Workplace Leaders
LaFosse Associates
Head of People Experience

Steve Harding

When operating in an economically challenging environment, many businesses are leaning into investment in people as a means of securing their own future success.

Interview Co-host Max Webber sat down with Steve Harding, Head of People Experience at LaFosse Associates, a global recruitment firm specialising in tech talent. With over 18 years of diverse experience spanning various industries, Steve shares perspectives on scaling an engaging culture, empowering employees, and embracing learning.

Steve's Journey

Max: To kick things off, can you tell me a bit about your background and your current role at LaFosse Associates?

Absolutely. I've been with LaFosse for almost four years now, starting off as a contractor before joining the team permanently a couple of years back. LaFosse began primarily as a recruitment agency but has diversified quite a bit into areas like skills training through LaFosse Academy, which enables us to train people without tech backgrounds from the ground up and get them client-ready. As Head of People Experience, my role involves overseeing the entire employee experience – from onboarding to ongoing development, engagement, and more – to enable our people to thrive and do their best work in service of our business objectives.

Max: How did you come to this role?

I started in Learning and Development (L&D) and all of my roles have been very different. I began training Student Union officers and staff, moved on to training parking wardens, and then took my first foray into recruitment with a company called K2 Partnering which was based in Germany, Switzerland, Providence, San Francisco, and London. That was a great experience and I got to travel a lot and help people develop their skills. My role then evolved and became more HR-focused as I broadened my experience, which brought me here.

Max: What does your current role look like?

It’s about getting people on board, managing them, developing them and caring for them in a way that allows them to give their best to the company while the company gives the best to them.

Max: I know LaFosse has fantastic equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) accreditations and initiatives. Can you share more about what you’re doing to promote belonging and inclusion as the organisation scales and evolves?

Absolutely. A very exciting development this year is that we became an employee-owned company, so now our employees have a real collective ownership stake. We’re on a thoughtful journey to transition from being founder-led to being employee-owned, taking time to carefully realign on mission, values, and key strategic projects moving forward. 

Our core value of “care” remains central to our identity. Our diversity networks are employee-led; for example, I sponsor the LGBTQ+ network but it’s run by employees themselves. These groups spearhead important initiatives from learning events to partnering with local youth groups, not just symbolic gestures tied to particular focus months.

Max: Engaging employees in EDI, especially busy recruiters and client-facing roles, can be an industry-wide challenge. How are you approaching this at LaFosse?

You’re completely right, it’s certainly an ongoing area of focus. We introduced an extensive 12-month internal DEI programme last year concentrating first on education, and are now thoughtfully expanding it to help clients improve DEI too. We’ve learned firsthand the advantages that come from embracing diverse perspectives internally. Recruitment has diversified away from its historical archetype of white, male, elite university graduates, and the focus now needs to be on reflecting the community within which you operate. Inclusion helps all employees feel a sense of ownership as we become more conversational about strategy and purpose across all roles.

Max: How do you typically draw the link between cultural initiatives like inclusion and belonging, and commercial success?

I think that, ultimately, people need to feel like they truly belong and have real ownership. As an employee-owned firm, we’re having more open conversations across the company about higher purpose and long-term strategy. Historically we were very sales-driven but now a good third of employees are not in sales – trainers, talent coaches, and back office support roles. A culture of learning helps businesses continuously evolve and succeed through change. Rapid access to curated learning enables skills development. Managers must be empowered and accountable for their teams’ growth.

Max: Building on that thread, what do you believe are the most vital elements to get right in fostering a culture of learning and growth?

Empowering managers and holding them accountable is absolutely crucial. If they take responsibility for their team’s learning, it happens much more consistently. Rapid access to digestible information enables people to continuously build skills over time. Traditional e-learning hasn’t always solved the right problems; people want bite-sized learning they can quickly apply. 

Max: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?

Ultimately, you have to be open-minded to learning from anyone regardless of background – it’s about being a sponge, not a stone. The best advice I received here was to let people help you and lean on others’ expertise. As people managers, we have so much to learn from our teams daily.

Curious to see what the future of training looks like?
Max Webber
Max works closely with people leaders and change-makers in our professional services markets. If you're looking to feature on The Interview, or simply want to learn more about GoodCourse, then get in touch at

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