Interview with NICK HENLEY: ”9 to 5 is already dead in most workplaces. Companies that don’t move with that won’t stand a chance”

Nick Henley is Talent Development Consultant. He created and implemented the talent development strategy for c.1,700 professionals across AOL International – territories include Europe, APAC, North and South America. He also created and delivered core leadership development programmes including Leading Self, Leading Collaboration, Leading Engagement, Team Development Cafe, Change Management Slam, Career Forward, Personality Factor and Innovation Cafe among others.

Nick worked with Country and Vertical Directors to help their Business Units navigate the ambiguity and change AOL is going through, including Verizon and Microsoft Digital Media Services acquisitions and integrations. Worked with HRBPs to meet current business challenges

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did your relationship with HR begin?

Nick: By accident! I had my own Talent Consulting business in Asia and as a result got involved with HR that way. Then, returning to the UK, I worked within HR and continue to consult in the field.

What are the HR trends that you think will define the new decade?

Nick: I think HR’s obsession with trends will be what continues, but smart companies will start to experiment and abandon the whole herd-following exercise which is what this really is.

The younger generations are more and more interested in workplace flexibility. What do you think it will happen to the 9 to 5 work schedule in the next 5 years?

Nick: 9 to 5 is already dead in most workplaces. Companies that don’t move with that won’t stand a chance.

How the leaders of tomorrow should look? What is your advice for them?

Nick: There is a dearth of quality leadership in middle management in the UK and Europe. The problem is not the people, it’s the system. My advice to them is to lead by ignoring traditional and proven-to-fail systems such as competencies and performance management, and learn and apply your own management craft.

Do you have any final thoughts on the future of HR?

Nick: Yes. It must stop the twaddle-talking and be more sincere. HR keeps complaining if it’s not given a seat at the top table yet very few HR professionals are able to demonstrate any value that they add, over and above ‘doing their jobs’. Using big words only creates an illusion of value.


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