5 trends in staff management. What was discussed at the international HR conference Unleash?

On October 12-13, Paris hosted the main international HR event – the Unleash 2022 conference. This is a platform where leading specialists in staff recruitment, training and development meet annually to discuss new ideas, challenges and current trends in the world of HR.

We visited this year’s Unleash and brought you a fresh selection of global HR trends. In this material, we collected the main points that were discussed at the event.

What HR tasks are companies around the world focusing on?

  1. Creating Human Organization

Claudia Silver (CHRO, VaynerMedia) in her speech talked about how, upon taking office, she abandoned the concept of the HR department, changing its name to People and Experience. The point, she says, is to care about people and their experience from the moment they are interested in a job offer, through their entire life cycle at the company, and beyond. She also looked into the principles of Human Organization and the role of HR in it.

Key points of the speech:

  • The labor market will never be the same. Recent events have changed the relationship between employers and employees. People expect more from organizations than ever before.
  • HR leaders of companies should focus on creating a strong sense of inclusion and psychological security at work, because employees want to feel valued and learn from each other.
  • One of the top priorities for HR leaders is to bring humanity and a sense of empathy into the company’s corporate life. It’s all about emotional intelligence, that is, EQ is more important than IQ. It is equally important to create an atmosphere of trust towards each other. This should be the default process in your company.
  • HR leaders need to get involved in employee issues. They ask questions, listen and help. “People need people who will listen and then find a solution to fix the situation” – this is the role of HR.
  1. Focus on Performance: Lessons in Corporate Culture from Netflix

Erin Meyer, an American writer and professor at the INSEAD business school, shared a couple of lessons on corporate culture. Her book No Rules Rules was co-written with Reed Hastings (co-founder of Netflix). So at this year’s Unleash, she told the story of how Netflix got rid of a number of rules and built a very unusual culture. The company decided to focus on a culture of innovation and flexibility. To do this, they needed to ensure complete freedom of employees.

However, talking about the freedom of employees is much easier than introducing it. They had to completely remove control over employees (reject restrictions on vacations, days off, KPIs, etc.). Thanks to this, the company has increased the density of its talents, sparing no time in finding the best specialists.

According to Meyer, The best place to work is when you are surrounded by the best people.” This is based on the idea that performance is contagious. That is, a small number of the best professionals will inspire each other to give their best without requiring excessive control from the leaders.

However, don’t forget that the converse is also true: bad performance spreads, too. The best prediction of how your team will perform is based largely on what the worst member looks like, not the best. So if you’re planning to build a high-performing team, avoid disinterested people. Their lack of motivation has every chance to spread to the whole team.

  1. Skills are the main currency in the workplace

There is more and more talk about the skill-based approach. It assumes that the entire development and recruitment program is based on skills rather than on a specific job profile. Companies are starting to use AI-based solutions that are able to predict what skills might be needed for a particular role. According to Meredith Vellar (Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Deutsche Post), new opportunities open up for companies when they implement a talent market and skill-based learning initiatives. “I think getting more people is not a problem for companies; the difficulty is finding the right skills.”

The following was also discussed:

  • Willingness of companies to create such a talent market where employees get opportunities to develop within the company before looking for anything else. For people, a career development plan and the opportunity to learn new skills within the company are important. This can lead not only to vertical, but also horizontal movements in the structure of the organization.
  • You need to invest in your employees on a more personal level by developing their personal skills. Your reputation as an employer that demonstrates holistic investment in your employees is an important factor in retaining talent and attracting new talent.
  1. HR analytics. Everything can be measured: from churn rate to employee emotions

What was discussed?

  • A consequence of the spread of digital working methods has been an increase in the amount of data that HR now has access to. Today, everything from headcount to churn rates – end even employee emotions – can be measured.
  • HR analytics can meet management’s demand for additional information for decision making. This helps to make a greater strategic contribution and compare information from different sources.
  • The processes involved in collecting HR analytics should not overload either the employees or the HR team.
  • Any analysis should have a clear goal, structure and sequence of actions, so that at some point you don’s ask yourself “What’s the point in that?”.
  1. Initiating technological change in HR

What was discussed?

  • Technological changes in HR must not only be initiated, but also sold inside the company. The best way to do this is to provide clear data.
  • Involving senior executives in your technology initiative is the job of the HR department.
  • The most powerful technology humanity has access to is artificial intelligence and machine learning. These technologies in HR can improve the workplace of an employee of any company.
  • Keep in mind the important rule of introducing new technologies: Always keep the main goal in sight.

What worries European HR?

A painful issue for the European labor market is the return of people to offices. Equally important was the issue of performance. Companies understand that the comfort of employees, which has been the hottest topic of recent years, must go hand in hand with efficiency. The provision of comfortable working conditions and development opportunities should generate appropriate productivity. This is basically the Win-Win relationship the company’s culture should be built on.

Another challenge for European HR is the slow pace of automation and digitalization. That is why this year’s Unleash focused on the topic of HR technologies, analytics, artificial intelligence and employee development through modern tools.

Relevance to our market

For their part, Ukrainian experts understand that they face an even more global task: to take into account all of the above and build new, significantly different processes and methods of interaction in HR. Not just to use new scenarios and technologies, but sometimes to become pioneers, those who can achieve a synergy of human value, professional consciousness and business goals.

We think it’s time to get rid of the inferiority complex and realize that the Ukrainian business with its HR function, having passed the most difficult tests and continuing to work in war conditions, can become a model of perseverance and flexibility for many companies in the European market.

It was very important for us to hear about the trends and demands of the international market in order to understand our mission in setting new standards. As a developer of technological solutions, including the SMART HCM & LMS HR system, we feel responsible for its continuous improvement. Especially when there is an opportunity to compare and realize that the Ukrainian solution fully meets the modern needs of the global HR market, having the whole set of tools and powerful analytics. Realizing that we are moving in the right direction, we continue to work on the product, which creates value for both companies and employees in general.

“Difficult times produce strong people. And strong people build strong businesses and create reliable solutions.”

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