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Employee Relations Leaders Leading through Change – Lessons from Riding with the Peloton Squad

Feb 18, 2020
Deb Muller

 “Change how you approach what happens, and you will change what happens.”

I heard this recently from one of the many inspiring coaches in the Peloton community, on one of my daily bike rides.

They’re always motivating, but this quote really struck me because as employee relations leaders today, we are faced every day with new situations to approach – from making our workplaces more human to complying with new regulations to building great employee experiences.

So how can we as employee relations leaders stay flexible and resilient in the face of our shifting reality? Here are a few thoughts I had riding my bike today – and other lessons I’ve learned recently while riding with the Peloton community.

Take Time for Self-Care

I’ve written before about the importance of self-care, and when managing change, it matters more than ever. Whatever self-care means to you, it’s impossible to look out for the well-being, daily experience and mental health challenge of the employees around you if you’re not taking care of yourself first.

For me, self-care means time to exercise, and usually that means dedicating 30 minutes a day to my Peloton. This time is so valuable to breathe, reflect and clear my mind. The instructors share best practices and build us up, challenging us while providing inspiration.

I’ve learned to do the same with my team at work. Inspiration matters, but it comes as a result of the challenge. First, we all align on the same goals. Then, and only then, we take time to power each other up along the way. Inspiration without an action-oriented goal is just words.

What are you doing to care for yourself and your team?


Leverage the Power of Community

There is such strong power in community, and Peloton’s is an outstanding example. Everyone is there to build each other up, high five on the leader board and motivate each other.

Here at HR Acuity, we too recognize the strength of community, which we share through our Employee Relations Roundtable, bringing together HR leaders to share best practices in employee relations, discuss the latest trends and challenges and network with like-minded peers.

Fellow HR and ER leaders, in your company or in others, can help because they’ve experienced what you have. For example, consider a complex topic like managing a workplace crisis.  Obviously, preparation is key. How have your peers in other companies created playbooks and processes? What experiences have they had?

Leaning on others is an excellent way to learn how to manage new experiences. Ask for help from those around you. It applies when pushing yourself to ride further — and in employee relations, too.  If you haven’t joined our community yet, we’d love to have you.  You can learn more here.

Mark Your Progress with Data

What could be more motivating than seeing yourself hit goals?

One great thing about the Peloton program is that we’re encouraged to go further, and the bike itself has some very cool real-time metrics that shows progress across all classes.

The Peloton bike shows me heart rate, cadence, resistance and much more. I can set goals and monitor progress. And the whole organization – well, in this case, a million plus riders – can see how I’m doing on the leaderboard. That’s transparency, actionable data and accountability all rolled into one!

Are you doing the same in your employee relations practice? In our annual Benchmark Study, we found that ER departments are increasingly using technology and data to set benchmarks and predict trends, but it’s not been adopted across the board. Specifically, many of us are collecting data – but not yet analyzing it with predictive analytics or detailed reporting.

Data by itself isn’t insight. We need to use visualization, apply analytics and start telling stories with data to help our employee information come to life. It’s only then that we can uncover trends and see where potential problems and opportunities lie.

It’s also a motivating exercise to set goals for your Employee Relations team. What do you hope to accomplish this year? How will you measure your own success? We’ve built this simple worksheet to get you started.

Stay on track (so to speak) and use data to illuminate the way ahead. Good lesson in cycling and ER!

Become a Catalyst for Change

Finally, riding with Peloton has also reminded me of the importance of gratitude – and how we can not only face change, but drive it.

In a recent ride with instructor Ally Love, she talked about how we all have defining moments in life that shape who we are. At the time, these moments might seem overwhelming, tragic or frustrating but with reflection, we can see they are powerful interludes that allow us to be catalysts for change.

As Ally explained on the bike, there is force and grace when you can take those defining moments and turn them into something positive you can be grateful for.

The #MeToo movement is a defining moment to become true change catalysts for our organizations. Being a change catalyst doesn’t mean just reacting to an individual allegation or updating a policy. It’s about creating a better workplace for our employees and reducing the risk for our organizations.

We need to have a knowledge-empowered leadership team that is educated on our insights and our policies. We need to have a continuous dialogue to hold everyone accountable to meeting the new standards for our organizations. We need to be willing to push back from doing things the same as we have in the past and consider new processes and behaviors that will drive lasting change.

We can continue to elevate the conversation of employee relations and strengthen our community of thought leaders. Let’s continue to focus on the strategic goals of employee relations and hold ourselves to new standards to continue to improve and make workplaces better for our employees.

Just Act Now!

More than anything, joining the Peloton community has reminded me of the tremendous importance of action, and how much we can do when we work together.

As employee relations leaders, we are at the center of the employee experience, and we have both the opportunity and the imperative to lead our organizations forward. I’m no inspirational Peloton coach, but I am cheering all of you forward.

Let me know what you think. Drop me a line at And find me on the Peloton leaderboard at #milesdog.

Ready to see how HR Acuity can help your organization create better employee experiences? Request a demo of our employee relations technology platform.

Deb Muller
Deb Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, employee relations case management and investigations software that combines documentation, process, and human expertise so organizations can meet the challenge of managing employee relations in the modern world.