DisruptHR Aberdeen – Don’t Just Follow The Crowd: How Can HR Help Create a Flourishing Workplace, Dr Susan Reid Elder

Don’t Just Follow The Crowd: How Can HR Help Create a Flourishing Workplace?

Dr Susan Reid-Elder, HR Consultant and Lecturer at Robert Gordon University

This is the Choluteca bridge in Honduras if you’ve never heard of it before. It was completed in 1998. And Nicaragua is… Honduras is a place that’s hit by lots of storms and hurricanes. So they wanted that bridge to last. The bridge lasted, as you can see by the picture, the area was hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the same year the bridge was completed. As you can see, the river’s completely changed track, but the bridge is still there. The world around us is changing. HR will be left behind like that bridge. So how do we change HR? HR is a massive thing, but it’s made up of hugely talented individuals like you. And that’s me in that bump corner. And I’m going to tell you about my small journey to try and disrupt HR. So COVID-19 was a massive disruption, positively on negatively changing our lives. And what I wanted just to focus on is this definition, and this is what we need to be doing is to change the traditional way we do things.

So why do we need to disrupt HR? So as my introduction, I’m really interested in work. I’m really interested in our wellbeing, and work should be a place that we can flourish, but so many of us languish at work or maybe to our employees. So my PhD, here’s some interesting facts and figures for you. Wellbeing, what is it? It used to drive me bananas that everybody thought mental health and wellbeing are the same thing. They’re not. It’s very much… It’s simpler, but it’s a little bit more complex. If HR and organizations don’t understand what wellbeing is, and it’s so much more than mental health, we put a sticking plaster approach and many organizations do this. Rather than understanding the root cause, sticking plaster. Let’s show we’ve done something. Here’s some examples. I’m going to come back to mental health for a state later. We actually know what the causes of work-related stress, depression, anxiety at work are.

The HSE produce a report that comes from GPs information. This is evidence and data that’s out there. So why aren’t we acting on it? Question for you. So I could bore you all night with my research finding. You’ll be lucky to know I’ve only got about three minutes left, so I’m not going to inflict that on you. What I am going to do is give you a very high level overview of what I found next. Here it is, high level. I wanted to know what were the factors that could contribute to having a great place to work where we could flourish. Three key areas and HR can influence and bring them into the workplace. I won’t go through all the detail underneath, but work factors. No, I’m definitely not going through all the factors. So flourish, I just wanted to give you some key takeaways from that.

All of these, there’s a lot of questionnaires you can use. You’re free to use it if you’d like to understand flourishing rather than the languishing in the workplace. One of the key areas for you to focus on is working practices. Oh, we’re on to the next slide. So what have I done since my PhD since I’m telling you about my journey. I have been an HR manager, now I’m interested in being an HR academic and bridging the gap between HR practice and research. So why am I doing that? The world we live in, so fast-paced, complex, ambiguous, HR right in the middle of that, as we’ve heard from a lot of the presentation tonight, we don’t have enough time. We’re making decisions without enough time and there’s so much misinformation, bad trends, fake news. Here’s some examples. Mental health first aid mentioned earlier, lots of organizations, good intent, put it in. The HSE are even saying there is no evidence that mental health first aid makes any difference.

Likewise, unconscious bias training. We all have done it. Good intention. There’s no evidence that it works. Multiple research information tells us it doesn’t work. And next one, the final example. The generation difference. How many of us have based business decisions thinking there’s a next generation, there’s a Y generation the baby boomers. No there isn’t. The evidence tells us there isn’t. It’s just different age groups and we’re all different in different age groups. So moving on. So where do we go from here? How do we disrupt HR and the misinformation within HR evidence-based practice, those of you who are members of the CIPD will know it’s in our values and our core knowledge and it’s about making better quality decisions.

How do we do that? 4 sources of evidence. So rather than our own experience or what other organizations are doing, let’s look at multiple sources to come up with the best information on which to base our decisions. And if you want to know more about the process, you can go to the CIPD Knowledge Hub. I want to know more about evidence-based practice, whether it’s relevant to HR, what the barriers are. I’m doing some research along with my colleague Moira. If you want to know more, please get in touch. We’re in the middle of a research project. Next time we’ll come back and tell you more. My last message for you is, I’m working hard to disrupt HR. What are you going to do?

See Susan delivering her presentation at DisruptHR Aberdeen here >>>> https://vimeo.com/876118809

More talks from DisruptHR Aberdeen here >>>> https://hunteradams.co.uk/blog/disrupthr-aberdeen/