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Leena Nair is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Unilever. Since 1992, when she joined Unilever as a trainee, Leena has had many firsts to her credit. Prior to her current role, she undertook a wide range of HR roles in India  and currently, she is the first female and youngest ever CHRO of Unilever.

Unilever is a Dutch-British transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands and London, United Kingdom. Its products include food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. It is the world's largest consumer goods company and is also the world's largest producer of food spreads, such as margarine. With 170,000 employees, Unilever is one of the oldest multinational companies; its products are available in about 190 countries.

“I can’t talk about being ‘more human’ if I am not living it every minute of the day.” Leena’s commitment to creating a more human experience is embodied in the way she functions each day. She gives 100% of her attention to the people she is meeting with each day – she doesn’t carry a phone to check emails, instead she waits until the evening before handling them.

Leena gives 3 main steps to being human:

  1. Find your purpose in the organization you work
  2. Cultivate a feeling of well-being
  3. Have the capacity to learn and relearn

How do we get leaders on this journey towards being more human?  Most managers are going through the same feelings as employees. They are required to do more, with fewer resources and are left feeling anxious. Encourage them to recognize their feelings and understand these are the same feelings as their employees are dealing with each day. As companies have become more focused on becoming more human, health care costs have been reduced. Productivity has gone up, pride in the company has increased – there are many positive aspects.

Unilever found that people were spending 2 million hours calibrating people, giving people labels and ‘putting them in boxes’.  Leena changed that by getting rid of the labels and boxes and instead asked the managers to spend the 2 million hour having conversations with people. She asked them to invest their time in the people, making HR much simpler.

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to make an HR ‘more human
  • How Unilever is moving away from a vertical progression model
  • Leena’s 3 steps to making decisions
  • How to help people who aren’t comfortable being human at work
  • Things Leena and Unilever as a whole are doing to encourage human qualities at work

Links from the episode:

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/nairleena

Twitter: LeenaNairHR

Direct download: Leena20Nair20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17pm PDT

Dr. John J. McGowan,  is a PhD and he serves as the NIAID Deputy Director for Science Management. In this position, Dr. McGowan provides leadership for scientific, policy, business, and administrative management of the Institute and conducts senior-level interactions with the extramural community, other National Institutes of Health (NIH) components, and the NIH Office of the Director.  

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and public health research. It is comprised of 27 separate institutes and centers of different biomedical disciplines and is responsible for many scientific accomplishments, including the discovery of fluoride to prevent tooth decay, the use of lithium to manage bipolar disorder, and the creation of vaccines against hepatitis, Haemophilus influenzae (HIB), and human papillomavirus (HPV). 

NIH represents a different world than private sector organizations – the public sector. For example, they are required to seek Congressional approval to make changes in their site facilities. Though Congress must approve the budget, they do not necessarily provide the funds for it to be carried out. The most recent building overall took a total of 8 years. 

Beyond the need for budget approval, the government also controls the salaries of the employees at NIH. This makes it challenging to attract and retain the top talent within their fields. People must be motivated by the mission to stay at NIH. Often, people can leave the public sector and go to private organizations, making up to 3 times the salary. It is also a highly competitive environment; about 2000 – 3000 scientists begin working each year but only about 1 – 3% become permanent scientists. 

When asked for leadership advice, Dr. McGowan says leaders must first be present with people and understand where what they are thinking and feeling at that moment 

Second, they need to evaluate people’s emotional state. What is the level? Low, medium, high? If they are at high, they won’t hear you – so let them burn that level down before you talk with them.  

Leaders also need to connect with the emotion they are trying to convey. That emotion is 90% more effective than anything you will say. 

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • How many cyber attacks NIH encounters each day and how they protect themselves against the threats.  
  • Differences between private and public organizations 
  • How people stay motivated at NIH 
  • Workspace changes NIH is going through 
  • How Dr. McGowan first became interested in science
Direct download: Dr.20John20McGowan20Podcast20DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:14pm PDT

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