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Unpacking Camp 15Five: 8 Key Takeaways to Remember

Leah Bury

On August 17th, 2023 HR professionals and 15Five users from various corners of the industry came together for Camp 15Five, a virtual event created to equip HR leaders with the tools and insights they need to drive impact. The day consisted of a strategic lineup of expert-led sessions on topics ranging from maximizing the ROI of HR, to igniting DEI with collective wisdom, to making space for rest and recovery. It was a treat to gather around the virtual campfire with HR leaders from around the world to connect, learn and grow together.

But if you missed the event, don’t fret! Read on for 8 key takeaways from the first-ever Camp 15Five.

1. Shift to outcome-driven strategies.

As Dr. Jeff Smith, SVP of Product at 15Five, shared, the role of HR leaders has transformed from focusing solely on outputs to championing outcomes that drive business success. 

The HR and People Ops functions that are able to create outcomes that translate to business results are the ones that will be taken more seriously, and be more likely to get approval on mission-critical HR initiatives that will drive business impact. This positive cycle will solidify HR and People Ops’ place at the executive table and amplify their impact, creating a win-win for the organization as a whole.

15Five recently launched the HR Outcomes Dashboard, a powerful tool designed to provide the necessary visibility to pivot from a focus on mere outputs to strategic outcomes. As Dr. Jeff Smith says, “The HR Outcomes Dashboard bridges the gap between HR efforts and measurable business impact, enhancing the strategic value of HR within the organization.” Learn more about the HR Outcomes Dashboard.

2. Embrace servant leadership.

In his session, David Pearson, SVP at Extensis HR, emphasized that there is a need for servant leadership, where leaders put the needs of their team members first. This involves actively listening to employees and understanding their challenges. Leaders should listen to understand, rather than solely to fix issues. 

Listening first also allows leaders to empower employees to take risks while maintaining supportive environment. As David says, “I am a firm believer of pushing and then holding on to the shirt before somebody falls off the cliff. So you push and then you’ll hold. You’ll push and then you’ll hold because that’s that supportive part of it. A business will not continue to progress forward if you don’t have somebody saying, okay, everybody let’s go.”

3. Embrace change for innovation.

David Pearson also advised leaders to embrace change and evolution, even if it means letting go of longstanding practices that no longer contribute to success. 

Leaders should communicate a clear vision for the future and show appreciation for past efforts while guiding teams toward new approaches and strategies that align with current goals. This includes articulating the rationale behind shifts in strategy, to help team members comprehend the purpose and benefits of new approaches. Such transparent communication not only minimizes resistance but also fosters a sense of inclusivity and collaboration among team members, and leads to more innovation, growth, and adaptability.

4. Proactively demonstrate HR’s value to secure that coveted seat at the executive table.

To secure a seat at the executive table during strategic planning, HR professionals must proactively demonstrate their value. This involves linking HR initiatives to measurable business outcomes and aligning with the organization’s mission and vision. 

A critical factor in building convincing ROI cases is collecting tangible data. Reliable benchmarks, calibration sessions, and targeted metrics play a pivotal role in demonstrating the effectiveness of HR interventions to executive stakeholders.

The speakers also stressed the significance of effectively translating data into narratives that resonate with executive teams. The ability to convey how HR initiatives contribute to overall organizational goals and financial outcomes enhances the likelihood of securing funding and support for HR projects.

5. Adopt a long-term perspective in ROI analysis.

ROI analysis in HR requires a long-term perspective, as meaningful improvements in engagement, retention, and performance often take time to materialize. This underscores the need for patience and the understanding that the return on investment might not be immediate, but rather a gradual process that yields substantial benefits over time.

Implementing new HRIS systems or cultural shifts often incur seemingly large initial costs due to employee training and transitional efforts. Building ROI cases that highlight the long-term gains in efficiency, engagement, and employee satisfaction will go a long way in addressing concerns about the upfront costs.

6. Promote inclusivity in remote teams.

In today’s interconnected world, the concept of a traditional office workspace has expanded beyond physical boundaries. While this presents numerous advantages, such as access to diverse talent pools and increased flexibility, it also brings forth challenges in maintaining effective communication, collaboration, and fostering a sense of belonging among team members.

Inclusive practices can and should be ingrained in every aspect of team interaction, from communication platforms to meeting structures. For example, using tools like Zoom’s direct messaging to encourage participation from those who may not be vocal during group discussions due to a range of factors including language barriers, cultural differences, or simply personality traits. By providing an alternate channel for participation, team members have the opportunity to express their thoughts at their own pace and in a format that aligns with their communication style. This approach not only amplifies the voices of those who are more reserved but also cultivates an environment where diversity of thought is celebrated.

7. Harness collective wisdom.

This idea of collective wisdom comes from the truth that nobody knows everything — it’s simply impossible. As Lilach Shafir, Manager of Performance Coaching at 15Five, stated, “Each of us knows only one thin slice of the pie. Only one slice of the pie is actually knowable. And even bigger than that is what we know we don’t know. But even bigger than that is the knowledge that is beyond our comprehension or occurred ability.”

The beauty of this collective wisdom is that nobody has to know everything. Rather, each of us can take steps to bring forth this collective wisdom and harness it. Meetings are a great opportunity to do this – but what does it look like to harness collective wisdom in meetings?

Some tips offered by Lilach include creating psychological safety and inviting disagreement by asking questions like “What are we missing?” and “What challenges do you see?” 

Creating an environment where diverse viewpoints are embraced and individuals feel at ease expressing dissent and original ideas holds immense value. Openly welcoming differing opinions and setting forth clear guidelines for respectful communication creates space for constructive dialogues to emerge, ultimately yielding improved decision-making and more innovative solutions.

8. Prioritize rest and recovery.

Rest and recovery are integral to maintaining resilience and well-being in both personal and professional contexts. It is extra essential when doing work that you are passionate about, and work that challenges you.

But resilience is a practice. It is an ongoing effort, and it’s a skill. Building in intentional practices, such as breaks, creative outlets, and relational connection, is essential for cultivating resilience preventing burnout and sustaining productivity. It is also crucial to recognize that recovery is not just the absence of work; it’s an active process that replenishes energy and supports adaptation.

Understand that while taking time away from work is a major component of rest and recovery, prioritizing recovery can also extend to how you structure your workday. This can include building buffer times into your schedule to allow for biological needs, mental reset, and physical movement, fostering a culture of well-being.

Watch the recordings

Still hungry for more after reading these key takeways? You can watch the recording of each session from Camp 15Five here.