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Talent & Growth presented by The Animo Group

The HR Game Changer: Innovative Tactics for People Empowerment

Tue Jul 04 2023
feedbackHR functiondiversityinclusionAIengineering


The episode covers delivering and receiving feedback, building an HR function, and applying engineering concepts to HR. It emphasizes the importance of feedback, trust-building, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and the potential impact of AI on HR practices. The speaker shares insights from teaching, learning from other functions, and the Netflix approach to feedback. They also discuss creating inclusive spaces, understanding customer preferences, and using engineering concepts like debt and language in HR. The episode concludes with a focus on employee lifetime value, sales teams' role in recruiting, and the potential of AI in HR.


Feedback is essential

The episode highlights the importance of delivering and receiving feedback, viewing it as a gift, and creating a safe environment for feedback.

Building trust in HR

Trust-building is crucial for giving direct feedback in a group setting and building an HR function. Cultivating trust, building engagement, and instilling pride are the three pillars of building an HR function.

DEI integration

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) should be integrated into every aspect of an employee's journey, including recruiting, onboarding, and fostering belonging. Understanding people's cultural context and backgrounds is essential in HR work.

Applying engineering concepts

The episode explores applying engineering concepts to HR, such as avoiding HR debt, using engineering language and terminology, and learning from developer experience. It also discusses the potential impact of AI on HR practices and the importance of shifting from reactive to proactive HR practices.


  1. Delivering and Receiving Feedback
  2. Building an HR Function
  3. Applying Engineering Concepts to HR

Delivering and Receiving Feedback

00:02 - 15:40

  • Alicia Henrikas discusses feedback and how to deliver, receive, and create an environment for continuous 360 feedback.
  • Learning from other functions in the business, such as engineering, marketing, and sales.
  • Alicia's background includes teaching and leading in a charter network before transitioning to corporate learning and development roles.
  • Key learnings from teaching include being people-first, considering individualized needs, purpose-driven planning, and viewing feedback as a gift.
  • Receiving feedback is an important skill that is often overlooked in training programs.
  • The speaker emphasizes the value of receiving feedback and how it helped them as an educator.
  • Expecting the unexpected and proactively preparing for potential challenges is crucial in both a classroom setting and building an HR function.
  • Creating a safe environment for feedback requires individuals to reflect on their own preferences and communicate them to others.
  • Acknowledging that giving and receiving feedback can be difficult due to cultural contexts and personal experiences is important.
  • Implementing systems like yellow cards and red cards can help address uncomfortable situations or challenging feedback.
  • The speaker mentions the Netflix approach to feedback, which involves direct and immediate communication.

Building an HR Function

15:11 - 38:35

  • Netflix's approach to feedback is focused on very direct and immediate feedback.
  • The feedback sandwich, which dilutes the message, is not considered effective.
  • Building trust is crucial for giving direct feedback in a group setting.
  • Creating learning loops about trust is important for building an HR function.
  • Direct and specific feedback in real-time is valued at Netflix.
  • Building an HR function involves backward planning and treating it as a business within a business.
  • Cultivating trust, building engagement, and instilling pride are the three pillars of building an HR function.
  • DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) should be integrated into the broader organization for belonging and engagement.
  • DEI becomes a separate department when the organization reaches a certain size with budget allocation.
  • Understanding people's cultural context and backgrounds is essential in HR work.
  • When building inclusive spaces, it's important to consider the context and needs of different individuals
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) should be integrated into every aspect of an employee's journey
  • DEI efforts should focus not only on recruiting practices but also onboarding and fostering belonging
  • Communication should be tailored to meet the needs of diverse groups
  • Explicitly acknowledging cultural differences and promoting inclusivity is crucial in teams
  • Sharing diversity goals and being transparent about progress can help drive improvement
  • Professionals should approach their work as students of their business, getting curious and empathizing with customers
  • Doing write-alongs and experiencing different roles firsthand can enhance understanding and build trust
  • Putting oneself in others' shoes helps gain insights that may go unnoticed otherwise

Applying Engineering Concepts to HR

30:27 - 44:59

  • Working in developer tooling for the first time, focusing on learning about the industry
  • Listening to tech-focused podcasts and following influencers to learn about product growth
  • Applying the concept of debt from engineering to HR, avoiding accruing too much HR debt
  • Using language and terminology from engineering to build understanding and demonstrate interest
  • Learning about developer experience and applying it to provide an incredible teammate experience
  • Drawing parallels between marketing branding and creating excitement around programs
  • Understanding customer preferences and diving into employee lifetime value concept from marketing
  • Exploring sales teams' strategies
  • Employee lifetime value is an important concept in marketing, similar to customer lifetime value.
  • Sales teams play a crucial role in recruiting and require strong product knowledge and sales skills.
  • Bringing the methodical approach of sales teams to all parts of the employee lifecycle is important.
  • AI has the potential to greatly impact HR practices and processes, enabling HR professionals to be more strategic partners.
  • AI can automate administrative tasks, allowing HR professionals to focus on analyzing data and providing insights.
  • Shifting from reactive to proactive HR practices will be necessary with the adoption of AI technology.
  • Automation of administrative tasks will free up time for HR professionals to engage with other functions and grow their skills.
  • Alicia's perspectives on HR and AI are appreciated by the host.