The Future of HR: 8 years later

The Future of HR: 8 years later

If you’re short on time, the quick synopsis is that the future of HR is incredibly bright, and that the future of HR is now. It’s an exciting time for the next generation of HR leaders and current leaders that have been craving disruption for years.

If you want to read my supporting observations – please continue.

The last few months at WIRL have been productive. We secured external funding, discovered a new customer segment, and released an incredible version of WIRL based on the lessons learned and feedback from our early adopters. We’ve witnessed a major spike in customer interest and adoption for our continuous employee feedback software, which got me thinking:

Was this a result of our marketing/sales initiatives coming to fruition? or was it part of something bigger? Was this a signal that HR was acting on a change in their mindset? Were they finally moving on from dated, painful and ineffective practices (such as traditional performance reviews) to more progressive, human-centric practices (such as continuous feedback)?

I’m leaning towards the latter.

I believe the future generation of HR leaders have been schooled well and are discontent with the status quo. I believe the current leaders who have been clamouring for change are finally taking action and getting a chance to demonstrate the quantitative and qualitative benefits of new HR practices. And I believe that technology is playing a huge role for both. Here’s why…

I recently got to speak and serve as a judge at the Organizational Behaviour Case Competition at Ryerson University. As a past competitor, it was interesting to see how the “cream of the crop of the future of HR” has evolved from my time. 8 years ago, I got the profound sense that participants were not willing to push the industry forward, but rather remain content with the status quo. They embodied everything that was wrong with HR then: not being strategic enough, not being data driven, and not willing to quantify their value to the overall business. As a serial disruptor, this didn’t sit well with me. 8 years later, it was a complete reversal. I was thoroughly impressed with today’s HR prodigies. Not only their boldness, maturity and eloquence, but their identification of problems, thorough analysis, willingness to take risks, and recommendations of solutions that impacted and drew upon disciplines from finance, marketing, operations and sales. This left me inspired, and excited for the HR leaders of tomorrow and the industry as a whole.

I also got to speak at Social HR Camps in Toronto and Vancouver put on by Jeff Waldman. I was amazed by the amount of HR leaders that were there to explore and implement new HR practices and technologies that would improve their employment brands, recruitment and feedback practices, and employee engagement and happiness levels. I was also (pleasantly) surprised by the types of companies that attended our session on “What’s wrong with Employee Feedback Today”.  There were high-growth technology companies (reflecting the majority of our existing customer base), but there was also an equal amount of companies from more ‘conventional’ industries that were experiencing the pains of periodic performance reviews, and looking to remove (or already had removed) this process completely!

These experiences signalled to me that the industry is no longer ripe for change, but rather undergoing it. The movement has been building up steam for a while. It was paved primarily by innovators in technology companies and early adopting companies, but it wasn’t until now that I witnessed the broader market begin to make change. Current HR leaders are taking action and the next generation are coming in pushing the needle towards a more effective HR. Couple this with continued innovation from entrepreneurs and strong interest in HR tech from investorsit appears that market forces are combining to accelerate HR into an unheralded space. A space I wish existed 8 years ago, but a space I’m proud to be a part of today.

A WIRL-d of thanks for reading!



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