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Lesson 3 - How can HR ignite business transformation

Alberto Gonzalez
Alberto Gonzalez Otero



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Who should start  the business transformation process?


Should it be the CEO?


Or the Leadership Team?


Well, maybe. But I fully believe that HR can ignite that transformation too. In fact, I personally think they should.




Why HR?



Do you remember what the first word in "HR"  stands for? Human. And as Zig Ziglar said: 


"You don't build a business, you build people and then people build the business."


It makes total sense to me that a department which focuses on humans can lead business transformation. If not, who else would lead it: the finance department? Better not. 


Unfortunately, some companies haven’t identified their purpose and they are too busy trying to grow, make profit, get more investment rounds and make investors happy. HR often ends up being a purely administrative department to manage the payroll, contracts and time off for its employees. 


Don't get me wrong, all that is important stuff, but is that the reason why HR professionals wanted to work there in the first place? Probably not.


Most people wanted to work in HR because they wanted to help people and because they cared about that "H." They have a desire to help humans succeed and be happier.




Is the CEO on board?


If not, don't worry, it's not over yet. There are two main ways you can transform your company culture and leadership:


  • Make your CEO the champion of the project. Ensure that he or she (unfortunately it’s more likely a "he" but that's a totally different issue) fully believes in the importance of purpose and how it can change the company for the better.
  • Show  your CEO the way with results. When yourHR department is taking its first steps at the start of that transformation, measure and evaluate the results then present them to the CEO. That way, they can see the value of fuelling and supporting  this transformation.


Things are easier if the person in charge is in favour of change, as it gives you the opportunity to make the most of it. They will be able to  convince other leaders at the organisation of its value. If they don’t agree, they can leave the company and they can be replaced with someone who does.


During my time as a head of sales, I led that change within a company just by having a different way of leading my team. People saw how different we were, how deep the connection between team members was, and how that impacted their engagement and performance. The CEO saw it too and encouraged everyone to follow suit.  

Leading Culture Transformation

Check out this leading culture transformation infographic by CultureIQ






Mission, vision, values...and now purpose?



Let's get something straight, having a purpose statement is not going to make you purpose-driven or make any impact on its own, but it's a good start. 


I always ask people to remember how companies behaved about 10-12 years ago in relation to the company’s mission, vision and values. At that point in time, some companies really believed they needed those to give their people (employees and customers) a sense of direction and who they were as a company. 


Those companies were the pioneers and did see the value and importance of them. Doing that helped them to perform better than their competitors in the same industries. After that, this became a trend and some other companies started to do the same. They defined their mission, vision and values not because they believed in them,mbut because they felt they were necessary to be able to compete. 


The results were clear, most organisations  today have a mission, a vision and some values (sometimes just one or two of the three). But when you ask their employees about them, they don't even remember or recognise them in their work and daily activities at all.


This generates the opposite result, it creates frustration, confusion, lack of direction and unhappiness.


With purpose, it is the same thing. It’s trendy now: some companies started focusing on purpose because they believe in its value as a catalyst of positive change, alignment and direction. We are also seeing positive results and higher profits from real purpose-driven companies. 


Now, many companies feel they need to have a purpose. But having a purpose statement hanging on the wall doesn't make you a purpose-driven company. And if people see that you are running your business without staying true to your purpose, they’ll feel the same frustration and experience the same unhappiness that happens with mission, vision and values. 


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How to share this across the organisation



I previously said that having a purpose statement hanging on your wall doesn't make you a purpose-driven company, but that’s it is a good starting point. Once you have clarity on what the purpose of your organisation is, it is time to share the message with everyone involved. 


There are three main stakeholders you need to share this message with:


  • employees
  • customers 
  • and investors (if you have them). 


There obviously needs to be an alignment between the leadership team and the investors. Even so, the main reason why your company will be successful is that you believe 100% in the reason for its existence. When looking at investment rounds, you also need to be very clear about that to avoid running into problems later.


How can you share your purpose? Communication, communication, communication!


You can do this by firstly having a town hall call with everyone involved, then putting it on the wall, organising workshops and events. Everything helps, but the key to learning and adoption is consistency and frequency. 


If you say it once only, people will forget and nobody will do anything about it. This needs to be your most important project and your people need to feel that too. 


You then need a clear strategy to ensure that purpose is embedded in the organisation to the point where every single employee thinks about it when they are doing a task, having a meeting, or starting a project. 


The question they need to ask themselves is:


"Is what I am about to do aligned with the purpose or my organisation in any way?" 


If not, don't do it.





Purpose leadership


Leading by example: HR showing the way



Want a tip? Don't wait for the right time to start this change. 


The right time is now, and you can lead the way. 


Start with trying to get the leadership team on board. If they are, everything will be easier.If not,  start with HR first and lead by example. It might take more time this way, but it will definitely pay off. 


One of the reasons employees are disengaged with HR is because they are often perceived purely as an admin department under the control of the leadership team. Basically, people don’t feel that HR is there to help them be successful and feel happy at work, but to get information from employees to share with the leadership team to help  decision-making for their own benefit. 


If you in human resources put purpose at the core of what you do, you are showing that you care about that human component, about others and about the impact you make. People will then engage with you at a different level. 




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What’s coming next?


Find out how to discover your employees' purposes in tomorrow’s course. Discover:


  • Ways to learn about your whys.
  • How to uncover purpose. 
  • How to stoke that fire in their hearts and ignite their passion for their work.


So stay tuned!


To learn more about Kenjo’s solution to increase employee satisfaction, click here. Grab a demo from Kenjo. We’ll show you around, and you’ll be armed with more info than when you started. 


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