What the Chief People Officer role means to me
First published on LinkedIn.
I recently took on the role of Chief People Officer in a company where In Business for People is our core value. Just as we build software to help our customers enable their people, I’m fully focused on making our people’s experience at work a great one. Most importantly, I want to promote a culture of freedom and responsibility, where everyone feels empowered, motivated and valued.
I realize that I’m in a unique position where I can make a significant impact on the lives of our people. Not only because it’s my job but also because an organization cannot thrive unless everyone pulls together and believes in our purpose, why we do what we do.
As with many people, the biggest influence on my life has been my children. Two daughters aged 15 and 11. Even at such a young age, I see the everyday pressures on them to just get things done – homework, numerous extracurricular activities, keeping up with their friends. Life today happens so fast. We spend so much time doing what we’re supposed to do that there is little time for doing what makes us happy, fulfilled and carefree. Everyone needs a sense of purpose. Living purposefully to me means combining what makes you happy, what you’re naturally good at with things that challenge you and activities you can get lost in for hours.
Most importantly, I teach my girls to always be the best version of themselves, excel at being who they are and to be confident. While I’m privileged to be a mum, I’m also in a privileged position in my role as Chief People Officer. I get to have frequent conversations with people facing difficult experiences at work and in life. I can exchange stories with them, and we can share perspectives and solutions. All this perspective helps me in the development of experiences and initiatives that impact everyone working at Unit4.
My role, and that of my team is to enable people to be the most successful version of themselves. We take ownership to improve their experience through hiring great new colleagues, delivering talent programs, personal development initiatives, recognition and rewards, and other experiences which together create an extraordinary environment to work in.
· We recently introduced a new work/life balance policy to instill a culture of freedom and responsibility.
· In addition, the health and wellbeing of our people is also key, whether its exercise, taking time off, team building events or simply having fun. Our Unit4 Moves initiative is a great example of how that spirit is encouraged.
· Caring for our own and looking after each other is a mindset deeply embedded in our DNA. Through the Unit4 Cares Foundation we’ve established a program that supports our people, their spouses, partners and children when faced with serious illness. We recognize extraordinary caregivers, support those overwhelmed by medical expenses, and help create unforgettable memories for families affected by terminal illness in their time of need.
As a busy mum who’s very passionate about work, life can be a daunting balancing act. As a society, it’s important that we talk and think about how we can support one another, and it’s important we have the time and opportunity to cherish life’s special moments.
A poignant quote for me comes from Oprah Winfrey: “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”– Oprah Winfrey
This challenges what we accept as the norm. It’s easy to envy others, but if we focus on the positive things in our lives, and the difference we make to those around us, we can achieve a completely different outlook and a fulfilling sense of purpose. Most of all, everyone needs something to be passionate about. We must prioritize in life, and while work may take a large proportion of our time and mental energy, health and family should always come first.