Bringing the ‘Human’ back to Human Resources.

Kayleigh Wang

"HR only cares about protecting the business..." How many people have heard that narrative before? *raises hand* ✋

Old-school HR has often been seen as focused solely on the interests of the business, neglecting employee needs. But there is hope! By embracing employee experience (EX), we can reshape the way we do HR, rebuild our brand, and foster trust to ultimately, achieve better outcomes. Old School HR Oooh boy…I've had my fair share of not-so-great HR experiences too. It's frustrating when HR has often been seen as just a bureaucratic machine. And you know what's worse? This perception only erodes trust and widens the gap between HR and the workforce.

So, the million-dollar question is … How do we prove them wrong? 

Building Trust through Employee Experience. At one point in my career, I found myself working with an HR team that had a pretty poor reputation (this isn’t for lack of talent, but more perception). Fortunately for me, I had an opportunity to bring an EX (Employee Experience) lens into my work with the optimism that it could change the way our people perceive HR. So I went out and talked with our people.How did I engage and ask questions during times of low trust and morale? Well, it wasn't always easy, but I found a way to make those conversations meaningful and impactful.

So, here's my advice for you, and remember, you've got your own unique style, but the key is to be genuine and empathetic. First things first, leave the defenses at the door. It's tempting to justify past actions or get defensive but resist that urge. Instead, challenge yourself to simply listen. Asking follow-up questions is a great way to show that you genuinely care about the other person's perspective. Dig deeper into their experiences and emotions. And don't hesitate to express genuine regret if you hear about a negative experience. Saying something as simple as, "I'm sorry that was your experience" can be incredibly powerful. And don’t forget (what I think is the most important step) to share back what you heard. This step is crucial because it demonstrates that you were truly listening and that you value their feedback. It shows that you genuinely want to make things better.

Now, let me tell you, when you approach these conversations with sincerity, the results can be truly amazing. I've experienced it firsthand. Engagement levels went up, and our reputation started to improve. It's like magic, but it's really just the power of meaningful employee experience conversations in action. So if you’re tired of hearing how s#*@ HR is…give EX a go. Don't settle for the perception that HR is ineffective. By actively listening, engaging, and caring about employee experiences, we can renew our reputation and transform how people view us. And who doesn’t want that?!

If you’re still unsure of the impact of bringing humanity to work…let the wisdom of Anti-CEO Hamdi Ulukaya change your mind.

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Kayleigh Wang

Kayleigh Wang

Organisational Lead, The Co-operative Bank. Excellent EX Certified Designer Kayleigh was born in Toronto but raised in Michigan where she developed a love for deep-fried pickles, ranch dressing and summers on the lake. Five years ago, she packed her bags to Wellington where soon after, she discovered the wonderful world of Organisational Development. Since then, she's supported a range of organizations leading work on leadership, diversity and inclusion, wellbeing, engagement and culture. Outside of work, Kayleigh loves to travel (15 countries so far) and embrace new experiences, whether it's snowboarding or exploring new foods and restaurants. She also can't resist a good reality TV binge. Kayleigh currently lives in Wellington with her partner. She's always up for a chat and loves connecting with others so, don't hesitate to say hi.


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