HR Happy Hour Network – Introducing the HR Means Business Podcast

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference


Mervyn Dinnen

Analyst, Author, Commentator & Influencer

About this episode

547 – HR Happy Hour Network: Introducing the HR Means Business Podcast

Host: Steve Boese

Guest: Mervyn Dinnen, Podcast Host

This episode of the HR Happy Hour is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. As you reevaluate your benefits offerings this fall, don’t overlook the advantage of having the right 401(k) plan. Havnig the right plan not only can help with employee retention, but can truly serve as a talent magnet for your business. Discover how offering a 401(k) plan can play a vital role in keeping your business competitive, and how you can find the plan for you and your employees. Visit download Paychex’s free guide to 401(k) planning, today. 

This week we were joined by Analyst and Author, Mervyn Dinnen, to welcome him to the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network, and introduce his show, HR Means Business. On this podcast series, he will bring you regular conversations with guests from the worlds of Human Resources, Talent and Technology, to help make sense of what is happening and how to plan for success. We are thrilled to welcome Mervyn to the HR Happy Hour family!


Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Transcript follows:

Steve 0:24
We have a great show for you today we are super excited to introduce the newest podcast on the HR Happy Hour Network. HR Means Business with host our friend Mervyn Dinnen. Before we welcome Mervyn, to this show to talk about HR Means Business. I want to thank our friends at Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. As you reevaluate your benefits offerings this fall. Don’t overlook the advantage of having the right 401 K plan. Having the right plan not only can help with employee retention, but can truly serve as a talent magnet for your business. You can discover how offering a 401 K plan can play a vital role in keeping your business competitive, and how you can find the plan for you and your employees. You can visit and download Paychex free guide to 401k planning today. That’s Thank you to our friends at Paychex.

Steve 1:25
All right let’s welcome our friend Mervyn Dinnen to the show. Mervyn is an analyst, influencer, author, and commentator on HR talent and work tech trends. Based in London, he partners with HR and recruitment technology businesses to research and create thought leadership reports that document the emerging trends impacting the hiring, retention, development and engagement of talent. He is an international keynote speaker and for the last four years has been recognized as a top 100 global influencer in HR technology. And his second book, Digital Talent was published in March of 2022. Mervyn, welcome to the show. And welcome to the HR Happy Hour Network. How are you today?

Mervyn Dinnen 2:04
Thank you, Steve. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here. And no, I’m feeling good today. Very happy that the sun is shining. It’s cold in London, but the sun is shining.

Steve 2:15
It’s lovely to see you. And it was great to see you just as we record this about two odd weeks ago at the HR Tech Conference out in Las Vegas, which fortunately you were able to attend. And that was fantastic. So I guess my first question, Mervyn, just to kind of get our listeners up to date, some of which even though you’re well known in industry circles for many years now there might be some folks who don’t know, you. Maybe give us a little bit of an update on maybe what you’ve been up to the last couple of years throughout the pandemic. Were you able to come to the US this year, but probably there were a couple of years where you were pretty much like most of us, you know, stuck back at home working out of the home office.

Mervyn Dinnen 2:51
Indeed I was Steve, I suppose the last couple of years for me? Well, firstly, I’ve been about the second book, doing the research the interviews for that digital talent that was published in March of this year, looking at how the the attraction, hiring, retention development of people changes in the world of digital transformation. It was quite interesting. So if I indulge myself for a moment, because the book was probably at least a third written. And then the pandemic hit, and kind of everything changed. Because you know, kind of remote working, for example, wasn’t something we were writing about. So it was we need to take stock and actually look at the trends, see what was happening. And I suppose identify what might stay long term and what was going to be a short term fix. And I think that what what I noticed from the research we were doing was this kind of accelerated digital transformation. It was accelerating, but the pandemic obviously has increased that. So that’s what we were kind of writing about, and how I suppose for remote world or for a remote, hybrid, flexible asynchronous world. You know, things like employee experience, things like you know, hiring, candidate experience, onboarding, how that plays out. And I think that, you know, there were a number of things, number of case studies, and I enjoyed that.

Mervyn Dinnen 4:20
So that’s a lot of time. There was quite a bit of research into that we did into areas like candidate experience. Did reports, sponsor reports in that area, talent, mobility, learning and development, looking at particularly kind of learning tech tools. Were employees, where are people getting the support they needed? Were they getting the access to learning they needed whilst working remotely? So it was an interesting time? And I think, for me, looking forward to the podcast jumping ahead of the question you haven’t asked me yet. It just shows that I think the importance of HR as as the as the general business world develops strength forms changes and has to respond quickly to outside events. Yeah, HR has a key role in it.

Steve 5:07
Yeah, Mervyn, thank you for that. And I think you’re right. And it seems sometimes I feel like it can be a little cliche to say things like, oh, you know, technology is disrupting every workplace. Work is so different. Now work will never be the same again. We, but we have to be careful to not get too jaded, right. If folks who spend a lot of time in this space to think well, it’s actually kind of really true. And maybe it required this awful pandemic over the last couple of years to to push that idea as they know, that’s not really a cliche that this is a real thing that’s happening. These workplaces are being disrupted. people’s jobs are changing the way we think about work. I’ve, we’re working on a project right now. And one of the elements of it, well, I’m really digging into this whole the idea of the great reevaluation, sometimes it’s called here, maybe, as well in the UK, where folks use the pandemic to really reconsider the role of work in their lives, and maybe the relative importance of work in their lives compared to the other parts of their lives. Right. And it took this global crisis and a health crisis, right to make people do that. So yeah, everything’s changing and changing so rapidly. It’s it’s really interesting to be both an observer and an analyst and a thought leader in the space as you are, which is, which is fantastic. Yeah, I mean, you touched on so many different areas right of the world of work. Yeah, got your fingers into which is exciting.

Mervyn Dinnen 6:31
Ya know, no, I love it. I love kind of you’re looking at the worker, world of work, talking about it, researching it, and kind of seeing I suppose what is what what trends are likely to stay and likely to lead to some form of change and others that probably won’t is just a fad. And I think that one of the expressions and hopefully at some stage we’ll have an episode on kind of HR in the world of hashtag outrage is on constant digital narrative here. Hashtag great resignation, hashtag great rehiring. Hashtag. Quiet, quitting. Hashtag loud, quitting hashtag.

Steve 7:13
I didn’t even think of that one. Yeah, absolutely.

Mervyn Dinnen 7:15
The, and it’s kind of you know, how to make sense of all this, you know, is this is just somebody trying to sell a concept or solution? Or is this something really happening that we have to actually in our own businesses explore? What are the reasons for it, why people disengaged. So it’s kind of exciting.

Steve 7:33
Yeah, it is exciting moment. And what also is exciting for us, very speaking very selfishly, and our team. Trish myself, everybody on our network team, is that your part of why we’re here today is to introduce Mervyn to our broader audience, and also introduce the new show. HR Means Business, which will be our latest podcast on the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network, hosted by our friend Mervyn who are chatting today. First off Mervyn, maybe tell us a little bit about the concept. The idea of HR Means Business, by the way, I love the name. And I’m actually glad and surprised no one else had taken that in the burgeoning podcast space over the last 10 years or so. So maybe give us a little bit of your thoughts around what you’re what you’re trying to do with HR Means Business.

Mervyn Dinnen 8:17
I will do. Unlike you, I was surprised that it was available. I suppose there are two sides to HR Means Business, one that I’ve kind of covered, which is the you know, the business world needs HR, you know, it’s kind of without HR, and particularly with a lot of the stuff that the we’re facing now. And you know, the constant, I mean, it just an example, kind of, you know, what I’m talking to you as in the UK, in the last four days, we’ve had some kind of fight financial crisis, you know, it’s kind of, and suddenly businesses are, you know, rising costs and everything.

Steve 8:52
And I confess to not really understanding what it was really about. But I did hear about that.

Mervyn Dinnen 8:58
Yeah. And it’s like, you know, suddenly, he was in the firing line there, because employees want to know what their future is, you know, leaders in the business, and managers want to say, how are we going to structure for this? How are we going to do that? And so HR is there. So I mean, it’s without HR, there isn’t really a business. And the other side of that is, is HR Means Business, I suppose in a British sense, means, you know, it’s it’s got purpose. It’s kind of, you know, they mean business, they’re there, they’re getting things right, they’re getting things done, and they’re making sure that everything’s running smoothly. So those are the kinds of things that I can I wanted to put across as opposed to this isn’t a nice to have this is you, you don’t have a business without it kind of thing. So it’s, yeah, I’m excited. I’m looking forward to speaking to people, hopefully giving maybe a bit of a kind of a UK a European take.

Steve 9:59
We’d also definitely could use that on our network as well. We do tend to as many things happen in the US, as you’re well aware, I’m sure moving like, you do tend to look at the world through a very provincial lens. Right. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of that year throughout. We’ve been doing the podcast for a long time. And, you know, we do tend to focus in so in scholarly I’m not sure that’s a word. But you know that. Yeah. You can bring that UK perspective, the European perspective, and just, you can look, even you can look at things if you’re talking if you have guests on who are based here in the US, but you can kind of bring a different point of view, perhaps to the folks who talk to you here.

Mervyn Dinnen 10:40
Oh, definitely. I mean, I’m looking forward to doing that. And also seeing how I suppose there could be trends happening here, which, which, which haven’t happened in the US yet. So there’s a lot of talk cases with productivity. There’s this expression, productivity, paranoia, doing the rounds, kind of, you know, for those kind of remote, hybrid flexibility, synchronous workers, it’s kind of your employees think they’ve never worked harder. And managers and leaders think that they’re not being productive. And it’s kind of it’s, it’s how we deal with that, and kind of a lack of connection with remote working. And personally, I think one of the big topics will be well being, I think that it’s been a health pandemic. And I think that is possibly brought to the fore, for individuals kind of exactly what I suppose their well being and health and their mental well being means to them, and how it relates to the world of work. And I think current over the next two or three years, this is going to be one of the big, one of the big topics, one of the talking points. And yeah, it would not be to me, it would not surprise me if you know, during interviews, you know, an interview question is, how will you support me if I need help?

Steve 11:50
Yeah, I think that’s a great, I think candidates asking questions like that will become much more common for sure. If not already have Yeah. It’s so fascinating. We don’t have time to do today, maybe we’ll do it on another show. We’ll have you back on on the happy hour network just to talk but I’m doing some other work involving looking at, quote, unquote, I’ll say Gen Z, right, because now we’re done with the millennials, I suppose. Yeah. With what some research is showing about what they’re looking for in a job with their how they’re evaluating prospective employers, to things that they care about, you know, in order to retain, you know, the current job, and you really get into things like wellbeing support, place in the community, values alignment, and I have to tell you, more than you and me, we’re probably of similar age. I don’t think I ever once thought of values, alignment. You know, as I was thinking about where to work as I was coming through my career, I don’t, I’m not sure I even understood what that meant back then. But today, a 23 or 25 year old is really considering something like that in making the decisions around work. It’s fascinating.

Mervyn Dinnen 12:55
Definitely, definitely. And it’s no it’s never it’s never crossed my mind either. Except when I was joining your network.

Steve 13:04
Now you now you think about it, of course. And we’re so glad you’ve joined the network. So this is meant to be again, just a preview, introduce Mervyn to our audience, HR Means Business will run right here on the HR Happy Hour Media Network. So if you’re subscribed already, to the HR Happy Hour Media Network, the HR Means Business shows will just show up in your feed. You know, once a month or so something like that. We’ll figure it out. But there’ll be right in your feed if you’re not yet subscribed, and you just happen to be listening to this show your friend and a fan of Mervyn’s, please do subscribe, and you’ll get all the shows in the network feed of course the network in America show. Madeline Laurano’s show, George LaRocque’s show, Sarah Morgan’s show, now Mervyn Dinnen’s show. The network’s growing. It’s so exciting, but we are super thrilled for HR Means Business with host Mervyn Dinnen will start very soon on the HR Happy Hour Media Network. Mervyn thank you and behalf of Trish McFarlane and myself. Thank you for joining us on the network. And thank you for joining us today.

Mervyn Dinnen 14:02
It’s a pleasure. It’s a pleasure, Steve and I can’t wait to get cracking I can’t wait to post my first podcast.

Steve 14:09
All right. We can’t wait either. Mervyn thank you so much. That’s Mervyn Dinnen, the new host of HR Means Business on the HR Happy Hour Media Network. We want to thank him once again and thank our friends at Paychex of course for all their support. You can subscribe and listen to all the shows at or wherever you get your podcasts. My name is Steve Boese, thank you so much for listening today. And we will see you next time and bye for now.

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