HR Strategy

How ‘cultural dexterity’ informs this HR pros approach to overseeing a global business

Adeola Adewusi makes sure each HR program or policy is customized for the biggest impact based on cultural norms.
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Adeola Adewusi

· 5 min read

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Adeola Adewusi credits his “cultural dexterity” to living and working on five continents. The senior HR director, Americas at Stanley Black & Decker told HR Brew it has served him well as a people professional because he “can understand the dynamic of a particular culture and what’s important to them.” With Stanley Black & Decker, Adewusi oversees about 2,500 employees along the supply chain in nearly a dozen countries. All of Adewusi’s work on HR policies and programs and how he leads is informed by his cultural competencies, and it’s important to him that HR professionals don’t forget the human connections that make the function so special.

Adewusi never planned to become an HR leader, but throughout his career he’s been driven by his desire to help people: at a hospital, in the US military, and in the people profession.

“I couldn’t think of a better job of function when you could actually have such an impact on people’s life and families,” he said.

What’s the best change you’ve made at work?

Throughout my career, I have lived and worked on five continents and gained a high level of cultural dexterity. I have also worked in global organizations with different processes and systems due to acquisitions. One of the most impactful changes I have made is acting as a liaison to unify the organization’s ways of working. By synergizing our processes and systems, we are able to operate as one cohesive organization.

What’s the biggest misconception people might have about your job?

The biggest misconception that people may have about my job as a HR professional is that it is primarily an administrative function focused on being the disciplinary of the workforce. The police that hires and fires employees. However, the reality is that HR is much more than that. It is a critical function that sets the tone for an organization’s culture and protects its most valuable asset—its people. HR professionals are responsible for balancing the needs of the business with the needs of its employees, acting as an impartial mediator to ensure that both parties are satisfied. Ultimately, HR plays a vital role in driving organizational success by nurturing a positive and productive work environment that enables employees to thrive. We are the purveyor of an organization’s culture and the conscience of the business.

What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

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For me, the most fulfilling aspect of my job is being able to positively impact the lives of our employees. When our employees are happy and motivated, it not only benefits them but also translates into better business results.

I am passionate about helping our employees find purpose and meaning not just within the company, but also in their communities. It brings me great joy to see our employees thriving and making a positive impact outside of work. Ultimately, I find the most fulfillment when we are able to combine our success as a company with the personal growth and fulfillment of our employees. Seeing the value that our customers get from the brand that we own and being a part of that success is incredibly satisfying.

What trend in HR are you most optimistic about? Why?

I am optimistic about the integration of AI in human resources as it has the potential to revolutionize the way organizations manage their workforce. While it is important to balance technological innovation with human insight, the use of AI can lead to a more efficient, data-driven, and people-centric future. AI can be used to automate repetitive tasks, improve decision-making, and enable HR professionals to be better strategic partners to the business.

One trend that I am particularly excited about is the use of AI in talent acquisition. By leveraging AI-powered tools, HR professionals can streamline the recruitment process, identify the best candidates, and reduce bias in hiring decisions. AI can also be used to analyze employee data and provide insights into employee engagement, retention, and productivity. This information can be used to develop targeted retention strategies, improve employee satisfaction, and ultimately drive business success.

What trend in HR are you least optimistic about? Why?

I have noticed a trend in HR where there is a heavy focus on analytics and metrics to drive business outcomes. While I appreciate the value of data-driven decision making, I am least optimistic about the potential negative impact on altruistic behaviors. Sometimes doing the right thing may not align with the predetermined preferred business outcome, and that’s okay.

As HR professionals, we need to ensure that we are balancing the need for metrics with the importance of empathy and human connection. We must remember that HR is ultimately a people-centric function, and our decisions should always be guided by what is best for our employees and the organization as a whole, not just what looks good on a spreadsheet.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.