My recent guest Brad Holliday is one of the more transparent and candid guests I have interviewed. A longtime HR and culture leader, he is now the Chief People Officer for Caravan Health. 

In this engaging episode of LET’S BE CIVIL podcast, host Steve Ambrose and Brad Holliday discuss:

  • Inclusion foundation for catalyzing diversity
  • The value of expecting accountability for civility in work culture
  • Brad’s reflections on HR & culture decades ago..and today
  • Balancing external stresses with internal behavior expectation
  • Are we communicating WITH or AT others?


Here is a snippet of this interview:

STEVE:  “We know that there are HR and organizational culture professionals who teach soft skills to employees. Some specific to improving interpersonal engagement and communication.

However, I have seen where cases of training and development of soft skills are taught chiefly for in-office situations. Where I have started to the term ‘PAYCHECK BEHAVIOR’.

We know that there are employees who, whether knowingly or not, bring their stress and issues into the office. Who likely may negatively inject it into the culture. They are either engaging and interacting with others in an underwhelming or negative manner. Perhaps they even wear a figurative ‘mask’ – instead of truly owning the innate change.

To what end do you support a greater focus on teaching soft skills not only for organizational benefit – but for employees to genuinely own and apply it into their own external relationships and challenges outside the office?”

BRAD:  “We look at it as two different things we are doing at Caravan Health. It’s promoting cognitive diversity and to make sure that we are defining the desired values and behaviors in the office. Specifically, how those behaviors relate to the job.

You talked about outside stressors, and I would start by stating that many of us spend more time at work than we do with our own families – which is sad. But given that, I believe we are going to pick up [the engagement and soft skill learning] and over time, will start to bring it home. 

We’ve got to make sure that there’s some accountability for maintaining an expectation of civility within our culture. Making sure that there’s a visible component to this. And by this, I mean there has to actually be people who are ‘walking the talk’. 

It can’t just be words that HR puts in a handbook. It can’t just be a poster on a wall.

When I, as the head of HR walk down the hall, people see me treating people with civility and with respect. Regardless of whether I agree with them, what their background is, what their religion or anything else.

NONE of those things matter in the workplace. What matters is HOW I treat them.”