Angela O’Connor CEO HR Lounge – How to drive our own high performance

By Esther


Productivity and engagement and what really makes a difference?  How do we create an environment to be productive and understand ourselves and our own role in being productive we are super great at managing others development and telling them why they should be engaged and putting together leadership programmes, but what about our views and ourselves? We need to do things for ourselves and not just for others. We have to make difficult decisions but always should be with integrity and kindness but what about our dreams and making them come true. IMF Global Productivity Crisis – doesn’t matter if you have the best benefits or rewards we need to utilise the skills and talents of our ee’s every single day. We may have great days or ‘crappy’ days this happens to all of us, but what about the traditional approaches we use to drive productivity and engagement we all do things similar, but the world has changed and things happen quickly, pace, digitalisation work is now 24/7 always connected….What we have been doing is just a backdrop to the important work we do we need to explore beyond the standard approach to give people ‘fire’ to shine?

Helping people achieve their dreams – development and reward strategy creating meaningful work is just the back drop so how do we go beyond this? Boards realise they need to do a lot more than just the basics. Thinking about what else we can use the other connectors the role of the board or line managers.

The secrets of the coaching room – nobody talks about performance appraisal other than to say they absolutely hate it!! Either delivering it or being subject to it. It should be a conversation not a tick box exercise. The other thing senior people talk about in the coaching room is talent management the 9 box grid ‘which box are you in’ how can you do this if your managers have never had a conversation with you. We should know ourselves well enough. We need to get people to open up and share what they really want; write a book, go on an adventure safari – our job in HR is to connect people and understand their dreams they bring their whole self in to work. We need to bring managers and their teams together and connect them in conversations to understand what people want and engage them in their work.

We are all different – if we are going to understand peoples dreams in HR we understand how people are different the obvious; gender, age, race, disability, but there is a lot more to humans than just that. Our socio up-bringing is all different and this makes us unique. Some people are lucky they have people to talk to at work, but some do not. We need to be aware that it might not be safe to share what we want people are worried if they share their dreams and that the organisation may not want to hear what they want. We need to create time for people to have conversations….

Drivers – what are our drivers for us personally? A love of learning? But what stops us or gets in the way – maybe it is a formal qualification, such as the CIPD? We often balance our learning with full time work, we never stop learning even things outside work? Making a difference to people’s lives is often a key part of our role in HR and the difference we can make through support, mentoring others so the receivers of our services our treated respectfully is important.

What goes on in your head – imagine in a year’s time you were living a completely perfect life what would you be doing in the evening, who would you be with where would you live? Leave your selfish thinking and focus on what you would be doing. Until you start being able to visualise it and put life into it we do not always know what we want because we are running so fast thinking about outcomes. What 3 things am I putting up with right now? My boss, neighbours, awful commute, my partner or it might be you, are we getting in our own way? Finances if only I could it might be about the money, but there is lots we can do without money? Last visualisation – find a quiet chair shut your eyes and visualise that you are going to an appointment with yourself at 80 years of age, see where you live ring the bell sit down together and observe everything about 80 year old you and the 80 year old you has some advice what advice will you give yourself??

How we experience the world – loads of tools out there that can help us, MBTi etc useful but nothing more than that. It is useful to figure out the environments we work well in and when we feel stressed what is driving this in us? What is it we do that leaves us feeling fabulous and what is it we do that exhausts us?

How many hats are we wearing – we all have so many write them down you may be amazed how many hats we wear. What stage in our life are we at? Sometimes in HR we introduce one size fits all in terms of policies, but this does not always work. People want different things in work and life, how much do we ask people and take this into consideration, there are many things we don’t talk about such as mental health for example. Yet we bring all of this stuff to work.


The good the bad the ugly – we need to understand what we do when things go wrong and we get really stressed, what are our reactions? Everyone may react differently, and it is good to explore some of these things in ourselves. The recipe for productivity ‘HR can’t do it all so think about some of the interventions you can use; cultivating mentors, coaching, sponsors, friend at work, networking, time to think, access to tools and access to learning can all be useful.

Our job in HR is to create the environment to make it happen!