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The People Impact Podcast
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The People Impact Podcast

Author: Lisa Dempsey & Marjolijn Vlug

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Welcome to the People Impact Podcast...because people matter.

We used to be HR Matters, now we are taking a wider view.

This is for you if you are interested in expanding your perspective on people in your organization - and yourself as a human being.

We explore ideas about impacting and improving the way people lead and work together in organisations today.

For all of you out there who are open to new views, visions and dreams.

Featuring Lisa Dempsey and Marjolijn Vlug
75 Episodes
There is something kind of really genuinely dramatic going on. We’ve faced exceptional stress over the past year-and-a-half and it’s breaking open something that’s been simmering below the surface for a long time. This is about facing a moment of reckoning. People are choosing to leave jobs; it’s harder to find new people for certain roles. The Great Resignation, what’s actually happening? Feeling * sigh * resigned (pun intended) about that? That passive energy may come from organisations having been too resigned, too passive about their actual people impact. The effects that seemingly minor but really essential choices have brought onto the human beings inside your organisation. And people not willing to put up with that impact on their lives anymore. The good news: there are a lot of tools, initiatives, knowledge available now – to act differently. To reflect and choose to create a different people impact. Be honest about what hasn’t been working for you anymore. Face forward. This is where we are today. The world is in a different place. What are you saying no to, going forward, and what are you saying yes to? What impact do your organisation and yourself want to have, what are you contributing to in the world? More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
Tap into your true resilience in order to cultivate your impact – in your organisation and in the world. We had a great talk with Meg Mateer about her old definition and new definition of resilience: From thinking resilience is about powering through, pushing yourself beyond your limits, “just get over it” and letting work be the ultimate priority in order for yourself to grow. To acknowledging what is going on with you, understanding yourself as a system, with parts that are both ambitious and resistant, excited and anxious. When you grow a better understanding of yourself as a system, you will also see more clearly what is going on in larger systems, in organisations and the wider world. Meg is an organisational psychologist and consultant working at the intersection of strategy and emotional intelligence. She shares her personal story and rich learnings with us in this new episode. The key insight Meg brings: When you shift the way you relate to yourself, you shift the way you relate to others. Meg’s podcast: Break Down Wake Up – the wisdom in our distress. Breaking down is wisdom waking up: transform distress into fuel for personal and professional growth More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
Beyond the static caused by assumptions and cliche, what is authenticity, really? And how does it infuse your people impact? Authenticity comes from a really good understanding of yourself. It is about the impact you choose to make from a deep, grounded place, that doesn’t feel quick. A quiet clarity. “Sometimes I can really feel it in my toes, bubbling up from my feet,” Lisa says. In our brand-new People Impact Podcast episode, we address what authenticity is and what it isn’t. How to get there, and how you know you’re ‘in it’. The effect your own authenticity has on yourself and the people around you. What is that people impact that you see happening when there’s more authenticity in your actions? More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at <- our brand new email address
Getting fresh insights about working together just got even better for you, because the HR Matters Podcast is no more! 😮 We’re now the People Impact Podcast. 😊 Because People Matter. Have a listen to the first episode of season 6 to hear more about the space this opens up to expand your perspective. To grow your vision. To have actual, purposeful, useful impact on the way people lead and work together in organisations. Pick up new ideas and views on (personal) leadership and how human beings interact effectively in the workplace. Get curious and inspired about your people impact. And if you’re curious to hear a bit more about us, Lisa and Marjolijn, you’ll enjoy this episode too. On the People Impact Podcast! You’ll see our new name appearing soon across our platforms and social media accounts. More about us: Marjolijn Vlug – - Lisa Dempsey – - Reach us both at
Hey HR professional, do you think you may be underpaid for the value you bring to your organisation and its people? This episode is for you. It’s our final episode of season five, and the last one specifically for you HR pros out there. We’re going out with a bang :)  We applaud the high standard of integrity of HR professionals to not misuse their knowledge of confidential information about other employee salaries. We clear up a bunch of misconceptions about HR salaries. We recognise that the gender pay gap plays a part, and we know that you as HR professionals can contribute to making it smaller. Up that benchmark. And up your negotiation skills. “I appreciate that offer, but I really think that what I can bring to this role is worth far more.” Negotiate your HR salary with integrity. Have a listen to hear our top tips. PS: Podcast season 6 will be available soon, with a major update! More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
In the best led businesses, leaders are actively in the game, and they connect with people: heads up, engage. You can do that pragmatically – and easily – once you look through the right lens. Pamela Hackett, our new guest, offers you a new perspective. She is CEO of Proudfoot, a firm that does meaty transformation processes. The people element is always at the backbone of this work. “We always start with the people side,” Pam states. “Because that’s going to pay back in spades.” She talks about leadership insights inspired by bad hair day moments (there’s a good story!) to turn up the volume on employee engagement. Discover the secret of the concept 1-5-30 in this episode: “If there was nothing else that you were able to do in your life as a manager, I would ask you to do 1-5-30.” Get in the game to really know what’s going on in your organisation. Referenced: More about Pamela Hackett: Pam’s new book: ‘Manage to Engage: How Great Managers Create Remarkable Results’ More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
“I had to learn to create my own brave space.” Madhu Mathoera is bicultural: born and raised in The Hague (The Netherlands) by parents from Surinam. Her mission is to make organisations in The Netherlands more inclusive. We’re a diverse country, almost 25% have a diverse background – but we don’t see that in organisations. Being bicultural as part of Madhu’s identity brought her a lot: she learned how to comfortably switch between contexts but also to create her own place in the world. This episode is about connecting, listening to learn, creating a brave space. Diversity of ideas and talent, markets and customers. Opportunities for growth, both organisational and personal. And about a bicultural Bollywood & DJ Jean wedding. Have a listen to find out more. Referenced: Meer over en van Madhu Mathoera (in Dutch): Madhu Mathoera on LinkedIn: More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
Let’s be honest, we live in a world where change is the only constant. However, the level of change in the world of work that we’ve collectively experienced since early 2020 has been unprecedented. Now that we’re on the back side of second waves and more businesses and services are opening up (in most places), we’re seeing some powerful and unique shifts in employment. People who are in high power jobs are leaving them without an immediate alternative to go to. People without work are choosing to not take certain opportunities - especially in the hospitality and food industries. So what is going on here? In this episode we explore what’s happening below the surface and what you can do about it! Tune in to hear more. More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
People aren’t ‘resistant to change’. Each human being simply has a natural response to change. That’s what Rishita Jones is crystal clear on. Rishita’s an HR transformation expert and change manager extraordinaire who enables teams to evolve and businesses to modernise. In this new HR Matters Podcast episode, Rishita explains what makes teams come together to make change happen. Spotting how all elements of a change dynamic are interconnected; looking at the whole system instead of just the operational pieces. Giving teams the ability to see the connection between what they want to do, what they’re good at, what gives them joy, and what the organisation needs. Building change capability is about embedding change competency into the day-to-day work that we do. Unravelling the tangle of HR and change management – Rishita achieves that by truly validating assumptions, asking more questions, listening. Have a listen to find out more. More about Rishita Jones:  More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
10.9 trillion dollars’ worth of work in this world is invisible. That invisibility has real life financial and psychological consequences. What’s the deal here? Marieke Mooijen coaches people on leading themselves and making women more aware of what they have to pull off every day. She’s our guest in this new episode on economically invisible work. Economically invisible work includes work around raising children, informal care work, managing a household. In some parts of the world includes things as essential as building a fire and getting the water to get the day started. It’s both cognitive and emotional labour, the combination of which makes you the Worrier in Chief and brings a significant mental load. So much work that is done in the private sphere is not recognised as work. The consequences of this fall unequally, mostly on women.  What we’ve seen happen in the pandemic is that the invisible workload increased. Women were expected to take the lion’s share of it. Couldn’t combine it anymore with their paid workload. Lost their jobs most frequently. We need a reframe. This work is real. The skills are real. Anticipation, planning, executing, evaluating. From managing stakeholders to manual labour. Invisible workers: put your economically invisible work on your cv and on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t leave out a huge part of your life and skills. Marieke founded a LinkedIn company page for you, Economically Invisible Work International, that you can list as your employer right here on your profile. Recruiters: recognise and ask about people’s transferable skills. Couples and families: talk about this invisible work. Make it visible to make it valuable. Be proud of your experience, skills and accomplishments. Start the conversation. Make an inventory. Divide the work more equally. It’s the work that enables real life. Referenced: More about Marieke Mooijen: The mental load: Eve Rodsky and the Fair Play card game Your invisible employer: Economically Invisible Work International More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
Creating architecture: the structure for organisations and people to work together effectively. And creating cultures: the interaction between humans and the organisations they work in. That’s the real purpose of HR work. Our wish for this field (that hopefully soon won’t be called HR anymore) is to make it lighter, faster, more constructive. Continuously improving, with meaning and purpose. All those check-the-box exercises of what your textbook says HR should be doing? Konmari your way through them and let it go(ooo). Figure out what pieces of your work are foundational for your organisation and constructive for its people - what purpose do these pieces serve? Why do they matter? Why are they important? Really thinking this through will take you to the opposite of checking-the-box work. Allow yourself to actually deliver on the promise of providing a good structure for the people in your organisation to thrive in. Create effective spaces for people to work and collaborate together. There is real value in that. If it sounds overly simplified, that’s because of all the dead weight that is dropped. Giving you lots more room to breathe. And we promise: shedding that ballast can be a lot of fun. More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
The value of feeling seen and heard. We know it matters. Making that happen, genuinely seeing and hearing others, and doing that in a conscious and intentional way - that’s a piece of personal growth with real life impact. This episode is about the ability to notice others. To slow down and see the whole person, not just the deliverables that we needed done yesterday. See that they have a life beyond the role they play in your organisation. Asking, noticing, remembering what it is that this person likes to talk about, cares about. This means being curious, noticing and engaging with people as real human beings, even the ones you normally wouldn’t talk with. That matters, exponentially. And guess what: when you notice people, they’ll notice you, and what you care about. Referenced in this episode: ‘The art and science of noticing others’ More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
Redefining Feedback

Redefining Feedback


Feedback. We all know it’s important. We know people benefit and grow from really great feedback. So why is really good feedback so scarce in our workplaces? Feedback in its purest form is an act of vulnerability on the part of both the giver and receiver. And this makes it uncomfortable. Still despite the discomfort it is valuable. Consider the cost of the mental load you carry around each day thinking or worrying about people, situations and their behavior / impact. It’s likely huge. By redefining feedback, taking it out of the space of fixing, having answers and shifting it to curiosity, openness and real authenticity so much more becomes possible. Tune into this episode to hear more about how you can start redefining feedback in your organization today and why it’s important. (For more information on the SBI feedback model visit: More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
Imagine you’re trying to bring more diversity and inclusion to the Canadian forestry sector: a sector where the traditional image of diversity used to be a woman in heels holding a saw.  Kelly Cooper, the founder and CEO of the Centre for Social Intelligence, is excited about the changes she is seeing in Canada. She was able to realise an industry-wide initiative and created the first public-private partnership on diversity and inclusion in the natural resources sector. She built this step by step, got leverage and raised funds to achieve gender equality and the meaningful inclusion of women, Indigenous peoples, and new Canadians at all levels. Kelly explains that D&I makes a difference for the economy, but also for society: when we create greater equality at work, other options and roles for people’s lives, there’s more room for everyone to choose what works for them – for their health (men’s life expectancy) and families (spending time with kids) too. “Have that position of curiosity as your front foot, and go forth with that, and see what happens. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” Referenced in this episode: Kelly Cooper provides a blueprint on how to set out the vision and framework, and get the c-suite on board, in her book ‘Lead the Change, the Competitive Advantage of Diversity & Inclusion’. Free to grow in Forestry: “Everyone’s free to grow in their career.”  More about us:  Lisa Dempsey – -   Marjolijn Vlug – -   Reach us both at
It has profound impact on how people show up at work and yet it hardly ever gets addressed. It’s all that is not on paper, but that is implied, assumed and perceived. Alongside the legal employment agreement there is the psychological contract: the actual relationship between organisation and employee. And just like the relationships in your personal life it takes work that is worth the investment. The psychological contract has lots more impact on our day-to-day behaviour at work than that piece of paper that you signed or that policy handbook on your intranet. It impacts how much people are willing to contribute and what they think of you as an employer. It starts from the moment someone even considers applying for a job until after they’ve left. It gets built in the mesh of relationships in your workplace. Built of expectations, assumptions, perspectives in someone’s head that you can’t really know until you talk about them. You don’t know unless you ask. By addressing this, you can signal, clarify and understand those assumptions so much better. This will help you honour the deal that people – including you – feel they have with their employer: trusting my employer to invest in me in a way that is balanced with what I invest in my work. This is your way to building trust and facilitating change. More about us:  Lisa Dempsey – -  Marjolijn Vlug –  -  Reach us both at
Bernice Feller-Thijm is an inclusion strategist who helps organisations truly create a diverse and inclusive culture. Especially after the surge of the BLM movement, conversations started happening within organisations that hadn’t been had before. What became all the more apparent is that right now, not everyone gets to participate in the same way. What helps is firstly to have a lot of conversations, to grow our understanding: we all have different lived experiences. Every organisation and group of people is different, with its own history and systems. So Bernice starts bottom-up to transform existing history into something constructive and future proof. Don’t underestimate how much time it takes. You don’t go to the gym once and expect to be fit right away. You cannot expect that everything is going to be different after just one conversation or training. This is about retraining your brain and realising your brain made shortcuts. You cannot undo [insert your age] years of brain training in one afternoon. Then hold each other accountable. If you’re going to change the culture and not change the KPIs, it won’t work. Integrate this into your organisation to make lasting change. Flex that muscle. Let’s get fitter! More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
Processing All of This

Processing All of This


Are you literate in reading all the relevant information? With all that’s going on around us, and inside you, it’s high time to process and digest. All that’s in your head and in your heart – and also in your body. Neuroscience shows that the nerves in our entire body are constantly picking up, and giving off, signals. A whole rich field of information that’s available to you. What are you noticing? Weight on your shoulders, carrying a lot on your back, your belly full of this? Slow down and just observe. No harm done in just observing. Perhaps put words to it. Then consciously choose, rather than be swept away in the moment. That’s a genuine leadership skill and a fundamental part of emotional intelligence. It helps you lead by example, build trust and psychological safety for others. For yourself, this will help you find out what you truly need, especially now that a lot of ways to cope and recharge are unavailable. Go from being annoyed to curious and more kind to yourself. Then suddenly, you have options. Suddenly there is space, instead of being boxed in. More about us: Lisa Dempsey – - Marjolijn Vlug – - Reach us both at
Eden Whitcomb is not just any tech recruiter in Berlin. In our new HR Matters podcast episode, Eden tells us how he started out with great sales skills (as you do, in recruitment) and then got curious to grow further. He started to work out the patterns and trends in the work that he’d been doing. In one year, he recruited 97% men and 3% women. What was happening here, he wanted to figure out, and is that really what clients – and he himself – wanted? Organisations that want to diversify ask for proper consulting. This is what we intend to do, can you help us get there? Eden explains how figuring out what you’re doing, how, and why, helps you move forward with a clearer head. Contributing to something bigger than yourself, and creating that for yourself, is Eden’s story. He is doing meaningful things, not just talking about them. And he has some gems of tips of course. “I guarantee you, at some point you can make a difference. Even if it’s just the one person, that person can speak to the right person, and that’s how things can evolve.” Referenced by Eden in this episode (Berlin based and international): · Women Techmakers · Py Ladies · Berlin geekettes
If you work in HR, you’ll recognise this. If you don’t, this may be an eye opener for you. As HR professionals, we are the vault for a lot of secrets. We hold so much information for other people. Life happens right in our workplaces, and HR professionals take on a big part of dealing with that. Hiring to firing – for right or wrong reasons. New life to health issues and death. Financial troubles. Harassment, discrimination. Politics. Too often, we get little space to process that. And it dramatically impacts the way we interact in the organisation. The way we authentically interact with other humans. Because when there’s no room to process, we feel the need to put up protective blockers that makes us more robotic; that dehumanise us. Julie Turney, our new guest, cares for the people that care for our people every day. After a solid career in HR and corporate, she now is an HR for HR support coach: supporting the people who support the people. Julie warmly recommends you to (re)familiarise yourself with who you are and why you entered into your HR career. To understand your HR voice. You are not defined by your organisation. You are so much more than that. And you’re not a robot. This is how we (re)humanise our workplaces. Referenced: Julie Turney’s podcast HR Sound-Off Book: Confessions of an HR Pro (to pre-order now)
When you’re wishing and actively aiming for big picture change around diversity, inclusion, equity, equality and justice, that means you’re making long-term behaviour change happen, from personal awareness to large systems. And you can’t fix that all with a snap of the finger. The topic of our newest episode can play a vital role in your journey: communities. They’re the place where you can get support, offer support and boost each other keep making steps on a regular basis. This is where real resilience comes from. What is more, we are social animals. By nature, we want to connect and belong, and that especially goes for people who understand the value of belonging from personal experience. We talk about how to find and grow your communities: By noticing opportunities to join, or create them. By realising that it matters how you show up. And by taking inventory of the communities you already are a part of, how they serve you, and what else you would wish for. If you’re listening to this and feeling, ‘Oh I could use me some resilience and some community?’ feel free to check in with us. There are great communities in our HR Matters network and if we can make a connection for you, we’d be happy to do that.
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