82 episodes

“Oven-Ready HR is the podcast trying to fix the world of work to make it happier, healthier and more rewarding and purposeful for all. Whatever your job, work is more than just a pay packet. I'm Chris Taylor your host and join me as I talk to some of the world's top workplace experts and hear how with a little effort, work could be so much better.”

Oven-Ready HR Chris Taylor

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

“Oven-Ready HR is the podcast trying to fix the world of work to make it happier, healthier and more rewarding and purposeful for all. Whatever your job, work is more than just a pay packet. I'm Chris Taylor your host and join me as I talk to some of the world's top workplace experts and hear how with a little effort, work could be so much better.”

    2022 The HR Year In Review

    2022 The HR Year In Review

    We’ve reached the end of Season 6 and we’ve almost reached the end of the year! 
    Rob Moss, the Editor of Personnel Today returns to give his HR review of the year.  Among other topics, we talk about quiet quitting, industrial action, working from home and the 4 day working week.

    What have been the big HR stories this year? [02:07]
    Political upheaval in the UK during 2022 has in Rob's opinion made for a quiet year for the HR sector with a very few developments in the world of work.

    Is Quiet Quitting the HR term of the year? [04:22]
    Rob isn't keen on the term and explains that people not working hard has always been an issue and is essentially a by-product of poor employee engagement.

    How important is the cost of living crisis for HR? [07:40]
    Rob considers the cost of living crisis of huge importance to HR and is intertwined with the current amount of industrial action in the UK where pay has become the major issue.

    Are we approaching a 'General Strike' in the UK? [10:42]
    Rob considers recent UK Government to restrict certain sectors of having the ability to withdraw their labour could indeed encourage Trade Unions to more closely co-ordinate their individual actions resulting in a general strike in the UK public sector.

    Is there anything left to be said about hybrid / working from home? [15:36]
    Rob agrees that the hybrid / working from home debate is largely focused on organisations in London and the South East of the country. Rob also considers the lack of available talent in the UK as a driver for employees to demand more flexible working practices. Rob though cautions that there may well be long-term consequences for workers being based remotely particularly around learning and career development for new employees.

    Cancelled Christmas parties a relief for HR? [24:46]
    Despite the fact that that industrial action by UK train drivers has led to the cancellation of some company Christmas parties, we joke that this might come as welcome relief to the HR community given what historically work's Christmas parties famous for!

    What does Rob hope for the world of HR in 2023? [25:24]
    Rob hopes that the lack of available talent in the UK will see fewer redundancies being made than is normal during a recession and that HR professionals will be looking at re-skilling or up-skilling workers instead of letting people go.


    • 27 min
    Is your organisation 'Irresistible'?

    Is your organisation 'Irresistible'?

    My guest this week puts forward the key principle that employers have a moral obligation to ensure that employees look forward to coming to work. This principle amongst others, is a key tenet of unleashing the power of the human spirit to enable organisations to really prosper in the 21st century.
     Josh Bersin is one of the world’s leading authorities on human resources, talent, leadership and HR technology. During the last 25 years Josh has worked with hundreds of organisations and this experience has led him to publish his new inspirational book Irresistible a book that neatly distills 7 practical yet profound management principles to enable business leaders to create  enduring companies that thrive with improved customer satisfaction, employee retention, and business agility.
    Josh peppers this interview with numerous real-life examples of organisations who have the secret sauce or irresistability and of course those who’ve rather lost their way.

    Why are we all so miserable? [2:49]
    Despite all of the billions spent on employee wellbeing, I ask Josh why workers are so miserable. He responds citing that many management and HR practices are still rooted in the industrial age and the world of working is constantly changing citing the pandemic in particular as a major change event.

    What are the characteristics of a successful organisation? [5:21]
    Joish cites Ikea as an example of organisation who have developed a democratic process whereby individual stores get to have their say on decisions that are made at a corporate level.  He admits this can slow decision making but the decision reached has buy-in from across the business.

    How easy is it to change a company culture? [11:38]
    Josh cites the example of an established company who had rather lost its way and the steps they took to establish a new cultural manifesto that both honoured the past but identified and removed issues that were getting in the way of progress.

    How can organisations become irresistible to potential employees? [19:11]
    Josh reveals that the labour market is changing so fast that job descriptions are usually irrelevant within a month of a new employee joining. He recommends that organisations constantly review the actual work that needs to be done and re-engineer if required to accommodate changes such as automation.

    Irresistible HR? [26:26]
    Josh ask HR professionals to consider their own organisations in terms of the 7 management principles he outlines and 150+ real-life examples. He cautions against trying to copy other organisations but instead use the 7 principles he's identified as a guidebook and framework for change.



    • 33 min
    Unpacking Quiet Quitting

    Unpacking Quiet Quitting

    Is 'Quiet Quitting' just a tik tok phenomenon or is it genuinely a coping mechanism for employees to protect themselves from the pressure of work?
    This week’s guest argues that Quiet Quitting is a way for workers to moderate how much cognitively and emotionally they are giving to their working lives in order to remain healthy at work.
     Dr Maria Kordowicz FRSA is a Chartered Psychologist, Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour and Director of the Centre for Interprofessional Education and Learning at the University of Nottingham.
     Dr Maria argues that the pandemic triggered a highly anxious state for many of us by putting us face to face with our own mortality and inevitably leading to us question what in life is most important to us.
    This is a fascinating and thought provoking interview that really unpacks our relationship with work.

    Is Quiet Quitting just a Tik Tok phenomenon? [01:27]
    Partly argues Dr Maria but since the pandemic many of us have been questioning our relationship with work therefore it's not surprising some individuals have decided to devote more time to other areas of their life.

    Are elements of Quiet Quitting good for the worker? [03:56]
    Yes says Dr Maria.  Quiet Quitting or reevaluating our relationship with work can be a copping mechanism that protects individuals from work becoming too invasive and all consuming.

    The link to a 4 day week? [08:13]
    Despite having her views described as 'snow flakey' in a national newspaper, Dr Maria is in support of initiatives such as the 4 day week as it allows individuals to think differently about  productivity and their contribution to society and not just about income and tax revenues generated.

    Are command and control cultures for the scrapheap? [12:33]
    Yes answers Dr Maria, she evidences this by referring to some research she carried out for the Prison and Probation service where a culture that was much more collaborative and egalitarian and focused on human thriving was much more positive than a command and control structure.

    The relationship between the line manager and the employee explored [16:00]
    Dr Maria points to her work in management and supervision and what sort of style and behaviours employees want their managers to display. Dr Maria reminds us that managers too  can suffer from burnout and therefore can also quietly quit.

    How can HR professionals overcome quiet quitting?
    Dr Maria recommends tending too the building blocks of the relationship and providing employees with the psychological safety to have an open dialogue in order to re-connect.



    • 23 min
    Looking after workers mental health should be mandatory

    Looking after workers mental health should be mandatory

    Workplace wellbeing continues to be a key theme for Oven-Ready.  Increasingly HR practitioners are devoting more of their time tackling a range of complex issues such as mental health provision for employee burnout and additional financial support for workers in financial stress.
    Recent research findings from financial services giant Legal and General’s Group Protection business has revealed some stark results. The majority of UK workers surveyed believe that workplace mental health support should be mandatory, a worrying and distinct disparity between what employers and workers think are the key wellbeing priorities and unsurprisingly perhaps how financial stress is the top issue for workers right now. 
    Joining me to discuss the Wellbeing at Work Barometer research is Jo Elphick the Marketing Director for Legal & General Group Protection and Mike Tyler, the Chairman and co-founder of Fruitful Insights who are experts in helping organisations design, execute and measure wellbeing programmes.

    Employee benefit programmes are complex and often misunderstood [04:44]
    Jo agrees and acknowledges that many organisations rate the effectiveness of their benefit and wellbeing provision, and the communication that surrounds it more highly than their workers do.  Jo gives the example around financial wellbeing whereby 86% of employers feel they are doing a good job, whereas only 48% of employees agree.

    Visibility of mental health programmes are key for younger workers  [06:50]
    Jo revealed that workers in the 18 - 25 category were far more concerned about visibility of mental health provision than older workers who were much more concerned about their 'relevance' in  an ever changing work landscape.

    How critical is it that the leadership commit to mental health provision [09:14]
    Mike argues that it's essential that leadership commit to mental health provision beyond that of just an app. He points to the fact where organisations have a culture of long hours or having a boss who sends emails late in the evening that require a response as situations than an app will not solve. Jo agrees with Mike's analysis and at [10:53] comments on the role of the line manager in overall wellbeing provision.

    Are Chief Wellness Officers joining the c-suite? [11:51]
    Mike agrees there is a trend in such a role being created but he says it takes more than a badge or title and references instead the Dame Carol Black report back in 2008 that recommended that organisations report on the health and wellbeing of employers in their annual reports.

    Wellbeing and hybrid working [17:43]
    Jo reveals that the research did look at hybrid and remote working and that the majority of workers who are able to have flexibility in their schedule were positive. Jo also reminds us thought that flexible working for most employees is not possible given the type of work they do.

    How do you measure the success of wellbeing programmes? [23:06]
    Mike argues that many organisations use the narrow spectrum of reduced absenteeism as a measure of success.  This he argues isn't always a reliable measure as it's difficult to establish absenteeism when many employees are working from home and if you reduce absenteeism you might just be filling up the office with non-productive workers.


    • 31 min
    Can HR stop banging on about working from home?

    Can HR stop banging on about working from home?

    Every Season on Oven-Ready I like to devote an episode that critiques HR.  Think of it as kicking the tyres, looking under the bonnet and occasionally applying the hand break when we look to be driving in the wrong direction.
    Neil Morrison is the Director of HR for FTSE100 water company, Severn Trent plc, where he is responsible for the HR function as well as the internal and external communications and marketing teams.
    Considered one of the UK’s most influential HR leaders, Neil often delivers withering and scathing assessments of the professions obsession with self-serving and inward-looking debates such as working from home whilst seemingly ignoring the big issues such as maintaining employment, treating employees well and contributing to building successful organisations.

    Is HR fiddling whilst Rome burns? [08:20]
    I ask Neil if HR continues to focus on unimportant tasks whilst ignoring the big ticket items and he gives an unequivocal yes!  He said HR is obsessed with how many days people are working from home and gives a withering assessment of many HR practitioners current focus.

    Is HR right to bemoan a lack of c-suite influence? [11:16]
    Neil has no sympathy for HR practitioners who moan about not being at the top table.  It is HR's continued focus on process and not strategy that is often the root cause of this.

    Lancing the working from home boil [14:28]
    Working from home is largely irrelevant for vast swathes of the workforce as they are unable to perform their roles remotely. Neil believes the debate is largely centred on London and the South East of the UK and should not in his opinion be taken as the definitive answer on the future of work.

    Is HR too process driven? [19:26]
    Neil argues the starting point is to decide why the policy is needed in the first place. If it's there to help the employee understand how the business runs and how they the employee can be successful then its useful, otherwise you just end up creating constraints on people's common sense.

    How can HR be more loved by the organisation [21:44]
    Neil argues it's all about the mindset of HR and despite what the process might say, does this feel fair to the employee?  HR professionals have to have empathy otherwise we fall in to the 'computer says no' mentality.


    • 29 min
    A Work In Progress - Unlocking wellbeing with Gethin Nadin

    A Work In Progress - Unlocking wellbeing with Gethin Nadin

    In this episode I welcome back multi-award winning psychologist and bestselling author Gethin Nadin widely considered as one of the worlds leading employee experience influencers.
     Gethin has just published his new book titled A Work In Progress written in the long shadow of the pandemic and partly as an andidote to the hundreds of thousands of off-the-self wellbeing apps and services that organisations buy and the majority of which offer no discernible benefit to workers.
    A Work In Progress meticulously draws upon some 500 research papers and studies neatly bringing us back to the evidence based  fundamentals of wellbeing.  His book. I predict, will become an invaluable resource for organisations withing to understand and improve employee wellbeing.

    What's the underlying message from a A Work In Progress? [03:31]
    Wellbeing has become highly commoditised and has moved away from the fundamentals such as how organisations are structured and managers trained. Nadin wanted instead to concentrate on what employers can do in terms of wellbeing as opposed what to what can be purchased off-the shelf.

    Is there a definition of wellbeing? [05:00]
    Nadin reveals there isn't a universally agreed definition of wellbeing let alone workplace wellbeing. For him, it's about trying to achieve a balance between say between work pressures, family pressures and money pressures and giving individuals the resource to help manage the inevitable ups and downs life brings.

    How is job purpose and wellbeing at work linked? [08:20]
    Linked inextricably to wellbeing at work is the concept of job purpose. Nadin points out that the wellbeing market ignores the importance of purpose and community.

    Quiet quitting a genuine phenomenon? [13:24]
    A rejection of the hustle culture and my job is my life is perfectly understandable says Nadin and people should not feel shame for not wanting to work extra hours.

    I wish I could write a prescription for a better boss [17:00]
    Nadin says managers get bashed a lot and often unfairly as they tend to be appointed for their technical abilities rather than their coaching or leadership style.  Nadin outlines a different team structure with managers on the same level as other team members which he feels could work better - Managers as a Maitre D.

    The cost of living crisis and employee wellbeing [25:05]
    Nadin argues that employers will really need to get their heads around how to support employees with financial wellbeing concerns. At [26:54] Nadin expands further with financial wellbeing often seen as the most 'hidden' of the wellbeing pillars  and how it often affects those most on the margins of society.

    How should HR professionals use A Work in Progress? [34:14]
    Nadin hopes that his new book will appeal to HR and non HR people alike.  he has written it in a way that it's accessible to anyone who has an interest in workplace wellbeing and for budgets of all sizes.



    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Jimlefevre ,

Really enjoyable

I absolutely love finding a podcast that’s nothing to do with my world to listen to exceedingly interesting topics tackled by eloquent and thoughtful people in their field and this is exactly that.

Each episode opens up totally new areas to listen to (really loved the Timpson’s episode and the next one I listened to was about nuclear developments - perfect!) and shows you how interesting topics are from the point of view of HR.

Also love the presenter. He obviously loves what he does and it shows in his choices and his questions.


Feebsmil ,

Interesting and informative

I am enjoying these podcasts even though I am not an HR professional. These are a great listen for anyone in the workplace wanting to understand more about the purpose of HR and the importance of a positive business culture.

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