People versus Profits: The Path to Both from Hr West 2022

Last month, 700+ HR professionals gathered from around the world to answer one question:

In an era where attracting and retaining top talent is crucial to bottom line success, how do organizations prioritize people AND exceed growth goals?

HR.com invited experts from diverse backgrounds, cultures, industries and roles—from CEOs to educators—to explore how companies can deal with changing workforce requirements and the dominant cultural shifts:

  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging considerations
  • Managing dispersed team environments and maintain productivity
  • Addressing new requirements of leadership
  • Retaining top talent by prioritizing employee experience

We know it wasn’t possible for everyone to be there with us. So we’ve compiled a list of key insights and practical applications shared on the day.

If you have any questions, we invite you to reach out and continue the conversation. There’s nothing we love more than these deep conversations with leaders and CEOs.

Employee Experience Driving Business Growth

  • People want to feel a certain way at work. If they don’t feel it, they leave.
  • Promotions & salary play less of a role in this decision than emotional and psychological factors. The #1 factor is feeling respected, valued & appreciated, #5 factor is compensation.
  • HR is no longer just a functional role for dispute resolution or PTO management. HR leaders are shaping culture and interaction directly across all teams and chains of command.
  • CHROs are now as important to company growth as CEOs. How CEO’s partner with People Leaders on strategy directly impacts employee experience, which in turn, impacts organizational performance. Tune in to our The Business of Being Human: Forging a New Path for CHRO’s with Dee Olomajeye
  • When challenges in people strategy arise, turn to company values and mission. This naturally encourages company culture and helps employees feel secure.
  • Important call to tap into what the people and system can accomplish and what they need to achieve outcomes vs. overlaying strategy, goals and objectives ONTO teams and employees and demanding performance. People want to be consulted in the process to help shape goals so commitment to outcomes is higher. Another point where value and contribution can be harnessed.

Remote Work To Enhance Employee Experience

  • Remote work options are critical to retain/attract top talent in this market.
  • Traditionally, organizations turned to time-tracking software or doubling-down on management to drive business outcomes. In remote environments, it’s about relationships as a way to realize business outcomes. Lead with connection.
  • How do you build a culture when there’s no water cooler for people to gather around? No natural forces to encourage social human interaction that fosters communication and culture? Leaders need to devote time in agendas to establish connection first, then business.
  • Culture building remotely is focused less on transactional conversations (“hey, how are you going with ‘x’?”) and more on relational conversations, (“how did your daughter’s soccer game go?”)
  • Fostering a people-centered culture includes psychological safety. Where teams and employees are safe and welcomed to be who they are. From here, they are more likely to devote disposable energy or go above and beyond.
  • Consider how you use the platforms you do. Are Zoom and Slack optimized for a regenerative experience within your organization? How are you building a connection with the human on the other side of the screen?
  • Companies like Motivosity ease the transition on CHROs and CEOs to boost employee happiness and performance in remote teams.

Managing & Leading Entirely New Teams After Re-Structure

  • Building connections between each team player enables transparency and trust.
  • Offer offline experiences for locally-based teams to help employees get to know each other faster.
  • Build In Person Team Agendas around human relationship building first over business at hand. When relationships are solid, business can happen online. Trend for more companies to use in person time for team building time – most companies are hiring facilitators to create team experiences where both learning and team connection can occur.
  • Create compelling reasons for employees to come into the office: cultural experience, motivational speaker, social mixer, interactive strategy session led by outside facilitators where fun/play create engagement and connection,
  • Positive reinforcement is critical in early stages. When delivered, ensure it’s specific and personal. E.g. Instead of “good job”, try “One thing I most enjoy about you is…”. Instead of “Thanks for your help” try, “We couldn’t have done ‘x’ without you”.
  • The way leaders offer recognition and build relationships seems subtle, but is critical to get right in the early days to shape team culture.
  • Most new teams are only focused on organizational quick wins & order/obey style management, which means most teams aren’t doing recognition yet. The opportunity to win here is enormous.
  • The key takeaway is, doing small things the right way makes all the difference.
  • Opportunity to focus more on WINS, what is going RIGHT, celebrate vs. always focusing on problem solving.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

  • These are all separate considerations within an organization. Not as opportunities for learning and development but achieving business success. 
  • Federal Reserve Bank – SF published a study linking gender and racial inequity to GDP loss of 2.9 Trillion in 2019 and will approach 3 Trillion by 2030.  The economic gains from equity, calculates the US suffered cumulative losses of $70.8 trillion in GDP between 1990 and 2019. Getting this ‘right’ has an economic impact for ALL of us.
  • People of color will be a majority of the American working class in 2032. The impact on companies to create culturally diverse cultures that are welcoming to all backgrounds is mission critical.
  • These aren’t simply cultural shifts, but have real economic impacts at every level – nationally, organizationally, from CEO to front line staff. 
  • The idea that “we don’t talk about politics at work” is now outdated because you can’t ignore the conversations about racial inequality happening on social media. They’re woven into communication channels used in and out of the office. 
  • DEIB isn’t a response to a situation either, it’s a proactive definition of company culture for both economic and individual growth.
  • For mission driven leaders & organizations, DEIB also extends beyond the organization. It impacts how their employees contribute to local communities. 
  • Companies that outlive their founders can thrive on generational workforces. That begins with investment in local communities which are naturally diverse. 
  • Celebrating individual needs is a way to both give back and secure the organization’s future. 


Did any of these insights spark fresh ideas? Will you be the catalyst for change and growth in your organization? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you. 

Or if you’re looking for custom guidance to build an organization your team loves to work in, perform for, and grow into the future, reach out to our Head of Innovation Wendy to see how Intune can assist.