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119 | How using Agile can drive positive change & prove HR’s value, with Kate Maddison-Greenwell
Episode 11916th February 2024 • HR Coffee Time • Fay Wallis
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If you've ever wondered how to shift your organisation's perception of HR from being an operational, admin-heavy function, to one that is strategic, innovative and drives positive change; this episode of HR Coffee Time is here to help. Host, Fay Wallis is joined by Kate Maddison-Greenwell from People Efficient and together they take a deep dive into the exciting world of Agile HR.

Key Takeaways

  • Agile is a mindset and set of methodologies focused on adding value to customers, including employees in the case of HR.
  • Agile HR involves breaking down complex projects or problems into iterative chunks and prioritizing people-centric solutions.
  • Visualization tools like Miro can facilitate collaboration and inclusivity in Agile HR.
  • Games like planning poker can help teams estimate time and value more accurately in Agile HR.
  • Sprints, typically two weeks long, are cycles in Agile HR that involve planning, doing, reviewing, and reflecting on progress.
  • To get started with Agile HR, start small with a project or problem, focus on psychological safety, and gain sponsorship from senior leaders.

Useful Links


Buy the Book Recommendation

(Disclosure: the book link is an affiliate link which means that Fay will receive a small commission from Amazon if you make a purchase through it)

Built for People: Transform Your Employee Experience Using Product Management Principles, Jessica Zwaan


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Fay Wallis:

Hello and welcome back to HR Coffee Time. It's wonderful to have you listening today. I'm your host, Fay Wallis, a career and executive coach with a background in HR, and I've made this podcast especially for you to help you have a successful and fulfilling HR or People career without working yourself into the ground.

If you've ever wondered how you can change other people's perception of HR within your organisation from being an operational, admin y function that isn't as important as the other functions, to realising that No, it's so much more than that, that HR can be strategic, it can be innovative, it can drive positive change and empower a business to succeed, then I really hope this episode is going to give you some great ideas that you can start trying out straight away and that aren't horribly daunting.

And that can really show you how to make this happen. You're about to meet the fabulous Kate Madison Greenwell, who is CEO of People Efficient, and she is going to take us on a deep dive into the world of Agile HR. Agile is a topic that I have wanted to cover on HR Coffee Time for a really long time, so it's such an exciting feeling to be able to share today's episode with you.

Kate is an expert in the people experience, organisational development, digital transformation and change management fields, and she specialises in working with rapidly growing businesses. She's worked with clients like the Commonwealth Games, BMW, Channel 4 and Lee Stafford. And she's renowned for using her

specialist knowledge of Agile HR to help companies reimagine how HR, business and leadership gets done. Whether you've heard the word Agile lots before, but you aren't that clear on what it means, or you've been using Agile practices at work already for a while, I hope that you're going to enjoy hearing what Kate has to say.

Let's go ahead and meet her now.

Welcome to the show, Kate. It is so fantastic to have you here today.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Hello. Thank you for having me.

Fay Wallis:

Oh, you're so welcome. I've been really looking forward to our interview. And before we get started, it would be great if everyone could learn a little bit about you. So are you happy to introduce yourself and tell us all what you do?

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

So I've, I've been in HR for 25 years and I founded People Efficient in 2021. And that was kind of born from from having experienced large corporates and small businesses and kind of thinking to myself, , I really wish there was a better way of doing things. And of course the best way of doing that is to go out and do that yourself.

And so I'm an expert in things like people experience, agile HR, obviously, because that's That's what we're talking about today, organisational development and digital and change transformation as well. I specialize with rapidly growing businesses. So businesses that are going through a lot of pain points and frustrations and, and getting things to happen in the pace that they need it to happen to continue to survive and thrive.

That's essentially what I do in a nutshell.

Fay Wallis:

And you also have a fabulous podcast, don't you? That I know is incredibly popular.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Yes, I do. So I work with Lisa Murphy and Victoria Bond, and we have the HR Directors Cut podcast. So, which we love. I mean, you are a, a fellow podcaster.

It's great to do. People write into us. They give us their, their problems and their, their woes, their frustrations of being a HR leader. And yeah, we just answer it really authentically. And, you know, we talk about our own experiences and how we solve them, the mistakes we made, all the failures we had so that everybody can can learn from, from what we've done.

We have a good old giggle along the way as well. So, yeah, we, we absolutely love it.

Fay Wallis:

Well, I always love listening to your show. I think it has a really nice, fun and authentic feel.

So I'd definitely recommend anyone listening today. Go ahead and check it out after you've finished listening to this episode, of course.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Yeah, listen to this one first and then check out HR Directors cut.

Fay Wallis:

And one of the reasons I'm so excited about having Kate on the show is because she is an Agile specialist. And I've wanted to talk about Agile skills for HR for absolutely ages, but I hadn't been able to track down anyone who I thought would be

the perfect person until I met Kate. So Kate, it would be great if we could start off our chat about Agile with you explaining what it actually means and how it's different to the other main project management methodology, which I think people are probably more familiar with, which is called Waterfall.

And Waterfall was around pretty much forever before Agile became really popular.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Yeah. Well, it's I mean, Agile is really a concept. It's, it's, it's a mindset and a set of methodologies. And it's all about adding value to customers. And for those of us in HR, those customers are our employees.

So essentially it's kind of taking quite big, complex projects or issues or problems to solve that HR face all the time. And breaking it down into iterative chunks. So, I mean, as we know, so HR is, is, is complex in itself. You know, we have to be knowledgeable about all kinds of of areas in, in HR, like org design or people experience reward and recognition.

We often have these, these huge kind of, projects and that's, that's becoming even more complex now that we've got a multi generational workforce. We've got, you know, all, all kinds of sort of VUCA, volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous environments that we're working in, you know, businesses are needing sort of instant results and what have you.

So agile HR is a way of being able to prioritize and put people at the front of, of decisions or or, or problem solving. So it's, it's really a way of being able to define the value that you're, you're offering to a business. So you were talking about a waterfall approach and that's, that's kind of like a big bang approach.

So that's about taking a project, deciding what you're going to do upfront, budgeting it and then working really hard and, and, and completing it. And I hope you are really good at doing that. But of course, in, in the meantime, it means that you're having that waterfall approach means that you're only really testing whether or not it's going to be successful at the point of delivering.

And you're only really, you know, you're kind of quite bound by your budget. You're bound by the decision that you made at the beginning. And you're also, you know, for those projects that are lengthy. You're, you're also solving yesterday's problem. By the time you've delivered the, the, the solutions to that problem, that's, that's yesterday's problem.

It's not today's problem. So Agile is, is really about breaking things like that down into slices of value and, and testing and getting feedback from people and having continuous feedback loops to make sure that you're always solving the problem that is there right now. So that, that's what Agile is about.

It's about people centricity. It's about incremental improvement and it's about making sure that you're solving actual problems quickly and responding to change at pace.

Fay Wallis:

I still remember the very first time I ever came across Agile. It's when I was in my last HR role before I started working for myself.

And I worked for a defence. business that had a huge software division and I was walking through the software engineering team space and saw a whole group of people all standing up and talking and they were having a stand up meeting and they started explaining to me when I said, Oh, what's going on?

That they were following. agile principles and they were starting to use agile project management instead of the waterfall approach that they'd always used before. So that's when I very first heard of it. I would love to ask you, when did you first come across it?

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Well well, Agile HR kind of comes from IT and that's been, that's been around.

Agile in IT has been around since, since the nineties. And that was kind of born out of a need and a desire from I. T. to be able to again respond to change at pace. I think I. T. had a reputation for, getting a problem and, you know, making it very complicated. And, , 18 months later, they'll roll out a new process or a platform or a system and everybody wonders what they've been up to.

And, and HR kind of has that problem too. Which is why , I think people are getting more drawn to, to Agile HR. And I came across it in two ways really. I've worked with businesses like BMW that adapt that kind of kaizen continuous improvements.

There's some. borrowings there. But I also got into it because my, my husband he works in IT. He's a product manager. And he was telling me about how, how they do things a bit similar to you. You know, they're doing these standups. Yeah. They're talking about scrums. They're talking about Kanban, all of those kinds of sexy, sexy things.

And I thought we could do with that in, in HR for. For about a week. I thought I'd invented it. I thought I'd invented it Agile HR. So I was like, Oh yeah, we could really do with that. That's really going to help. It's going to help with our credibility. It's going to help with our ability to be able to roadmap and, and demonstrate to the business how we're adding value and that kind of transparent way of working.

I was thinking this, this could really help with, with HR and, and getting that seat at the table. And then I realized that obviously it had already been invented. You know, people were already doing it. There's some great sort of front runners, you know, Natal Dank you know, Perry Tims as well, you know, he's a great advocate for, for that kind of thing.

And set on a quest to really find out a lot more about it. So in sort of true agile style, I learned a bit about it and then just started doing it. I just started using it in projects that I was, I was doing and, and starting to apply some of the, the mindset methodologies with, with myself and with my team to, to start adding value and demonstrating value.

Sadly, I didn't invent it though.

Fay Wallis:

Well, it would have been wonderful if you had, but it's still fabulous anyway that you're using all of those principles. And I think to help bring it to life a little bit more, it would be brilliant, Kate, if you're able to share with us maybe one or two examples of when you've used it within your HR role.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

The one that springs to mind is, is with a business that that asked me to help and support them because they were working on a big project. Sort of several little projects coming together into one big project. And what it was, was that they had a relatively large HR team.

I think they had about eight, eight or nine people in, in the HR team. And they were wanting to implement a new HRIS, a HR information system, together with an applicant tracking system as well. So an ATS as well. And the reason they were wanting to do this was because the HR team was becoming quite frazzled with the amount of admin work with the amount of, you know, being able to track, what's coming in, what's going out, all of those kinds of things.

So, so they wanted my help with that. And instead of helping them with, with implementing the system, I started to ask some questions from them, from the HR team and from the employees as to what exactly was the problem, you know, why is there admin? Why is there a need for a system?

Why is there a need for an applicant tracking system? And from the HR team, the answers that I got were things like, well, you know, we have so much recruitment, we're finding it really, really difficult to keep to keep track of everything. And from the employees themselves, they were saying, We're finding a lot of confusion.

We're finding that HR isn't available to us very often. We're not getting much support because they seem to be quite, quite stressed. So we really dove in and actually what was happening was they had a really high turnover and the reason they had a high turnover was because their onboarding was not standardized.

It was not personalised, everybody was treated the same, you know, managers felt that it was HR's job to onboard people, HR felt that it was the manager's job to do it. They hadn't really thought about it beyond trying to digitalise the process. So Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a new HR information system, they already had one, they just thought they needed a better one, and an applicant tracking system.

We started to look at how we could reduce the turnover and we focused on the onboarding because the highest percentage of turnover was between naught to six months. And when we looked at the exit interviews and we started to do some interviews as well. And we started to get together some focus groups, we realized that there wasn't enough personalization, there wasn't enough welcoming, there wasn't enough development being given at the beginning stages.

So we got together a cross functional team. Somebody from marketing, a couple of people from HR, somebody from finance. And also a new starter and a junior manager as well. And we started to play some visualization games and started to, really dive into some ideas that people were bringing to the table as to how we could improve the onboarding.

And from that we designed a roadmap of all of the things that we wanted to do. So we created a backlog. Some, these are some of the Agile terms coming in. We created a backlog of all the things that we would want to do. Then we started to draw out, okay, what will make an impact right now? What can we do that will, that will help with reducing that high percentage of turnovers in nought to six months?

We looked at everything from making sure that the manager gave a phone call a week before they started to tell them how excited they were. We looked at, you know, cost free it's, it's not going to cost anybody anything. It's not but it's personal and it's, and it's personalized.

We then looked at asking the senior leaders to make a phone call within the first week of somebody starting to say welcome. They'd heard about them. They wanted to let them know that their door was open. So we, we, we came up with those kinds of ideas. And then we started to look at things like, you know, motivation techniques.

How we could bring forward some of their learning and development bring it forward so that they could learn more about the business at the beginning and not bore them so much with things like health and safety and all of that kind of stuff. It's important, but you don't wanna be spending your first few days doing that.

So we really started visualizing that and we used a Miro board and you know, we played some games to, to help prioritizing. And we started to build up what, what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it. And then we broke it down into sprints of two weeks. So we started making a change every two weeks to to, to make it better, a better experience for those people that we were onboarding.

And we were really transparent about that with the business. So we said, this is what we're doing. We've recognized that this is a problem. This is what we're doing. Look out for this. You know, we're, we're owning this and we're, we're saying that we can do, and we can be better. And from that, we started getting other suggestions from people as well.

So we were really able to build up a backlog of ideas. So, I guess the moral of the story there is, is that the business had fallen into the trap of assuming what the problem was. And assuming that they knew what it was. They'd kind of embarked on this long 18 months project where they had to transfer data around to a new HR information system.

And, their intentions were right, but they weren't solving the actual problem. And instead they were tackling the high admin HR weren't available, instead of looking at what was driving that, that high levels of work for them. And the end result there was that you know, there were indirect advantages.

We were building some transparency with the business. We were involving other parts of the business to be working collaboratively with HR. We were demonstrating how we were adding value, but there were also some direct advantages as well. We'd saved money because they didn't have to change the HR information system.

But we'd also, we reduced that, that percentage of turnover. And it was actually, I want to say it was something like it was in the 30s, so something like 35 or 36 percent of new starters left within the first six months, which is really high. And that was reduced down within within six months of us doing that that was reduced down to 12 percent.

There's still work to do. It's always ongoing. You can always improve things. You know, just sorting the onboarding isn't going to solve the whole problem, but it's a focus. It's something where you can make that that instant impact.

Fay Wallis:

How incredible. They must have been absolutely over the moon, Kate, when they saw that turnover coming down.

There were quite a few terms that you used there that I can just imagine everyone listening is thinking. Oh, I want to know more about that. And hearing you talk about how you overhauled and improved the onboarding is now making me think oh I could ask you to do a whole episode on onboarding It's one that I really want to do this year, but I won't go off on that complete tangent. I'll make sure I keep us on track. So of a few of the things you mentioned if I could ask you a little bit more about them That would just be wonderful. The first thing, as you said, we did some visualization.

Can you just talk us through what that actually means and what that looks like?

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

So I'm, I'm very, I'm a really visual person. I definitely need to see things plotted out and planned rather than hearing them. If you, if you tell me something, it probably won't sink in, but if you show it to me, then I'm, I'm.

definitely definitely able to understand things a bit better. So I, I love Miro, M I R O. Some people call it Miro, Miro, who knows? And it's a digital whiteboard. There's also Mural. I think Microsoft have like a team whiteboard as well. And I think Google do a Google jam. So it's basically a digital whiteboard.

And what that means by using a digital whiteboard is that you can be really inclusive. First of all, you can do it remotely. You can, you can use it remotely with people. So you don't all have to be in the same room, but it's also great for people that are introverted. And perhaps. Don't always feel comfortable verbalizing what their thoughts are or, or their opinions and what have you.

So, it's a really great way of being able to have conversations around something that you're seeing visually. And people can respond either verbally or they can respond by adding, adding their notes to it. And the way that it works is that there are lots of Lots of activities that you can go through on a digital whiteboard where you're putting things out there like brainstorming or you're asking a question. And people can vote so they can, you know, I like to, to bring some fun to it.

So rather than using like, you know, Thumbs or down thumbs to, to vote. I, I give people a monster and they can have that monster and they can put their monster, you know, in the yes column or the no column. Or we, you know, other kind of fun things like that. But it's a way you can do things like matrixes matrices, sorry, of prioritization.

And you can ask people to move things around in the order that they think it's a priority. It can instigate a conversation. So I use it for all kinds of things. I use it to ask for opinions. I use it for voting on what's a priority. I use it to store my backlog so that you can move things from being You know, in the backlog to being in process, to being done.

So I can really visualize how progress is happening. You can use post it notes on there to remind people of things. It's really great for asynchronous working as well. So when people aren't working on in the same place. at the same time as you, you can leave things on the board and they can come to it and add to it or question things or move things around.

It's, it's a great, great way of working for remote teams or distributed teams as well.

Fay Wallis:

I think so many people are going to be going away and googling this Kate after they've listened to the episode. I've only used Miro once when I was actually attending someone else's workshop, they set it all up.

And I thought, Oh yeah, this is good. And I noticed the other day that Zoom's whiteboard has got much, much, much better and they seem to be borrowing rather heavily. I would say. From Miro and how that's structured.

So yeah, I really want to learn more about making the most of those tools, definitely. And I will make sure that I pop links to all of the resources that Kate's been talking about in the show notes, in case anyone does start wanting to take a real deep dive into this. The next thing that I really wanted to ask you about, so you mentioned a few things.

One was the visualization. And then the next thing you mentioned was you said we played some games. So can you tell me and tell everyone listening, what does that mean, playing games at work and not just for a team building thing? What exactly does that look like and involve?

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Well, I mean, I'm a big advocate on things being fun.

And you know, when it, when it comes to things like brainstorming or creativity or innovation or, or even like, you know, making challenges or resolving conflict, I like to kind of inject some humor and inject some fun into it. And that's why I'm drawn to things that are visual or things that are really collaborative.

So we, we play things like planning poker, for example. I don't know whether you've ever heard that, that term planning poker. It's not too complicated. You don't have to bluff or double bluff or anything like that. But when, when it comes to planning. Which, which I do with my teams every, every couple of weeks because we work in two week sprints.

What that involves is looking at the backlog of things that you want to do, and then planning what you're going to do in, within those two weeks. And I don't know about you, Fay but, I, along with most people I know, have a tendency to, overestimate what I can achieve within a certain amount of time.

So you're, you're nodding for those that are, they're listening, Fay's nodding, we're both nodding, we both do that. And what planning poker does is it It gets people to put a value on something either in terms of time or in terms of impact. So we'll take a task that, that needs to be done and we count to three and people have to hold up their their planning poker cards, which is, you, which can just be like, you know pieces of paper with numbers on them.

And what happens is if, if people say that if they give it a one, they feel like it's low value or it's going to be low in terms of time. And if somebody has a 13, it means that they think that it's, it's high in value or high in terms of time. So what you're looking for is sort of parity. So if, if people all kind of go for seven, you can think to yourself, okay, that seems realistic.

If everybody has that, that opinion, then it's safe to say that that's the amount of time it's going to take or that's the amount of value it's going to give. But if people are polarized, so some people have said one and some people have said 13, it triggers a conversation where people can explain, well, I think it's going to take a long time because we've got to do X, Y, and Z.

And then other people go, ah, didn't think about that. Or somebody might give it a one and they might say, Oh well, that's because, you know, I've learned this new technique that I can share with you and therefore it will save time. So it starts that conversation in a fun way, but, but really what you're looking for is that conversation where people are sharing insights because you're then being a lot more realistic about what can be achieved and what the impact is going to be. So that's, that's a game I love playing, poker.

Fay Wallis:

Well, it sounds like loads of fun. I really want to have a go at that now. There's one other thing that I wanted to ask you about that you talked about and you, you kind of implied or gave us a big clue as to what this really meant. But you talked about sprints and I know that is terminology that is used often when talking about agile. So could I just ask you to dive into that in a tiny bit more detail for us as well?

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

One of the frameworks that's, that's often used where with agile teams is something called scrum. It's usually two weeks. Sometimes people do things in one week sprints. Sometimes people do it in three week sprints, but it tends to be two weeks.

And that is where people have their backlog. They have their, planning at the beginning where they might play that planning poker, um, they, they pull tasks to themselves. They then spend their two weeks doing, and they'll often have daily standups at the beginning, which you were talking about earlier, which is literally time boxed, it'll be 10 minutes where people are just saying.

this is what I've achieved. This is what I'm going to do today. And hopefully this is what I'm blocked. I need some help and support. So it's an opportunity for people to explain, well not explain, but inform the team if there is a problem that's going to stop them from contributing. Then they continue with the doing.

And then at the end, you have a sprint review where you look at. What's being achieved? And you ask questions like, did we overestimate? Did we underestimate? Did we deliver the value that we said we were going to do? And then also at the end, which is my favourite part, you do a retrospective and that's where you look at things like

behaviors. You look at, you know, how the team got on, you look at any kind of conflicts and you make an agreement as to what you're going to do better in the next sprint. So it's, it's a cycle. That's essentially what, what a sprint is. It's, it's a cycle of two weeks but you're continually looking to improve.

As you can probably imagine the first time you do a sprint, it's chaos. Everybody over estimates, everybody you know, in the daily standups, they take half an hour because people haven't learned how to be succinct. Retrospectives can be a little bit awkward because people haven't yet learned the power of transparency.

But as you get better each time it becomes quite magical. People get used to working out loud. People get used to operating as a team. People, you see really lovely things like people swarming. So everybody has their own individual tasks, but you'll go to a daily stand up and somebody will say, I'm blocked.

I've overestimated you know, I'm, I'm really up against it. I'm not going to be able to deliver what I said I was going to. And then people will swarm. So you'll have five people that will come together and they'll spend an hour on something, help it to be unblocked, and then they go back to doing what they said they were going to do.

And to me. That's magical. Working together collaboratively as a team is really, for me, what's, what the essence is of Agile. And you know, it's one of the reasons that I fell in love with it.

Fay Wallis:

It does sound magical. You've got me feeling so excited about it, Kate. I can just imagine so many people listening are going to be feeling excited as well, and will really want to get started at starting to develop their own Agile

skills. What would your advice to them be for anyone listening right now who thinks, Oh, I really want to start learning more about this and giving it a go. What would you say to them?

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

I would say Agile is really about, about mindset. And it, and it's really kind of.

It's reframes what leadership is as well. You know, one of the things that I used to do as a leader was, was be very much that kind of role model leading from the front. I had to know the most and be the best because I was that role model. And I was that inspiration for others and really agile kind of turns that on its head.

Because it's much more empowering leadership. And it's about being the leader that helps people and supports them. So I would definitely look at you know, your, your own sort of set of skills and what it is that you're trying to achieve from Agile. Is it that you're wanting to respond to change your pace?

Is it because you've realized that the leadership that you're currently working within or towards isn't working for the business? So really sort of ask yourself what it is that you want to get from, from Agile. The second tip that I would give would be to start really small. So don't just try and transform the whole business into, you know, working in, in lots of different Agile teams.

Take a project or take a problem and apply some Agile mindset and methodologies to it. So a little bit like I was talking about in the onboarding. Actually define what the problem is, perhaps use something like the five Whys to keep breaking it down until you've actually got to the nub of what that problem is, and then start testing a few ideas and bringing some people perhaps outside of the HR team into finding that solution and implementing it.

And I would really advocate for building that agile team. Making sure that there's a really psychologically safe environment because agile is really about transparency. It's about reframing conflict into challenge because you are putting people right at the center of what it is that you're trying to do.

So really. Spend a lot of time working on that psychological safety, reframing conflict and making sure that your leaders are developed enough that they can have difficult conversations, they, they feel safe enough to give and receive feedback in the moment and have a mindset of everybody is trying their best.

There's no blame culture in Agile. It always comes from everybody is doing their best. We just need to work out what we need to do better. So that, that would be where, where I would, I would start from, and also getting some sponsorship from senior leaders to. To give you the ability to, to do something different, like adopting Agile.

Fay Wallis:

As you were talking through all of that, especially when you touched on the being comfortable with conflict and being able to reframe it, you made me realize there are probably a few other episodes of HR Coffee Time that people may enjoy listening to, if they've particularly enjoyed this one. There's one episode in particular

particular, which was one of my very early ones about conflict. That's ended up being one of the most popular episodes I've created, actually. Yeah, and I can't take the credit for it. It's because I had a fabulous guest on the show, Ginny Radmall. So I'll make sure I link to that in the show notes as well, as well as any other ones that I think could be really helpful for anyone who's listening today.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Well, I was listening to to the episode. I can't remember what it was called, but oh, what was the name of the chap? It was a recent one in December, a Arand. Was that his name?

Fay Wallis:

Oh, Arend, Arend Boersema. Yes.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Yeah. So he, the poet.

Fay Wallis:

Yes, the poet.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

He was great. I was listening I was listening to him and he, he said something about reward and recognition and it really chimed with me because he was saying about, you know, there's lots of different types of culture.

But one of the things that you should be making sure that you do is, is things like reward and recognition alignments. And he was talking about team motivation, team reward recognition. And again, that's a big part of Agile. You know, you succeed as a team. And you, you know, you, you support each other as a, as a team as well.

So yeah, that's, that's another episode that I, I particularly loved of yours.

Fay Wallis:

Oh, I'm

so pleased to hear that you enjoyed that. Thank you for mentioning it. I'll make sure I put that in the show notes as well then. And you've left me completely intrigued as to what your book recommendation's going to be for us today, or are you going to share a confidence building tip?

What do you want to go for?

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Oh, I'll go for, I'll go for the book because I've got it at hand. And this is one that I've just finished. It took me a little while to read it. But it's called Built for People. And it's by a lady called Jessica Zwaan. And that's about transforming your employee experience using product management principles.

Which again is really aligned with with Agile. But I particularly like the chapter that she has on feedback loops. And again, that's, that's very agile. It's very much, you, you do something, you test it, you get the feedback and you, you, you improve on it. And you know, really, I, I love how she kind of frames feedback loops, loops as being you know, it's fuel, not fire.

And, and that's, definitely something, you know, whether people go for agile or not, I think feedback really is the, is the secret sauce behind really high performing and high functioning teams. So, so yeah, I definitely recommend reading Built For People and looking into product management and how that can be useful in HR teams.

Fay Wallis:

Oh, it sounds like a really interesting read. I'm looking forward to adding that to my giant pile of books that I've got to work my way

through, Kate.

And all that really leaves me to say, apart from a huge thank you for your time today, is what is the best way of anyone getting in touch with you or learning more about your work, if they're fascinated to learn more or work with you after hearing you today.

Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Oh, thank you. Well, you can always find me on LinkedIn. So yeah, just do a quick search for me, Kate Madison Greenwell, and People Efficient, company page is also on there and I have a website www. peopleefficient. co. uk.

Fay Wallis:

Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, Kate. It has been amazing getting to talk all things agile with you.

You've completely demystified it for me, and I know that you'll have got so many people excited about it. It's been fantastic to have you on the show


Kate Maddison-Greenwell:

Thank you so much, Fay.

Fay Wallis:

Wasn't it great to hear from Kate? There were so many things that I loved about what she shared with us about Agile. It was brilliant hearing her bringing it to life with her example about the plans for the ATS system that ended up completely changing when she realised what the real problem was that the HR team and the business was up against.

And the story really reminded me of what Richard Rummelt, who is the author of Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, The Difference and Why It Matters, it reminded me of what he says. He talks at length in his book about the fact that the central part of any good strategy is all about figuring out the problem that the business is facing and then really having a laser like focus on fixing it.

I talked about that book in detail back in episode 102. The episode is called Boosting Your Strategic Knowledge to Step Up in Your HR Role. So if you haven't already listened to it, I think that that's an episode that you might like to try next. I think it probably complements today's episode really well.

I've popped a link to it in the show notes for you along with links to Kate's website and her LinkedIn profile, and I've also put links to other episodes that we mentioned during the chat today. If you can't find the show notes, I know there's been an update on Apple that makes them a little bit harder to find if you're using Apple podcasts on your The best thing to do is to go to my website, Bright Sky Career Coaching, look up the episode on there and you'll find the show notes there, ready and waiting for you.

And if you've enjoyed listening today and are finding HR Coffee Time helpful, I would be hugely grateful if you're happy to recommend it to a friend or leave a rating or review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. These are all such great ways of supporting HR Coffee Time and helping it reach even more people because I would just love to help as many HR and people professionals as I can with these free episodes.

Thank you so much and I am looking forward to being back again soon with the next HR Coffee Time episode for you.




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