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The Big Interview with Jo Higgs

Employee Experience Director and Founder of Fletch, Jo Higgs, spoke with Rosie Jenkins about her career and one of the key trends for 2021.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I work with businesses going through cultural change or rapid growth and advise and lead on employee experience. By taking a long term strategic view of the business objectives alongside a consultative tactical approach, I facilitate the discovery and implementation of new ways of working.  

I firmly believe that the employee base has the answers to all of the questions a business faces, you just have to ask them.

At the heart of every business are its people. 

Good people, supported by good internal practice are the building blocks for making the great stuff happen! I am passionate about working with organisations to create amazing employee experience and to define and embed good internal process which leads to truly sustainable change.

I join the dots between people, process and purpose.

How did you get into HR?

It was kind of by accident really, I’ve always been interested in making things better for people. 

Even very early in my career as an Office Manager, I was constantly looking for ways to improve the employee experience. Back then it was with small changes to office process or simply making sure the space was clean and well-stocked. 

After I had my children I decided to go back and study my HR degree, which was fun with two small kids and a full-time job. 

By that point I was already in a talent-focused role, so the qualification was really to validate my knowledge and help me with my own imposter syndrome!

Do you specialise in any particular area?

Yes and no, I specialise in employee experience and that touches all areas of HR and beyond that into the purpose and processes of the business. 

I feel so passionately about EX that I have set up my own agency, helping businesses solve challenges and also supporting and creating capacity in existing HR teams. 

So you could say I specialise, but it’s quite a wide remit!

What trends are you seeing at the moment?

I think employee experience is going to be a big one for 2021 and beyond. 

The HR remit has been expanding in various directions for some years now, as businesses understand just how important a focus on their people is. 

The recent situation is only going to require businesses to lean further into understanding how their employees think and feel about their interactions with the business they work in. 

Understanding how to engage a disparate workforce will be a core challenge. The things that used to happen naturally and by osmosis in an environment that functioned on shared experience will need to be re-thought. Everything from the duty of care to career progression.  

Is there anything you’d do differently with the benefit of hindsight?

Is hindsight is a wonderful thing? 

I question that idea. You can only ever make decisions based on the facts you have in front of you at the time and the experiences you have had in your past. 

No one makes a decision thinking it’ll be wrong, it’s always because you feel it is absolutely the right thing to do at that moment. 

You can always learn from situations and that’ll feed into the decisions you make next time around so I tend to steer clear of hindsight. You will only ever know the path of the decision you made because other options didn’t happen so how can you possibly know whether another choice would have played out differently. 

Have courage, step off the ledge and deal with what comes at you. Leave hindsight where it belongs.

Do you have a favourite quote? 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

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