Blog: Five things HR can learn from F1

by External18 Sep 2015
HR leaders and Formula One drivers have much more in common than one would think. Just as a strong crew is critical to success in F1, an HR leader’s prime aim is to build a high performing team to fuel business growth.

With the 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix roaring through Singapore September, Randstad takes a look at how HR leaders and employers can take a leaf out of the Formula One book to achieve winning results.

Teamwork is key

Behind every successful driver is a strong team. While the F1 driver gets the majority of the credit for the team’s success – or on the flipside, bears the brunt when things go wrong – in the highly competitive sport of Formula One, there is a huge team working behind the scenes who all play a vital role in the lead-up to and on race day.

Formula One teams are a great example of what can be achieved through effective collaboration and there are many lessons the corporate world can learn from it. Formula One highlights how high performing teams are acutely clear on individual team members’ roles and responsibilities and how working in seamless unity will achieve common goals. Encouraging teams to perform better, innovate more, resolve conflict and solve problems is the key to success for any team.

Communicate performance expectations

In Formula One racing, constant and clear communication is crucial – drivers need to offer continuous feedback to the crew on the performance of their car throughout the race. This is no different to employees in the corporate world, who need consistent communication too.

Just as a race engineer is constantly speaking to the driver to provide direction and advice, employees need to know what their individual and business goals are and how they can achieve them. HR leaders need to make sure their staff members are kept well-informed of their progress and steer them back on track if they go off-course. The performance of one individual can make a huge difference to the success – or otherwise – of a winning team.

Provide opportunities to upskill

Working in the Formula One industry is a constant learning curve. Technology never stands still and everyone in the team needs to stay ahead of the latest engineering developments and trends. 

Just as each race is like studying for an exam – with everything riding on the result – in Singapore’s tight labour market it’s essential that new and current employees constantly upgrade their skills so that they can remain relevant in the workforce.

Providing employees with training and career development opportunities will not only ensure their skills are being continually updated, it also helps to keep them motivated in the workplace while driving business performance.

Stop and listen

HR leaders play a key role in keeping employees engaged and motivated at work. One way to keep motivation levels buzzing is to encourage staff members to share new ideas and feedback so that they feel valued and see the contribution they are making towards the company’s end goal.

This is the same as on the Formula One track. An engineer can provide advice to the pit crew to speed up the tyre-change and help shave a millisecond off the pit-stop – making a huge difference to the driver and team’s overall standings – and providing a motivation boost for the whole team.

Build trusted relationships, together

Regardless of industry, success is driven by the ability of HR and business leaders to create and foster trusted relationships. Just like Formula One drivers and their race engineers, trust between employers and employees creates the collaboration, commitment and coordination required to succeed.

A collaborative work environment drives a culture of trust, and a personal and collective desire to achieve success.

At Randstad, as a sponsor of the Williams Martini racing team, we believe that success is driven by people, relationships, teamwork, excellence and innovation – traits that are equally important in the professional sport of Formula One racing and business. These are also attributes that HR leaders can execute to develop a high-performing group of employees, and drive their business towards the top of the podium.

About the author: Jaya Dass is the director of life sciences, HR and business support at Randstad Singapore