HR Expert Interview: Redefining People Experiences with Ross Seychell

What’s your company’s ‘people experience’ like? In our latest HR Expert Interview, Personio’s Director of Brand and Comms, Laura Schroeder, speaks with Personio’s Chief People Officer, Ross Seychell, about how HR is changing as companies are getting back into growth mode.

Interested in watching the full interview? You can easily do so by clicking here.

Gearing Up For Growth: HR’s Changing Role

As companies begin to emerge from the pandemic, and get back to growing, Ross sees the role of HR changing in three key ways. 

The first, of course, is the continuation of core work. This brings with it an emphasis on the kind of work reflective of growth, including attracting, hiring, onboarding, all while continuing to grow organizations with a flexible lens of focus. 

In Ross’ own words: “It requires imagining that you’ll have some of your team in the office, some of your people working remotely, and figuring out how you collaborate and come together.. learning how to build that ecosystem as you continue working.”

The second aspect is added focus on mental health and wellbeing, as well as overall purpose. For Ross, this isn’t simply having a quick review of your benefits and policies, but determining your philosophy as a company and making it real

Last, but certainly not least, is the aspect of growing what has been a major proof point for HR teams during the pandemic: the ability to plan and act strategically. 

“Whether it’s around business continuity, operational resilience, or looking at the markets that we currently operate in. I definitely see, in growth mode, HR teams and managers having a voice there and being involved in that work as well,” Ross explains.

People Experiences Coming To The Fore

While Ross acknowledges that the concept of ‘people experience’ has been an industry consideration over his 20+ years in HR, he sees it taking on renewed focus in 2021 and beyond. 

But, while he has seen people beginning to discuss it, what’s currently missing is a level of detail and focus to really make ‘people experience’ meaningful. To do that, Ross makes note of three crucial considerations.

It needs to be thought about:

  • Holistically
  • Digitally
  • Flexibly 

First, approach things holistically. As an HR team, you need to think about the product and services you offer, and the experiences that you want to offer through that, in turn. 

At Personio, “We use that as a way to assess the work we’re doing as a team, give feedback on it, and improve some of the processes that are working — and, in particular, understanding where we can loop in automation or build things into workflows.” 

So, it’s not simply holistically. It’s a holistic viewpoint, bolstered by digital possibilities — helping automate things and building or incorporating workflows to make things easier. Enabling your team to have the time to improve processes and to think strategically. 

How many solutions are you using, and is it getting in the way of your best work? Learn more by clicking here.

This bleeds into the final point: doing things flexibly.

As mentioned earlier, flexible working is here to stay, and for Ross that means setting up employees for success when it comes to hybrid work. You can even read his full guide to this concept by clicking here.

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Flexibility Across Departments

Building on Ross’ last point, flexibility truly comes about when it crosses departments. After all, people experiences don’t begin and end in HR. They also loop in IT, finance, office teams, and many others depending on role and function. 

In short, we need to think about people experiences as not simply being owned by HR. It needs to be an all-around considered, and one that can be facilitated by technology and handled flexibly as it crosses those various teams.

How Do You Start Redefining People Experiences?

“Take the lead,” Ross states. 

It’s really as simple as that. Share what kind of work you have done on people experience, and where there could be unique opportunities to action a cross-departmental analysis of pre-existing processes. 

This could even mean getting very granular, looking at a specific area, setting a metric, or looking at an area that could cross multiple teams. For example, employee onboarding, and thinking about where you could make changes. 

Over the past year, HR has been presented with the opportunity to act more strategically, and that momentum needs to be continued while being enabled by effective solutions that afford more time to unlock productive potential. 

But, Ross’ final sentiments ring true, “Be bold and grab the opportunity to bring people together.”

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