Brave New HR

26 december 2017

2017 was an exciting year for us and we are looking forward to connecting even more great HR people in 2018!

We are convinced that #TheFutureOfWork is all about flexibility and that’s why we invest heavily in building freelance careers.

The 4th industrial revolution with technology, demographics and globalization as major drivers have shifted the context of work and workforce fundamentally. We are convinced that 80% of what HR is doing today won’t be done by them anymore in 5 years or less. HR is challenged to rethink the talent value proposition and to radically shift towards a new HR framework in which traditional HR is topped off with progressive HR.

Here are some predictions for HR in 2018 that we distilled by reading these last couple of weeks and by attending lots of international seminars in 2017.

Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future (Niels Bohr)

1) People first: from one-size fits all to one-size fits one

The main take away from every conference we attended and lots of articles we’ve read this last year is the recognition that HR needs to follow the path trodden by marketing and create experiences for employees and the entire workforce (including everybody working for you, not only who’s on your payroll). This implies a radical shift from the one-size-fits all programs that HR is used to. How? By combining people data with machine learning, by coupling technology with data, by using chatbots in such a way that meaningful experiences are created in all HR areas: onboarding, learning, internal mobility,...

Improving the experience and better understanding
your employees / workforce will lead to better results.
This is what happens when HR meets marketing #ZigZagHR

2) Productivity, teams and ONA

Most organisations seek to understand the power of social capital, networks and connectors within organisations and ONA is the perfect solution: ONA (organizational network analysis) is a structured way to visualize how communications, information, and decisions flow through an organization. ONA goes beyond the org chart, unlocking the power of networks and using talent more effectively. Visualizing and analysing formal and informal relationships in your organization can help you shape business strategy helping your business become more sustainable and effective.

Organizational networks consist of nodes and ties, the foundation for understanding how information in your organization is flowing, can flow, and should flow: every organization has people (nodes) who serve as critical conduits for exchange of ideas and information. A connection delivers value when needed information is exchanged. These nodes and ties are the core elements of ONA. Visualizing the relationships between nodes and ties makes it much easier to identify critical connections and potential barriers to information flow and collaboration. ONA reveals where central nodes could have the most impact or where you should build stronger connections to streamline information sharing and eliminate redundancy.

Want to learn more about ONA, central nodes, knowledge brokers, peripherals and ties > be sure to check out this article #EnjoyTheRead


3) People analytics: shifting to centre of HR agenda

In this article David Green gives six reasons why he believes that people analytics is shifting from the periphery to the centre of the HR agenda. We especially like what he says about the ‘democratisation’ of data helping guide managers on employee development and helping employees to better manage their careers, performance and productivity. David also states that people analytics leaders are supremely intelligent, highly driven, curious and collaborative individuals, mostly without HR background and attracted to the opportunity to make a difference for the employees #ZigZagHR

“Analytics is no longer a ‘good idea’ for HR, it is now mandatory.” (Bersin)

Not only will adoption in people analytics likely start to spike in 2018 according to David Green, also the scope of work covered by the discipline will broaden: for the most part people analytics projects largely focus on employees and driving better business outcomes. This will to expand to incorporate contractors, freelancers and automation.


4) Employee wellness: no longer a taboo subject

The market for wellbeing is exploding with HR technology, content, and tools for wellbeing. Expect to see more companies providing their employees with the tools, data and “nudges” to support exercise, mental health, work/life balance and consequently motivation and happiness.


5) Behavioural economics enters the workplace

The ‘people first approach’ that companies are adopting with regards to employees also comes in the area of behavioural economics: Once again, HR is looking at marketing as companies have long sought to understand and influence consumer behaviour. #ZigZagHR

Be sure to watch the talk by Prasad (Google) on impacting behaviour on employees at Google.


6) Blockchain and HR

Still a long way to go for us to truly understand blockchain until we read the article, by Andy Spence, who is becoming the go-go person when it comes to HR and blockchain. In this article he explains blockchain, how individuals and organisations can use it and the potential impact of blockchain on HR and people management. Spence:

“Imagine having all your employment related details associated with your electronic signature in one block :security access, insurance, payroll, expenses, work performance, employment history, psychometrics etc. The employment contracting process would effectively be redundant. You could work almost immediately, with quick payment. The role of the recruiter will not be needed, but that’s the least of the disruption. This raises questions about the nature of the employment contract and the ‘job’ itself. Most of us will then be in the gig economy, enabled by transparent contract and payment mechanisms”.


7) Reinvention of corporate learning

Once a learnatic, always a learnatic: Knowing the importance of learning and development, we particularly love to follow the trends on LifeLongLearning and the impact of technology on learning.

Today’s “digital learning” means “bringing learning to where employees are.”

And it seems that a new breed of corporate learning tools has arrived including experience platforms, modernized LMS systems, VR based learning and lots of smart technologies helping employees find learning faster and helping companies deliver learning faster. As content grows in volume, it is falling into two categories: micro-learning and macro-learning.

  • Micro-learning: things we can quickly read, view, or consume only takes 10 minutes or less: think video and blogs. Most news sites and social networks offer such learning in a massive, curated stream. We especially like Twitter and YouTube.
  • Macro-learning, on the other hand, is what you do when you want to truly learn a whole new domain, willing to commit a longer time. The content may be a MOOC, a series of videos (think, Udemy, etc.),or an instructor-led program that we used to call a “course”

And… the two go hand in hand! In this new world of content (micro and macro),“spaced learning.” appears to be the solution: Neurological research has proved that we don’t learn well through “binge education”. We learn by being exposed to new skills and ideas over time, with spacing and questioning in between. The original research behind this is called the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. If you want to learn more on trends on L&D >> read this


8) HR tech: shift from automation to productivity

For many years the focus on HR technology was to automate and integrate HR practices. That has now become "business as usual" with a wide range of cloud-based HRMS and payroll vendors in the market, "automating" every process in HR. But beyond automation, the big topic in business today has become productivity: think working on agile, team-centric organizations. Focus had shifted to build HR software that really improves productivity and helps teams work better together.


9) New world of talent acquisition

The Recruiting Market is Thriving With Innovation! Companies spend billions each year on recruiting and it has become an escalating war for employment brand, candidates, candidate experience, and strategic sourcing. High volume recruitment is being automated by chatbots and other new tools and skilled job recruitment is being revolutionized by open sourcing tools, more automated applicant tracking systems (now called recruitment management systems),and better assessments. And video assessment and culture assessment tools have matured so far that everyone can use them. We are back into the "war for talent" and this time "the talent is leading the charge."

All the new technologies are making recruiters smarter about candidates,
just as candidates are getting smarter about your companies.

Remember also that the old fashioned "job description" is really going the way of the dinosaur. More and more jobs are "hybrid" and rapidly changing, so the new world of tools has to help us find people with the right capabilities and learning skills, not just technical or cognitive abilities. And diversity is now a core part of recruiting, with new technology to help remove bias from job descriptions and reduce bias in interviewing (even VR can help with this).


10) innovation within HR

What we personally love the most is the growth in innovation projects within HR and HR teams with HR professionals becoming HR rebels or even disruptors. HR departments are experimenting with new performance management models, new learning strategies, new ways to reduce bias, and new techniques to recruit and coach people.


We wish you a fantastic 2018!


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Reach out to us #HappyToConnect


HRbuilders is a passionate, visionary European HR Interim Management leader. At HRbuilders we are committed to connecting great HR people, providing you with valuable curated content and helping you as an HR professional to stay ahead of the curve. It is also our mission to shake things up in the in the sector of Human Resources and to look into the new ways of working in game changing companies.


PS: read these great articles on HR of the future:


HR Technology disruptions for 2018 (Bersin by Deloitte)

The future of HR (David Green)


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