Seven Questions With Shannan Quain

Shannan QuainIn the second of our series of OrgDev Institute (ODi) interviews with leading Human Resource and OrgDev professionals, we asked Shannan Quain seven questions.

Participant: Shannan Quain
Role: Director, National Learning and Capability Development.
Organisation: Australian Bureau of Statistics

LinkedIn Profile: ShannanQuain

Seven Questions With Shannan Quain

Q1: ODi’s goal that drives everything we do is to ‘make the world a better place with happier, more productive people’. What are you most passionate about in your career and why?

Shannan Quain: I am passionate about customers, and in our business, that means employees. We are hearing a lot about User Centred Design and Customer Experience but we need to consider that from the perspective of our workforce being the biggest and most valuable customer we have. Designing experiences for employees is a new way to consider the employee lifecycle – seamless experience is the goal. A well designed and more productive workforce can only mean good things for business.

Q2: What do you believe will have the biggest impact on HR in your industry in the next two years and why?

Your Industry Changes:

Shannan Quain: Disruption for our industry is a great thing, but something we need to be leading and not letting it happen TO us. The way jobs and organisations are designed to accommodate the unknown of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning need to be in our thinking and planning.

Impacts for OrgDev / HR:

Shannan Quain: We need to create the change, not let it happen to us. We need to break things and make them work in different ways, we need to hack HR and consider the best ways to do things that make things seamless for people and organisations.

More with less is not a new concept for anyone in business, but how we approach it, that is what needs to change. Co-design and partnerships, trusted advisory skills, employee experience – all of these things are the way forward.

Q3: What product / service would you most like to see available to help HR/OrgDev professionals?

Shannan Quain: Use Centred Design Thinking and how to design employee experiences. All HR/OD services and products need to have a focus on the end user….without them… service exists.

Q4: Many of us have similar challenges, what major challenge do you have that you would like to hear someone else’s experience in a similar situation, and how it unfolded.

Shannan Quain: Everyone has great stories of success with metrics, data, flash presentations…I want to know when people failed and how they recovered. The best learnings we have are when things didn’t go to plan. 20/20 is excellent and we need to share the outcomes of our own lessons with others – especially in our industry.

Q5: What experience have you had recently that was a great learning for you (positive or difficult) that you would be prepared to share with peers?

Shannan Quain: Our organisation has had some pretty big challenges in the recent past and the biggest lesson is that we are a learning organisation. The success of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey and how the ABS was able to adapt and manage within a short time frame was excellent. The organisation was agile enough and resilient enough to manage and produce great results. Strong leadership to try new things, test boundaries and think differently – that’s why people show up to work and deliver great outcomes everyday.

Q6: What’s the biggest challenge you’d like our audience to share their experiences of with you and why?

Shannan Quain: I’d love to hear about co-design in the OD/HR space. How are people partnering with their business and front-line people to design OD/HR practices and products.

Q7: What’s the best piece of wisdom you’d like to gift?

Shannan Quain: You don’t have to follow the same path as others and surround yourself with good people.

I dropped out of high school at 15 and still went to University when I was 18……I just did it a different way and only did it that way as I had people to learn from. This could not be more true in OD/HR. We are here to think of new ideas that makes business and organisations more efficient, better, more profitable, more attractive to people and customers – be bold, try new things, fail and dust yourself off to do it again…. but learn, learn, learn!!

Have a Question For Shannan?

If you have a question for Shannan or would like to share your learning, please either contact us (quoting this post) or reach out to Shannan via LinkedIn.

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