HSBC HR chief hopeful for 'new generation of natural born communicators'

A new generation of natural born communicators, immersed in technology from an early age, bodes well for the future of the commus industry, Pierre Goad, group managing director and group head of human resources at HSBC, told PR360 attendees yesterday.

 HSBC's London HQ: Multimedia storytellers welcome here
HSBC's London HQ: Multimedia storytellers welcome here

Speaking about talent management in PR at PRWeek's London event, he said: "The younger generation are completely able, ready and willing to become fantastic communicators and that’s because they learn the skills at a very early age."

Goad said he had personal experience of this, with his ten-year-old son already making his own videos and posting them on social media. "When you look at what people today are learning from a very young age, what I think they are learning is storytelling. I think it puts communications as an industry in a brilliant position," he said.

"I’m not at all worried about supply, there are great communicators available; I’m worried about the demand…the one thing I know for sure is that every single industry that thought it was safe from being disrupted was wrong... I’m not sure what will disrupt communications but something will," warned Goad. There is a "lot less loyalty generally" now, when it comes to people staying with employers, he remarked.

"Even Goldman Sachs, which has always had the premier position in terms of recruiting people, is struggling to get same quality of people it once recruited because they are diverting into tech because that’s where people see the opportunities," commented the HR director.

People need to feel valued and recognised, with training and recognition important, he argued, saying that going for awards, in a bid to get third party validation of its work, "completely changed" the comms function at HSBC, where people had previously felt unrecognised and undervalued.

"It’s had a huge impact over the years and we’ve got two cases full of awards; and it’s raised the status of communications within HSBC because there is that third party validation," he said.

In a bid to retain staff for longer across the board, the company is in the process of introducing a global sabbatical policy, and considering introducing more bonuses throughout the year.

A recent initiative by HSBC, where staff are encouraged to openly thank one another, has seen thousands of people take part. The company also allows colleagues to reward one another through points that can be given to staff and used to claim gifts from a catalogue.

When it comes to creating a good team, having a mix of personalities and levels of experience are key, but Goad admitted that there was still a tendency for people to "hire in their own image."

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