Who is looking out for our HR teams?

Who is looking out for our HR teams?

This was one of the questions in our most recent HR and L&D forum – since lockdown in March the leadership and HR teams in all organisations of any size have been paying particular attention to all of their people and teams, but who has been looking out for them?

The latest forum felt a little different to others over the last 6 months or so – the conversation turned to more medium – longer term people strategy discussions, as opposed to shorter term responses to recent events – which seems to be a reflection of where most teams are at. 

Challenges / What’s on people’s minds

  • Culture and values
  • Mental health – what are others doing in this area?
  • Managing people, especially in a remote environment
  • Retaining people

People Management

  • People are fragile right now
  • It was felt that not enough value is being placed on management skills, which isn’t a new issue however remote working has really shone a light on it – this needs to change, and equal weighting given to it and/or responsibility only given to those who have it as a strength
  • Communication is key – talk, listen, not just a “are you ok?”
  • Managing performance and being able to have honest conversations with the team – vital skill
  • People have found they get buy-in if they have the data first – e.g. how much poor people management is costing them. Ask managers key Qs – e.g. what are your main concerns / challenges right now? Use rich, qualitative data to get it on the radar of business leaders
  • One business did a survey of all employees early on, some have followed with pulse surveys – and are now doing a follow up, using a third party to interview people and dig much deeper.


  • Within professional service firms people leaders often ask, why have we not prepared our people for management roles? A promotion / title is often given based on technical expertise and development, but no support provided for the key skills of a successful manager, with an expectation it will magically happen!
  • People want to feel valued – regular, open conversations are an important part of it. Need to help managers feel comfortable, and create safe spaces to talk
  • It’s about how people think and feel
  • Discussion were held on what firms can learn from military and health (life vs death situations) – don’t have time to think about feedback, just have to do it. Amy Edmondson’s has done a lot of work in this space: the fearless organisation 
  • Often begins with self-awareness – one business introduced “Strengths Finder” to their management team. Made a huge difference to the start of all team conversations.

Mental Health

  • Need to start with a plan / framework
  • NHS website includes lots of self-help leaflets
  • Thrive – mental health support app was recommended
  • Younger generation generally more comfortable talking about it
  • Leaders showing vulnerability has helped bring this higher up the agenda for some. One example given of check-ins before board and management meetings


The next call takes place at 11am on Thursday 12 November. If you would like to join please drop an email to hello@thegrogroup.com and we’ll send you a link! Previous call summaries can be found here.

We  also hold regular CEO/Managing Partner forums, please get in touch if you would like to be added to the invite list.