Why Companies Need To Elevate The Role Of People And Culture

Marc Havercroft

As technology becomes more ingrained in our homes and lives, its uniqueness will always be about the human connection.

It’s easy to wrap our arms around this topic and talk about good social responsibility from commercial bottom- and top-line perspectives. Most of us will agree that people are becoming the reason why we’ll shop at a certain place or do business with a particular bank – it’s directly linked to the personal experience.

If you shine a light on commercial success stories, you’ll see that much of that success is due to the people and culture. Getting the right talent at the right time is key to business success.

It’s not about changing the business structure or changing how you recruit people. Right now, all we’re really seeing are small changes. For example, some management consultants are now considering hiring employees that don’t have a degree from a top university.

That’s a good start, but it’s way too little.


CEOs need to recognize that diversity is not just about gender or ethnicity; it’s also about diversity of thought.

McKinsey research finds that CEOs see human capital as a top challenge, with many ranking HR as only the eighth or ninth most important role in an organization.

In navigating tumultuous times, your people are your most valuable asset. CEOs are left asking, “Are my company’s talent practices still relevant?”

All businesses need to look at their brand and say, “We’ve been recruiting the same people from the same university and yet we expect different results.”

It’s interesting to take a look at IQ versus EQ. I believe strongly that, when we take a look at EQ over IQ, EQ is going to be a key skill going forward in business, as greater value is placed on human connections.

We are all highly networked, and we want to work with people who can not only do their job very well but can also read people very well. The problem is that many people are still recruiting based on a person’s credentials or IQ. This needs to change so that a person’s EQ is taken in equal consideration to their IQ.

Learning and adapting

If there’s one thing that humans are good at, it’s learning and adapting. You can meet people who started their careers in engineering and are now working in sales or tech. People learn and, as they gain more experience, they adapt and change. Any of us can do that. But it’s not just about hiring somebody skilled who is also likeable, it’s about finding somebody that fits the values of your business.

Employers get stuck in the habit of thinking of their employees as a team where everyone gets along and works together seamlessly. Let’s be honest – in a good team you’ll have myriad different types of personalities. That’s what makes a good team; everyone balances everyone out.

What you need to do is stick to your company’s mission statement and values and find people who are genuinely committed to them. We need to accept the idea that some people won’t get along very well (surprise, surprise!), but we all live in hope that employees can get along professionally.

Values and purpose

The bottom line is if you can align yourself to a company’s values and purpose, you’ll have a team where everyone will be slightly different. What you’ll also have is a great degree of momentum in your organization against the common value and vision of why we’re different and why we’re doing what we promised to.

That’s how you get people to give extra. And when that fails, that’s when you hear people say, “I’ve had enough of corporate life, I’m going to do something different!”

Ideally, I want to work in a place where I know that our technology is helping people not to be frightened of digital change but actually helps them manage their careers through this changing world. And that they actually see the opportunity of technology rather than living in fear of something that’s “taking away my job.”

With that in mind, I like the fact that we are concentrating on ensuring the individual has a strong level of comfort and control in this changing world. If people are enabled to manage their careers, have a good job, and pay for the things they need to, that’s a sure-fire way for them to truly enjoy their life.

Learn more about the next chapter of HR and the workforce experience: Human Experience Management (HXM). Watch the on-demand webcast.

Marc Havercroft

About Marc Havercroft

Marc Havercroft, COO & Vice President Strategy, brings more than 20 years of experience within the future workforce strategy and transformation, helping clients adapt their HR strategy to meet the opportunity of the new digital world and the future workforce needed. His expertise includes advisory & strategy and workforce design for organizations going through major change as well as new entrants into EMEA, North America, and APJ & Greater China regions from both green field to M&A structures. Marc has worked across industries from financial services, Telco, energy, media, digital social, and public sector, turning current and global trends into meaningful workforce strategies that deliver.