Game Changers – Meet Brian Wilkerson, Managing Partner, hrQ.
Sherry: What led you to the business of helping companies improve performance?
Brian: I started in the non-profit world and was attracted early on to the concepts of servant leadership. I learned quickly after joining Anderson Consulting that those principles apply to the corporate world as well. A deeper insight into the client world resulted in me helping others solve complex and even crisis driven projects. It was rewarding and important work and I enjoyed it. My work in strategic planning, talent strategy and leveraging technology was frankly before we had labels for this kind of forward looking analytical consulting.
SB: What attracted you to then start your own business after the corporate experience?
Brian: It started early on for my grandfather emigrated here from Italy and he had his own business. I had an early exposure to what that meant and felt it was potentially a path for me as well.
SB: What is your perspective on the workforce and workplace today?
Brian: We have change coming at us from so many angles. I understand the complexity of this and how dealing with it holistically is a challenge. There are multiple generations that have driven change. There are clear differences in what we value and I observe that many companies are ignoring this element. Company structures, products, services and how we think about work and relationships with talent has changed in huge ways. In 2008, following the recession, we saw a shift in mindset and actions that reflected a clear hesitation to grow in the same ways as before. The range of talent options we have today from full time, to part time and freelance or gig is just a few ways to look at the availability of talent. Organizations have not figured out a systematic way to manage through those options.
SB: Do you think your clients are overwhelmed or facing these changes head on?
Brian: I think our clients are overwhelmed by the sheer pace of change and what they want to change. It is a challenge to make progress in that kind of environment. It results in a lack of time to focus on strategy.
SB: What can be done to help clients lead change?
Brian:It is about helping clients re-prioritize and think about the critical things. When I work with my clients and we go through that process and there is a realization that it may shift their focus. We can then create a cohesive roadmap and they feel confident in executing more efficiently.
SB: What are you seeing when working with companies today?
Brian:There are four areas that seem to cover the challenges we see today. The first one is to identify and manage against key analytics that link to business goals. Dashboards provide a foundation but are not sufficient to provide dynamic insight and concrete linkages between people and business results – more complex analytics are needed to understanding the business issues and the value add work is creating a line of sight to progress and results.
The second one is helping clients shift the way they think about talent. It is time to think about customer and talent relationships in the same way. We know everything about the ideal customer profile. It is time to do the same thing with talent. Our talent today is less tolerant of bureaucracy and corporate politics and works in a new way. Take the time to understand them and personalize your approach.
Our best companies have been linking employment brand to brand management. It is all part of the value proposition for the organization. Lastly, it is time to upgrade the skills of people in HR. Our more progressive clients are investing in top tier talent and equally investing in developing a deeper bench for HR.
SB: Engagement studies reports over 80% of workers are less engaged than we need them to be. What is your take on this?
Brian: Work needs to be more like life. Those that seamlessly integrate both are using technology, flexible work models and creative adaptation so that work and home needs are met.
It is also important to find out what motivates and engages others – great people bring their passion to work. Let’s take the time to understand what that is for each worker. Managers are not often skilled in these conversations or take the time to learn and really know their people. How are we preparing managers to be better? I have seen significant improvement in engagement when investing in developing managers to manage in this unpredictable and fast moving environment.
In order to learn more about hrQ and their perspective on the world of work, check out their site. www.hrQinc.com
Thank you Brian for sharing your perspective on the challenges you see your clients tackling today and how you are working with them to accelerate their people strategy.
I am also seeing that the most forward looking companies are proactive in adapting and changing to this workforce. It takes different approaches for sure. One thing I do know, is that we need more of these!
Competitive advantage today is about our people and how quickly we can prepare them with new skills and capabilities. Continuous learning is the new edge. How are you creating your own competitive edge? Let us know and we would like to highlight you and share with others in our news stories.