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2 Minutes with Gary Rayneau and Elaine dela Cruz

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

How did you get to where you are now?

Having both spent over a decade in senior executive roles within the media and adverting sector we came to the conclusion that most organisations are hugely undervaluing their key asset – their amazing talent. Project 23 was founded to help to make workplaces fairer, happier and more productive.

What is the best thing about your job?

It’s a win, win. If organisations invest in their talent they benefit from increased performance and the individual benefits from greater development and reward. The best thing is making a difference to an individual – giving someone the confidence to be themselves, or a greater sense of identity, or renewed purpose at work – all the things that really make a difference to someone’s life.

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

Being able to see through organisations that approach work in the D&I and/or Values area from a tick-box / marcoms perspective. Too many organisations are more concerned with being seen to be doing the right things rather than actually doing them.

What is the biggest challenge facing UK business right now?

Attracting, engaging and retaining the next generation of talent. There are huge shortages in key areas of technology and engineering because not enough work is being done to make these sectors ‘open’ to a greater talent pool (still only 19% of all undergraduates studying STEM subjects are female). Also, ethnically diverse talent; in London over 60% of school leavers this year will be from a non-white background – are employers doing enough to ensure they are able to attract talent moving forward?

Does HR have a role to play in addressing it?

Yes, huge… pivotal. HR will be at the heart of revolutionising organisations’ traditional view of talent attraction and retention. Thankfully, more progressive organisations have already lifted the strategic importance of the HR department.

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

The organisation you work for at any given time only represents a percentage of you. Look beyond, expand your network, volunteer, ensure you give your development and advancement as much effort as the work you’re doing for your employer.

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

We will focus on two core themes in our discussion:

Organisational Values

What are the point of Values? Do they just make a nice poster or do they really impact how an organisation is run? We’ll be sharing some insights from a recent survey on Values and discussing actions to ensure Values actually mean something.

'Why your Unconscious Bias training has failed'

Discussions about the limitations and potential dangers of stand-alone unconscious bias training and advice on what you should do.

Sign up to our myHRparty in January to hear them speak!


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