• Summary

  • “Oven-Ready HR is the podcast trying to fix the world of work to make it happier, healthier and more rewarding and purposeful for all. Whatever your job, work is more than just a pay packet. I'm Chris Taylor your host and join me as I talk to some of the world's top workplace experts and hear how with a little effort, work could be so much better.”
    © 2022 Oven-Ready HR
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  • May 17 2022

    Regular listeners to the Oven-Ready podcast will know I frequently cover the more 'humanistic' side of HR.  I regularly interview guests on topics such as employee engagement, organisational culture and purpose and wellbeing. These are all of course hugely important to HR practitioners but in this episode I wanted to discover what the executives of the 'C-Suite' are focused on and whether HR as a function is on the same page.

    Andrew Bartlow, this week's guest suggests in many instances we're not on the same page at all. He argues HR's focus is often on 'HR Stuff' instead of 'Organisational Stuff'. Andrew is a veteran of both HR and of the boardroom.  He's participated in 11 M&A transactions, numerous business scale-ups, countless IPO and Private Equity exits and as HR lead for a real estate start-up business that became a $14 bn listed firm, he certainly knows his 'stuff'.  His expertise is widely sought with Andrew mentoring a number of HR leaders. His 25 years of HR experience  also led him to co-author 'Scaling for Success' a book the provides an HR framework for high-growth companies.

    HR is a servant [01:39]
    Andrew argues that HR is really good at giving 'customer service' to the organisation. We're eager to please and at every stakeholders beck and call but is that he states showing leadership?

    Advocating for the business as a whole [3:35]
    HR tends to be guilty of navel gazing. We tend to work on HR things that matter to HR as opposed to seeing a bigger picture and working on things that will benefit the organisation as a whole.

    Employee engagement is all a bit squishy [10:21]
    I mention to Andrew about how important it is for HR to build a sense of community and focus on employee engagement.  Andrew doesn't really buy that. Employee engagement for example is all a bit squishy, HR is again focusing on the humanistic element as opposed to driving business performance.

    The wellbeing 'air quotes' [13:34]
    Andrew suggests that wellbeing may be important to the organisation right now but is HR working on that at the expense of other goals such as role clarity and management training which the company also may require.

    Merging two cultures [17:20]
    Andrew discusses at length how you merge two different business culture that have come together because of a merger or takeover and cautions against the 'usual' go to slogan of bringing together the best of both worlds.

    HR practitioners need to wear their 'business' lenses [23:22]
    Andrew recommends that HR leaders out away their HR lenses and wear business lenses instead to trust understand what your organisation needs right now.


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    26 mins
  • May 8 2022

    In this episode of Oven-Ready HR host Chris Taylor talks to author, speaker, psychologist Gethin Nadin.  Gethin is one of the world’s top Employee Experience and Wellbeing Influencers.  Gethin’ work has been featured in the FT, Forbes, Guardian and The Huffington Post. Gethin is also Chair of the UK Government-backed Engage for Success Wellbeing Thought Action Group and a fellow at the RSA.

    How many pillars of wellbeing are there? [01:33]
    Gethin says a lot of organisations struggle with this but he believes s that there are broadly 5 pillars of wellbeing and these are:

    1.     Physical wellbein
    2.     Financial wellbeing
    3.     Emotional wellbeing
    4.     Community wellbeing
    5.     Leisure wellbeing

    Gethin recommends that organisations think about wellbeing in these five broad terms and to move away from ‘buying’ off the shelf wellbeing products where he believes many organisations get it wrong.

    Why should organisations be concerned about wellbeing?[03:30]
    Gethin argues that there is compelling evidence that organisations who commit to employee wellbeing benefit from increased profits and shareholder returns.  When an organisations is seen to care for its employees, employees perform better in terms of improved customer service, their productivity increases and they produce better outcomes.  Gethin states that employee wellbeing is an investment in people.

    How much of the wellbeing tech is evidenced based?[12:49]
    Gethin estimates that there are some 400,000 wellbeing apps available for download but warns that the majority of this technology is scientifically unproven despite some of the technology being recommended by healthcare organisations such as the NHS in the UK. Gethin goes on to warn that some of the available apps could actually cause harm by creating a sense of over-reliance and self-diagnosis by the individual.  So he cautions organisations against putting technology based solutions in front of employees that lack the necessary scientific rigour and evidence.

    What is Psychological Reactance?[19:40]
    Gethin explains the terms Psychological Reactance the term used to describe human behaviour when we’re told something that we feel threatens our freedom.  Gethin explains that messaging surrounding health and financial wellbeing often fail because organisations use ‘negative associations’ as opposed to ‘positive’ ones.  He gives an example of retirement planning where positive messages such as dining out and holidaying regularly once retired are much more successful. i

    Employee Burnout and toxic work cultures[26:19]
    Gethin states that having work-based friends is effective in employees not feeling isolated or alone at work. Gethin argues that employee ‘burnout’ is most likely to be caused by poor organisational design and structure and quotes recent research to back up this claim.  A lack of autonomy, not feeling appreciated, a lack of direction and unrealistic deadlines all contribute to burnout.  

    How do I start a wellbeing strategy?[38.27]
    Gethin outlines the very first steps an organisation needs to undertake when embarking on an employee wellbeing journey.  The steps include asking why are we doing it and what do we hope to get out of it whilst at the same time keeping the employee front and centre.



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    41 mins
  • Apr 19 2022

    So if you’re a regular listener to Oven-Ready you’ll know that at the end of each season we put together a couple compilation episodes called Oven-Ready Reheated looking again at some of the themes and best bits.

     Season 4 of the show has been hugely popular with some fantastic interviews so thanks again to all of my exceptional guests.

     Remember all of the seasons shows are available at ovenreadyhr.com or wherever you get your podcasts but here are some tasty appetisers:

    •  Radical Candor is the management philosophy developed by Kim Scott based on caring personally but challenging directly. I asked Kim to tell me the inspiration for her approach:
    •  David Hieatt, the co-founder of Hiut Denim talked to me organisational purpose and also his approach to finding talent.
    • In the first of two segments, author, entrepreneur and thinker Julia Hobsbawm came on to the show to discuss her new book The Nowhere Office, here she explains why she believes the Monday-Friday working week is history. In this second segment, Julia Hobsbawm reveals why she thinks HR need to kill some ‘darlings’.
    • Andrew Bazeley from the Fawcett Society – the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights explained why they are asking for the salary history question to be banned.
    • I ask entrepreneur Alex Kruger if he was in anyway proud of ‘Grace’ the funeral start up business he founded and later closed.
    • I ask HR advocate and speaker Tracie Sponenberg if she feels that HR leaders have a sit at the board table.
    • It has been 25 years since Professor Dave Ulrich coined the phrased HR Business Partner.  In our interview title is it time kill off the HR business partner role? Author, futurist and Consulting Partner at HR Curator, Dave Millner gives an assessment on why firms seem to be appointing non hr professional to senior HR roles.

     That’s it folks – Season 5 of the show will return in May 2022. If you have themes or stories you’d like me to cover then I’d love to hear from you – get hold of me at ovenreadyhr.com.



    Twitter: @OvenHr

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    29 mins

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