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!”
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.
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.
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!