HR Trend Institute Follows, detects and encourages HR trends Wed, 25 Apr 2018 17:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 HR Trend Institute 32 32 69625904 Ask Tom! Mon, 23 Apr 2018 07:05:41 +0000 Ask Tom. Regularly I receive questions, via e-mail or LinkedIn. Sometimes I answer. Some of my answers I will collect in this post.

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Ask Tom!

Regularly I receive questions, via e-mail or LinkedIn. Sometimes I answer. Some of my answers I will collect in this post. The answers will be edited a little bit, to make sure organisations and people cannot be recognised. Questions can be asked via LinkedIn or e-mail.

1. We need an engagement survey, quick

The Question:

One of our consultants is doing some work at a mid-size client. She is looking for someone who can help with design and execution of an engagement survey. Do you know somebody/ Do you have some quick advice?

Tom’s answer:

Some quick thoughts:

  1. Some time ago, I published an article about Trends in employee mood measurement.
  2. The trend is from from the traditional annual or bi-annual survey to real time mood measurement.
    employee surveys
    Many organisations are introducing pulse surveys, often with questions that change per round (weekly, monthly, quarterly). There are many tools available that do a good job (as Impraise, TruQu, Peakon, CultureAmp, Peddy and Effectory). If the organisation uses Slack, you can use one of the Slack plugins (like Polly and Captain Feedback).
  3. Do-It-Yourself might seem attractive, but I think this is generally a bad choice. You lose a lot of time, and the effort is often greater than you think. Of course, you can build a quick survey with Google Forms or SurveyMonkey. Using one of the above mentioned tools might cost a little more set-up time, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and you have a more sustainable solution.
  4. Response bias has to be taken into account. There seems to be a natural order of subjects, if you arrange them from positive to negative. Employees are most of the time relatively unhappy about their packages and the internal communications (especially from top management). Of course they are happier about their own contribution and their immediate colleagues. Far away is more negative than close to home. If you just start working on the aspects that come out of the survey as most negative (pay, communication), you might be wrong. Benchmarking helps, even if it is only internal.
  5. The responses also vary greatly per nationality. People from Japan and UK are on average a lot more negative than people from Mexico or Italy. Also here, it helps to have good benchmarks.
  6. Jacob Morgan is an employee experience guru. He has developed a nice short questionnaire you can use to calculate the Employee Experience Index. It is available on his website.

Added April 23, 2018


2. How does individualisation work in teams?

The question:

A question was asked in relation to the infographic 15 HR Trends.

“How do machines and chatbots make things more human? How does individualisation work in teams? How do you improve internal performance when your getting your talent everywhere and how does HR become strategic when there are all these contradicting trends?”

Tom’s answer:

We can learn a lot from dilemma reconciliation. You view some things as contradicting, but maybe they are not. Focusing on the needs and wishes of individuals, for example, can help us to create better teams.

Many people who apply for a job, get an e-mail like  “Thank you, we have received your application and you will get a reaction within two weeks“. And then they never hear again. Maybe it is more human, to be contacted by a friendly chatbot. “My name is Jack, I am the recruitment chatbot of company X. We have received your application, and hope to finalise the first selection within two weeks. Do you have any questions for me? You cal always contact me, I am available 24/7. If I do not know the answer to a question, I will find someone who can”. 

Maybe you can improve performance a lot, if you have access to a wider pool of people to staff your projects, not just the internal pool.

Added April 23, 2018

3. How to organise content?

The Question:

Hi Tom! How are you ? I have  very simple question for you…
I’m trying to find a good way to organise inputs and contents. By process, technology ? I don’t know… I have an email folder structure and use pocket with categorised articles …
I like the Bersin frameworks or categories… but I haven’t found the best “container” or tag list.

Tom’s answer:

Some remarks on organising content.

  1. The best advice is: do not organise, but trust on your search engine. Just throw all the content in one big basket, and if you are looking for something, just search. It requires some discipline and trust, but I think it can work.
  2. I am a big fan of Evernote. I use it both mobile and on my desktop. If I see something interesting, I put it on Evernote. If I am at a conference, I make notes on Evernote. If you want, you can tag and put information in different notebooks. I started to do that, but now I just rely on the search capabilities of Evernote (which are good).
  3. To put HR Tech solutions is a basket, we use the employee journey as a guiding principle. Have a look at to get a view.

Added April 23, 2018

4. Stopping with performance management?

The Question:

Tom, do you know organisations that have stopped with performance management? We want to start with a pilot, but first I would like to gather some more information.

Tom’s answer:

I do not know organisations that have stopped. Many organisations are redesigning the performance management process. Below two slides I recently used in a presentation about “Performance Management in agile organisations”.

performance management

performance management 2

Some more information in the links below; my personal view is captured in the first three articles:

 Added on April 25, 2018

5. What is the alternative for job descriptions?

The Question:

Dear Tom,

My colleague and I attended the HRcoreLab in Barcelona. I have followed a lot of presentations in the HR Agility stream, and one of the topics in your keynote has been particularly memorable.

For our organisation, we are working on a new structure and we are establishing new job descriptions. During your keynote,  you mentioned that many of the standard HR instruments are no longer suitable, and that we need to develop new approaches.  I am all for, however, I find it difficult to achieve this. Could you perhaps indicate what criteria a job description ‘new style’ should meet,  in order to continue to be useful as a tool in HR Management?

Tom’s answer:

Hi, nice that you were in Barcelona!

Some quick thoughts:

1. I wrote an article: The end of static jobs. There are also a few references at the end of the article.
2. It is certainly not easy!
3. Question is,  what you will use the job descriptions for. Often it is mainly for the link to pay, and here I have not seen many innovative concepts.
4. The type of organisation is certainly important, and also the way in which work is done (self-managing teams require different tools than a more hierarchical organisation).
5. ‘Keep it simple’ is always good advice! Better a few very wide profiles, than than a very granular structure.
6. This also applies to reward: broad branding and not too many scales.
7. One of the challenges is, to deconstruct individuals into the different capabilities they have, with an indication of the level. Function profiles could then be a cluster of capabilities, that are often required together. A company that is developing tools in this domain is Blue Carpet.
8. I certainly know innovative consultancy companies that can help. Just let me know. One of my favourites in The Netherlands is Focus Orange (also of course because if the name).

Success, let me know if you need more, an hour of brainstorming via Skype is always possible!

Added on April 25, 2018





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Test: does your personality fit with the HR profession? Tue, 17 Apr 2018 04:26:28 +0000 Do you want to find out, to what extend your profile fits with the HR profession? The Swipeable is a simple personality test, based on the Big-5 factor model, that can be used for that. We want to test the test with a group of 250 people.

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On April 17, 2018, we reached 250 participants, so the test is closed. 

The Big 5 factor model

The Big 5 factor model is widely used in personality tests. In its traditional format, you must answer many questions in a questionnaire. People responsible for selection, in organisations and agencies, are looking for simpler and more attractive ways to conduct personality testing. Speed and visual attractiveness are high on their wish list.

The “Swipeable”: easy and fast testing

Peter van der Bel, of the Centre for Applied Product Personality Research, showed me an interesting new development, “The Swipeable” (working name). He and his team developed an adaptive Big 5 personality test, that can be completed in a couple of minutes. On your smartphone, you are presented with a series of each time two pictures, and you must choose the picture that fits you best. After you have made 10-15 choices, your report is ready.

This new test has been validated, and is now ready to be launched. As it is possible, to determine which Big 5 personality profile matches best with certain jobs and professions, the test can be a worthwhile element in HR profiling, matching and selection processes.

Peter and his team would like to test the Swipeable’s matching functionality with a group of HR professionals, and I would like to give maximum 250 people in my network the opportunity to participate.

How can I participate?

Participation is simple:

  • You complete the test (see instructions below)
  • After around 10 days you will receive:
    • Your individual report
    • The best practice report for the Senior HR Professional role
    • The percentage that indicates how your individual profile matches with the best practice profile of a Senior HR Professional (as established based on subject matter expertise)

On May 1, 2018, or when we reach 250 participants, participation is no longer possible.

On April 17, 2018, we reached 250 participants, so the test is closed. 

We will analyse the results and report back to the participants (thank you all!!).

If we decide to do a second round of testing, we will communicate via this blog and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions, please let me know (


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How can HR give time back to the organisation? Fri, 13 Apr 2018 10:00:59 +0000 HR: stop with using (wasting) more and more time of the employees and managers in the organisation, please give us some time back! How can HR give time back to the organisation? Some ideas.

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Give me my time back!

After a presentation yesterday, I spoke to some senior HR professionals of big multinationals. They liked my preaching about the virtues of HR tech, but warned me that maybe I should also spend some attention to the other side of the coin: the virtues of less technology, combined with the virtues of less HR. In their organisations the assignment to all staff groups was: stop with using (wasting) more and more time of the employees and managers in the organisation, please give us some time back! An example that was mentioned concerned performance management. In this organisation they calculated that all the work around the performance management process for one employee costed manager and employee around 10 hours (preparation, two formal meetings per year, completing the online forms, meeting with HR to review the results etc.). By simplifying the process (no mandatory meetings, no forms, no review meetings, just one annual rating to be submitted per employee by the manager), HR was able to give back many hours to the organisation (to the relief of managers and employees).
Especially with regards to big HR systems the promises have always been big, but most of the time the implementation of these systems and the related standardised global processes, result in more work (and agony), for employees, for managers, for HR and for the implementation partners (who are fuelling this machine, as this is the way they earn their money).

How can HR give back time to the organisation?

Yesterday’s conversation triggered me. I was inspired by the conversation, also because it confirmed some of the trends I published end of last year (“Power to the People“). Some first ideas on how HR can start giving time back to the organisation (I stopped at seven, but the list can be a lot longer). Best way of course is to approach this in a more structured way. Measure the time a sample of managers, employees and HR professionals spend on different activities, and estimate the value these activities add to core activities of the organisation (e.g. serving clients and bringing in new clients).

1. Stop with the formal performance management process

As described above, a lot of time can be saved here. Rely on the employees and their managers to sort things out.

2. No more headcount reporting by HR

Headcount reporting is never easy. The headcount report delivered by the financial team out of the ERP system is always different from the report delivered by HR. Aligning the two reports costs a lot of time. For what sake? Maybe it is best just to rely on the report from Finance.
More general: what is done with all the reports that are prepared by HR?

3. No more talent- and succession management reviews

If I could get back all the time I spent on preparing talent- and succession management reviews, I would be years younger. Most of the time spend on these processes is a waste of time. Window dressing for the Supervisory Board. The outcomes are hardly ever really used, and if there is a critical vacancy good candidates are often brought in from outside. Read: 10 trends in succession management.

4. Reduce the number of HR business partners

I quote from an article I published earlier this week (“10 trends in HR organisations“): “The work of most HR Business Partners is not strategic, but operational. Most of their work can be split in three areas:

  1. Work that should not be done by HR, but by the line managers/ employees (like talking to employees with performance issues).
  2. Work that can be managed by a HR system (like managing the performance reviews).
  3. Work that belongs in the HR service center (like answering all kind of questions from managers and employees).

Big organisations that are transforming their HR, move most of the HR Business Partners and their work to the HR Service Center (where you need less of these kind of professionals).”

5. No leadership credos and what have you

Some organisations are still busy crafting their leadership profiles, often with the help of external consultants. Stopping this is a big opportunity to give some expensive time back to the organisation. Most of these leadership models look very similar. For the communication department: same message, but replace “leadership model” with “purpose statement”.

6. No more “every manager should be a coach”

The credo “every manager should be a good coach” has cost many organisations a lot of time. This is like flogging a dead horse. Most managers are not good coaches and they never will be. Leave coaching to people who like it and who are good at it. Maybe you don’t need them inside your organisation, as there is a big pool of good coaches available outside.

7. Stop with most of the internal general management programs

The internal leadership and management development programs are big time consumers. The effect of these programs if often very difficult to measure, and looking at the average engagement level of employees the hypothesis is, that the effects are minimal. Scrap your leadership academy, and loads of valuable time will flow back into the organisation.

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10 Trends in HR organisations Tue, 10 Apr 2018 09:39:13 +0000 HR organisations are changing. What are some of the trends we are sensing? In this article 10 trends the HR Trend Institute sees. Some inspiration to use, when you are considering to transform your HR organisation.

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HR organisations are changing. What are some of the trends we are sensing?

1. HR is mainly HR Operations

Most of what HR does, can be captured under the label HR operations. World class HR operations are key, and many organisations are carving out and centralising HR operations. Outsourcing or partially outsourcing is certainly an option. Centers in Poland, the Philippines and India are delivering high level services at low costs. Outside the HR Service Center, what is left in HR? Maybe you only need high level HR strategic advice.

2. Focus on service and hospitality

The requirements for the people in HR operations are different, and probably we need a new breed of HR professionals who can run HR as a service organisation. In HR services both IT and hospitality are important. Organisations that measure how employees experience their journey, often find that employees are not very happy with how they can find relevant HR information (often on the intranet). A top-notch HR service centre is very important for a positive candidate and employee experience. 24/7. Friendly chatbots that help employees and managers. High level professionals that can help when the programmed processes do not offer a solution and when the issue is too difficult for the chatbot.
Read our posts: “HR Operations in the lift” and “HR, please give me a menu

3. HR Business Partners in decline

Twenty years ago, Ulrich and Brockbank published their famous HR business partner model, in their book Human Resources Champions. Although not the intention of the authors, there were clearly perceived differences in status between the different roles. Especially on the dimension Strategic vs Operational, most HR professionals favoured strategic above operational. For years, the ambition of most HR professionals was to become a real strategic business partner. Unfortunately, many HR professionals did not have the skills and experience to realise their ambition.
Today we see the first signs of the decline of the HR Business Partner. The work of most HR Business Partners is not strategic, but operational. Most of their work can be split in three areas:

  1. Work that should not be done by HR, but by the line managers/ employees (like talking to employees with performance issues).
  2. Work that can be managed by a HR system (like managing the performance reviews).
  3. Work that belongs in the HR service center (like answering all kind of questions from managers and employees).

Big organisations that are transforming their HR, move most of the HR Business Partners and their work to the HR Service Center (where you need less of these kind of professionals).

4. From HR to People to Workforce

HR as a term seems to last long. In the last years, you see ‘HR’ replaced by ‘People’ more and more. Chief People Officers and VP’s of People Operations are popping up everywhere. The next move is probably to ‘Workforce’. The workforce consists of people and robots/ bots of all kinds. The scope becomes bigger than just humans.

5. Specialists above Generalists

Most of the people that are needed in HR related professions, will be specialists. Specialists are needed in all kind of old and new areas. Old: recruitment, selection, comp & ben, training and coaching. New: people analytics, agile coaches and performance consultants.

6. EX = CX = Marketing

HR is currently embracing the employee experience (EX). Here HR can learn a lot from Marketing, who have for a long time been working on designing and enhancing the customer experience (CX). If Marketing is so good at this, why not assign the EX also to Marketing? Most HR efforts today are focused on employer branding and recruitment. Maybe this is better off in the hands of specialists.

7. Shared resources for Analytics

Data analysts are in high demand. Organisations are gearing up their analytics capabilities in different domains. HR has been lagging, and is now trying to catch up. It makes sense to share the scarce data analytics resources. Create a central team, that can be used by different groups. HR knowledge and experience can easily be added.

8. Systems take over much of the traditional HR work

Although the promises of the big HR systems have been big, many of them have not lived up to the expectations. Early adaptors have spent a lot of money to tailor the systems to their needs, and often the implementation of the HRIS created a lot of work for HR and implementation partners. Persistence seems to pay off now. The HR systems have become a lot better, and organisations realise that if they want to reap the benefits, they better not tailor too much and they better spend the money upfront, instead of half-heartedly, resulting in slow implementations. Connecting innovative specialised hr tech solutions to the bigger systems is also becoming easier.

9. The CEO is also the CHRO

Modern CEO’s are also CHRO’s or Chief People Officers. Do these CEO’s need a CHRO/CPO in their top team? In many organisations the CHRO is basically the Head of People Operations, with the final responsibility for People/ HR Operations. The role of strategic advisor in the people and organisation domain, can also be fulfilled by others, like the big strategic consultancies or HR strategic consultants.

10. From PTB to EI

The tide is slowly turning, from PTB (please the boss) to EI (employee intimacy). Really understanding the wishes, needs and capabilities of employees is getting more important, and this employee intimacy is required to design relevant employee journeys. The question is, if HR can play an important role in this shift. There might be others who are better in designing the employee experience (see 6). The boss does not need pleasers but challengers, and this role might be better in the hands of high level strategic consultants.

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How to increase the impact of HR Mon, 09 Apr 2018 15:37:12 +0000 How to increase the impact of HR? In this article 12 ingredients that help to increase the impact of HR. On number 1: HR speaks the language of the business.

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What is good (or even better “world class”) HR?

In this article, I review 12 ingredients of what I consider good HR.
Good HR is HR that makes a major contribution to achieving the objectives of the business: HR with impact.

1. HR speaks the language of business

The HR handbook has many chapters. Many HR professionals want to implement the complete handbook. Much time has already been lost with the design and implementation of competency profiles. Because HR wants them so badly. However, the starting point for HR should not be the HR handbook, but the current issues of the business. HR must understand these issues, and then choose and design the most impactful HR intervention.

Question 1: To what extent does your HR team speaks the language of the business?

2. HR works multidisciplinary

In many organizations, the staff is divided into different areas. Finance, Legal, Strategy, Communications, Knowledge Management, IT, HR and special projects. This division can lead to silos and power struggles between the staff departments. Which department has the ear of the CEO and the Board? Which department has the largest budget?
Most issues today require a multidisciplinary approach. Example: how can we connect our employees worldwide on different themes? Global communities can only be created if IT, HR, Communications and Legal join forces. HR is in the position to act as a connector between the different groups.

Question 2: How good is your HR team in connecting the various disciplines within the organisation?

3. HR is more leader than follower

HR is often submissive. Submission is often accompanied by fear, and fear is a very bad adviser. Regularly I hear HR say: I think it is a good idea, but how do I sell it to my boss? Once I attended a meeting for HR professionals where a CIO told how in her organisation, using Google+, several effective communities were created. The questions from the audience were focused on control. Who decides which communities are created? What do you do when people do not want to participate or if abuse is made?

Question 3: Which description fits better with your HR team: leaders or followers?

4. HR has clear principles

Each organization will benefit from clear and transparent principles. The values of organizations are important and HR can be a good guardian of these values. ‘Integrity’ is in most organizations one of the published values. In translating the values of the organization in desired behavior for leaders and other employees, HR can play an important role.
Also in the design of compensation and benefits, it is important to be guided by clear principles.

Question 4: Does HR have clear principles?

Read: To a more human and holistic HR

5. HR is flexible

If you ask HR a question, the answer is generally: this is not possible / this is not allowed. Equality and fairness are often important principles for HR. This makes it difficult for HR to make exceptions. Because if we do that for you, everybody will come along! If you want to promote diversity and if you want to get the best out of employees, it fits less and less to apply rules to which no exceptions can be made.

Question 5: Is your HR department sufficiently flexible and employee focused?

Read: One size does not fit all

6. HR has a sense of humor

There is often too little laughter. We must hurry! We must move on! It helps if HR can take some distance, and adds some humor to the mix. What are we doing? Do we not take ourselves too seriously?

Question 6: Can you laugh with HR or do you laugh about HR?

7. HR likes to experiment

Too much time is wasted in developing and discussing plans. While you are discussing plans, nothing happens. What we want is often not so difficult to determine. We want motivated employees. We want the strategy to be understood. We want the best people in the right place.
It is more difficult to determine how we can achieve our goals. Experimenting helps. Do a test with a small group and see if it works. “Whatever works” could also be the motto for HR.

Question 7: Does your HR team dare to experiment?

Read: 7 aspects of agile HR

8. HR can implement

See point 7: not the What but the How is often the problem. There is a graveyard with plans that are not or half-heartedly implemented. HR must be the king of fast and successful implementation.

Question 8: Is your HR good at implementing major projects?

Read: Making an HR Plan

9. HR dares to innovate

Many organisations want to copy other organisations. The benchmark thinking preached by many consulting organisations has done no good. Why would you want to do what others do? Why would you not want to be an innovator and front-runner? HR can take the lead, especially because many of the current HR practices need to be renewed.

Question 9: Does your HR team dare to innovate?

Read: 7 conditions that help to be innovative in HR

10. HR has a strong network

The network of HR can work as an accelerator. If HR has quick access to partners with unique knowledge, HR can quickly implement creative and innovative solutions. HR as a spider in the network of change agents and key employees of the organisation, can quickly sense if changes can count on sufficient support. If the CHRO has a good network, she can build a strong HR team.

Question 10: Does HR have a large and strong network?

Read: Organisational Network Analysis

11. HR can calculate

With the current computing power, it is possible to quickly analyse data. HR analytics provides the ability to produce facts and not opinions. Myths and prejudices can be unraveled. Predictions about the future can be made fact based.

Question 11: Does HR use of the opportunities offered by people analytics?

Read: People Analytics – 5 steps

12. HR comes with practical solutions

In the end organizations have to work. HR is there to come with simple workable solutions. Keep moving, and adapt to the increasing speed.

Question 12: Does HR come with practical and simple solutions?

Read: HR, keep it simple

Checklist HR with impact

An earlier version of this article was published on the website of the HR Trend Institute in 2015

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HRcoreLAB 2018: Personalisation, HR Tech and Agility Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:05:44 +0000 Taru Salo is the HR Director of the Finnish company Destia. She visited the HRcoreLAB that took place in Barcelona, on March 13 and 14. In this article her observations and takeaways.

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Working as the HR Director of Destia, a leading Finnish infrastructure company, it’s my duty to understand the global HR trends and best practices, and to consider what impact or opportunities these present with regards to our work and business. But at times you need to distance yourself from the daily work and reflect whether you are going in the right direction. These were the key reasons why I found myself attending the HRcoreLAB conference in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this month.

The focus of HRcoreLAB 2018

The conference focused on future recruitment, agile HR and talent analytics. Browsing through the conference agenda, I selected the presentations to attend based on the challenges my team is working on now, on the fields of talent management, cultural change and recruitment. The construction industry has been suffering from low productivity development. On top of this, we are struggling with lack of talented project managers, at least here in Finland.  At Destia, we are trying to enhance attractiveness for the whole industry to ensure capable workforce, also in the future, and hope that automatisation, robotisation and AI will in turn help to increase productivity. Given this, also HR analytics and technology are important in our current plans. It was exciting to see how big a role technology had in the success stories that were shared in Barcelona. AI and machine learning algorithms will be an amazing benefit to HR, and allow us to focus more on individuals,  and act based on facts and data. We are moving into an era where real-time data based insights and knowledge about people will play a key role in making organisations more successful.

Agile is here to stay

I started off with Tom Haak’s keynote about agile elements in HR. Tom was not wasting time to justify the importance of agile HR; his message to us all was that agile is already here to stay. He went straight to business and asked: how agile is your organisation and How agile is your HR team? After this Tom focused on the HR related elements in the agile organisation and the issues we as HR professionals can make an impact. His key advice was “Lead by example, show the way!”

agile hr

The Google example

The war for talents appears to be a global issue, the next step there is to improve the employee experience and the employer brand together with marketing. Recruitment process should be reviewed through the candidates’ eyes to improve the overall employee experience. Also, the insights made by neuroscience and human behaviour studies will be essential for the development of the future organisations. Kim Wyley’s speech about Google’s company culture and change management had a big impact on me. Not just the content but also her inspirational presentation. Kylie summarised quite nicely how we act when we are facing a change and why addressing change both rationally and emotionally is important together with the feet of chance. Feet meaning skills, competence and knowledge.

Kim Wylie

The importance of KPI’s

Hearing these success stories reminded me about fundamentals. It’s crucial to follow development actions via KPI`s. Quite often we forget this simple thing while running HR development projects: in the end success is always measured via impact to business. Secondly, full engagement from the top management is critical in every HR development project. Arne-Christian van der Tang’s inspirational transformation story about TomTom was a great reminder of this. He told us how their CEO made his expectations very clear to all line managers when launching new leadership principles: “This is what we expect. Don’t make a mistake with this one”. No wonder that their leadership development project was successful as the message was clear to all.

My takeaways

Here are my concrete takeaways from the conference:

  • Development of HR technology will have an impact on the performance of the future organizations.
  • Enhancement of analytics will be seen in the future.
  • Learning will dramatically change via e-learning tools.
  • The employee experience needs to be aligned with the employee expectations.
  • The candidate experience should be analyzed and measured like the customer experience.
  • Strategic HR is an essential part of successful organisations. We need to separate operational HR from strategical to have time to review long-term questions.

A big thank you to Tom Haak and all the other presenters as well as to Teneo for the conference. As always, the discussions during the breaks were eventually the best part of the whole experience. Looking forward to staying in touch with my new, European wide network of amazing HR colleagues, let’s keep the discussion going!


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Storytelling for HR Mon, 12 Mar 2018 11:44:11 +0000 An area where HR clearly can improve is storytelling. In this article 9 tips for HR professionals on how they can improve their story. What is the compelling story of HR?

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An area where HR clearly can improve is storytelling

If you ask an HR team: “Tell me your story?”, it often takes a long time before the team has put a coherent and compelling story together. Sometimes they can show their plan (25+ pages in PowerPoint), but it becomes more difficult if they have to summarise the plan in a five-minute pitch. Often I loose interest after the first paragraphs.

Some tips for your HR story

1. Design your story with your audience in mind

Think about your audience before you design your story. Is it the CEO? Is it your management team? Your global HR leadership team? Your industry network? Try to tell the story in the language of your audience.

2. Stick to the rule of three

Divide your story in three parts. The common “Why?/What?/How?” is a very useful framework. Stories that are divided into three parts seem to work better.

3. Connect your story to the business issues of today

A compelling HR story addresses a business issue of today. A business issue is not the same as an HR issue. HR issues can be very important, but they should be connected to a business issue. Lack of talent is not a business issue. “How can we grow in Asia?” is. Because we want to grow in Asia (as there is a growing demand for our services in this region), we will need more talent in Asia. How can we find talent in Asia?

4. Add facts and detail. Stories are more convincing if they contain concrete facts

Most audiences like facts and detail. “In the coming five years we will have to recruit 1,000 new engineers in China and Malaysia” sounds better than “We will have to recruit many engineers in Asia”.
Of course too many facts and too much detail and spoil your story.

5. Give some examples

Illustrate your story with some examples. “Last year we recruited 200 young engineers in China. After one year 49 had left the company. A good example is David Chang. David studied in UK and US (an MBA) before he returned to China to work for us. I talked to David last week. The main reason he gave for his departure is that the career path in our company is very unclear. He moves to company X, where the package is comparable, but they offer him an international traineeship”.

6. Imagine the future

Picture a compelling future. “If we make the required investment, in three years our Asian Leadership Academy will be able to train 500 young professionals per year”.

7. Words and phrases to avoid

  • Competency framework
  • Blueprint
  • Strategic scenarios
  • The War for Talent
  • Business Partner
  • An integral approach
  • Change starts at the top
  • Purpose (I heard someone joking the other day, after another presentation loaded with the need for purpose: “My purpose is itching…”)
  • Agile
  • We live in a VUCA world

8. Don’t make your story too long

Long-windiness and HR go very well together. Surprise your audience and be brief and concise. TED talks are maximum 18 minutes, and good presenters can tell a very good story in 18 minutes or less.

9. Use some pictures, but not too many

It can be very powerful to tell your story without illustrations. If you want to use illustrations, spend ample time on the design of your graphics. If you design a couple of nice informative illustrations, you will be able to use these make your story stronger.

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“Use your imagination, HR”. Interview with Tom Haak Tue, 13 Feb 2018 08:35:56 +0000 In September 2017, at Zukunft Personal 2017, Tom Haak was interviewed by Agnes Uhereczky, of the WorkLife Hub. You can watch the interview on YouTube. 

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In September 2017, at Zukunft Personal 2017, Tom Haak was interviewed by Agnes Uhereczky, of the WorkLife Hub. You can watch the interview on YouTube (8 minutes).

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HR and the major 2018 Consumer Trends Mon, 12 Feb 2018 06:05:31 +0000 End 2017 published a report on the 2018 consumer trends. In this article, we look at the possible implications of these consumer trends for HR.

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HR can learn a lot from marketing and market research. Employees are consumers, and why would they behave a lot differently in the workplace than in the marketplace?
Last year we used the terrific material of on the 2017 consumer trends as the basis for our article: 2017 consumer trends and the opportunities for HR. Time for an update. In this article we look at the major 2018 consumer trends, as reported by Trendwatching, and consider what the implications in the workplace could possibly be. The extensive report of Trendwatching is summarised in an article and in a video.

1. A-Commerce

“In 2018, shoppers will look to hand over aspects of the retail experience -think sourcing, negotiating, purchase and delivery arrangements- to algorithms and smart devices.”

A-Commerce stands for “automated commerce”. People like convenience, and everybody loves good service. Amazon’s cashier-free convenience store, launched in 2016, is a good retail example.
In the workplace there are many areas where, with the help of AI, the employee experience can be improved. Some examples:

  • From active to passive recruitment: as a candidate you no longer have to apply for a job, the clever sourcing software will find you, and the recruitment chatbot will ask you if you are interested in a new opportunity (and the software can probably predict that you are interested, before you are aware yourself). Read: The changing scope of recruitment.
  • From active to passive employee mood measurement. In the past, employees had to complete questionnaires, to measure there level of engagement, today it can be done in an easier and passive way, e.g. by analysing the e-mails of the employees (with KeenCorp). Read: Employee mood measurement trends. 
  • If learning solutions could be offered at an appropriate moment in the workflow, based on real time observations of the behaviour the employees, this would be a big step forward. Read: 6 trends in learning and development.
  • With some imagination, you can easily imagine many areas where the application of this trend could make a real difference, like: automatic access control, in the company restaurant, during onboarding.

2. Assisted Development

“In 2018, consumers with complex lifestyles will look to brands to help them realise personal life goals and write new narratives of adulthood.”

This trend clearly has implications and creates opportunities in the workplace. How can organisations help their employees to “realise personal goals an write new narratives of adulthood’? We see some early signals.

  • More and more organisations, especially startups and scaleups, take their staff on skiing holidays in the winter.
  • The increased attention to wellbeing in the workplace. Read: Trends in improving wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Organisations that stimulate employees to start their own business, and gives them financial support in the initial phase.
  • Organisations that provide breakfast, lunch and sometime dinner (or the ingredients for dinner).

3. Virtual Companions

“In 2018, virtual personalities will prove they have the power to entertain, educate and heal. They will make the leap from assistants to companions.”

Trendwatching gives a nice example of KLM. Last year KLM provided, as a test, passengers that visited Amsterdam with a smart care tag. The smart audio luggage tip, with GPS, provided the visitors with tips about the places they visited.
If you want an impression of what kind of conversation you have with a chatbot, you can try Replika. “Replika is an AI friend that’s always there for you”. Replika tries to learn as much as possible about you, so that it can replicate your personality.Replika

Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple Homepod can also be considered as virtual companions. If you are alone at home, you can play games with Google Home, and the other devices have comparable features.


In the HR domain, chatbots are quickly gaining ground (Read: The invasion of chatbots). Most of these chatbots are still very transactional, mainly used in recruiting and as interface with the HR service centre. Next step: the chatbots become your friends and allies in the organisation. Onboarding solution Talmundo, for example, is experimenting with chatbots. You can imagine that the personal guide in the onboarding journey of a new employee is a friendly chatbot, whom you can ask anything, and with whom the employee can also share personal reflections. Alexa and the other devices are also entering the workplace. Read: Amazon is putting Alexa in the office. 

4. Forgiving by Design

“In 2018, consumers expect all kinds of products and services to forgive them when their past – the product they selected, the size they chose, the service they wanted – doesn’t match their future. How? By near-magically adapt around their changing needs, wants and whims.” Expect “Design forgiving offerings that adapt to changing needs before your customer switches to a competitor”. 

This trend has important implications for the workplace, and adaptation to this trend is already in motion. When people are no longer hired for specific jobs, there is more flexibility to “adept to their changing needs, wants and whims”. Sensing these “needs, wants and whims” is key, and unfortunately the sensing capabilities in organisations often need development. There is room for improvement, but also here HR can learn a lot from the Amazon’s and Netflixes of this world.  Read: On size does not fit all and The end of static jobs.

5. Glass Box Wrecking Balls

“In 2018, your internal culture is becoming a key part of your brand.”

Transparency is increasing, and this creates opportunities and threats. When organisations become glass boxes, candidates and employees can compare the reality with the stories. If there is not a good match, the consequences can be severe (ref. the Uber story). Transparency in organisations is increasing, but the pace is often slow. Take for example salaries. On average men earn more than women in comparable jobs. If salary data in organisations would be easily available, this might cause one of the “glass box wrecking balls” to appear.  This is the same with people engagement data. The outcomes of engagement surveys are most of the time not transparent. What would happen if they were?  Read: Employer branding – 7 trends and What the pay gap between men and women really looks like.

Five consumer trends that can stimulate your imagination. These five trends alone, offer a lot of possibilities for applications in the workplace.



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Where do the visitors of the HR Trend Institute come from? Tue, 06 Feb 2018 06:00:20 +0000 In 2017 the website of the HR Trend Institute was visited by people from 201 countries! 71% of these visitors came from 15 countries. USA tops the list, followed by India and The Netherlands.

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In 2017 the website of the HR Trend Institute was visited by people from 201 countries! 71% of these visitors came from 15 countries:

  1. USA, with 21% of the total number of visitors
  2. India, 16%
  3. Netherlands, 9%
  4. UK, 6%
  5. Germany, 3%
  6. Canada, 3%
  7. Australia, 2%
  8. Philippines, 2%
  9. Belgium, 2%
  10. Singapore, 2%
  11. Spain, 2%
  12. South Africa, 2%
  13. France, 1%
  14. Thailand, 1%
  15. Italy, 1%

We are very glad with this international list. On the bottom of the list, we find countries with one person that visited our site: Samoa, Cook Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Northers Marina Islands, Anguilla, Faroe Islands, Vanuatu, Montserrat and Mauritania.

Of course, everybody is welcome, and we want to thank everybody who visited the HR Trend Institute in 2017. Hopefully we can continue to inspire you in 2018!



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The Big Purpose Quiz Mon, 05 Feb 2018 06:00:10 +0000 The purpose of organisations is becoming more and more important. What is the purpose? Do you recognise the purpose of well known organisations? Do the BIG Purpose test.

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If you want to create confusion in a group of consultants, you should start a discussion about the purpose of organisations. There is always someone who starts explaining (with an underlying tone of “why do I always have to explain the basics?”) what a purpose is, and what the difference is between purpose, mission, vision and values. For a moment it seems to be clear, but that never lasts long. Especially the boundaries between purpose and mission are blurry (or was it between purpose and vision?).

Time for the BIG Purpose Quiz. The main question is number 2: are you able to match 62 organisations with their purpose/ mission statement?

1. What is the purpose of an organisation?

a. “Defining purpose is a straightforward proposition. In its simplest form, purpose is the organisation’s reason for being (-).  It is a combination of vision, mission, and values. To define the purpose, you want to ask three questions: What is our vision? What is our Mission and What are our values”.  (Ref John Baldoni: Give your organisation a reason to believe in itself).

b. “The Purpose of an organisation is not the answer to the question “What do you do?” which typically focuses on products, services and customers, but rather the answer to the question “Why is the work you do important?” (Ref. Sheila Margolis: What is an organisation’s purpose?“).

c. “Vision = The picture of our desired future state. Mission = What we do and who we serve to get there.  Values = The beliefs that underpin our behaviours in order to make mission and vision a reality.  Purpose = Why we do all this in the first place, why we exist”. (Ref. Gina Hayden: What is your organisation’s purpose?).

d. “A mission statement is a short sentence or paragraph used by a company to explain, in simple and concise terms, its purpose(s) for being. These statements serve a dual purpose by helping employees to remain focused on the tasks at hand, as well as encouraging them to find innovative ways of moving towards an increasingly productive achievement of company goals”. (Ref. Investopia: Mission Statement).

e. “You begin with a purpose. A purpose is the “why” your organisation has begun a journey, guided by the deeply-held values and beliefs that inspire it to make a difference”.  (Ref. Brian Sooy: The difference between purpose and mission).

2. From which organisations are the following purpose/ mission statements?


1. Belong anywhere.

2. Changing business for good.

3. Driving prosperity through transport solutions.

4. Empower people to experience the world.

5. Inspire the world, create the future.

6. Improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation.

7. The maintenance of international peace and security.

8. To provide the best customer service possible.

9. We mobilise personal, social and business networking.

10. To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

11. We save people money so they can live better.

12. To improve the health and happiness of the world.

13. To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.

14. To build trust in society and solve important problems.

15. Discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives.

16. Connect, protect, explore and inspire the world through aerospace innovation.

17. To create a better everyday life for the many people.

18. To be a company that inspires and fulfils your curiosity.

19. We push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines.

20. To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

21. Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

22. To pioneer nutritional discoveries that help people live longer, healthier lives.

23. Empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more.

24. Innovate to bring therapies to patients that significantly improve their lives.

25. To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.

26. We make medicines that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives.

27. To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.

28. To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.

29. To connect everybody to live a better today and build a better tomorrow.

30. To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

31. To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

32. To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.

33. To provide authentic hospitality by making a difference in the lives of the people we touch every day.

34. We brew great beers, we build great brands and are committed to surprising & exciting our consumers everywhere.

35. To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

36. We enable our clients to make informed decisions and well-considered investments as they develop our natural and built environment.

37. To deliver information on the people, ideas and technologies changing the world to our community of affluent business decision makers.

38. Shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.

39. To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.

40. To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilising the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

41. To make unique sports cars that represent the finest in Italian design and craftsmanship, both on the track and on the road.

42. To help our clients create such high levels of economic value that together we set new standards of excellence in our respective industries.

43. To prepare and sell quick service food to fulfil our guest’s needs more accurately, quickly, courteously, and in a cleaner environment than our competitors.

44. We will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people.

45. Our purpose goes beyond what we sell. We’re using our reach to be a positive force. For our customers. Our people. Our communities. Our world.

46. To help people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from health care.

47. To be the most creative and thoughtful investment consultants in the industry, helping clients of all types to achieve results through sophisticated, client centric options.

48. To succeed requires the highest standards of corporate behaviour towards everyone we work with, the communities we touch, and the environment on which we have an impact.

49. With our research-driven specialty businesses, we help patients, customers, partners and our communities around the world to live a better life. We deliver entrepreneurial success through innovation.

50. To help our clients make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements in their performance and to build a great firm that attracts, develops, excites, and retains exceptional people.

51. Whatever the challenge, we deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes for our clients. We work collaboratively to create value through built and natural assets that work in harmony with their surroundings.

52. To be the most hospitable company in the world – by creating heartfelt experiences for Guests, meaningful opportunities for Team Members, high value for Owners and a positive impact in our Communities.

53. We make real what matters by setting the benchmark in the way we electrify, automate and digitalise the world around us. Ingenuity drives us and what we create is yours. Together we deliver.

54. To earn customers for life by building brands that inspire passion and loyalty through not only breakthrough technologies but also by serving and improving the communities in which we live and work around the world.

55. To undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.

56. We are committed to giving people and organisations the space they need to realise their dreams and ambitions. We do this because we believe the world is a better place when people are in charge of their own lives, their own development and their own growth.

57. We go deep to unlock insight and have the courage to act. We bring the right people together to challenge established thinking and drive transformation. We work with our clients to build the capabilities that enable organisations to achieve sustainable advantage. We are shaping the future. Together.

58. Our purpose is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. We want to help shape a better and healthier world. We also want to inspire people to live healthier lives. This is how we contribute to society while ensuring the long-term success of our company.

59. We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come. As a result, consumers will reward us with leadership sales, profit and value creation, allowing our people, our shareholders and the communities in which we live and work to prosper.

60. We believe all sustainable progress is driven by people with the imagination and determination to improve their future and the futures of those around them. We empower people and organisations to realise their own vision for a better future – however modest or grand. Our purpose therefore is: Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business.

61. As one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, our mission is to provide consumers around the world with delicious, affordable, convenient and complementary foods and beverages from wholesome breakfasts to healthy and fun daytime snacks and beverages to evening treats. We are committed to investing in our people, our company and the communities where we operate to help position the company for long-term, sustainable growth.

62. We believe that oil and gas will remain a vital part of the global energy mix for many decades to come. Our role is to ensure that we extract and deliver these energy resources profitably and in environmentally and socially responsible ways. We seek a high standard of performance, maintaining a strong and growing long-term position in the competitive environments in which we operate. We aim to work closely with our customers, our partners and policymakers to advance a more efficient and sustainable use of energy and natural resources.


The purpose/ mission statements of the following organisations are in the list:

ABN AMRO, AirBNB, Amazon, Amnesty, Aon Hewitt, Arcadis, AstraZeneca, Bain & Co, BBC, BCG, Boeing, Booking, Burger King, Cisco, Coca Cola, Danone/Nutricia, Deutsche Telekom, Eli Lilly, Facebook, Ferrari, Forbes, GM, Google, Headspace, Heineken, Hilton, Hyatt, IKEA, ING, LinkedIn, McDonalds, McKinsey, Medecins san Frontiers, Merck, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike, Nordstrom, Novartis, Pepsico, Pfizer, P&G, Philips, PWC, Red Cross, Samsung, Shell, Siemens, Sony, Starbucks, Sweco, Tesla, Toyota, Trip Advisor, Twitter, UN, Unilever, Virgin, Vodafone, Volvo, Wallmart, Zappos


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Research: what are the expectations of young employees? Thu, 01 Feb 2018 06:00:53 +0000 Remote-how with some partners, have started an interesting research project: 
the "EU labor market 2018 - Expectations vs. Reality" research. You can participate.

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What is Remote-how?

Recently we got in touch with an interesting start-up: Remote-how. Remote-how is a monthly remote work & travel incentive program, to attract and retain top talents. They organise the possibility for young top talent to work at a remote location for one month. During this month they continue working, and also learn a lot about all the important aspects of remote working. And of course, they have a lot of fun and learn about new cultures. If the program is a joint program, they connect to top talent of other companies as well.

Research opportunity

Remote-how with some partners, have started an interesting research project: the “EU labor market 2018 – Expectations vs. Reality” research. You can learn more about it here., together with companies like PwC and Amazon, will identify the most up to date insights about needs of young employees in the areas of employee benefits and remote work, confronting them with existing strategies of HR departments.

Why is it worth to join the research? All participating companies will receive a cost-free benchmarking analysis to other businesses from their industry or country.

If you want to learn more about the report, you can easily schedule a call with Remote-how team member – just click here.


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Trends in improving well-being in the workplace Wed, 31 Jan 2018 15:27:52 +0000 In the recent times, more and more organisations are taking the wellbeing of their employees a lot more seriously. This article covers 7 workplace wellbeing trends.

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Wellbeing at work gets more attention

In the recent times, more and more organisations are taking the wellbeing of their employees a lot more seriously. And why shouldn’t they? Research has shown that a healthy and engaged workforce can cut down the cost per employee more than $1500. If yours is a large organisation, this means a lot of money can be saved, which in turn translates to an increase in the return on investments. Improving the wellbeing of your workforce has a lot of obvious benefits.

  • It increases the productivity of your employees —  With the help of wellbeing initiatives, employees feel a lot healthier — both physically and mentally. With the reduction in stress, increases the energy to perform better.
  • Brings the team in cohesion — Wellbeing initiatives involve team-building activities, that bring your team together.  It gives the whole organization a shared purpose for which they work.
  • Creates a positive work environment — Practicing mindfulness and meditation are facets of improving wellbeing in the workplace. These activities will decrease the stress levels of your employees and create an overall positive work environment within the organization.

There is no one way to create a wellbeing programme for your organization. Different companies use different modes for fostering their mental and physical wellbeing. However, there are a few wellbeing trends that have worked for a lot of large corporations.

In this article, we cover some of the top wellbeing trends that you can implement in your organisation to improve employee productivity and generate a higher return on investments. Take a look.  

7 workplace wellbeing trends

1. Implement on-site yoga classes

A lot of large companies are outsourcing Yoga experts within their organisation to create an environment of meditation and mindfulness. You can put in an hour before work for employees that are interested in the same. For companies that function on a large scale, this can be extremely useful. Since they can afford the assistance of experts, they won’t have to spend time on coming up with other cheap (and sometimes ineffective) plans.  

2. Give gym discounts

This trend is a great way to render incentives to your employees while ensuring their physical well being. Since it would be given out as an incentive, they’d be naturally motivated to work better, and their physical well being will also, in turn, improve their work productivity. Two shots from the same arrow, wouldn’t you say? Another aspect you can work on is redesigning your office layout. Keep ample space for the employees to move around and freshen up once in a while. Use of ergonomic chairs, standing-desks, etc. can also be imparted. This will keep the work culture non-monotonous and keep the workforce active!

3. Be flexible in working hours

Rigidity in working is a lost cause now. Organisations are becoming more and more open-minded about a lot of things. One of those things is the flexibility in working hours. Every employee is different. They have their different situations and problems. Therefore, if it is possible, you should be more flexible in assigning work hours for your employees as long as they do the work right. This will inculcate a natural sense of loyalty and satisfaction towards the work and reduce stress.

4. Promote usage of productivity boosting devices

Wearable devices like Fitbit, Apple’s Smart Watch, etc. can help your employees in monitoring their personal well-being. These smart wearables can track personal activities of an individual like sleep quality, calories, pulse rate, etc. This will help your employees in not only staying active & healthy, but also make them proactive. In addition to this, the organisations can also promote mindfulness and meditation activities. Apps like Headspace can serve this purpose well!

5. Incorporate team activities

Team bonding activities have always happened in organisations, and they will continue to happen. However, most team bonding activities fall flat. Employees get the feeling that there may be a hidden agenda behind it, and they end up becoming formulaic and meaningless. Make sure that you spice up these activities with new, creative ideas so that your team remains interested and it feels organic. Perhaps do not assign a rigid time for it? Surprise your team with a weekend getaway with the whole organisation. I’m sure you can think of great ideas.

6. Financial advising

This is one trend that not a lot of employers think about, but should. Financial crisis can be a huge burden for any employee. It also results in a lot of stress. Addressing these concerns becomes imperative to ensure that an employee’s productivity is not hampered. Giving financial advice and education to your employees from different walks of life can be greatly beneficial for your employee’s well being.

7. Limit office hours to boost productivity!

It is essential that you restrict the office hours and keep the work-timings fixed. You can communicate to your employees that you do not expect them to work outside these foxed hours. This will promote a sense of relaxation amongst employees and motivates them to maximize their productivity during the working hours.


Right after you implement these initiatives, you should always run a survey to see whether your plans are working or not. Feedback is critical. If one initiative is not working, try another. Keep trying till you find the sweet spot, and achieve the desired work-culture dynamics for your company.


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Watch the webinar HR Trends for 2018 Wed, 24 Jan 2018 10:24:49 +0000 On January 16, 2018, Tom Haak of the HR Trend Institute talked about the HR Trends for 2018, in a webinar organised by Human Resources Today and Kronos.
The recording of the webinar is now available.

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On January 16, 2018, Tom Haak of the HR Trend Institute talked about the HR Trends for 2018, in a webinar organised by Human Resources Today and Kronos.

The recording of the webinar is now available.

“Megatrends” are influencing work and the workplace. What will the future of work look like, and how can organizations use these trends for their benefit?

In his introduction, Tom Haak gives an overview of what he sees as the most important HR trends, and gives examples how organisations and creative innovative suppliers are adapting to the trends.

After this session, you will:

  • Have a better view on current HR trends
  • Be inspired about the possibilities the current trends offer
  • Have some examples about front-runners and innovative suppliers
  • Have some ideas on how you could use the trends to increase the impact of HR in your organisation

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18 roles for HR in 2018 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 18:43:16 +0000 Tom Haak of the HR Trend Institute, describes 18 roles that HR can play in 2018. The Accelerator, the Guardian of the Values, the Smooth Operator and many more. Which roles will you play in the coning year?

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1. The Accelerator

Speed is of utmost importance. HR can help to accelerate processes and decision making. The pace in most organisations is too slow. The year is still the most important planning building block. HR can do a lot to help to increase the speed. Hire speedy persons. Get rid of, or redesign, slow and bureaucratic processes. Stop with one-size-fits-all concepts. Adopt ‘Just-in time’ and get rid of ‘Just-in-case’.

2. The Challenger

We need people who dare to challenge at the top. Group think is observed too often. The plans are always ambitious and will result in more growth. Nobody wants to be the party pooper. Nobody wants to be perceived as a blocker. This is where HR can show its independency, and challenge where others choose to be followers.

3. The Connector

In today’s organisation it is all about connections. HR must focus on building and strengthening the connections. Between countries. Between functional areas. Between old and young. Between Baby Boomers and Gen Y and Gen Z. Between old and new. Between early-adaptors and followers. Between change lovers and stabilisers. Between inner circle and outer circle. Between leaders and followers. Between HQ and the people at the front. Read: Organisational Network Analysis.

4. The Data-cruncher

Traditionally data analysis is not one of the core competencies of HR. It should be, and modern technology will help a lot. HR can have its sensors out wide in the organisation. What is happening with the engagement levels of people in critical projects? What capabilities are slowly eroding? Moving people analytics from descriptive to predictive.

5. The Designer

Can organisations be beautiful? Can organisations be a place where it is fun to be? HR can play a more active role in workplace design. Functionality and efficiency: yes, but let’s as HR add the people element. Let’s also make sure what we design can fulfil the needs of different groups.
Another type of designer is the employee journey designer (see role 7).

6. The Employee Champion

One of the most undervalued roles in the original Ulrich model is finally getting some traction. For years HR has focused on becoming part of senior management (or al least getting as close as possible to senior management). Nobody wanted to be an administrative expert, and focusing on the employees was also very old fashioned. This is changing, and employee intimacy is becoming more important. Read: To a more human and holistic HR.

7. The Employee Journey Designer

The employee journey and the employee experience are becoming mainstream in 2018. Designing the journey, from start to finish, is becoming an important role of HR. Read: Where to start when you want to improve the employee experience?

8. The Experimenter

We can learn a lot of experiments. HR can drive experiments. Do not strive to design the global all-encompassing process, practice or system that will be future-proof. Time goes by and nothing happens. Start experiments with those parts of the organisation that love something new. Implement, learn, adapt and start a new experiment.

9. The Guardian of the Values

Organisations and people become more and more values driven. Strong values need to be nourished and defended. HR leaders should be role models that through their behaviours show that they are living the values.

10. The magician

Top HR professionals can be magicians. For example, by producing surprising insights with the help of people analytics. Management and employees like surprising insights, and HR can provide them. Sourcing surprising candidates is another area where HR can add a lot of value.

11. The meditator

The HR pro keeps her head cool. She is focused and immune to distractions. She finds time to mediate every day. Headspace is her favourite app.

12. The performance consultant

Some people are better in giving feedback than others. It is probably better to make use of the capabilities of these people, then to train all people to give better feedback. Performance consulting is an excellent role for HR: helping good people to become better.
Read: Improving Performance Consulting.

13. The Receptionist

Administrative Expert was the least desirable role in the Ulrich model (see also role 6). An important element in the HR service centre is hospitality. If organisations investigate how employees experience their journey, they often mention how difficult it is to find relevant HR information. The intranet contains may pages, but to find the right information is cumbersome. If you try to contact the HR service centre, they are difficult to reach. Hospitality should be high on the capability list of HR employees in the service centre. Although chatbots will play an important role, for more complex issues we will need human interaction. Read: HR Operations in the lift.

14. The Slacker

Some time ago there was a nice blog with the title “What happened to down time; the extinction of deep thinking & sacred space”. Downtime is needed. HR can be exemplary here as well. Do not plan meetings back-to-back. Do not judge people who allow themselves some slack.

15. The smooth operator

This role is related to role 13, the receptionist. The smooth operator knows her IT-stuff. HR processes and workflows are running smoothly in the background, and offer all the users (candidates, employees, managers) a world class experience. The smooth operator is invisible, but very important as the engine of HR.

16. The Storyteller

2018 will also be a year of storytelling. Through stories we can learn about the ambitions of the company. Through stories we can learn what living the values really means. Through stories we can connect the organisation to the surrounding world. HR could be the master of storytelling.

17. The Techie

HR tech offers numerous opportunities. HR should be tech savvy, and be able to find solutions that can help to increase the impact of HR.  Not an easy role. There are many solutions on the market, and the HR tech landscape is changing every day. Read: HR Tech trends often ignored by HR. Have a look at the HR Tech Community.

18. The Voice

As one of the major HR trends for 2018, we mentioned “Power to the People”. Many organisations are still used to work in a top-down way. In those organisations, also HR finds it difficult to approach issues in a different way. Performance management is a good example. Changing the performance management process is often tackled as an organisation wide issue, and HR needs to find the new uniform solution. In line with the trend called “the consumerisation of HR” employees are expected to take more initiative, being tired of waiting for the organisation and HR, and wanting to be more independent of organisational initiatives. If HR is clever, it senses the needs and ideas in the undercurrent of the organisation, and acts as the voice that expresses these ideas.





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