Why people and talent are our greatest investment.
At oOh! our purpose is to create deep engagement between people and brands through Unmissable location based media. Driving the business through inspirational leadership and continuing to invest in our people to ensure they are the best in the business is a key pillar of our business strategy. And it should be no surprise that we want our employees to have a deep engagement with our brand, oOh!
I believe you can gain a great deal of insight into the culture of a business by sitting in their reception area before anyone knows who you are! My first impression of this at oOh!’s offices was “WOW….these guys have got something special happening here”. The way in which people greeted and spoke to each other gave me the impression that they really truly respected and cared for each other, they were “connected”.
Google recently released an article about this secret project they’ve been working on for 5 years, Project Aristotle. They were trying to understand how to build the perfect team and what they realised was that specific personality types, skills or backgrounds didn’t make any difference to the success of the team. What was really important was this notion of ‘psychological safety’ and the underlying behaviours that create ‘psychological safety’, being conversational turn-taking and empathy. They found by encouraging their teams to share their true selves with each other created a connection and united them as a team. The teams now had this bond, and for humans, bonds matter as much at work as anywhere else.
I share this because oOh! has been built on bonds and connections. We started as a family business and have grown into a very successful business because our culture allows our people to be their true selves and to create meaningful connections when they come to work each day. We believe in creating ‘moments’ for our people to be their best self and do their best work. Life is a series of moments that get strung together to create the now. We are teaching our leaders to be mindful leaders, to have conscious conversations with their teams and to really know and understand what makes their teams tick.
HR at oOh!
Over the years I’ve seen a lot of HR strategies, and so many of them have been a laundry list – processes, tools or systems that you run because you feel you should. When I started at oOh! Brendon Cook, our CEO, said that he wanted us to do whatever we needed to do to help him drive and grow an incredibly successful business. With this came the permission to challenge and stretch ourselves as individuals and as a team. Everything we do and all of our initiatives are linked around common principles and elements.
As an example, our leadership development program has an ‘inside-out’ plus ‘outside-in’ approach with a distinctly oOh! flavour to drive an approach of being ‘better’ as people first, leaders second and a business third.
Our focus is on giving our leaders practical and meaningful tools which they can use instantly to build connections with their teams. When people join us, as part of their onboarding process we ask them what their favourite 3pm munchie is so their leader has this waiting on their desk on their first day. We encourage conversations between managers and employees which focus on not only on “what” they need to deliver but also “how” they deliver, and importantly how each employee likes to be recognised and acknowledged, as these are all important elements in knowing each other. We believe these interactions allow people to make connections and that’s what keeps them engaged.
Attracting & retaining talent
At oOh! we want to attract the right talent to our business and there are two sides to this. The first is skill – do candidates actually have the skills to do the job? The second relates to traits, values and behaviours. We look for people that want to take a career journey. It’s about knowing they have a flexible character so we can give them opportunities to grow. For oOh!, innovation is core to our culture. We look for people who are curious, creative and open minded, qualities that we pride ourselves on.
At oOh! we believe HR should be intertwined with and indistinguishable from our business strategy. Our people are both a core part of our strategy and the most critical piece in delivering the strategy. We believe that this kind of holistic thinking is unique but is the best way to make sure everything we do has relevance, impact and longevity.
For us it is not just about being the top OOH and media provider in Australia – but creating a business where talent from all around the world stops, looks at us and says “I want to be a part of that journey”.