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2 minutes with Dean Aston

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

How did you get to where you are now?

From a behavioural perspective, I consistently read books on analytics, culture and organisational effectiveness as a way to continuously learn. I used concepts around “grit” and “neuroplasticity” to gamify my personal performance. With rigorous self-directed goals, I was able to improve the quality of my contribution and develop the deeper confidence to address limiting beliefs from childhood and use self-awareness as a way to remain humble and focus on a servant led style of delivery.

What is the best thing about your job?

Babylon is going through exponential growth similar to what Reid Hoffman describes in his book “Blitzscaling”. Our valuation has increased from $250m to $2b in less than 3 years. With that kind of dynamic, it translates into having to bring your best “self” to work every day. The kind of complexity, problem-solving and positive mindset required to continue, day in day out, to deliver your magic is what makes Babylon so addictive and intoxicating. To say I have grown as a human being in this environment would be an understatement. It is tough, but deeply emotionally rewarding.

What’s the worst/ hardest thing about your role?

A business that hires an average of 100+ people per month does put a strain on your operations. Given that I oversee our HR operations it means that we have to continuously adapt and figure out ways to automate processes, create efficiency and manage investments in people and systems. Whilst leading a team of over 30 people, it does make some days tough. However, it is these experiences that provide opportunities to grow.

What is the biggest challenge facing UK business right now?

Labour markets will be impacted by Brexit – EU settlement agreements will have an impact on the availability of labour which will subsequently affect the ability to recruit quickly. The introduction of IR35 to the private sector will reshape the nature and availability of contingent labour.

Does HR have a role to play in addressing it?

HR will need to work closely with legal counsel to reassure existing employees and advise senior management on how these changes to legislation will impact future hiring and the availability of talent.

What career advice would you give your 20 year old self?

Everything is an experience and you are only competing with yourself. Push yourself to be more today than you were yesterday.

If you could also share a few lines summarising what you will be talking about/your topic of debate for the night!

Importance of systems and operations when going through “hyper growth”

Why data insights are so important to determine where to invest capital and attention.

Predictive hiring using psychometrics will give an edge to recruitment and selection

Why resilience, grit and emotional intelligence are far better indicators for success than testing purely for IQ and academic grades.


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