Perspectives by Flavia Dobraca

Trending in HR & Organizations

The first quarter of 2016 has been the go-live for several anticipated changes in HR & organizations, along with the strengthening of newly implemented systems or processes and the reinforcement of a rising HR & business conduct vocabulary.

Let’s keep pace with the trends and review hash tagged tendencies!


# HR Job Titles

The term Human Resources (HR) sounds obsolete whereas humans (employees) have long ago become more than a ‘resource’ (a passive commodity or asset). Thus the change in HR-related job titles, shifting towards: People Operations, Employee Experience, People & Organization, People & Culture, People & Values, People & Capability, etc.


# Network of Teams

The rise of teams, the “network of teams” as a new organizational model is challenging hierarchical standards and is gaining grounds in companies seeking to innovatively react to change, to fast-moving markets or digital disruption and creating thus product-, customer-, market- or mission-centric organizations with fluid, flexible, empowered teams that communicate fast, easy and highly effective.

Read more about Flatarchies & Holacracies



Corporate learning has widely drifted online. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) succeeded to achieve unlimited participation and open access via the web. Sometimes challenged and criticized, MOOC are however evolving and growing inside companies as a learning & training model of first choice.


# Gamification

Gamification applies behavior-motivating techniques from traditional and social games to non-game environments. Gamification techniques strive to leverage people’s natural desires for competition, achievement, status, altruism, community collaboration, and many more. Gaming concepts are being incorporated in HR processes for recruitment purposes, learning & development, motivation & engagement.


# The Employee Experience

Jacob Morgan ( best describes Employee Experience with the aid of an easily understandable equation: Culture + Technology + Physical Space = Employee Experience. “Everything around people analytics, workplace design, compensation, engagement, well-being, etc. is all tied to this concept of creating an environment where people actually want to show up, not where they need to show up.”

Related: # Workplace as an Experience

“The essence of the workplace as an experience is where all the elements of work – the physical, the emotional, the intellectual, the virtual, and the aspirational – are carefully orchestrated to inspire employees.”

Jeanne Meister, Partner Future Workplace, Author of Bestseller “The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today”

Related: # Workspace as Cultural Differentiator

A collaborative office design where employees easily collide one another, encouraging collaboration, innovation, engagement and communication. In addition to the open space, the workspace design allows neighboring quiet rooms with distinct space to work.


# The Gig Economy

Also known as “The Freelancer Economy”, the gig economy workforce is expanding worldwide since companies increase their dependence on gig economy workers. If correctly calibrated, the relationship between company and freelancer can be mutually advantageous (the company employs freelancers on demand, for specific projects or tasks and avoids permanent payment of salaries and benefits, at the same time gaining access to a new and flexible talent pool; the freelancer chooses clients and projects that s/he is best at and attracted by, maintaining her/his own results-based working schedule). Challenges to also be addressed: sourcing, development and management of non-traditional talent (freelancers); collaboration algorithms (company-freelancer).


# Applification

The applification of business empowers not only customers, but also employees and transforms the work environment along the way. Applications are used in a variety of HR-related activities (recruitment, learning, HR support, payroll, performance review, employee dashboards, etc.). Mobile may become the predominant technology platform for HR. Challenge: HR to become more tech savvy and subsequently embrace transition; # HR working closely with IT; # Digital HR


# People Analytics

People analytics is a rapidly growing area of business intelligence and big data technology that uses snippets of people-related data to optimize business outcomes and solve business problems (Wikipedia). Advanced HR Analytics is successfully used in different talent management fields. Challenge: HR has access to an increasing volume of data, however, in order to utilize this data as a valuable resource for employee & business management, analytics professionals and data scientists should join HR teams.


# Work-Life Integration

The growth of technology has led to a very interesting shift from Work-Life Balance to Work-Life Integration. Jacob Morgan ( describes:

“Just a few decades ago, the dream for most employees was to achieve the elusive work-life balance. However, the growth of technology has made it so that most employees are almost always accessible which has led to a shift away from separating work life and personal life. In its place is the blurring of the two areas with flexibility to work during non-work hours and take short personal breaks during the traditional workday. Instead of work being a place you go, work is now a thing you do. It has become an integrated part of most employees’ lives and personalities. This means that work-life balance is dead and is being replaced by work-life integration.”


# Design Thinking in HR

Design Thinking, founded by Tim Brown, David M. Kelly and Roger Martin, is a design focused thinking process that applies tools and methodologies from the world of design, which shifts focus to human behaviors. Design thinking is based on three major pillars or stages: Invent a Future, Test Ideas, Bring to Life. Design Thinking can substantially help HR to improve employee experience and thus employee productivity and satisfaction.

Josh Bersin, Founder Bersin & Associates, now Bersin by Deloitte: “Design thinking casts HR in a new role. It transforms HR from a ‘process developer’ to an ‘experience architect’. It empowers HR to reimagine every aspect of work: the physical environment; how people meet and interact; how managers spend their time; and how companies select, train, engage, and evaluate people.


# Boomerang Employees

The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and released September 2015 a survey revealing changing mindset about boomerang employees (i.e. someone who left an organization, for whatever reason, and then rejoined that same organization at a future date) and the organizations they once left. Main survey findings:

  • Organizations and workers alike are coming around on boomerang employees.
  • Boomerangs are creating increased – and unexpected – competition for job seekers as the hiring market continues to improve.
  • Familiarity, easier training, and knowledge of employer are benefits for both boomerangs and organizations – yet some concerns still linger.
  • HR says they have a strategy for maintaining relationships with former employees, but workers and managers disagree.

“In an age defined by social media and job hopping, it’s much easier for employees to search for new opportunities and equally as easy for recruiters to poach talent from competitors. This fierce competition could be contributing to the changing mindset about boomerang employees. With this boomerang trend on the rise, it’s more important than ever for organizations to create a culture that engages employees – even long after they’ve gone – and organizations should consider how the boomerang employee factor should affect their off-boarding and alumni communications strategies for top performers.” Joyce Maroney, Director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos


# Hackathons

A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development and hardware development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. Occasionally, there is a hardware component as well. Hackathons typically last between a day and a week (Wikipedia).

Jeanne Meister, Partner Future Workplace is writing about the use of hackathons to re-imagine HR. LinkedIn has already used the Hackathon model to identify ways of re-inventing HR from outside HR: Rather than pull together a group of HR professionals, Pat Wadors – SVP for Global Talent at LinkedIn -, instead brought together a group of Millennials who worked as interns in Silicon Valley to participate in a LinkedIn HR Hackathon. The winning team created an app to tackle the problem of unsatisfactory internship experiences by allowing interns to give and receive feedback from management, learn about opportunities related to their personal and professional interests, and connect with employees who can help them achieve their long-term goals.


# Employee Advocacy

More and more companies are learning to benefit from a valuable in-house marketing asset – the own employees. Employees become brand advocates by being encouraged to share updates about the company, its products and services, its business conduct or employee experience on their own social media accounts. The promotion of the company by its employees is a powerful tool for customer engagement and a reliable means for employer branding.


# Workplace Flexibility

See previous articles: Agile Working; ROWE


Please feel free to share your personal experience or your thoughts related to any of the numerous topics above!


Cover photo: © Flavia Dobraca

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