Workplace Stories by RedThread Research

Workplace Stories by RedThread Research

At RedThread, we love our data, but we know that what we remember are stories. That’s why, together with Chris Pirie of The Learning Futures Group, Dani Johnson and Stacia Garr started this podcast to hear great workplace stories from HR thinkers, writers, leaders, and practitioners. We wanted to create a space for them to tell their stories about what works in the workplace, what they’ve learned, and what they hope to see in the future. We hope you find it inspirational, motivational, a touch irreverent—and fun!

Episodes

June 14, 2022 53 min
In February last year, this week’s guest, Phil Rhodes, Head of Learning & Leadership Development at WM--which you may now better as Waste Management, and who are the very helpful people who handled your garbage all the way through Lockdown—was not long in post when his suggestion of a coaching program was met with the observation, ‘Phil, trash companies don’t do coaching.’ Well, maybe they should all start, as the first rollout...
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This week’s guest is Michael Arena, who brings the unique perspective of leading talent development and management for not just major New Economy global brands like Amazon Web Services, but also stalwart Old Economy blue chips like General Motors and Bank of America. Along the way, he’s also done serious research and training in network analysis and the power of social science to truly understand what’s happening with today’s corpo...
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If there’s one word that sums up this week’s episode, it’s conscious listening. Yes, that’s two. But it’s actually the on-ramp to the real word we mean, and which is fast emerging as the theme of this Season 5 of Workplace Stories as it evolves: intentionality. That’s because our guest--RJ Milnor, Global Head of People Analytics and Chief People Data Officer at Uber--says it was conscious listening and thinking by he and his team a...
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Today, we hear from an HR leader at the absolute heart of the Hybrid evolution, Dawn Klinghoffer, Vice President of the HR Business Insights team at Microsoft. Dawn’s really helping set the agenda of what gets called in the show the ‘Pandora’s Box’ of workplace change the pandemic is sparking--which she sees, not as a source of trouble and confusion, as in the Greek myth, but as a way to get energy, meaning and empowerment placed a...
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Is it time to retire the concept of a job? Is it holding us all back—especially if we really want to make Hybrid Work a success? That’s a new, and we think highly useful, concept from today’s guest, author, academic and futurist John Boudreau. In the episode, John tells us how we want to move away from thinking about work as one job and job holder at a time and one degree at a time, to a system that allows the parts to freely conne...
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We’ve completed one sort of Odyssey (at least for now). Now, it’s time for an Adventure. That’s the message from our customary opening new Workplace Stories from RedThread Research Season scene-setter this week, where the guys reveal that our next set of engagements and learning from experts and practitioners in the world of HR and the future of work is the current supernova-hot topic of Hybrid Work. If you really are just out of y...
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In the Ancient Greece of Homeric times and mores, the concept of gifting, or gift-friendship, ξενία (‘xenia’) was central. Assuming your fellow Greeks would observe xenia allowed you to travel in the hope you’d be good for food and shelter for the night from strangers on your Odyssey; in exchange, travelers would leave a parting gift in thanks. At many points in The Odyssey, we see xenia in action, like when Eumaeus the Swineherd s...
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Something’s happened to this week’s guest, Meredith Wellard. And it’s actually something quite wonderful; you can hear it in her voice, animating and energizing her. It’s a mix of excitement at possibility--and almost relief that a lot of checks she’s been trying to cash all her years in HR, L&D and talent management can finally be honored. Her secret? It’s the immediate impact on her organization, Deutsche Post DHL Group (she’...
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Deloitte is different. It’s different for, of course, its unique approach to solving customer problems, as well as its sheer size and scale. But in the context of a Skills Odyssey, it’s also pretty unique for having a) an ‘agency’ structure that makes it peculiarly receptive to new ways of organizing around Skills, and b) an openness to try new things. It’s also full, of course, of very smart people… we’d know, as both Stacia and D...
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Manisha Singh is a leading voice in everything from HR technology to people analytics, AI ethics to doing practical work on the future of work. And as someone who built what may well have been one of the very first ever talent marketplaces during her years at global energy equipment giant Schneider Electric, she’s also got incredible street cred for any Skills discussion. If that wasn’t enough, her years moving through the HR ranks...
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We came off this recording session thinking, Have we just literally seen the future of work? A world where how Skills has become the core to everything, and instead of performance management, we do performance enablement? And where the employee is the one that triggers the conversation, and salary is never just based on what I did last year but for the future of what I can do for you? And where the very praxis of making stuff is no...
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This week, it’s all about numbers, scale, and achievement. In terms of numbers, how about a Skills-based, AI-enhanced framework that is keeping 250,000 employees happy and appropriately paid? And which saves the company an estimated $100m per year, money avoided by avoiding expensive churn and not paying beyond market rate—even for scare capability? And as for the achievement, the spotlight in this episode is on Anshul Sheopuri, Vi...
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Well… we’re still not home. The fabled Ithaca of Skills nirvana is still somewhere in the distance. This journey we’re on—this Skills Odyssey—continues. But we still are getting help on the voyage from Dani, Stacia and Chris Pirie from The Learning Futures Group, who are going to share another set of conversations with metaphorical sailors, explorers and other mythical characters also trying to work out how to avoid the workplace S...
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“We really just almost assume that, self-evidently, Skills matter--and then went to try to build a Skills library. It is only then that we start to think… what for?” Talk for any length of time with this week’s ‘Skills Odyssey II’ guest, Sun Life’s Robert (Rob) Carlyle, and these kind of zingers just keep on coming through… along with solid thinking about why doing anything with Skills that isn’t ‘wholesale’ (think, ‘big’) and at s...
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A lot of people we talk to are hesitant about starting their Skills Odyssey. They’ve got a good reason: they feel there’s just too much ocean out there between them and getting to the good place of Ithaca/success. But if you don’t start somewhere, you won’t get anywhere, so you kind of have to dive in. That’s the view, at least, from our guest today, Tim Dickinson, Global Head of Learning Systems & Innovation at European life s...
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“How you are able, as an organization, to reconfigure resources like Skills and have the ability to allocate the right talents in your organization at the right time-- I think it's also a competitive advantage.” So says our guest this week, Patrick Coolen, Global Head of People Analytics, HR intelligence & Organizational Design, and we don’t think many people would disagree with him. But how to allocate? Based in Amsterdam,...
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Setting up this week’s conversation, Dani promises that this one’s a “must-listen for anyone who's trying to figure out how to make Skills work in their organization.” Bold claim? Not when you realize we’re talking about what a 200,000 person, multi-billion-dollar financial services leader is trying to do with Skills both operationally--and with the help of tech from HR system market leaders like Degreed and Workday. That’s the...
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Today’s guest, Mike Groesser, is not just a VP at his employer, Fidelity Investments. He’s also something called a Learning Squad Leader—terminology that may clue at least some of you that we’re dealing with an organization that’s embraced Agile pretty hard. But this isn’t a conversation about that interesting development methodology. It’s actually one (with many rewarding twists and turns) more about the main topic of the Season: ...
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For ten tough years, the king of Ithaca tried to find his way back home from the war--and along the way, he had quite a few obstacles to face down. The good news is he got there in the end: and in a similar way, we think many HR practitioners out there also feel they are on a long journey, full of perils and set-backs and detours, but driven by a similar mission to get ‘home,’ when it comes to really making Skills a tractable thing...
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In L&D, we talk a lot about creating the conditions for learning: isn’t that kind of definitional about what we do? Well, maybe we need to tear up the rule book and start thinking a bit harder about what that means in a much more digital, much more automating, much more diverse, and much more unstable world than maybe we all got comfortable with. That’s certainly our read on what Vidya Krishnan, one of RedThread’s favorite lear...
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