7. The Times They Are a-Changin’ with John Wallace

In this episode, I unwrap the employee experience with my guest and good friend John Wallace. John and I have worked closely together for several years on global HR change initiatives. Right now, we are both navigating the same commercial challenges of our ever-changing present whilst also attempting to define our future trajectory.

John is a native of – and still resides – in Cardiff, South Wales. A prominent and influential HR leader who has been at the forefront of people transformation programmes in aerospace, steel, telecoms, public sector services and beyond. 

We start John’s story in the depths of the 1980s. During the UK’s most challenging people management crisis of the 20th century. A period that saw the decline of steel and coal mining industries and the knock-on – people and political – impact that tore through South Wales at a velocity not dissimilar to the pandemic. 

“Sometimes things might not do you any good but might not do you any harm. Being involved and trying is a worthwhile enterprise within itself.“

John Wallace

It’s leaders like John, with authenticity and pragmatic governance that can balance the scales between external disruption and positive change. Vision is the ability to put the employee experience at the forefront of decision making.

Employee experience is the theme of this conversation.

We explore the impact of automation, artificial intelligence and when infused with John’s candid personality our conversation paints a picture of a future Britain that may not be too dissimilar to the ghost towns of the 1980s.


  • How technology should augment the workforce and not just be a vehicle for downsizing
  • How authenticity is the cornerstone to a good employee experience and the downstream impact on the customer experience
  • How the socioeconomic impact of artificial intelligence is already written in the history books; we can learn a great deal from previous industrial revolutions
  • Why organisations haven’t kept up with the velocity of technological change and how this has adversely impacted people management
  • Why conformance and performance are the two key factors to good corporate governance
  • How organisational values often fail to translate to the employee experience and how this can create a subculture of departmental value silo’s
  • How words written – in the 1980’s – by UB40 and The Specials, relate to this eerie snapshot of our present socioeconomic status

Blessings and love,


“When it comes to the cold hard economics of change, who’s going to blink first?” – John

“Every employee is an advocate, but they may not be an advocate of what you want them to be.” – John

“Organisations want to exploit technology without a single thought for the employee experience – apart from… we just need fewer of them.” – John

“Don’t defend the indefensible…” – John


LinkedIn Profile: John Wallace
Blog Post: The “New Normal”?
Blog Post: Employees Are Customers Too
Ted Talk: Daniel Sussking on the 3 Myths About the Future of Work and Why They Are Not True
Web Link: Lattitude Global Volunteering