The world of work is changing—and it’s changing fast. With that in mind, here at The Muse, we love any opportunity to roll up our sleeves, dig in, and get an even better understanding of what the future of work looks like.
That’s why we were beyond excited to attend and be a sponsor of the first ever HR Transform, which took place in Las Vegas in early April.
What exactly is HR Transform? It’s a two-day event that brings together people leaders, founders, and investors to network and discuss the constantly evolving role of technology in the workplace—as well as how that impacts the human resources function itself.
With so many brilliant minds coming together, we knew we needed to do something special. So, we set up a lounge where attendees could hang out and discuss how the working world is changing, and we captured their insights on video.
We were lucky enough to conduct interviews with over 40 speakers, sponsors, and attendees. And, in all honesty, there aren’t adequate words to describe all of the ideas, notes, and wisdom we walked away with (seriously, just check out this short video for a glimpse).
But, we did our best to distill all of the information we gained from interviews, conversations, and the various presentations into some takeaways that we (and you!) could chew on.
1. Workplace Innovation Is on the Up and Up
Today’s workplace isn’t content to stick with the same-old, same-old. In fact, when we spend so much of our lives in the office, the modern workplace has become a major hub for continued innovation.
HR Transform was evidence of this. In fact, many of the people that we interviewed mentioned that one of the things they appreciated most about this conference was that it featured a lot of new companies who were accomplishing really interesting things for the world of work.
The event was a great mix of respected names who have already made their mark on the industry, along with many newer players who are definitely making waves in terms of how technology and people work together.
There were so many awesome companies in attendance (seriously, too many for us to name), but a few of our favorites included:
LUCY: Technology solution that provides prenatal and postpartum care for working parents.
VETTY: Mobile and desktop-friendly platform that takes the pain out of background checks.
Welnys: Manages entire company wellness programs from top to bottom.
2. Technology Actually Makes Work More Human
While innovation continues to increase, there are still some who are a little hesitant to implement too much technology in the workplace.
There’s a belief that it will make work less human. And, when you’re trying to foster a culture and candidate experience that’s people-centric, using technology to do so can feel counterintuitive.
However, one major theme that came out of this event is that technology in the workplace isn’t something to be afraid of. On the contrary, leveraging it can empower professionals in talent and human resources to free up time for the parts of their role that require a human touch.
Need proof? Dennis Mortenson, who’s the CEO of x.ai, spoke about the work of his company, which has leveraged artificial intelligence to create agents who can schedule meetings on your behalf.
It’s just one example of how things like AI and automation can take care of those rote and routine tasks that are notoriously time-consuming, so that these people leaders can dedicate their time and attention to, well, actual people.
3. You Need to Tell Your Company’s Story
Here at The Muse, we talk a lot about how storytelling needs to be a key piece of your employer brand. And, HR Transform only reaffirmed that notion. Storytelling is no longer just a differentiator that’s “nice to have”—it’s a must for finding the right talent for your company.
Through things like employee testimonials, multimedia features, and engaging social media posts, you highlight your core values and get to the heart of what your organization is about. That helps you not only appeal to candidates—but to candidates who are a suitable fit for your culture.
While company culture is a main area of focus right now (and rightfully so!), it’s also important to note that culture isn’t just owned by the talent or human resources department.
“Culture is really built from the ground up,” said Carolyn Frey, Chief People Officer at Philz Coffee, during her interview, “I think even a year ago at events like this, the thought was, ‘Ok, HR owns the culture’ or, ‘Culture is a culture committee or a club.’ Today it seemed like a pretty unanimous opinion that that’s not the case.”
In short, the entire company needs to contribute to building and fostering the culture—and authentically telling that story to others.
4. Diversity and Inclusion Is More Resonant Than Ever
Today, diversity and inclusion efforts matter to candidates—and, they should matter to your organization as well.
“We’re talking a lot about themes and trends in technology and the increasing role of people strategy and business strategy and all of those things,” said Toby Hervey, Founder and CEO of Bravely, “But, it’s important to have that conversation about identity and culture and inclusion.”
One common theme that cropped up through numerous panels and interviews is that it’s not enough to simply say that you’re committed to diversity and inclusion, and then implement a bunch of different tools to showcase your efforts.
Diversity and inclusion isn’t a toolset—it’s a mindset. Sure, there are plenty of tools and solutions to help you take things further. But, you first need to be committed to solving the problem.
Additionally, remember that employee referrals are often a double-edged sword. While they can help you find great people, those people tend to look a lot like you. Place your focus on building a diverse team first and foremost, and that will help you receive far more diverse referrals.
5. People Leaders Are More Valued
Previously, people leaders within the organization were viewed as the ones tasked with getting new employees through the door, getting them up to speed, and then resolving any people-related issues that cropped up.
But, today, the role of Chief People Officer is far more valued and recognized as a key member of the C-suite. In fact, there was an entire panel at HR Transform dedicated to the fact that this is an increasingly important position within organizations.
For example, Muse client, Johnson & Johnson, recognized that hiring has a direct impact to top line revenue. People leaders do important work and play a real role in shaping the direction of the entire organization.
It’s for that very reason that we chose to do “red carpet style” interviews for our video activation. This profession deserves to be elevated, and we wanted to make attendees feel particularly special and celebrated for how they contribute to their companies.
“It’s so great to watch all of these people get together, because it’s elevating the function so much to be such a strategic part of an organization,” said Robby Peters, Co-founder of PeopleTech Partners.
Over to You
We learned so many valuable lessons at the first ever HR Transform conference—our notebooks and our brains are quite literally overflowing.
But, the five takeaways we’ve highlighted here were some of the most impactful insights we walked away with. Remember, the world of work is constantly changing—and, it’s up to you to match that pace.
If you’re ready to level up your talent attraction efforts, the experts at The Muse are here to help. Check out our resources for people leaders or get in touch right here.
Photo of people networking courtesy of Ales-A/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author