How Deb Semple supports organisations to design for efficiency and effectiveness



Deb Semple, Kathryn Hume, 


Kathryn Hume  01:09

So Deb Semple is the Vice President Services at Orgvue, a technology platform that supports organisational design and workforce planning by bringing people and strategy together.

Deb connected with me recently on LinkedIn, and we had several conversations about how we might adopt a more data driven approach to ensure our organisations achieve their strategic outcomes. I highly recommend listeners follow Deb as she shares some really insightful articles and insights. Deb kindly agreed to talk to us about her experiences. Deb, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate you taking the time. Thanks for that intro. So we’ll get started, could you share with us a little about yourself and how your work helps you achieve what matters to you?


Deb Semple  01:52

Sure. So I think like a lot of people end up in HR technology, it was by accident. I was born in New Zealand, but grew up in South Africa. In South Africa, you could probably pick up from the accent. I studied Business majoring in Marketing. And my first role, there was a graduate rotation working around a packaging and printing company like a privately owned firm in South Africa, and did every single role there from estimating to work in the press to you name it, and ended up in sales and spent a good few years there learning how to be a sales rep, which was quite fun. In my early 20s, I made the adventurous move to move to Australia from South Africa, and really came here for a holiday and just decided not to leave. I fell in love with Australia and Sydney in particular. So decided to hit the corporate ladder in Sydney. And my first corporate role was in banking and finance, but working in their Marketing department, so one of the big four banks. So it’s been a few years, they’re getting that experience, which was great. And then made the pivot into HR tech, so was looking to get out of the big corporate ladder and into something a bit smaller once more where you can influence things a bit more and help grow a business. And really, at that time, SASS was a pretty new concept in HR, everything was still fairly on premise. And so recruitment was one of those spaces that had moved to SASS tech earlier. And so joined a tech startup that focused on recruitment. So Applicant Tracking System so worked a few years there as an Account Manager and served a lot of customers including government and private sector. So that company was then acquired by another startup, which was really services based. So a recruitment process outsourcing firm decided to buy our technology firm. Rather than build their own recruitment technology, they could just plug in ours and adapted to suit their needs. And I was there for another couple of years, and then went off to have my first child so was off on maternity leave. And that gave me time to just think about what I wanted to do next and really wanted that sort of more part time role. And was talking to a small boutique consulting firm who had an opening to really kickstart the Sydney presence for them. So joined that firm, which really specialised in human capital management technology, but also all the change programmes and everything around adopting new technology. That was also still a fairly new space back then. So spent 12 years there. And worked my way through a range of customers. I think the reason I stayed so long was just because you get to work with so many different customers. So a lot of work with government, the health sector as well like yourself, and private sector as well. So really helping each one of those customers that prepare select implemental optimise an HR technology, either an integrated suite or point solutions. I guess that set me up for the move to Orgvue which was I was looking at my LinkedIn profile two years and nine months ago, just before COVID struck, which was fun timing, for sure.

Myself and a few other people were hired to start the Sydney office and really create more of a presence in APAC. So Orgvue is well established in London and the US about 300 people or so I would say. And APAC, whilst there was a customer, President, a Partner Network presence, we didn’t really have any boots on the ground. So my role is really to bring my experience of building teams and other places, and to help do that for all of you.


Kathryn Hume  05:38

I was speaking to a friend on the weekend, and someone was saying to her, she actually works at an advertising agency. And, and she was saying, what she loves about it is that she gets to work across multiple industries. So she gets to see a lot of different organisations in the way that they work and I think is that your experience, too, and in the space that you’ve been working?


Deb Semple  06:00

Definitely, and I think that’s why I left big corporate land. And it’s been great, because where else can you get two or three years of government experience two or three years of corporate experience, SMB experience, large enterprise mining firms, because I think HR is one of those things, that’s everybody experiences. I mean, we all have people working with us. So you need HR as I think that’s why I love the space. And I also just love working with HR people.


Kathryn Hume  06:26

What I find fascinating is that I’ve been so entrenched in health for the last couple of years that I kind of assumed that the problems that we’re having are the same as is being experienced by all industries, but their conversation, and we’re going to talk about it in a moment, just about your experience in mining, how it was actually quite different in terms of what happened with demand, and the solutions that you had to find were quite different. And although we’re all living in the same environment, we’re all impacted quite differently from COVID. So we’ll jump into that, on your point around, that you didn’t actually plan to be where you are now, I was just reflecting on, I think all of the guests other than Maree, I think, have all started the conversation in that way saying I didn’t plan to be where I am now. But I think it’s really relevant for what we’re trying to do you know, when we are trying to plan the future, but in a context where peoples are dynamic, and they make decisions based on a range of factors. And we have to take that into consideration. I do actually think your vast experience across multiple industries is really valuable there informing on this is this is what we need to consider an understanding that different organisations are going to respond in different ways to different things that are happening in the environment,


Deb Semple  07:45

I think of it as empathy. So if you’ve been in a customer facing role, obviously, the customers I’ve worked with have all been HR or business focused customers. But taking them on that journey through adopting new technology has been a major one or helping them through that journey. Everybody knows you need to do it but sometimes there’s resistance to adopt something new. And I think also, there’s just been so much HR tech is it’s a noisy space. And I think HR, particularly Chief People, Officers and HR folks, they get inundated with requests for time. So what you are selling and what you’re propositioning needs to be something pretty special and innovative to get their attention. So that’s the other thing to consider. But I try and take all that past experience and really understanding of the customer into whatever situation I mean,


Kathryn Hume  08:34

I think in terms of empathy, HR, and People and Culture that function has a had a identity shift in the last couple of years because of COVID people were able to see the value of HR and People in Culture functions. But now there’s also this push where we’re no longer a cost centre, we are a value driver. It’s very strategic. That’s a different set of capabilities and mindset. So how do we bring people on that journey to where they need to be now to be going and talking to senior executives, and adding value and being part of those really important conversations and showing how you’ve got this workforce, who in most cases are what delivers your purpose? That role has just changed so significantly, how do we help people to simplify and make those decisions because they’re capable of it, but it’s different to what it was a few years ago.


Deb Semple  09:32

I think it’s important to give HR people the ability to focus on the future. There’s a saying that I like which you can’t be in the business to work on the business. It’s a consulting mantra. And if I look at Rupert, so Rupert is our founder. So he founded Orgvue, but he’s also written a couple of books. His most recent book is called Organisation Planning and Analysis. His theory and a few of our customers have started put this into practice is that if you look at the finance function, and we can take a leaf out of their book because around 20% of this salaries or headcount go into that planning or forecasting, budgeting planning. But if you look at HR functions, only about 2% of the investment in HR people is into that capability area, whether you’re upskilling people you already have, or actually bringing in people with that consulting or finance kind of background that can, can focus on the future. I’m definitely seeing more of it now with strategic workforce planning. And that focus that’s, it seems to come in and out of vogue, but it’s back in. But I really quite enjoyed Rupert’s recent book, because I think that will help customers who are thinking about it to put some sort of framework around and go, Okay, well, this is how I would hire a team like that. Obviously, you do need some underpinning technology. Hopefully, that’s where something like Orgview comes in. But even just the capability and the mindset and that internal muscle, rather than a complete reliance on external consultants, some of that needs to be within the organisation itself is.


Kathryn Hume  11:07

Yeah, for sure. For all that context and in you know, organisational knowledge, yeah, definitely relationships, stakeholder management. I will link to that book in the show notes, because that sounds really relevant because I was also reading something or Insight 222 release report this morning, actually, that I was reading, and it was talking about the ratio of leading organisations as opposed to non leading organisations, that was how they did their distinction. But they were actually talking about the ratio of people analytics staff, or employees to the number of staff that are in the workforce. And it was really interesting to see that it has, there’s a direct correlation between if you have people who are capable and performing this function, the value is there, the outputs are there. So it’s really evidence behind that.


Deb Semple  11:52

Yeah. And I think often that people are there already they’re just not cohesive. Yeah, they’ve got so much day to day to day noise, and they are reacting to so many requests from the business. And that’s analytics people as well. Particularly, if you don’t have something that you can just click a button and see everything you need to see you need people to go and get that data. And you’re also then expecting those same people to carve out some time to work out the future organisation for you and the future workforce demands while still doing their day job. So I think the intent behind Rupert’s book and that approach is give people that space to focus on this because it’s so important.


Kathryn Hume  12:30

And I think, too just deciding where to prioritise your time, because that People Analytics does tend to be so reactive. I think we all do like to please other people. So if someone comes to us and asks for something, we’d find it really hard to say no, but in a lot of cases, if it’s just the interest, or if it’s something that takes a lot of time, but the impact isn’t there really need to start looking at how are we prioritising our tasks? And what do we really need to be providing to the organisation and the decision makers in organisations to be able to make those decisions which are critical for the strategic outcomes, not just the operational? I mean, we need both. But you’re absolutely right. How do we carve out that time?


Deb Semple  13:11

We always go back to what is the strategy? And then how do you make everybody accountable to that strategy? And what are the three or four initiatives that you’re working on as an individual that tie back to that? What are the measures that matter? It’s much easier in a small organisation, we do this really well at Orgvue. But I can see when I work with larger organisations, and if you say, well, what are your top three strategic priorities? Sometimes it just doesn’t roll off the tongue because there’s so much what I call busy work happening is that you don’t step back and go actually, here are the three things if I what am I doing today? And is that actually driving towards? Or am I just, you know, greasing a squeaky wheel?


Kathryn Hume  13:50

Yeah. And I also think we in workforce, we understand why the reports that we provide why those metrics are relevant for the strategic outcomes, but are we understanding our target audience what they care about and delivering that information in terms of, but this is what’s relevant to you and this is how this is going to help you look good in your job or achieve the outcomes that you’re setting out to achieve. It’s just that collaboration, and I guess a bit more of the consulting as well understanding what the business needs the target audience, what’s keeping them awake at night and being able to then say, Okay, now I’ll work on a solution rather than just responding to those requests, which may not be delivering the impact that you could potentially, we always start with asking our guests, what does your reimagined workforce look like?


Deb Semple  14:38

So for me, it’s probably not the most original answer because I read a lot of HR articles and podcasts and research. So it’s not original, it’s conceptually original, but I do fall into that belief of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how the workforce of the future is going to be an augmented one. So we will have people that you need to have those power skills or, you know, use transparently with soft skills, I prefer power skills but those will be augmented by automation. So it’s about looking at the work we currently do and what parts of those can be automated or the lower level routine tasks taken away from us so that we can elevate and focus on the non-routine thinking type tasks. So I think I read a piece of research where they were saying, I think it was 2007, the Oxford English Economic Forum, or one of those sources said that 45% of all jobs would be taken away by robots by some defined point. Well, that never happened. But what happened was a lot of the non routine jobs were taken away by robots. But then the non-routine demand just really has exploded. So if you look globally, there’s such a low unemployment rate, particularly in developed countries countries. But for those white collar roles and things like that, this where you need those power skills, there’s still a huge demand everywhere for those. It hasn’t really happened that away. So that answers the question, but I know, a future where we have to look at our organisations in terms of what work needs to happen to meet the strategy and out of that work, what can we automate, take the personal thing out initially, when you’re doing the initial design of it, and then go, Well, where can we meet people’s talents, and make sure that they’re successful in this?


Kathryn Hume  16:31

And I do actually, like what you’ve said, there around utilising the talents that you’ve got, we saw with the great resignation, or we are seeing that there is a lot of churn and you can get caught up in that cycle of, we’re looking for that perfect person, whereas most organisations have got this workforce, and they might not be exactly what you need, but how do you shift and shape that workforce to become what you need it to be? And looking into the future, as you said, and understanding what work is going to need to be done? How does it need to be done? How do we transform the workforce we’ve got today, to what we need it to be tomorrow. So we’ve talked about the fact that every organisation really faces a complex mix of problems that need to be solved. And we really can’t rely on what we’ve done in the past, because we haven’t experienced this exact scenario before. So as I mentioned before, Deb you support a range of industries and when we first caught up, you spoke about the mining industry, who were looking to create cost and process efficiency. That’s something quite different, as I mentioned, from the challenges we were trying to solve in health, and I’m really intrigued to learn more about that experience and the solution you propose for that scenario.


Deb Semple  17:37

Sure, thanks. So I think when we look at mining, it’s the same as looking at any publicly listed company where you have to report to the shareholders, and profit metrics are really important. A big driver of profit is your cost to revenue ratio. So a big part of your cost is your employee costs. And so companies are typically looking for ways to keep those managed. So ideally, if you’re being proactive, you don’t let things get to a point where you need to cut costs. Sometimes that does happen. But more often I’m seeing that customers are looking for ways to work more efficiently. So rather than have a globally diverse workforce, all working on the same types of tasks, are there opportunities to centralise those. So this example was where the company decided, as part of a multi year transformation that was well communicated to everyone, we’re going to set up a global shared service, we are going to look at enabling support functions, and we’re going involve you on that journey. And we’re going to make some decisions about what roles should service need to look like, and what activities need to still happen out in the business. So if we’re looking at something like HR, the HR function, that could be one that’s an enabling supportive function, everybody needs to chart. But do we need the whole HR team in each country? Or can we have this shared service, and then just HR business partners, so decisions around what that model would look like. And we really started by looking at the work. Once again, the value chain is the other word you can use for this or the process taxonomy. There’s lots of different forms for that. And we did leverage all of you for this because you can build in the process taxonomy into or view. So if we look at something like HR, you might have recruitment activities, you might have industrial relation activities, you name it, okay, down to whatever level you want to analyse. And then you can actually survey all the people that work in those functions across the globe, all out of the same system. And what we’re asking is a range of questions, but predominantly, how much time are you spending on each of these functions or activities at the moment, and when you’ve got that data, it comes back in and you start seeing a linkage between the activity and then the FTE associated with it and the cost associated with based where the people are. So you can imagine, then you’re able to see the work in a different way. And you can say, well, actually, at the moment recruitment is costing us x, it’s involving 1000 people, I’m just making some numbers up. None of this is actual numbers. But we think that we could centralise the shortlisting process, we could reduce that down to one or two dedicated roles across the globe. And once again, I’m making this up. So just to give you some colour and example to how this all went down, and how it happened. So business has gone through this function by function, and now has shared services of around 2000 and two and a half thousand people plus various supporting functions, and leveraging Orgvue to be able to actually crowdsource the data, and then re model those roles and the structures based on the inputs that we got.


Kathryn Hume  20:53

When you actually lived it was that fairly accurate? Were your predictions close to the mark of what actually happened?


Deb Semple  20:59

In most cases, I think they were. I wasn’t close to the detail of the assumptions, and then what turned out to be the reality. But I think for the most part, people had a good sense of where people were spending their time. No doubt, there were some surprises, and some opportunities to shift roles. So I think this is where the roles that stayed out in the business, small HR business partner roles, potentially, some of their roles would be looked different, they might have some capacity freed up to do less of that routine work and to focus more on strategic work. So that’s the aim of something like this. Yeah,


Kathryn Hume  21:31

It’s really powerful and takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. That’s quite fascinating. So were there any insights that you gathered to inform the decisions that you made along the way?


Deb Semple  21:39

I think this methodology, and I’m sure, we would like to claim full credit for this methodology, but I’m fairly new to management consulting myself, it is actually pretty well worn path activity analysis. It’s just before Orgvue was done pretty manually? I think for me, it was quite another way to look at it. And I thought it made sense. It takes that decision making to the next level, right.


Kathryn Hume  22:04

But how do you factor in that the humans not widgets? And like, is there the risk that you look at the dollars and lose some of those human factors? Like, how do you look at both?


Deb Semple  22:17

I think you need to have the aggregate view. That’s the view that your executive and your finance team and HR will be looking at the cost of the FTE, and you need to be able to have a way to always manage that. So don’t let it just blow up because then it’s chaos for everybody or traumatic to get to remove those costs, if you keep a close eye on it, and you manage to that and monitor things, then you are looking after your people. But I also think putting people in the right roles is so good for employee engagement and for their own sense of mastery and autonomy. If you’ve got the right data, you can design the right roles for people that drive to the strategy, but also give people that sense of purpose. There’s nothing worse, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in Iraq, I can’t say I have it, not in my corporate life. But I certainly have had friends or colleagues who’ve been in other roles where they’re actually pretty bored. Yeah. And there’s nothing so demotivating me bored.


Kathryn Hume  23:20

I don’t know if I’ve ever been bored. But I have been in roles where it hasn’t connected my own personal values and it’s funny, because when I look back now, it was actually my own internal dialogue that was telling me that what I was doing wasn’t of value. And when I reflect back, if I had to change that language that I was talking to myself in and say, hang on, actually, there are people who benefit, maybe I would have been a bit more motivated. But I think that that actually just talks that culture piece around. How do we align vision and values of individuals to organisation to boost that engagement, to provide that positive experience for the employees so as they’re performing for the organisation and the peoples that we serve?


Deb Semple  24:02

Yeah, a lot of the org design components actually, more than I thought factor into that. Even looking at the shape of the organization and the way the hierarchy is structured, can really drive that, for example, autonomy. If you’re in a really bureaucratic, multiple layered, five steps away from a decision maker, you may have less a feeling of empowerment, and also the culture of the organisation might be just more bureaucratic, or there’s more governance or policy restrictions or that influence how you feel at work. Some people would love that sense of order and task orientation and I know what I’m delivering, I know the purpose and you’re tied to that purpose, and you can deal with the bureaucracy. But for others, they need something different. So I think you’ve got to it’s kind of a combination of knowing what your purpose is or businesses being able to communicate their strategy, but then also being able to put the right people into the right roles based on what’s driving them. It does take a little bit of individualisation shouldn’t but there are I think there are smart ways to sort of start identifying people that are going to fit into certain roles more, more comfortably.


Kathryn Hume  25:06

Yeah. And so is that something that you do through the consultation? So do you identify the roles, and then there’s some conversations that happen around, so who would be suitable for those roles and also include the people in the conversations around what roles are available and where they might like to lead?


Deb Semple  25:24

I think there’s this in the ideal way of doing all good Org Design I’ve learned recently, is to define your strategy, define your operating model. So how are you going to go to market and that sort of stuff, and then you get into more your micro org design, which is where Orgvue really shines because you’re looking at your current state and usually, it’s a position level view, so you don’t bring in people data at that point. So you would go and I’ll just talk you through how it tends to work in practice. So you go, here’s my current state, we’ve made only strategy decisions. We’re automating this, we’re digitising that we’re selling off this use Orgvue, get them to sort of drag and drop and create a view of that future just on a position lens, because you have that position data. And you decide are you going to close positions? Are you going to create new ones are you going to grade up where you can grade down, you’re going to increase the number of people, but you’re really talking about positions, roles, really, with location data and other things. How many of them you need is pretty much where you start from that org design perspective. I think once you get into implementing the design, that’s when the people impacts come in. And you can then link across people who have the right skills to be considered for those positions. And there might be some positions that are just not shifting, so you wouldn’t look at those. But you might have more positions than you had before. So you’ll need to go and recruit or get external talent, and you might need to redesign some roles. So I think I would always start with what the position the roles positions look like before trying to match the talent in.


Kathryn Hume  27:03

Does it link in with what the market is doing? So if there’s certain roles that are hard to fill, does it take that into consideration? And say, yeah, you might want that many people in that role, but you’re not.


Deb Semple  27:14

Yeah, I was going to say there’s the reality lens as well. So this is more the academic approach. In reality, lots of things come into play and talent scarcity is definitely one of those. So you might have this perfect unicorn in mind, they just don’t exist.


Kathryn Hume  27:28

And I think that’s exactly what I was kind of talking about where it’s an art and science. So there’s the logic behind this is how we could design an organization and that’s what technology helps us to determine. But then there’s that human element where we have to look at it critically and marry up. But Is this realistic? Or how scarce is this skill or capability in the market, but then adapt? It doesn’t mean we just have to start again, it just says, Okay, so if that’s the problem we’re solving now, how are we going to do that? And there’s a range of strategies that we can do. So it’s just that information that’s informing the decisions that we’re making?


Deb Semple  28:05

Yeah, I think for me, that’s probably the step that’s not in the books where, when you’re working on that strategy, and if you especially if you’re changing something fundamental in the organisation, and you’re going to need a whole new skill set, maybe that’s the time you go and go, what is the talent market like for this skill set? Does it exist? Is it in my region or my country? Is this therefore a feasible option? Should I consider this strategy? Like I think people are, as you say, not widgets, and finding particularly scarce talent, I think you need to flag that whether you’re floating and visually in the system, or it’s just something when you have that human consultation element, because technology can make things easier, but it’s not going to make those hard decisions for you, or have the creativity necessarily to go well, we could pivot slightly and we know that there’s a lot of this talent. So why don’t we change our strategy to meet what’s their decision point.


Kathryn Hume  28:58

And I also think that whole skill adjacencies and finding that similar roles have similar skill sets. So there was an example I saw around data analysts, and we needed data analysts, and there weren’t enough people to do that role. But we found some bio informatitions, I think it was, and we said, oh, hang on, they’re a different role, we wouldn’t normally think that they’re the same role. But look at the components. If you break it down, there’s a lot of similarities. So what could we do to break down what people are doing to think, Okay, we could augment some roles, and we might have the capabilities and the skills in the organisation. We’re just not seeing it because we’ve defined things in the ways we’ve have in the past. And I think that’s where I’m thinking about the reimagined workforce. It’s about how do we look at this differently? How do we solve these problems? Because we don’t have the solution at hand in the way we’ve done it before. So how do we do it in the future by just completely changing the way we look at it and starting to think from scratch almost.


Deb Semple  30:00

Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of the value customers would get out of something like Orgvue is actually have seen through my career and more and more of this data has actually been collected. So what you’re talking about their skills competency data, that a lot of organisations are assessing for that and various pockets, whether through the recruitment process, or the performance management process, or learning management systems where people are getting their skills or certifications and obviously, in health, there’s more rigorous certification requirements. So the data actually exists, you’re not actually having to create that data or survey the data. That’s another way you could capture it, I guess. But I think the trick is, how do you see it all in one place? So that you can see your organisation on a page and see where there’s a pocket of skills that you need over here that you could then make a plan to move them over there? I know, people can’t see what I’m doing.


Kathryn Hume  30:55

But when you talk about the fact that there’s different data that exists in different systems, and that becomes very difficult, I think more and more, I’m hearing organisations doing this employee listening, where they’re getting that sentiment from a range of mechanisms. Is that something that Orgvue is able to blend? Or is that more of that human side where you pull out the data from what all view provides, and then you marry it up with the data that you get from other systems?


Deb Semple  31:21

I think the only constraint with sentiment data, it’s usually not tied to a person. It’s anonymized. Though what we’ve done is, typically we’ll tie the aggregate data to say a manager, right? Yeah. Or head off on a position that heads up a department. So you get an aggregate sentiment score for that department, because that software tends to anonymize. We couldn’t, we couldn’t say what your individual sentiment is. But you could see that oh, in marketing, the sentiment score is really high. These guys are like loving the day sort of thing. Over in HR, they’re not too happy.


Kathryn Hume  31:56

What about things like preferences for occupational or geographic mobility? So if people have got a willingness to move, is that something that can be brought into this, these considerations as well?


Deb Semple  32:08

Yeah, I think anything that you can capture, you can bring in and analyse and visualise. So we did a lot of probably internal and it’s possible customers work with COVID first hit around what jobs needed to be done on site versus remotely, who was set up for Wi Fi, like we used our server capability quite a lot in that period. How are you all feeling?


Kathryn Hume  32:32

I’ve found that it’s a really interesting story, because that would have been done on the fly I imagine that wouldn’t have been things that had you had.


Deb Semple  32:41

We didn’t have a lot of time to come up with the questions, but decisions need to be made and we wanted to crowdsource quickly the information from people.


Kathryn Hume  32:47

So and what were the response rates like in that time?


Deb Semple  32:51

Well, we’re probably strange. At Orgvue, there’s quite a few of us nerds. response rates were really high. Like, that’s because we like to drink our own Kool Aid and do our, you know, testing on ourselves. I think some organisations might not have had that. But I think actually it was HR really shined during early COVID days, it was reacting, but it was reacting with that sense of urgency asking the right questions, getting people set up. Full crisis mode.


Kathryn Hume  33:21

But I think it talks to, and this is only anecdotally, but I think it talks to the fact that people responded because they felt like the organisation would do something about it. And the whole survey fatigue, people talk about, is it really survey fatigue? Or is it that we just don’t people don’t respond? Because they think what’s the point of this?


Kathryn Hume 

I think it’s very relevant for the conversation around if we are going to be collecting data on people and crowdsourcing it, really on us to then actually act on it and do something about it.


Deb Semple  33:57

Because when you’re going to act on it, or what it’s been used for, and keeping the communication, I think HR across the board did a really good job. I mean, you really elevated the profession, everybody stepped up.


Kathryn Hume  34:10

Yeah, and I think really showed what we’re capable of. The problem is, then it’s increased the demand in a big way. But I think it’s just led to a huge maturity growth as well, I think we’ve moved out of that responding, reporting operational side of things yeah, that also has to be done. But we’ve got so much more to offer.


Deb Semple  34:31

Ultimately, people want to work for a company that’s winning in their field. So often, the best thing you can do to keep your people engaged is be very good at what you do. And so that’s having an eye on your business strategy and knowing who your customers are and being the best. You will have less problems and retain staff if you are the best. So I just thought that was because I think in HR we can sometimes focus too much on the fluffy things around employee engagement but fundamentally, usually people want autonomy mastery and to work for a winning company, whether that’s in a for profit, or for a cause, type field, like I imagine, in healthcare, there’s a lot of for the cause for not for profit but in the rest of the world, you know, you don’t really hear a huge retention problems in places like Amazon or Google, you just don’t,


Kathryn Hume  35:21

But I think it’s, it goes back to that mutual benefit. And that’s what I always think we’re striving for. And you’ll hear me say time and time again, it’s a bit of a mantra, I like doing things for the people in our organisations, our organisations and the people we serve. So if we’ve got those boxes ticked, then I think that we’ve solved a lot of the problems around retention and attraction.


Deb Semple  35:45

And I think people have to find something to pin their values to. So companies that win, there’ll be a big bunch of the staff that love to win and are competitive and so that will want, they won’t want to work for those companies. But then there’ll be other people there that are maybe less competitive. But the fact that the company is winning is a byproduct of some other cause of the companies after so they might be just wanting to make the best mobile phone experience in the world and that’s what their claim is, and they’re doing it. So people that care about that, and I’m just making that up, you know, gadget focused, people are all about augmenting reality and making life easier would align to that, because they can see that in action and that they’re succeeding and customers are happy, and that makes them happy and have that sense of purpose.


Kathryn Hume  36:32

And I think we’ve got some role to play in connecting the dots for people, because as I mentioned about my prior experience, where I didn’t see that connection, it was just because I didn’t really see the value.


Deb Semple  36:43

Right there. I mean, there’s been times when you question, am I adding the value? Am I adding value in the right place? Yes. Is my work valued? And I think that whole coming back to tying it back to the strategy and the few priorities that your functional areas is linked to the measures that matter? It’s really important, because then you can go well, actually, today, I’ve spent quite a lot of time doing X, I can’t see how it really ties to that. So as a result, maybe that’s not the most valuable contribution. So I think it’s a two way street, you’ve got to know what’s expected of you. So to have that the wrong needs to be pretty well defined?


Kathryn Hume  37:20

Well, exactly. Because if you don’t have a clear definition for the role, and you can’t see that linkage of strategy, it’s difficult to motivate yourself. And if you’re not being recognised, and you don’t see where you contribute to the bigger picture, all of those things are so important.


Deb Semple  37:35

I think, in in earlier years, I’ve noticed that sometimes organisations might go a bit too far with position descriptions and role titles, and you can get lost in the academia of that as well. So it needs to be a living breathing, because strategy changes, especially now everything changes so quickly. The last year, maybe my focus was on customer retention. And this year, it might be a new customer acquisition, or I don’t know, examples there. But I think there has to be an ongoing communication and ability to adjust those roles and requirements for the role over time. It needs to be an ongoing living thing.


Kathryn Hume  38:11

Yeah, for sure. And it just that’s just talked to agility, and that building organisational resilience and having that flexibility to weather the storm and move with what’s happening within the environment. I think we’ve come to an end of our time, sadly, I’ve had a great time chatting with you, Deb again, I really find what you your insights and the way you articulate it really, really does resonate with what we’re trying to do. So thank you. I will include a link to your LinkedIn profile and to that book in the show notes, and any other resources that you might think that are relevant. Thank you so much for being part of the Reimagined Workforce podcast. Really, really appreciate your contribution.


Deb Semple  38:52

Thanks, Kath. Have I’ve enjoyed all the previous episodes so we’ll keep listening. Thanks a lot.


Thanks for listening to the reimagined workforce podcast. We hope you found some valuable ideas that you can apply to transform your own workforce today and tomorrow. Additional information and links can be found in the show notes for this episode at workforce Please share this podcast with your community and leave us a rating to let us know what we can do better for you.

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