5 years HR Trend Institute!

The HR Trend Institute celebrates its fifth anniversary. The HR Trend Institute was registered as a company (B.V.) in March 2014, and started to operate on April 1, 2014. In this blog post some pictures, to look back for one, before accelerating into the next five years!

The Start

The Future of HR

When I was still employed by Arcadis as Global Director HR (2006-2014) I started writing and publishing blog posts around the theme “The Future of HR”. A collecting of these blog posts is still available as eBook in the Apple Book store. In 2013 I decided that I wanted to work more at the front of HR innovations, and I decided to leave Arcadis, which was realised per April 1, 2014. The Future of HR

Was there a plan?

I had some kind of plan. I found two of the pictures I drew when I explained my plan during the first months after the inception. Some explanation:

  • Many people asked me, in those days, what the “earning model” of the HR Trend Institute was. In Dutch: “Verdienmodel” (top left second picture). This question irritated me, because: 1. I did not have a clear earning model and 2. It was not primarily about earning money.
  • The HR Trend Institute would be the engine (“motor”) of the business. The studies of the institute would be used to inspire and advice clients (in the orange house). Originally the plan was to use another name for the consulting activities, the HR Architects (see both drawings). But as the name was taken, this idea did not fly.
  • The HR Trend Institute would work with innovative partners, in HR Tech and other areas (right sideof the pictures)
  • There would be a HR Trend Scan, to be used in organisations to scan to what extend they were using the trends.
  • Picture two also mentions “Trend Spotters”, who would spot trends for the institute.

With some nuances, most elements of the plan have been implemented.

Outline Plan


What was the Why?

Very fashionable in those days: the Why, the What and the How.
I made a picture about the Why, in June 2014. The elements are very clear, and still valid. The work “inspiration” is missing. Today I would not use “help”, but “inspire”.


The first presentation

On May 22, 2014, I gave the first presentation of the HR Trend Institute. At Frisse Blikken, at the Hire Tea event in Utrecht. Many of the ingredients of that presentation are still present today. I was proud to present a demo version of the “happy hat”.

Frisse Blikken

May 22, 2014: HireTea of Frisse Blikken in Utrecht

The Clients

Luckily there were many clients in the last five years, willing to pay me, to inspire, challenge and advice them. And I learned a lot from the clients. What did I do? I have two kind of clients. One: HR teams, often of larger organisations. For them I do a variety of things. Keynotes in large meetings. Workshops with HR leadership teams. Consulting around innovative HR strategies. Some interim management. The second category: conference organizers, mainly focused on HR, but also other groups. For them I deliver keynotes, I chair conferences or streams in a conference, and sometimes I join a panel (not my favourite pastime). I don’t want to mention any clients here, as I like them all!

Deutsche Telekom

May 5, 2017: At an event of Deutsche Telekom in Berlin


February 7, 2019: Presentation at client meeting of NMBRS in Amsterdam

HR Future Lab

June 28, 2018: Workshop at the HR Future Lab of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague

The Partners

In the five years, I have worked together with many partners. I would like to mention a few.

Teneo Events

In 2015 I started to partner with Teneo, and this has been a rewarding partnership. I regularly chair streams in some of their conferences (HRcoreLAB, HRcoreACADEMY, HRcoreNORDIC) and I often present as well. Great conferences, and nice people.

On the photo below some impressions. from left to right:

  • Presenting in Nou Camp, Barcelona, on March 28, 2017.
  • With Teneo founder Michael Nielsen, in Barcelona on March 27, 2017.
  • In Helsinki on May 31, 2017, with Philip Ström and Jouko van Aggelen (Cubiks) and Renaud Nyst (Teneo).
Teneo Barcelona

With partner Teneo in Barcelona and Helsinki

HR Innovation Day Leipzig

Peter Wald is professor HRM at HTWK Leipzig. Each year in May he organises a great event, HR Innovation Day. For three years in a row (2016, 2017 and 2018) I was able to give a keynote at the HR Innovation Day. The presentations I gave are still available on YouTube:

Great events, with inspiring speakers and a great atmosphere. Unfortunately I cannot be present this year!

HR Innovation Day

May 28, 2016: HR Innovation Day, Leipzig

Other partners

Without being extensive, I would like to mention:


June 2, 2017: with Janneke Hohmann (HvA), Manon van Hoesel (RvdB) and Frank Roebroek in Amsterdam

The presentations

Five years, many keynotes and other presentations. On SlideShare I shared nearly 150 presentations. I performed in many countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, England, Switzerland, Austria, Bulgaria, Rumania, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Slovenia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

Many subjects were covered, such as:

  • The latest trends in HR
  • Recruitment Trends
  • Trends in Learning & Development
  • Performance Management 2.0
  • New developments in Compensation & Benefits
  • Trends in Workforce Analytics
  • The future of data-driven HR
  • Improving the Employee Experience with HR tech
  • Personalisation and HR
  • What your employees really want
  • The consumerisation of HR
  • HR in scaleups
  • Key elements of Agile HR
  • Creating a powerful HR strategy
  • The Psychology of People Analytics
  • How AI will disrupt HR
Tom Haak presenting

October 23, 2015: HR Innovation Forum, Sofia

Tom Haak in Brazil

February 13, 2019: Event of Infojobs Brazil, in Sao Paulo

April 4, 2019: 29th EAPM congress in Bled

Guided Tours

A special place for the guided tours I did at Zukunft Personal Europe, in 2017 and 2018. I like this a lot, guiding visitors past innovative and cool HR solution providers. I will do this again in September this year.

virtual tour

September 11, 2018: Guided Tour at Zukunft Personal Europe in Cologne


Blog posts

In five years we published more than 400 blog posts. Many posts are still available on the website.

The Top 10 most viewed blog posts (all time), on April 17, 2019:

  1. 8 major trends for 2018
  2. 10 HR trends for 2017
  3. 11 HR trends for 2016
  4. 10 inspiring trends for 2019
  5. 6 major trends in HR shared services
  6. Trends in HR job titles – update
  7. 9 emerging trends for 2015
  8. 10 talent management trends for 2016
  9. 8 talent management trends for 2018
  10. 7 trends in recruitment and selection

I also regularly publish blog posts in the online magazines of HR.com, Analytics in HR, Digital HR Tech and various other HR related blogs.

Blog posts were translated in various languages, for example in RussianSlovak and Korean.


The HR Trend Institute published two books (so far): “30 years in HR” and “Building Powerful networks – The Arcadis Global Shapers story”. Both books are still available (free) as eBook


Book Launch

April 12, 2016: with Frank Roebroek and Roos Hijner at book launch in Utrecht


On YouTube various video’s of the HR Trend Institute can be found.

Tom haak LisbonOther channels

Some of the other channels the HR Trend Institute uses for communication:

Top Support

Great illustrations

Almost from the beginning, Femke Overbeeke (of Studio Fee Overbeeke) made great illustrations for the blog posts. Many of these illustrations can be found on Facebook.

erosion of the employee experience

One of the great illustrations of Studio Fee Overbeeke

Website and online marketing

Website design and maintenance, as well as online marketing advice I get from Sebastian Kopp and team from JijOnline.

Sebastian Kopp

Tom Haak discussing some serious matters with Sebastian Kopp of JijOnline


I want to thank everybody who contributed to the work of the HR Trend Institute in the past five years. Clients, partners, HR Innovators, HR inspirators-, curators- and -analysts (as Josh Bersin, David Green, Dave Millner and David Ulrich), conference organisers, publishers, HR-communities and educational institutions and of course all the followers in the network of the HR Trend Institute.

To be continued…


Photo album "HR trend Institute in Action"

HRTI in action

No more articles