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11th February - David Rooke @ Bloomberg

Really good session where we heard from David Rooke sharing his perspective on leadership. Stunning location and a record attendance. Some fascinating discussions on:

  • Personal effectiveness skills

  • What is our role in driving good conduct?

  • The future of employee engagement surveys

  • Driving inclusion

Personal Effectiveness Skills

Data Points – How to understand current demand for skills (Internally)

  • Performance objectives and development plans (data mining & anecdotal)

  • Frustrations and key business/performance challenges

  • Focus groups, polls, interviews, systems with performance based data and HR data

  • Job Descriptions (what data can these provide and how might we want to influence with regards to ‘buy’ and ‘borrow’)

  • What are people searching for on internal systems

  • Strategic capabilities

Tech Implications

  • Tagging strategy to enable employees to easily find content, closely linked to how your skills taxonomy is structured

People implications/considerations

  • How to link skills to grades

  • Communities of practice:

  • Drive behavioural change and increase awareness/adoption of skills around key areas of focus identified by the business

  • Increase likelihood of business curation (Decentralised governance/quality check)

  • Improve language specific curation capability

  • Improve business ownership (move away from L&D owning the strategy)

Other key Points

  • Keep the number of skills focused, perhaps no more than 10

  • Accept that people will be able to find their own on google or buy locally where the central L&D function doesn’t support

  • Curate small numbers of resources against the skills

  • Decisions around aggregation and disaggregation of skills is key

  • Historically we’ve decided as HR practitioners what to call skills, how do we pivot to let employees drive this?

  • Should we operate with clusters of skills linked to the tagging strategy (more challenging to control/manage but a better employee experience)

What’s our role in driving good conduct?

Problem to solve is… people are making bad calls leading to distraction, damage to culture, reputation and bottom line.

Success would look like…increased comfort discussing this, shining a light on good calls and resulting value… and also calling out risks/behaviours before incidents occur

Overarching recommendation… Invest in more system wide support and change so learning effort isn’t in isolation/at odds with process especially performance and reward


  • Learning from how safety cultures have been overhauled – similar approaches could apply

  • ‘Conduct week’ to draw attention and to be a catalyst for action

Dig deeper…

  • Good books/resources: Wilful Blindness, M Heffernan. Honest Truth about Dishonesty, D Ariely. Black Box Thinking. M Syed. Levels of Moral Thinking, Kohlberg

  • Speakers: Matt Syed, Roger Steare, John Higgins at Ocreus (not the snooker player!)

  • Firms that do this: Culture Scope

The future of employee engagement surveys

Using an anytime listening approach to collecting employee engagement data


  • Quick access to data

  • Data cut min. of 10 people but some will go to 5

  • Dashboards are easy to use, you can cut data in various ways easily

  • Dashboards are easy to share

  • Manager’s are in control of the data and the approach e.g. they could pulse monthly and then combine it with a 6 monthly group wide survey

  • Core set of questions with the ability for managers to add their own

  • Makes it easy to report on action planning

  • Good end user experience

  • The real strength is when all the components link to a continuous story


  • You do lose an element of control as everyone is doing their own thing. Can be difficult keeping track of the direction

  • Can lose global direction especially if you have a portfolio business

  • Varying experience – the experience of the individual depends on the enthusiasm of the leader

  • Management capability is key – you have to monitor action and hold people to account. Link to performance management

  • Takes maintained levels of action to get progress.

  • Because you need to be individually identifiable for reporting some people question the anonymity

  • People data needs to be in good shape

  • You need a provider who will help you to analyze the large number of free text comments you will get

Hints to improve the success of an anytime listening approach

  • Start with making sure you have a clear purpose and understand what you want to know

  • Integrate the approach with other processes e.g. performance review

  • Use nudges to keep leaders thinking about their engagement levels

  • Incorporate engagement results with data you already have e.g. exit interviews, retention data, social media ( Kantar media platform maybe helpful here) performance ratings, yammer tone of conversation +ve or –ve?, diversity statistics

  • Use the above to look at the Metadata correlation

  • Drive leader accountability for the results through:

  • Reporting to the Board

  • Sharing dashboards amongst MDs

  • Creating themes with league tables

  • Dive into the data, find out what’s happening good and bad

  • Link it to performance data – take people out of management roles if the results our poor over time

  • Link data to discussions about expectations of leaders

  • When looking for trends ask the same questions and the same time of the year. It easier to bench mark as seasons to make a difference to the results!

  • Do we jump to the quantitative data too fast is the more helpful data the qualitative data? This is the data that you can story tell from.

  • Market research society might have tips on how to do this effectively

  • Consider the role of employee councils run by employees in helping with employee engagement – apparently Unilever have used this

  • Plan your roadmap from what you already know

  • Be forward looking in your questions rather than backwards looking

Selecting a provider

Things to consider:

  • Look at reporting functionality easy and simple to use

  • Work with suppliers who will also help you with traction and action not just supply the data and leave you to it

  • Choose an approach that will flex easily to your needs

  • Some providers will sweep over free text, alert you to issues and highlight themes

Providers include

  • Peakon

  • Officevibe

  • Culture Amp

  • Karian & Box

Driving inclusion

  • Clear expectations set from the top of the organisation

  • Using inclusion nudges to change behaviours

  • Using an enquiry-based approach – for example, leaders building the business case for D&I

  • Ensuring consistency – inclusive development aligning to organisational values and culture

  • Considering the difference between sponsors vs ‘role models’ with influence

  • Using practical resources such as an xmas party checklist

  • Using employee stories to build awareness and the desire to change

  • Ensuring good measurement of outcomes e.g. employee engagement, self-assessment

  • Reframing as employee ‘belonging’

  • Example of using ‘privileges’ to remind leaders of the individual privileges they may have

  • One example of talent programme which started with participant being given a blank sheet of paper – it was handed over to participants to define the programme