HR data or people – where to focus our energy?

What a great People Management Industry Insight webinar this morning!  The subject was “How can HR lead the way for growing companies?”

With speakers from Talktalk, the Cass Business School and Workday as well as the Editor of People Management the speakers talked about the power of integrated HR systems.  The holy grail of entering data only once into the HR system, confident that it will be consistent across the HR functions and provide everyone with a clear view across the organisation continues to be the goal for many organisations.

Talktalk’s case study illustrated the way they had been able to support a move from fire-fighting operational activity as they grew rapidly to achieve a position 4 years on, where strategic thinking drives the organisation.

For me as a coach, the clear message coming from the discussion was that an organisation may design and execute a transformation programme which gives them world class HR data, which they can mine and interrogate to inform their strategy.  However if the message coming from the leadership is that they don’t care about their staff, the exercise will be futile as the staff will not be supportive. 

Clutterbuck and Megginson, in 'Making coaching work: creating a coaching culture', define a coaching culture as one where: “Coaching is a predominant style of managing and working together, and where a commitment to grow the organisation is embedded in a parallel commitment to grow the people in the organisation”.  Companies looking to change their systems and processes and grow may need to reflect on this at the impact assessment stage.  A sustained drive to change and embed a new culture into the organisation should not be taken lightly and creating time in a pressured work environment for thinking, sharing, growing and developing is a big ask.

In her book “Time to Think”, Nancy Kline says:  “Knowing how to manage a thinking team is fundamental to building tomorrow’s successful organisation”.  She recognises that the power base for culture change is the team meeting.  And organisations need to recognise that this change requires a high level of energy from the leadership team over a sustained period of time.

The results, when nurtured and driven through successfully, repay the effort.  The act of creating conversations where inline coaching takes place as a matter of course can be seen in higher levels of commitment in staff, improved staff retention and a greater commitment to the organisation’s objectives as a whole. 

And with a well-implemented and rigorously managed HR system working behind the scenes, data can be mined and insights revealed which will help to prove the case for investing in technology, processes and, of course, people.


Izzy Ixer, Director and Principal Consultant, Blue Pebble Coaching Ltd

26 November 2015