By Elliot H. Clark, CEO
In MacBeth Act V, Shakespeare wrote: “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day” and the verse has been quoted ever since. Sorry, Bard, nothing is creep or petty in the pace nowadays. Everything is moving or “pacing” at breakneck speed. Nowhere did we see more evidence of the pace of change—and some of it creepy—than at the HRO Today Forum, North America.
For the second year, the CHRO of the Year award winners demonstrate the changing model of HR leadership (see Leading for Tomorrow on page 8). HR is now more than ever about productivity, analysis, and business outcomes. In addition, many of the CHROs are breaking out of the traditional mold of CHRO and leading business operating units, including for-profit winner Kawel LauBach. In our October issue, we covered LauBach’s role at Mohegan Sun where he heads up
HR and also runs people-intensive departments such as guest services, facilities, and security. The leadership saw that employee engagement correlated with customer engagement and combined the roles of people management with HR. Last year’s for-profit winner Jan Becker from Autodesk also has facilities and security under her belt since they have great impact on the employee experience. We may be seeing a flowering of the potential of the role of HR.
Jenn Mann at SAS Institute, a company that won 19 work place culture awards last year, can demonstrate what their culture means to reduced recruiting, onboarding, and training costs for the organization from an external analysis done by Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer at Stanford. The investment and emphasis on HR activities is considerable at SAS—and they have very low turnover (sorry Jack Welch, hire them right and you don’t always have to fire 10 percent per year) and very long tenures. This emphasis on workforce environment translates into productivity. The workforce and the profitability of the company have grown every year for 38 years!
We see the changes reflected in services and technology. We had CEOs from MBO Partners and Work Market registered at the event, both leaders in solutions for managing independent contractors. The independent contractor workforce is exploding, demanding new companies and technologies. We had a number of revolutionary platforms participate in the iTalent Competition this year. The panel of expert judges included Elaine Orler, Bill Boorman, Bill Filip of Delancey Street Partners, and last year’s winner, Mike Beygelman, CEO of Joberate. New technology continued to focus on analytics. Last year, Joberate caused considerable buzz and a bit of controversy talking about social media analytics as a way to target unhappy employees for remediation. This year there was no controversy when Universum’s new IRIS platform presented an analytics solution tracking job seeker’s attraction to different online content as a way to help employers select
the content they distribute to support their employer brand. Both companies peek “over the shoulder” of potential candidates while they are online. Interestingly, in less than a year, social media analytics have gone from controversial to acceptable. We will see if IRIS has the adoption success seen by rapidly growing Joberate. Given the market thirst for predictive analytics, I think they will.
The highest-rated sessions of the conference were on gamification and the new models of HR leadership, both part of the Wharton track. The idea of gamifying recruiting has been previously discussed, but Professor Ethan Mollick showed results demonstrating the effectiveness of engaging your audience with a game versus a regular HTML application form. Professor Peter Cappelli captivated the audience with advice on what HR executives need to know to be effective in the next decades.
Change was in the air and in less than a year, many things looked different. And we expect more of the same in 2016. At this “pace,” even Shakespeare can’t tell you what will happen next.