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Breaking Down Silos to Build a More Agile Workforce with Rachelle Snook

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Today’s episode of the show features Rachelle Snook of WD-40 Company. Rachelle has been with her company for over a decade, and her role includes advising global leaders on talent, organizational design, career progression, workforce planning, and talent acquisition. Rachelle is also involved in the student community of San Diego, sitting on the board of both San Diego State University and the University of San Diego. Before diving into her current work and its emphasis on a new and more agile mindset, Rachelle shares about her non-linear career path from accounting to talent acquisition. 

Turning to Rachelle’s work with WD-40, the group focuses on her efforts to grow agility, in part, by doing away with a territorial mindset. One of Rachelle’s major aims has been to remove silos separating business units, or at least to soften the edges between them by fostering cooperative efforts among the different units. This effort, which includes a shift toward a more project-based model, has been driven by changes in workforce context. With the remaining effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and incoming workers’ insistence on more flexible roles (an insistence Rachelle is very familiar with from her work with students), Rachelle and her colleagues have felt the need to adapt and invite hesitant leaders to take small, trusting steps to do the same.

As WD-40 has altered its model to feature inter-unit projects (which generally take about 15-20% of employees’ time), Rachelle has explored the mindset, culture, and HR roles needed to see the company and its employees thrive under this model. The project-based model of WD-40 enables the company to build its own bench from within and attain a high level of internal mobility. It also shapes the company’s hiring practices, as WD-40 needs team members aligned with its values and eager to learn and innovate.  As the episode wraps up, Rachelle offers parting thoughts on equity and how companies interested in the WD-40 journey can get started.

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Learn more about Rachelle Snook and WD-40 Company.

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