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LEARN Recap: Building High-Performing Teams

Organizations are facing new, unprecedented challenges. Economic headwinds have shaken businesses and teams, forcing leaders to make impossible decisions and leaving teams reeling to maintain morale, keep employees engaged, and help team members upskill and reskill to take on new responsibilities.   

How can People teams respond to rapid changes and uncertainty?

It’s time to evolve the approach to leadership and employee development. This was the focus of a recent session, Leadership Insights for People Teams in 2023, with L. David Kingsley, Chief People Officer, Intercom, during our virtual conference WorkRamp LEARN Spring. 

Discover David’s advice for driving employee engagement, investing in team members, and building and sustaining high-performing teams.

People teams must navigate uncharted waters

New workplace trends like the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, the Great Reshuffle, and more have emerged on the heels of the pandemic.

While it may seem like People teams are trying to manage a moving target, David predicts this may be the state of employment for the foreseeable future. 

“The last couple of years have shown us that we’re always going to be working to figure it out and making sense of what’s happening today,” he says. “I think we’re going to stay in this constant slurry state where things are partially frozen, partially liquid, and always moving. And People teams are chief among that to navigate those waters.”

So how can teams solve problems they’ve never faced before? This requires a clean-slate approach.

“The first thing we can do is avoid the temptation to run the same plays we did maybe three years ago,” David says. “We’re in a different world now with different needs from our employees, customers, and executive teams, and for people leaders, the more we can acknowledge that, the better seat we will have at the table as we go forward.”

Read more: 7 Things Employees Want From Employers

Balance the investment between people and product

When deciding where to invest funding, time, and resources, the business’s investment level should match or mirror the customer demand signal. And for people teams, the customers are the employees.

“At the end of the day, our companies are people; businesses rely on knowledge and human capital to move the ball forward,” David says. “Don’t underinvest in what makes your company go, which is people and their level of engagement and growth.” 

Read more: 5 Reasons to Increase Your L&D Budget

Personalization is the name of the game

Employees don’t want to feel like one among many. As a result, they’re no longer just concerned with what they bring to an organization but also want to work for a company that invests in their growth and success. 

“Employees want personalization and self-direction,” David says. “Everyone wants something in the flavor that works for them. They want a tailored Netflix queue of learning and development opportunities, whether live or recorded content, mentorship, or on-the-job experiences.” 

Read more: eLearning Content: 24 Types to Include in Training

Since the pandemic, there’s been a shift in the employee-employer relationship. Now, team members and prospects want to know how working for a particular organization will benefit their career and personal journey.

“The companies developing and delivering personalized, customizable content are the ones that are going to win,” David says. “Because it’s helping to tell the story about how we will look after you as the individual, as the employee, to match your expectations.”

Leaders must show up for their people

With the shift in employees’ mindset and values, David predicts top performers will wander off if they don’t feel their organizations are invested in their learning and success. 

So what’s his advice to retain top talent and build and sustain high-performing teams? Show up for your people in a real, authentic way. 

“There’s never been a more important time than now for leaders to show up for their people,” he says. “We need to demonstrate in a real way how we’re connecting with our people, our teams, our cultures so that we understand them as people and human beings.”

To hear more from David, watch the full session: Leadership Insights for People Teams in 2023. And for more expert advice from L&D leaders, watch on-demand replays from WorkRamp LEARN Spring. 


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Maile Timon

Content Strategist, WorkRamp

Maile Timon is WorkRamp’s Content Strategist. She has over 10 years of experience in content marketing and SEO and has written for several publications and industries, including B2B, marketing, lifestyle, health, and more. When she’s not writing or developing content strategies, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her family.

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