Starting the conversation…

How do we build high business performance?

Host: Jessica Dewell
Panelists: Mark Carruthers, Therese Van Es

What You Will Hear:

Criticism around HR makes sense – it’s functions are many, and people usually think of just one of the areas.

Growth strategy or transactional? HR is both.

Best prepare employees for personal development, on-boarding, and growth.

The company culture is what it is and the HR can’t change it their own.

Traditional growth paths for adding HR into a business … we need a new standard.

Change agents can come from the inside out.

The role of HR is sometimes not played by the right department.

Working managers and employee development.

Cross training yet keep your specialty area.

Dissenters can spark change.

HR’s agency is always to the company, even when it seems like it’s not.

It’s BOLD to set modern expectations for HR.

Notable and Quotable: 


Therese Van Es 3:02
A lot of the old school HR professional people went to school and they’re personnel. So now they’re in these organizations and they want a seat at the table as they push the transactional HR through. They’re doing performance evaluations. They’re doing compensation and they’re doing training and they’re doing health and safety, but they want a seat at the table. Well, that’s not how you get a seat at the table.

Therese Van Es 7:04
In the large organizations where you can have an HR person, HR should not be the police. Absolutely not. HR’s role is to come out and discuss with the leaders of the organization how they can better prepare their employees to be strong players, rather than have HR police them.

Therese Van Es 9:50
We really need to set these things up right from the beginning, which is why if you have any designs or if any organization has any designs for growth or advancement, they really need to bring in a consultant right at the get go.

Therese Van Es 14:01
Accountants are specialized with numbers. The new HR person, who specialize with people. That doesn’t mean we’re all soft and fuzzy. We’re still business people who are actually identifying with and creating a positive impact on the bottom line. End of their story. That’s what we do.

Mark Carruthers 15:13
Change agents can be either from the internal sources who know the business very well, or they can be a fresh set of eyes from the outside to have an objective third party view. And not just at the symptoms, because too often people who are involved in the business are simply looking at the symptoms rather than root of the problem.

Mark Carruthers 15:39
Your statistics will tell you that 70% right now of people in the US say they are unhappy in their workplace. And how do we change that? Thing is, that the people within the corporations aren’t necessarily going to want to look in the mirror and say, yeah, I’m the cause. Whereas somebody else will come in with a fresh set of eyes, and their objective is to be a catalyst for changes. But they’ve got to look past the symptoms and look at really what the root of the problem is, and see if we can change it from the beginning.


Mark Carruthers 16:58
That’s probably the toughest role is to get people to buy in, and that’s what a change agent needs to do, is not just organized what’s going to happen or what should happen, but to get people to buy in. That’s probably the toughest role, after determining what the issues are.

Mark Carruthers 20:35
Management in most cases, needs to learn how to do some HR functions, but HR has to learn and understand the business side of it and not just the people and how getting people to work will create a bottom line and understand the financial aspect of it. So it’s a case of improving both HR and management by knowing a little more about the other and doing some training.

Mark Carruthers 24:27
Managers need better soft skills, and some HR people do too.

Jess Dewell 24:56
The phrase that I hear is “working manager.” I’ve got my own full time, roles and responsibilities. And by the way, I have 10 people reporting to me. And unfortunately the 10 people reporting get prioritized at the bottom because it’s the least easy to measure the results of our time and energy spent there.

Therese Van Es 25:59
We’re streamlining process. Today’s business environment says we have to do more with less. So let’s give the managers 10 people to manage. Plus do your own job. And this is the organizations that I’ve been in. The ones that are really doing well and moving forward, well, actually give managers time to manage.

Therese Van Es 26:21
If you’re a manager of a department of more than five people, you need 50% of your time to break it apart. Otherwise, you’re managing [air quotes] 10 employees, and then your employees become disgruntled and you don’t have time for them. And then they say the company is not fair with them and their managers don’t love them and the culture around here is terrible.

Therese Van Es 27:00
We are people. We’re all people. Whether you’re the call center person on the floor, or whether you’re the CEO, we’re all people. We all want to be treated with dignity and respect. That shouldn’t be that difficult. But that doesn’t have anything to do with HR. That has to do with being people.

Mark Carruthers 27:42
Being human and treating people with respect and dignity and empathy will cross all the generations and be well received by any of them.

Therese Van Es 28:43
We’re all tiptoeing around the millennials, but let’s just be nice, like we are to each other. Let’s talk with them. Let’s find out what they want. Just like what the boomers want, just like what the new Gen Xers want, let’s figure it out. But what they want is fundamentally the same. We want respect we want to be heard.


Therese Van Es 31:27
If you’ve got one vocal dissenter, there are others who just aren’t vocal. And oftentimes it sparks change that is positive. It depends on how the dissenter, he or she presents themselves.

Therese Van Es 31:49
If we’ve got a dissenter who comes forward and says, you know I really do not agree with ABC and D and these are the reasons why and maybe we can change them by doing this, that’s all well and fine. But if you’ve gone in the organization who will not come forward, and spreads their web out to just the people around them and they all start to chat among themselves, then we have a real problem.

Mark Carruthers 32:15
There are constructive dissenters and there are toxic dissenters. If they are coming forward in identifying issues and problems and solutions, as opposed to just complaining all the time and creating issues with your coworkers and hurting morale otherwise, and perhaps extending it to the clients and customers that you have, that you’ve got to do something about.

Therese Van Es 34:40
The reality is that there are very few people who look inside themselves and say, Okay, if I’m in this mess, why am I in this mess? Is there something I can do to get out? Most of the time, unfortunately, people are shouting and throwing blame.

Therese Van Es 36:15
Unless Mr. owner or Mr. CEO changes how they behave outwardly, a culture will not change.

Therese Van Es 43:33
In any organization, the CEO is no more important than the call center person. And you know what? Without the call center person, the CEO doesn’t have a job. But without the CEO, the call center person doesn’t have a job either. It goes both ways.

Therese Van Es 43:52
We end up at different places on the pay scale, on the hierarchical ladder, because of our experience and because of our education and because of the choices we make. Doesn’t make us more or less important. It just makes us different, which is what we need to make a company work.


growth strategy, engagement, standards, HR, human resources, capability, emotional intelligence

For serious growth, how do we effectively move the needle on the way people function in the business?

Criticism. Fear. Lack of clarity … all are attributes associated with Human Resources (HR). In smaller organizations, there is an inconsistency in the role of HR and how the department can help with company growth. Jess Dewell speaks with Mark Carruthers, Change Agent, and Therese Van Es, HR Professional, to explore what to do when your HR team is caught in the middle.

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