6 november 2017

Last week our HRbuilders#dreamteam members Sofia Van overmeire, Cécile Dorigny-Sicard and Lesley Arens attended HRTech world in Amsterdam.

One of the key note speakers Arianna Huffington pointed out that getting enough sleep is key in order to thrive. Our team didn’t manage to do so in Amsterdam but every minute from 8am till long after midnight was worthwhile: connecting, networking, sharing inspiration and getting inspired by the best of the industry such as Josh Bersin, Nick Bostrom, David Green, Henrik Schärfe, our very own Peter Hinssen, and last but not least all the international personal connections and exchanges with likeminded HR peers from Dubai, France, Atlanta, Mumbai, Lebanon, Zürich,...

HRTech had 12 (!) stages running in parallel: the future of work main stage, HR Tech stage, IRecruit stage, Digital HR, talent management, adoption, smart data, learning and development, wellbeing and reward, HR tech analysts and a start-up stage.

Happy to share with you some take aways from 2 days #HRtechWorld.

Analytics is the centrepiece of a digital agenda for HR

Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, kicked off HRTech World on the HR tech stage providing us with the major trends in HR tech making it clear that the HR software market is reinventing itself:

  • shift from talent management to team and work management optimizing productivity
  • new generation of people management software and disruptive applications
  • we need HR tools that fit in better!
  • workplace culture and wellbeing are hot topics
  • we need new tools for continuous feedback
  • in learning video and mobile are taking over and learning is key for organisations and individuals to thrive
  • analytics is going from nerds to mainstream HR, it’s time to step up the pace.

David Green, committed to helping HR leverage data and analytical thinking to drive positive business outcomes, firmly believes that successfully developing capability in people analytics will help organisations make better business decisions.

Analytics is no longer a ‘good idea’ for HR, it has become mandatory!
(Josh Bersin)

According to David Green analytics have to be the centrepiece of a digital agenda for HR


1) Consumerisation of HR

Consumerization of HR refers to creating a social, mobile, and consumer-style experience for employees inside the company and goes far beyond using social for recruitment, development, and engagement. The expectation of social and collaborative tools in the workplace is no longer just a Millennial request, we are all digital citizens now. Analytics is key for a more effective HR function.

2) Workforce analytics

In order to make better people decisions you need descriptive analytics, workforce planning and predictive analytics.

3) New organisation of work

In order to become more agile as a company, focus should be on networks and collaboration, skill management and network leadership.

How do you get started?

  • You need a vison and a mission, clear governance, accountability and privacy standards, stakeholders that are willing to solve problems analytically, a strategy for prioritising projects, senior sponsors to champion analytics and sponsorship + involvement of the CHRO.
  • Next, you need to start building capabilities: a skilled workforce analytics leader, the right mix of skills (business acumen + consulting + human resources + work psychology + data science + communications),clear guidance of the use of external vendors, right analytics technology and the right data.
  • And then you can develop a culture of analytics: succession strategy for core roles, ability to show ROI, HR analytics embedded through the entire organisation and a standardised approach to projects.

Europe is lagging behind because further research is still required, because HR is much more complex in Europe, because there’s a lot of uncertainty (Brexit, GDPR) and there are also a lot of ethics and privacy concerns (81% of people analytics projects are jeopardised by ethics and privacy concerns!)

Female founders are breaking tech’s glass ceiling #Femtech

HRTechWorld is definitely not just a man’s world with some great keynote speakers such as Arianna Huffington, but also Sarah Wood who describes herself as an accidental entrepreneur who enjoys working with awesome people and making things happen fast. She’s passionate about her company Unruly which was founded in 2006. Unruly brings emotional intelligence to digital advertising, because emotion matters in marketing, it creates values and sets preferences, it inspires action, drives sales.

It’s not about reaching people, it’s about moving people


Sarah Wood

Embracing unruliness and diversity in the workplace is key according to Sarah. Diversity not only matters, she says, it has to be part of the strategy of a company and that’s why it’s important to measure it, discuss it, search for it, nurture it and celebrate it. Great people are like magnets, they attract other great people

Augmented humanity: it’s peolpe first!

Closing keynote of day 1 was Arianna Huffington, one of the most powerful women according to Forbes, founder of Huffington Post, CEO of Thrive Global and author of fifteen books, including, most recently, Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. Augmented reality is really great, she says, but so is augmented humanity, which - according to Arianna - will be the next competitive advantage.

We need to start re-thinking how we define and reward success. Brilliant Jerks, as Arianna calls them, drive a toxic culture urging employees to work “harder, smarter, faster until they are completely burnt out.

In order to succeed in working life, you have to be burnt out (?)

Arianna suggests that we should take back the time we need to recharge and for that we desperately need new role models such as Jeff Bezos. We all keep cumulating stress, are always on, our attention is hijacked, we’re measuring ourselves based on how many likes we get on our status updates and then we take all that stress home to our family and our friends. It’s as if we’re too busy capturing life in pictures and status updates instead of just living it.

Life is about more than increasing market share

In order to learn how to cope better with technology, Arianna ironically suggests to build technology to help us learn how to disconnect and cure us of our addiction to the always-on mode.



She is on a mission to save us all… from ourselves, she says. So let's put the 'H' back into HR.

Digital transformation is something we do, not something that happens

Henrik Schärfe , keynote speaker of day 2 closed HRTechWorld kicking us a conscious and helping us to also look at HR Technology from a social and political perspective. According to Scharfe the next generation is not supported by politics and not by corporate world.

There are two perspectives to look at the reality that 50% of all work can and will be automated.

  • One perspective is complete dystopia: a jobless society in which HR has become obsolete.
  • The other perspective is a more positive one that focuses on the fact that energy and resources are freed up: if 50% of work is automated, you have massive resources at your availability for transformation and people can finally focus on tasks they applied for in the first place

There are always more perspectives when looking at technology and innovation and how it will impact work, our workforce and HR.

Unfortunately, 85% (!) still is convinced they will not be affected, only the others. They are convinced that when it comes to innovation and technology, they are agile enough to respond, react and thrive.

That’s what Peter Hinssen calls eisenbahnsheinbewegung in his book ‘the day after tomorrow’


Eisenbahnsheinbewegung is the false feeling of movement described when you sit in a stationary train and see the train next to you start moving. Your brain is tricked into thinking that you are moving and that the actual moving train is standing still. This is exactly what 85% of all companies are experiencing.

Peter Hinssen is convinced that eisenbahnsheinbewegung is the most dangerous word when it comes to innovation.

Want more learnings on #HRTECHWorld?

>> follow #HRtechworld on SoMe for some great shares and quotes.

Want more learnings on #TheFutureOfWork?

>> reach out to our HRbuilders #dreamteam as we are committed to connecting you not only with great HR people, but also with great HR content.

HRbuilders – established in 2008 with HQ in Belgium – is active in HR Interim Management/ HR Consultancy assignments across Europe. Our niche as a matchmaker is 1. HR (only) 2. temporary assignments (only) and 3. freelancers (only). No headhunting, no other HR services, we focus on what we are great at! We offer our clients peace of mind where-ever they might need a temporary HR support. On average our assignments are 1 year or longer.

More about HRbuilders: www.hrbuilders.eu


Comment on this article

Share this post