Last month we ran our first Let’s Talk Talent roundtable for HR leaders, very kindly hosted by Harper Collins UK. The debate was led by Beth Clutterbuck, VP Global Head of People at Deliveroo and me and focused on how we can change the way we work for the better – by throwing away the talent and OD rule book!

Deliveroo has highly ambitious growth plans which means this business fosters innovation and has a relentless pace of change; meaning Beth was ideally placed to co-host our discussion on how HR leaders create talent & OD practices that work in a fast-scaling environment.

Why throw out the rule book?

I’ve great faith in the robust HR models and mechanisms that have been well-researched and used over time. My reason for talking about throwing out the rule book isn’t to abandon all that’s good in talent and OD, but to bring a new perspective and fresh thinking to an area that’s heavy on process and procedure.

I work with both large, mature, corporates and fast-growth smaller organisations and I’ve experienced the differences in approach to talent and OD. In fact, there’s sometimes a perception that fast-growth companies just throw mud at the wall and see what sticks!

In truth, organisations need to embrace failure. Not embracing it is one of the biggest blockers to innovation and change in my experience.

In truth, organisations need to embrace failure. Not embracing it is one of the biggest blockers to innovation and change in my experience. Click To Tweet

Perhaps failure isn’t even the right word! It’s this sort of thinking where fast-scaling companies have the edge – and this is why I wanted us as a group to talk about throwing out the rule book.

Talent & OD need to be agile AND robust

As an organisation grows, it becomes inevitable that more systems and processes need to be put in place. During out discussion we wanted to explore how compatible this is with maintaining a fast growth culture. And, as some of our participants mentioned, how to avoid becoming “a big dumb corporate”!

Here are some of the highlights from our discussion that included learnings, successes, failures and inspiration.

  • The importance of design-thinking. Fast growth companies attract people because of fast growth. People want to be part of that journey, to add it to their own life experience and career journey so it’s a challenge for companies to build this into talent and OD practices. Companies can create a more compelling vision if they apply design-thinking – logic, reasoning and imagination – when setting the people agenda.
  • New working models. How do fast-growing companies maintain momentum when organisational development outpaces people skills? We talked about a combination of upskilling and the concept of SWAT teams that draw in talent from the gig economy for project work. Allowing people to leave and then return as ‘boomerang talent’ is part of talent strategy for some businesses.
  • High potentials: Our group are trialling non-traditional methods for identifying high-potential talent. At one organisation, employees can self-nominate based on a high-potential model. All our participants agreed on the importance of setting expectations which makes it more transparent when people are moved in and out of programmes.
  • External focus: Rather than being inward looking, fast-growing organisations invest time in observing external market trends like the development of the gig economy, the concept of employee lifetime value and tactics for attracting and retaining multi-generational talent. Getting together with peers to discuss market trends is part of talent strategy.

Our Let’s Talk Talent round-table events have been designed to be a platform for HR leaders to meet and discuss both strategic and practical ways to improve productivity and make businesses irresistible for people

Our next round-table will be on the 27th February so if you would like to attend then do drop us an email and we will send you a save-the-date. These events are invitation only and are deliberately small, so we can not only enable everyone to contribute but also gives an opportunity to share, inspire and leave with practical ideas.

I’d love to hear from you if you work in a fast-growing innovative organisation and would like to join us next time.

Are you an HR leader? Take our complimentary Talent Diagnostic Survey which breaks down in detail how you can build, enhance and develop your Talent Management strategy. Upon completion, you’ll receive your own personal report, which we believe will give you the space to step back from your day to day activities, and look at the areas which you want to focus on, but maybe do not have the time to. The survey takes no longer than 5 minutes to complete.