senior team. Mm-hmm. And, and, you know, happy to expand on this and, you know, have, have a, have a strong personal and professional view of human resources professionals with very good intentions find themselves naturally gravitating towards a servant or service-oriented style of work. I’m going to, you know, ensure that people have an excellent experience and I will be massively responsive to your needs. But that only takes you so far in your role unless you elevate and think about who are all these other stakeholders? What do they need? Maybe what we need instead of, you know, this question about your benefits beneficiary being answered today. Maybe what we actually need is some form of program around recruitment and retention for the organization, and nobody’s asking for that. It’s up to you as the leader to identify the need, advocate for it, get support, and make it happen. And so there, there. There’s an elevation that can occur within the function that I don’t think enough people are taking a hold of. So it’s kind of going from a reactive mindset. So like kind of looking at the employees and what they need to be more of a proactive, strategic, how do we, how do we think about the bigger picture here and what do we need to think about in advance of it actually happening? So we need to think about things like employee engagement and retention. Before it becomes an issue because once it becomes an issue, then it becomes a kind of a bigger hole to fix if you like. So it’s that kind of, so it’s kind of helping HR let’s say, to think a little bit more strategically so that they can have a better influence within, within the organization.
[00:08:09] Andrew Bartlow: That’s exactly the language that I use to try to, you know, make it as clear as possible. I try to help other HR people be more strategic and what does that mean and what does that look like, and what do you do to do that?
[00:08:19] Aoife O’Brien: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And what do you think are the biggest challenges when people first. Now, I’m, I’m, I’m trying to think of how to phrase this. Is it the biggest challenge that people don’t know that they need to be strategic, or do they have a challenge with becoming more strategic, developing that strategic thinking mindset?
[00:08:41] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah. Great acknowledgement. It’s different, you know, intellectually, and boy, you’ll hear, you’ll, you will hear people talk about it regularly. I want a seat at the table. I need to be strategic. I’m a strategic human resources leader. And usually if you say that you are, it means that you’re not because you’re, you know, overly focused on it, but not actually do any activities. I, I’d condense it down to say being strategic is deciding what’s important right now. Mm-hmm. Deciding what to work on and, and you encapsulated it really nicely about that’s being more proactive than reactive. It’s being more broadly aware of who your stakeholders are and what they care about. And it’s, it’s leading the conversation rather than saluting when someone else tells you what to do. Like, sure, you should speak with the executive team and the CEO and ask them what they think is important. But you’re not really leading your function if you’re, you know, taking direction from someone else Yeah. About your function, right? Mm-hmm. It’s up to you as a leader within your function as a strategic leader to think about what’s important to do right now.
[00:09:53] Aoife O’Brien: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And make those decisions. And, you know, you can of course, have input from other people, but the ultimate decision is yours and I, I suppose that needs to be really, really clear and I, and I suppose coming back so people know that they need to be strategic, so maybe it’s a jump in how, how to be perceived as strategic or how to actually act in a strategic way. Would that be fair to say?
[00:10:20] Andrew Bartlow: So many human resources professionals enter this field because we want to help people. Mm-hmm. Right? We, it is a, it is a core part of our identity. We wanna help people, we wanna help people be happier. We wanna answer their questions, meet their needs. We have this strong desire to serve others. And when taken to an extreme that can work against us because we’re, you know, to use a restaurant analogy, we’re constantly bringing the cheeseburger with a great smile and we’re getting a great tip. Hmm. But we’re not taking the opportunity to think about, well, how do we increase traffic at our restaurant? What should be on our menu? Mm-hmm. What’s the appropriate pricing to make this restaurant be as profitable as possible? We get focused on service delivery at the loss of attention on larger, broader more strategic needs for the, for the organization as a whole.
[00:11:20] Aoife O’Brien: Brilliant. And I love the analogy that you use. It really kind of hits home when you’re talking about things like, and decide what pricing it should be. It’s like, well, that’s kind of, to me that says we need to think strategically about our salary, look at our compensation packages, and you know, how are we gonna get more foot traffic? How are we gonna attract more people to this organization, and what do we need to do in order to do that? You know do you see more and more HR people becoming the strategic partners in, in business? Like, do you see, or maybe, and I don’t know if there, if there are statistics for this, but what percentage would you say are kind of operating in this service-based model versus the strategic thinking and, and what do we need to, to, to do in order to make that shift to make it more of a strategic role?
[00:12:08] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah, that, that’s an interesting question. Well, I, I’d start by saying not everyone needs to be mm-hmm. Not everyone should be Yeah. Strategic. Mm-hmm. Right. A restaurant needs outstanding servers. Yeah. You need a lot of them. You need a lot more great servers at a restaurant than you do general managers who are thinking about pricing and, and flow. But. If all you have are servers and no one is thinking about, you know, how to improve the health of that enterprise, then you’re, you’re missing out. So, you know, I, I’d say less than 20% of HR roles really need to be strategic and think about the org as a whole, but of that, Less than 20. Less than 10% actually are strategic.
[00:12:55] Aoife O’Brien: Okay. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:12:56] Andrew Bartlow: And, and, and a lot of that, Hey, I, I blame the hiring managers, right. a lot of, a lot of the hiring managers don’t know what to look for. Hmm. If you’re a CEO, if you’re a business leader and you have never seen what strategic HR looks like and how it interacts with you then you don’t know how to select for it. And you don’t know how to empower that person, you know, properly. And, I’ve seen more and more organizations. do two things. One is assign those strategic management responsibilities to another department. You have a COO that makes these decisions about programs and processes and aligning goals and priorities, or you have a CAO where you have a chief of staff. You know that, that’s become a very popular role, so, so one. is Activities that would often go to the strategic HR leader, go to another seat at, at the table. So, you know, someone takes your seat essentially. Mm-hmm.. And, another is that organizations are hiring people from outside HR into the top HR seat. I’ve seen more and more consultants from McKenzie and, and Bain slide over from a chief of staff role. You know, some, some sort of, you know, high, high level you know, high powered individual moves into the function from outside the function because they’re bringing a skillset that is frankly, pretty rare in, in the function today.
[00:14:25] Aoife O’Brien: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And do you think that’s, that’s a good thing then to have someone at that senior level, but they don’t, they’re lacking in that HR experience
[00:14:34] Andrew Bartlow: certainly not ideal, right? Ideally you would. Well, if you look across all the organizations in the, in the country or the world, you know, there’s, there should probably be some blend of, it’s not all or nothing, right? Everybody from outside or everybody from inside. But what I’m seeing is that the mix seems to be awkwardly proportioned. Okay. There could be a lot more people coming up from within the function. We could be doing more to develop ourselves. We could be doing more to develop each other. Mm-hmm. To help broaden that awareness and deepen those skills.
[00:15:11] Aoife O’Brien: Mm-hmm.. And when it comes to hiring, or this could apply also to promotion within, what are the kind of things that those managers, those senior leaders, need to be looking out for, for. Someone to be put into one of those strategic or roles.
[00:15:29] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah. I, I’d say it’s ensuring that your HR leader is a business person first. And you can’t just count on the HR person saying, I’m a business person first, because we default to that just as frequently as we say we want or need a seat at the table. Right. That these, these have become well-rehearsed lines. Hmm. One, one screening question that a CEO or president or division leader could ask candidates for roles on, on her team could be how do you decide what’s important in the human resources role? And here I’ll say something a little controversial. I’d, I’d suggest that if the HR candidate leads with something about making people. Something about employee advocacy. Mm. That they may be overly focused on one particular stakeholder group. Mm. At the expense of the broader stakeholders. So the right answer to that question is how do you decide what to work on would be w We together will select the right things that will help our organization meet its goals. Mm. Yeah. Right. And that, and, and it’s often this massive logic leap from we’re gonna make our workers as happy as possible and then that’ll take care of the company. Mm-hmm. Well, there are some very strong limitations to that. And boy, you could pay everybody triple what they’re making a day and they would be quite happy with that. Or move to the four-hour work week that Tim Ferris talks about. They’d be quite happy with that as well, I imagine. But the organization wouldn’t exist very long. Hmm. , you know, steering away from the overly focused position of advocating, advocating for one particular stakeholder group. It’s usually the workers. Hmm. To broadening your perspective around, my role as a strategic HR leader exists to help the company meet its goals. Now, now, often that means. Trying to figure out how to attract and retain workers. Sure. But that’s within the context of how can we be profitable? How can we grow, how can we be a sustaining enterprise?
[00:17:56] Aoife O’Brien: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I mean,I like I could have so much to add to that in terms of focusing on people and how profits tend to follow. You put more of the focus on making sure that people are happier at work and it doesn’t necessarily have to mean paying them triple the amount. Although, like you say, I’m sure people will be very, very happy with that. Kind of moving more towards the C-suite now and thinking of those strategic roles, do you see any challenges around getting HR their own seat at the table rather than defaulting, like you said earlier, to say a COO or equivalent?
[00:18:34] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah, I, there’s a saying that I’ve heard and I guess I’m using it now. You know, dress for the job that you want. Mm-hmm. Right. So do the work. Yeah. Approach the work in a thoughtful, balanced broad perspective way. And that will increase the respect. The senior leadership team has for you and for your role. I, if you are a tightly focused advocate for one particular group or a social cause or whatever it is, then you will be viewed as such an advocate. I think about my days in, in a unionized workforce, the union steward that’s pounding the table and, you know, arguing for the benefit of their constituents. at the expense of the company. Mm-hmm. is not often invited to the table. Yeah. Don’t be the union steward. Mm-hmm., right. You, you wanna. A, an executive who’s making decisions and setting priorities with the health of the overall enterprise in mind. So dress for the job that you want. Do the work.
[00:19:47] Aoife O’Brien: Yeah. That going back to this idea that, or sorry, going back to this point you made earlier, that you need to have that business head about you, you need to understand the commercial realities of, of being in business. And I suppose thinking about it from the perspective of, let’s say the C E O or other C-suite members, where traditionally HR haven’t had that seat, how do we convince them? Maybe convince is the wrong word, , but how do we Yeah. Advocate for HR to have that seat at that level? So rather than kind of, I suppose attacking in from both sides, if you like. So as a HR person, this is what you need to do, but if you’re listening to this and you are at that C-suite level, but you don’t have a separate HR person who’s at that level and making those strategic decisions, how do we, how do we advocate for that?
[00:20:38] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah, yeah. More specifically, more practically and tactically, you know, what are the activities and behaviors that you would do to do the One method that I’ve helped teach people about is waterfall planning. That’s kind of a big fuzzy term. It’s aligning the goals of the organization. What are the top three things that your organization’s trying to accomplish with the goals of your function or your department? And those should be pretty closely like if you’re trying to, and, and, and HR often finds itself out on HR Island where we’re working on HR e things that are important to us as a function, but might be disconnected from the most important goals of the company as a whole. Mm-hmm.. And lots of stuff comes back to recruitment and retention and optimizing the productivity of the workforce. So let, let, let’s use an example. Let’s say that you want your organization to decrease its cost of customer acquisition or expand into Europe. Those are pretty common, pretty big ticket, you know, top level company goals. What could your HR function do to support those goals? How do we decrease the cost of customer acquisition? One could be looking at workforce planning in your marketing and sales team to try to figure out how to optimize the effectiveness. Of those teams, you know, so it might be a sales training program for your inside sales team that could decrease the cost of customer acquisition. It could be designing a new incentive plan to drive increased cross-sell. That’s another idea. It could be sourcing a new director of the European market sales team to help with that expansion. Those are very specific things that once you link them to those overall company goals become obvious around, well of, of course that would drive the company goals, but I’ve gotta do all this other stuff. I’ve gotta pay people and we’ve got benefit enrollment and that we’ve got complaints to deal with and yes, yes, all that stuff needs to happen. That’s the keep the business running stuff. That should be happening in the background that you don’t need to talk about, that you don’t need to put on a slide or a presentation. yes. All that stuff needs to happen. Mm-hmm. What are your most important things that helps you prioritize, that helps your team prioritize. That helps the leadership team understand? Mm-hmm. That you. That you get it. Yeah. That you get what’s most important to the organization. Mm-hmm. So, so both from the HR seat and from the leadership sheet seat, look for that alignment. Mm-hmm. And try to make that alignment very, very clear. And, you know, you could do it on one page with, you know, almost an org chart sort of waterfall flow. But, you know, continuing to stick with that talk track and keeping your focus where it belongs, I think it’s Will, will help you.
[00:23:46] Aoife O’Brien: Yeah. It’s, it’s, I mean, it. I, I’ve, I really, really liked that example that you’ve used. I think it’s, it’s, it’s pretty powerful. It’s very, you know, you can picture exactly how that would relate, I think, and, and from. The other side. It’s like, that’s very tactical, exactly as you said. It’s the day-to-day stuff that needs to keep happening in order to keep the business running versus the top down, you know, the bottom up versus the top down stuff that needs to happen and it’s knowing that you need to focus on, on the top down. Maybe let’s dive into the challenges associated with that, you know, and I’m, like I say, never worked in HR, but I’m coming at this from the perspective of, but I need to make sure that all this stuff happens on a day-to-day basis, otherwise, right. X, y, and Z is gonna happen. So how do you shift maybe from that mentality of, but I have to keep all of this stuff going because otherwise, you know, the company’s gonna fail, or we’re gonna have a lawsuit, or we’re gonna have this, this, and this. It’s, how do I shift my thinking towards the, I need to prioritize those strategic priorities for the organization.
[00:24:53] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah, I, it, it’s a really common concern and common objection, right? It’s not like we have SCDs of free time that we can be strategic during there, there’s work, there’s need, there are requests. There are demands on our time. I work often with, you know, smaller organizations, often venture backed or PE backed that. Deeply resourced, often teams of one or two HR people. And so how do you do all the stuff, do all the, keep the business running stuff and air quote, be strategic and, you know, think about and act upon all these like higher order needs. And I’d suggest that it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of extra time. Hmm. It’s not a, it’s not additional time. And frankly, , you know, to use the Franklin Covey, Stephen Covey terms. These should be your big rocks. Yeah. These should be your big rocks that get attention first. Yeah. There’s a famous video I like to show up for a lot of my clients of like, you know, if you put all the sand and the gravel in first, the rocks. The rocks don’t fit yeah. Don’t fit in the bowl, right? Yeah. Yeah. So put the big rocks in the bowl first, like what is necessary. Drive the success of your organization. Do that first. Mm-hmm and, maybe somebody that I asked you a question about benefits, maybe they can wait until tomorrow. Yeah. Rather than do it as soon as it comes in. Yeah. Yeah. It comes back, back to this prioritizing.
[00:26:24] Aoife O’Brien: Yeah. I mean, I mean, I have so many ideas now based on, just based on that, but it’s it is, it’s coming back to this idea of being more strategic and less reactive, so that, to use your example of the question about benefits, what I’ve started doing now is putting an out of office on my emails to say I check my emails twice a day and. Here’s anything that you might need to know. So here’s how to work with me. Here’s how to book a call with me. Here’s how to, you know, and there’s a list of all of these. Here’s how to get in touch relating to the podcast. Please don’t use this email address. It’s this other email address. Here’s how to listen to the podcast. Here’s the free resources that you might want to download. So I put all of that in my, in my out of office, which means that you know, there’s a lot of stuff there that could go away. So, coming back to your example of the question about benefits or, or you know, could there be a place where, you know, here’s an out of office. I check my emails twice a day. Here’s where you can go to FAQ, you can go to the intranet to find out about what your benefits are. You can reach out to the provider that we use. You know, is there, I’m always looking at ways, you know, you mentioned earlier that organizations are concerned with things like recruitment, retention, and productivity. I’m obsessed with this idea of productivity. How do you make things more efficient? And maybe that’s the challenge that a lot of people face, that they’re, they’re so busy being busy, that they’re just keeping themselves busy and busy and busy.
[00:27:53] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah, I, I’d suggest. Most people are aware of a lot of these productivity hacks, right? Yeah. The time blocking the, you know, asynchronous work. You know, the batching of email responses. I mean, those are all good and important things. The task lists, the, you know, sys system, the technology systems that help you, you know, filter through these things. I’d suggest that the root cause might be more internal. The root cause is that many of us. Really care about people and we wanna be responsive and we have this self-identity you know, this, this bit of ego that we define our success and our value as how quickly and how friendly we are transacting the service for the people that we, that we work with. And so we, the internal mindset needs to shift to be effective. Right. You, you won’t use the productivity hack if you can’t get your mind wrapped around your, your role changes. Mm. Or your role has a strategic component that maybe you need to pay a bit more attention to. Mm-hmm.
[00:29:07] Aoife O’Brien: Yeah. Really, really interesting. And that comes up, you know, it has come up a few times on the podcast in the past, this idea of having a mindset shift to, you know, and, and we kind of dug in a little bit deeper around beliefs. You’re talking about identity. So it, if I identify my success or my value as a human being or as a value as a colleague, by being reactive, by being, by answering emails within a couple of minutes right? Or within a couple of hours, whatever it might be, that if I attach my value to that, it’s quite hard to get away from that thinking. You know, and I go through this myself. I check my emails twice a day, but I still tempted to go in and, and check just to make sure nothing urgent has come in. So you. I think it’s a, I suppose it’s a, what I’m trying to say is it’s a hard, long process in shifting your mindset and it’s taking small steps at a time to, to get there, but really insightful that that could be something that’s, that’s actually holding people back from being more strategic is what’s going on for themselves and how they perceive themselves and the value that they are to the organize.
[00:30:15] Andrew Bartlow: Yep. Yep. And hey, when you feel under pressure, you often default back to your most comfortable behavior. And so if you get busy and stressed and there’s a lot to do, you may find yourself, you know, working on the sand and the gravel more often, or, or being more directly responsive and kicking the can on Yeah. Some of these bigger, bigger ticket items. And, and, you know, I, I might extend it like I, I specialize because my entire career was in human resources. I specialize in working with HR people, but the same principles are at work in any function.
[00:30:48] Aoife O’Brien: Oh, absolutely. And that’s why I find it so relatable as well.
[00:30:51] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah. Yeah. And the motivations may be a little different. Like, you know, thinking about a sales force, you know, instead of being, you know, this, you know, strong tendency to being a, a helper and, you know, a servant leader in sales, you know, often you’re, you know, the, you’re, you’re trying to close deals, you’re trying to talk with customers. And so attending to the management aspects of work prioritizing and planning and giving feedback to your team. Those aren’t well-developed muscles for many successful salespeople. And so you might tend to get more hands-on mm-hmm. And same for engineering. You might be in the code rather than doing the planning and prioritizing. So, the principles apply to any.
[00:31:40] Aoife O’Brien: absolutely a hundred percent. And I think, you know, bringing it back to the individual level, if people are thinking, if they want to progress their career, if they want to develop their skills, if they want to get better at doing what they’re currently doing, then it really is about making that shift towards more strategic thinking and actually prioritizing the time for that at the expense maybe, of being this person who you’ve always been. The reactive, the helping other people. You know, it’s moving away from that and, and even to take it a step further, maybe thinking about ways that people can serve themselves, that they can help themselves, because that takes you then out of the equation completely, that they can access the information they need and you don’t need to be there to provide that information to them.
[00:32:28] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The mindset shift, the personal identity shift is not something that can. Overnight. Mm-hmm. Snapping my fingers. It doesn’t just, you know, you blow, it’s not like a hypnosis or whatever, right. It’s not like a great article that you read and then all of a sudden, or you, you drop a prioritization matrix on, on your desk on a sticky note. It, it’s, it’s really the combination of a lot of different things. Mm-hmm. Right. It’s having a group of people that will support each other. Mm-hmm., it’s continuing. Read and be aware of tactics on the topic. It’s having someone to, you know, call you on it or hold you accountable when you stray from the path. And, you know, if you can piece together enough of these reinforcements mm, then you know, you, you can make a change Mm. Over time. Yeah. Some, and again, I, I just really want to emphasize like the world needs great servant leaders. Mm-hmm. The world needs great service. Folk. And, and that’s, that’s work that you can be very proud of and that’s valuable. What I focus on is this real tiny niche of strategic HR professionals that I think is, that I think is underserved and I think there are more people that could be more successful in the senior strategic executive ranks. Yeah. If they attended to the bigger picture.
[00:33:54] Aoife O’Brien: I think, I mean even to, to build on that, Andrew, the impact that HR has at work. So if you can impact on those people to help them to be more successful and more strategic, the knock on impact of that throughout the entire organization, I think it be really, really felt the, the other thing I was going to add in relation to trying this and the mindset shift is, just trying stuff and being prepared to fail, you know, trying things and reflecting and seeing what’s working and what’s not working, and trying again and trying again. And, you know, if it’s not working the first time, maybe it’ll work the next time. Yeah, I mean we, we, we’ve talked about a lot of different things in relation to strategic HR. Is there anything in particular you feel that we haven’t covered that you’d like to point, that you’d like to get across? Oh my have I opened a can of worms?
[00:34:49] Andrew Bartlow: It’s it, it’s obviously a favorite topic and it’s an area that I, I have lived through the school of hard knocks myself on, on this. Yeah, I, I guess I would just emphasize to the audience that you can be as successful as you choose to be and as you are willing to allow yourself to adapt and. over time and you know, I think being strategic is a choice. I think supporting your organization is something that we could wrap our minds around a little bit better. and, and get out of our own way sometimes from just doing like, let’s look up and figure out what, what, where we go in and what could we do to be most useful.
[00:35:35] Aoife O’Brien: Mm-hmm.. Yeah. Yeah. I love that approach. I mean, I suppose something that’s coming up for me, there’s obviously people who are in privileged situations it’s a little bit easier for them. Other people may have issues around diversity and biases at work and that sort of stuff. So I just wanted to call that out in case anyone’s listening and going, well, it’s easy for you to say, you know, from a privileged situation that you can be as successful as you want. Not everyone has necessarily the same level of opportunity. And I suppose I just wanted to call that out for listeners as well, in case someone’s listening and thinking, oh, that’s not me, that’s not me. I’m having all of these challenges at work. You know, so I just wanted to kind of raise awareness, make people aware of that. Now, the question I ask everyone who comes on the podcast is, what does being happier at work mean to you?
[00:36:33] Andrew Bartlow: Boy, what does being happier at work mean to me? Actually, I will refer back to some work by a company called Gartner which recently bought CB Conference executive board, which does a lot of benchmarking and data collection.
And boy, this sounds very academic, doesn’t it? So what does being happier at work mean to me? Their definition, you know, tied to employee engagement surveys. and there are happiness or satisfaction surveys. And they were digging into the data around, okay, well what do you get out of happiness? What do you get out of satisfaction? And they identified two outcomes that were most strongly related, and one is intention to stay, and the second is discretionary effort. Mm. And so if you are happy at work, if you’re engaged, if you’re satisfied and I give all credit to Gartner for uncovering this, you are more likely to want to continue to be a part of that organization. Hmm. You’re less likely to leave. You’re also more likely to care more and do more and be more proactive at that organization. So yeah, I guess I’d put a bow on it. What, what does being happier at work mean? It means that you want to continue to be a part of an organization. You wanna contribute more?
[00:38:05] Aoife O’Brien: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I love that. Really kind of synopsize what being happier at work like, and what I talk about all the time is, Yeah, you wanna stay in the organization for longer, which saves organizations money. And if you’re putting in that discretionary effort, if you’re being more proactive than reactive and, and doing additional work that has a benefit for organizations as well, has a benefit for the individual, has a benefit for the teams. Now Andrew, if people want to connect with you, if they want to reach out, find out a bit more about you, what you do your book, any events or anything like that, any programs that you have coming up you can let them know. .
[00:38:45] Andrew Bartlow: Yeah. Well, thank, thanks for the softball there. Yeah, yeah. Please, please. Anyone listening still at this point, you know, connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m, I’m out there all the time and, you know, put, put kind of a lot of content out in the world that is hopefully. Interesting or useful. And if you’re interested, if you’re a human resources leader that wants to be more strategic, that wants to be more successful in your role I run a variety of different programs from, you know, cohort executive MBA style programs to one-on-one mentoring. You know, check, check that out. You can connect to all of it through my LinkedIn, but People Leader Accelerator is that. Program where we help heads of HR do some pretty interesting stuff. Mm-hmm. .
[00:39:31] Aoife O’Brien: And is, does that tie in with a lot of what we talked about today? Sure does. Sure does. Love that. And we’ve just recently connected on LinkedIn, so I’m looking forward to interacting with your content and hopefully you’ll find value in the content that I put out there as well. I’d love to say thank you so much for your time today, Andrew. Really enjoyed that conversation. Love getting into the nitty gritty of, you know, how to be more strategic, how you’re great, happier working environments, hey to help everyone to succeed and, and be more successful at work. So really appreciate you taking the time today.
Thank you. Thank.