Youth, Employment and the Future of Work

I work for an employer committed to the employment of youth; not just in our organisation, but across the board, youth employment in New Zealand has never been in such a dire situation, in Auckland alone there are approx. 23,000 unemployed youth. On a personal level this is an area that I feel passionate about so it’s fantastic to work in an equally committed environment.

Over the past week I’ve been lucky enough to spend more time than usual in the presence of youth. High school students, University students and millennial professionals, entrepreneurs  and influencers; some searching for employment, others for a future career path and yet more seeking inspiration through mindfulness, leadership and social good through enterprise.

I spent a day at JobFest, a bi-annual initiative brought about by the Youth Employer Pledge in Auckland, supported by the likes of Youth Connections, ATEED, careersnz and the Ministry of Social Development. I then spent three days at Festival for the Future, a conference with speakers, stalls and a series of workshops aimed at celebrating what’s possible and change for the better; connecting young professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and activists – innovators and influencers to explore the big issues, share ideas and inspiring stories of people doing remarkable things to make a positive difference in the world around us.

In both cases I was pleasantly surprised and horribly shocked, and it made me realise while we’re making some fantastic inroads there’s a lot more we need to do to support youth in employment and future work opportunities. I was dismayed by the lack of awareness of the world and workplace in some, those whom I feel education to date has failed to properly equip for the outside world. I was in turn elated by those who’ve struggled and overcome serious odds to make something of themselves and their futures. I was concerned by the bitterness in some, and negative attitudes in some towards organisations (and in many cases with good reason!). And I was immensely impressed with the awareness, the understanding and drive to ensure conscious capitalism overrules, that collective good through work, for people, the planet and the future was such a prominent goal for so many.

Technology has undoubtedly had a massive impact on the youth of today compared with past generations. I technically sit on the very edge of being able to call myself a millennial, and yet my world as a youth and in my early twenties was vastly different from the world today. The internet means information is available to all; and these youths care. They want real content and they want to face and deal with real issues – and they’ve got some fantastic ideas on how to achieve this. However, the flip side is this technology isn’t available to all. And it’s glaringly obvious that there are two ends to this spectrum, and many place holders in between.

How do we as socially aware adults ensure we create environments for learning that better equip all youth for the future of work and employment? Technology is changing, the world around us is changing and the future of work is changing. There are jobs available now we hadn’t dreamed up only years ago and there are roles many of us thought were “roles for life” that no longer exist. Both JobFest and Festival for the Future and many other such examples aim at bridging the gaps that appear in many cases to widen daily.

There are many other start-ups and well established businesses and organisations also trying to make a difference. I met many such enterprises at both events. There are multiple companies I can think of in NZ at the moment aimed at bringing youth and employers together; from savvy job apps creating CVs for youth and enabling them to apply for roles through their mobile phones, receive instant notifications as to the status of the job and get real time feedback, to organisations creating training series’ of training programmes based on what employers need in new hires from basic skills such as resilience and time management to sales and presentation modules and new job platforms connecting youth and employers, enabling video interview and utilising technology in the talent attraction, recruitment and onboarding space.

But what more can we do? As I’ve said the future of work is changing, there are roles we can predict will evolve, be created and disappear, but equally there are others we won’t be able to dream up. Is the first step that we bridge the gap between formal education of schools, universities and the like and the skills that are needed in reality in the world of work? Should formal training facilities take this on or the employer? Do employers need to make more of internships, grad programmes and building relationships with training facilities to ensure we’re doing all we can to equip youth? Should organisations be tapping in to youth as the leaders of the future and with the ideas and answers to some of the current world issues? And how do we get more organisations on-board and actively participating in the importance of youth employment?

I don’t have all the answers, but I’m encouraged to see so much happening in relation to youth, employment and the future of work. IT’s a topic close to my heart as I’ve said, so I’m looking forward to diving deeper into it and reporting back my findings. In the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and examples of what your or your workplace are doing about the issues.

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#RHUBEdge

For anyone in the recruitment and related spheres in NZ who didn’t make it along to #RHUBEdge you missed out. Once again Phllip Tusing (@PhillipTusing) brought together an awesome line-up of speakers who engaged, taught, wow’d and sparked debate in the audience. The twitter feed was alive and kicking, even trending for the day so for those who couldn’t be there the learning’s (and some other less professional stuff!) were shared.

MC, Iain MacGibbon (@nzheadhunter) opened and kept us on track for the day, I’m sure it was a bit like herding cats at times, but he did a stellar job. The crew at AUT and the venue staff onsite were awesome – so big thanks to them, and of course to the JobAdder team for the beersies afterwards.

William Tincup (@williamtincup) took the stage first up; the programme announced he would “take delegates on a rollicking crystal gazing ride to predicting future scenarios and offer practical solutions gained from recruitment leaders around the world”. I think he delivered on this. I’m not sure how many will take his tips for time management to the 15min increments he does, but I have no doubts that those who do will get the day a week back he promises. His ideas and solutions for time hacks got us all thinking and gave us something to take away.

Brett Iredale (@BrettIredale) from JobAdder was all about technology and its impact on the world of recruiting. His two biggest tips were HiringSolved and VideoMyJob an app designed to create job ads. A list he gave of tech to check out included: SparkHire, enboarder, appear.in and Weirdly as well.

Jason Ennor of MYHR (@MYHR_NZ) ran us through what HR want from Recruiters; reading the buyer, pain points (and how to reduce the pain!) and track records. This is a whole other blog in the planning given the debate sparked throughout the day in in-house versus agency recruiting and the resulting relationships. Watch this space!

A panel discussion including Marisa Fong (formerly of Maddison), Carmen Bailey (of Emergent) and Garth Brooks (formerly OCG, now Bureau) gave access to a Q&A session from some of the best in the business with exponential experience between them – and again, lively debate!

Katy Anquetil (@KatyAnquetil) took one for the girls on “women in leadership” with some scary stats on the figures in NZ, breaking the glass ceiling, Tall Poppy and Queen Bee syndromes. George Brooks followed on In House versus Agency – as I say for another blog! James Gilbert (@jatgilbert) had some compelling stories on inbound marketing and the value of creating engaging content – essential in today’s customer driven environments. He also recommends checking out your website on https://website.grader.com/

All in all, as I say, an extremely well run day, with fantastic speakers – people at the top of their game we can all learn from. And another awesome opportunity for networking…probably more so for those of us not running home to rugrats being school holidays! Looking forward to the next one. Last words from William Tincup: “What gets measured gets done. And Process eats Software for Breakfast”.

UNCONFERENCE

unconference

ˈʌnkɒnf(ə)r(ə)ns/

noun

  1. a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants, rather than following a conventionally structured programme of events.

“at this unconference, attendees created sessions on the spot, making for an energizing and freewheeling exchange”

So what is an unconference anyway? I hear this asked all the time, especially now I’m talking a lot about the upcoming #NZLead Unconference I’ve been helping to organise. As described above by Google it’s an unstructured exchange of information and ideas in a group as opposed to following an agenda or programme of events as at a traditional conference. It emphasizes free exchange between participants and can change direction and focus as the discussions develop and grow.

Unconferences are also referred to as Open Space conferences, simply meaning they are participant lead. Typically the agenda is set early on in the day, by the attendees; anyone who wants to can raise an initiative or discussion topic and have it added to the format (or un-format) of the day. Any format is permitted; one speaker, no speakers, a facilitator, no facilitator – though generally attendees are there as highly skilled or knowledgeable people on a subject matter, or as in #NZLead’s case people who are interested and want to learn more or weigh in on a certain subject matter.

There are opportunities in unconferences to lead a discussion, track or session or simply to go along and participate, either way the expectation is that you give, share and collaborate and others will do the same to ensure there are takeaways for all. This could be in the form of anything from increased knowledge, expanded ideas, new thinking and or new connections and networking opportunities.

What then is the #NZLead Unconference all about? Creating more Humane Workplaces and one of the other equally passionate volunteers on the team, Katy Lloyd put it especially well in her LinkedIn post:

“How do we create more “Humane Workplaces?”  So what does actually this mean? It’s about what we can do we make our workplaces more successful, enjoyable and inspiring places to be.

We all know people are important and are the key to success for an organization. The unconferences provide an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals that are interested in how we can the people practices of organisations and how we can do them better. This is not just HR folk – but anyone who knows that people are the heart of the workplace and thinks we can do things differently and much better! The more diverse range of backgrounds and opinions the better.”

Or there’s more detail on the #NZLead website: http://nzlead.com/the-re-birth-of-a-more-humane-workplace/

 If you’d like to know more we’re happy to chat, here is a list of the crew working to pull this together, we’re easy to find on twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn:

AUCKLAND

Kylie Telford

Katy Lloyd

Laura Trethewey

WELLINGTON

Richard Westney

Tash Pieterse

How do you get there? Tickets are great value at $99

Looking forward to connecting and collaborating!

 

Sourcing Summit NZ 2015 – #sosunz

The line-up for this year’s #sosunz was awesome – as soon as I heard Katrina Collier (@WinngImpression) and Johnny Campbell (@socialtalent) were on board I wanted to be there! And they didn’t disappoint.

Johnny truly deserves the title “Sourcing Ninja”, and blew all our minds with his tips on how high performing recruiters work differently. He introduced us to the ICES model – Identify, Contact, Engage, Submit and demonstrated hacks that would make us all first class stalkers or PI’s if we were ever looking for a career change! He detailed the need for precision searches, the use of timing and multiple channels for engagement, emotional intelligence in recruiters and the essentials of building trust and a reputation online. If you haven’t already, check out sourcehub, for incredibly easy Boolean strings searches useable across multiple online locations/sources. Also, give CrystalKnows a try for incredibly accurate personality details about candidates pooled from their LinkedIn profiles and other online presences’ – scarily accurate in most cases!

Katrina was equally brilliant. She detailed the need to cut through the ever increasing noise in people’s lives to get your roles in front of the right candidates. To do this you need to be someone worth talking to, be easy to follow and most importantly become known, liked and trusted. Make it all about them, personalise your communication, research the role and the candidate and check your use of words (see NLP – nuero linguistic programming). Katrina also stressed it being the recruiters role to bring people into the company – so don’t be hamstrung by IT or Communications/Marketing.  Mobile and video are now and talent is everywhere – the future is reputation based and employee centric. Don’t do the things you’ve always done.

Gavin Buchanan (@gavinbuchanan) spoke a whole world of sense in relation to internal recruiters and got more than one “here here” for his straightforward approach in getting the basics right in sourcing on the global stage: contextual advertising, be clear on the value proposition and who the target is, be realistic about NZ and job boards work! It’s not rocket science; get the marketing, advertising, site and engagement right.

Amy Tea (@amyteanz) focused on phone hacks – a recurring theme throughout the conference, get  smart, get on the phone! Use the phone as a first reference check, as a way to build the black book of trusted networks, be prepared, be meaningful and follow up!

Another one to advocate job boards was Chris South (@findsouth), however he noted that top talent very rarely need to use them so consider consumer job marketing – think outside the square, try new things and spread across multiple channels! Think audience analysis, marketing channels, marketing content, landing pages, timing and budget.

The unconference sessions were equally fantastic on the day – I attended Rachel Kemp’s (@Rachiemouse) session where my biggest takeaway was to set up, manage and grow LinkedIn groups relevant to the talent you are sourcing.

Overall an awesome day – I left mind blown, with so many new ideas for sourcing talent, feeling invigorated and inspired! Another amazing effort from @philliptusing!

#HRLeadersSummit

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the HR Leaders Summit in Auckland this week, by the wonderful team at Drake NZ. Described as a high impact day addressing the changing face of HR, there were four speakers who were highlights on the day from me.

 Steve Tinghe, Business Futurist, opened with three key concepts for working back from the future – reimaging business and HR.

  1. Awareness of the emerging change.
  2. A broad and flexible sense of strategic identity. Senior Leaders need to take care to have a broader than internal sense of corporate identity, don’t become too introspective.
  3. A process for strategic design. In the information age we’re acquiring more data to make sense of the changing environment for competitive advantage; firms don’t need more information, just help applying and optimsing what they already have

He further discussed the need for strategy to be seen as a resource that needs time and energy and encompassing five key elements: Future, Creativity, Collaboration, Learning and Process.

The three words left with me after Diane Edwards, Ports of Auckland’s, address were Challenge, Culture and Courage. Entitled Change management and using HR to promote sustainable values, her session described the changes at PoA that enabled them to achieve a five year plan in only three years with some incredible profit and people results. Key strategies included:

  • Leadership courage; large scale restructuring, taking on the unions and chaining the culture.
  • Working together, reinventing relationships through communication, alignment, centralisation and integration. Show consideration and create partnerships.
  • Address poor behaviour head on; including the likes of zero tolerance on bullying and a focus on health and safety.
  • Breaking down hierarchies; such as getting exec’s out working on the wharf monthly.
  • Doing things better; competency frameworks challenging improvements and innovation, weekly WIps in place of annual PDRs and a customer focus on diversity of thinking.
  • Diversity and Progression; focus on moving women up, on progression through merit and job fit, aptitude testing and increasing flexible contracts.

Their results spoke for themselves, in turns of productivity and dividends returned to rate payers.

Kate Nuttal, Air NZ, though from a completely different perspective and starting point also told a pretty impressive story of the transformation Air NZ has been through in the past two years. Her five key takeaways were:

  1. Give people a sense of purpose, and connect to the vision. Small actions can make a big difference to the bottom line.
  2. Measure performance in a meaningful way and clearly differentiate high from low. Stop, start, continue mentality coupled with real conversations and staff development.
  3. Build great leaders and a robust talent framework. Leadership builds culture, creates engagement, promotes performance. Talent matrix hugely important.
  4. Truly collaborative with people (high performance engagement), connect with your people.
  5. Building employee capability in those areas that are a priority for the company. EG: sales capability – reward & recognition, sales cycle, capability model and collaboration.

The points Kate claimed made all of this work for Air NZ were: leadership by example, transparency, having difficult feedback conversations and coaching.

The final speaker also resonated strongly with me; Kylie Holton of Woods Bagot Australia on redesigning the workspace – a creative vision for the future. Kylie described building architecture and interior design in HR terms:

The main trends discussed were:

  • Culture & Brand; be original based on drivers of the business. Be authentic, show who you are and what you do.
  • Flexibility & Agility; re configuring spaces for project based work through furniture & infrastructure. Creating choices over when, where and how you work.
  • Model Shift; hierarchical to project based. Flexible furniture and walls (spaces that move and change).
  • Connection & Collaboration; people come into buildings for different reasons, and want to connect with the building differently, so creating scenarios for people to bump into each other. More break out spaces and virtual tools for engagement. Formal and informal work zones.
  • Innovation; spaces supporting productivity & innovation through freedom of choice and customisation.
  • Health & Wellbeing; natural light, planting and more sit/stand workstations.

It was interesting and incredibly positive to see so much alignment between our future working spaces, and evolving ways of working.

Something else interesting about this conference was that despite the references for leaders, HR and employees to all be more involved with social media, there was extremely little engagement with this during the conference. Chris South, Prominence, even encouraged it at the end of his session on Attracting the very best talent: The latest tips and tricks (which by the way was excellent and I got more tidbits that I missed from seeing him at IT18NZ), but to no avail. Hopefully attendees will take this on board, and hopefully those in Amanda Sterling, NZLeads’, session on HR in the Cloud – Changes and benefits of collaboration were encouraged also, so that next year we might see more sharing, conversations and networking as a result.

#IT18NZ – Opening my eyes…blowing my mind

Phillip Tusing (@PhillipTusing) invited me along to the #IT18NZ conference on 21 April and as a result I have much to thank him for. I’ve come away with my eyes opened, mind blown and a host of new ideas for implementation and further investigation.

The day kicked off with a Key Note address from Candace Kinser on Building and Growing High-Growth Tech Companies; key takeaways for me included:

  • Start-up cultures are very real to people now; need to get this on table from get go and agree remuneration, perks etc from outset
  • High growth firms often attract people who are risk takers, competitive, creative, identify with the brand/product/culture, are well travelled and worldly, and intelligent but not always ‘people’ people

Candace was followed by Andrew Milestone from Red Hat who discussed recruiting the ‘open source’ way (opensource.com) being: open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, meritocracy and community development. He also shared lessons for recruiters such as following the company’s mission and helping to build it if they haven’t got one, offering new products and services to customers and supporting charities. I particularly liked his final messages: Aim High, Fail Fast, Measure, Repeat, Win.

Laura Stocker from ADP, Airs was next on the agenda blowing my mind as much as last time I saw her speak with some incredible imaging insights to sourcing tactics covering Google image searches, Instagram, Xraying sites for images, Video searches, Vine.co, lanyrd and the likes of Trip Advisor and AirBnb.

Using alternatives to LinkedIn such at Stackoverflow.com, Meetup.com, GitHub and Behance.net with some amazing insights into finding candidates, their email addresses and links to their networks were the eye openers for a non-tech recruiter such as myself, and really highlighted just how much you can find on candidates if you know where and how to look from Chis South (@findsouth), of Prominence’s session.

Richard Westney (@HRmanNZ) of HR Shop had five lessons for us:

  • Don’t confuse perks with culture (employees want appropriate salary, challenging work and training/development)
  • Don’t F up the culture!
  • Culture creates the foundation for all future innovation (avoid group think)
  • Hire the right people, ask the right questions
  • Lead & manage in a different way (ensure company positioned for future)

Other valuable messages from Richard were to be aware of culture impact early on, creating small trams with laser sharp focus, leadership via trust and autonomy and encouraging responsibility and ownership (developed in conjunction with Try Hammond (@TroyHammo) of Vend.

Patrick Wagner of Game Loft gave us some incredible insights and advice for hiring and retaining millennial’s from offering workplace flexibility, listening to employees, communicating vision & values and making them grow.  He suggested being prepared for shorter term employees by shortening inductions, streamlining processes & tools, cutting long projects to shorter phases (agile), emphasizing strongest employees and not relying on oral tradition – document everything!

Troy Hammond (@TroyHammo) & Vanessa Payne (@vanessapaynenz) of Vend were on board with three tips for successfully engaging candidates; being story-telling, strategic timing of emails and sending follow up emails with real life and useable examples of each. They also discussed their partnership with the likes of Weirdly for assessing the cultural fit of candidate and Ask Nicely for assessing their NPS. Of particular note is their personalised rejection emails to every candidate.

John Clegg (@johnclegg) from Summer of Tech followed with the benefits of internships, from accessing raw talent through training staff in the right way, improving diversity and accelerating student development. To ensure success in the internship he recommends spending time finding the right intern, selling the organisation to the students, balancing hard and soft skill development and properly on boarding them.

The conference was closed by Mark Pascall of 3Months who started out with API and Google Prediction, moving through the Internet of Things, connecting the online and offline worlds with the likes of Shopkick, Estimote Stickers and wearable technology. He discussed Myo, augmented & virtual reality, and then moved on to Bitcoin and the disruption of money leading to innovations in smart contracts. All completely blowing my mind! I think it’s safe to say most of us could have listened to and questioned him for much longer than his allocated time slot!

#IT18NZ is one of the best conferences I’ve been to in terms of takeaways, learning’s and a lengthy list for further research and implementation – surprising considering I’m not a tech recruiter, but not given Phillips involvement. Further adding to the benefits of the day was the opportunity to put more ‘in real life’ faces to names I know from social media and the like, and catching up with others I don’t get to see often enough. A fantastic day, one I hope to repeat next year – and am slightly jealous of the crew in Wellington who have yet to experience it in 2015!

#RHUBNZ – Fearless Change Agent.

“Fearless in the face of failure” (@warrenyoungster)

…was one of the most eloquent tweets to come out of the 2014 #RHUBNZ conference. This came from the closing key note speech of the conference by Diane Foreman of Emergent and it really resonated with me. Particularly in terms of my pre-conference blog as to how I would become a Fearless Change Agent. Diane’s whole ethos is about conquering fear to achieve success.  And this was the theme for the conference; fearless recruitment.


“Be bold not stupid” (@MattBRecruiter)

A thread that became familiar during the course of the conference was ‘change’. The world of work is changing. Demographics are changing. The recruitment profession is changing; we need to do things differently. It’s no longer enough to do the same old same old. It’s essential to differentiate, provide expertise, demonstrate value and be a trusted advisor to our ‘clients’. Significant change is required, but it needs to be smart and calculated with a view to growing the role of the recruiter in the future.


“Recruiting the right person is like falling in love” Do they have to be mutually exclusive? (@SeanWaltersNZ)

I think the answer to this is a definite no. The ability for recruitment and recruiters to change now and into the future is as essential as being able to work collaboratively and apply judgement through the likes of critical thinking, systems thinking and learning agility. Applying lean thinking to the candidate experience is a key factor that came out of Warren Young’s (IRD) address, who has been working along principles such as “ask once”, “no touch” and attack waste”. These things will go hand in hand.

The ability to innovate and integrate will become key. This will entail the likes of greater social and mobile adoption, the use of new and emerging systems and tools, new methods for sourcing, selling, assessing and managing talent. Speed is crucial.

Talent is becoming a scare commodity; therefore the candidate experience is of utmost importance for all recruiters, internal and external. Refining this and creating seamless links between each element of the process will feature heavily and refining this should be a focus for all recruiters. 


“I can now stalk people on #facebook for ‘talent pooling” (@JaimeGallocher)

Tweet based on Laura Stoker’s (@lauralstoker) presentation on Facebook Search. #RHUBNZ unearthed a host of new tools, methods, and companies I’m keen to explore further in the name of change, development and being fearless. From Facebook search, through Prophet, Lippl, AskNicely and Watson there is so much more out there to enhance the performance of recruiters and recruitment – so much I envisage another blog to come on this.


“#FearlessRecruitment Make a decision” (@rebeccaclarkenz)

Recruiters need to decide to change. To grow, challenge and evolve. To achieve this we need to be fearless. Many of the speakers and in fact the attendees of #RHUBNZ are fearless; pioneering into new frontiers of recruiting through utilising, developing and creating new worlds of work. The options as I see it are to join them and lead the charge, or be left behind and face extinction. I know which I prefer, and I challenge you to become a Fearless Change Agent.

Balls, Service & Clients = Fearless Recruitment?

What is fearless recruitment? In thinking further on next weeks’  #RHUBNZ Conference I’m wondering…I’ve already pledged to become a Fearless Change Agent post conference, but what does being fearless in recruitment entail?

Is it greater, consistent or more use of emerging methods for attraction, application and ultimately hiring? Taking risks with candidates, going off gut feeling or not conducting reference checks? And are you ever really taking risks with candidates knowing you’ve got the 90 day trial period to fall back on should you fail or make a wrong call (NZ)? I should instantly round that off with my belief that the 90 day trial is not a back stop for these situations and due diligence should have been done before hiring the person. So then is it for trialling new methods and ideas in hiring practices? Is it letting go of the old and embracing the new? Is it not sticking to one method for all roles and/or candidates and being flexible dependent on person, role and situation? Is it about disrupting recruitment as we know it?

I don’t have the answer to these questions. But I hope #RHUBNZ does. I hope I learn of new and emerging platforms, processes and exercises for the end to end recruitment process across various roles, industries, generations and the hundred or so other differences between roles and candidates. I hope I hear of new, improved and tried and true recruitment management systems. I hope I learn about the future science of candidate experience. I’m also hoping for more research and insights to hiring across the various generations in the current workforce and what we can expect in years to come. I hope to leave feeling somewhat fearless; armed with new learning’s for implementation. Or at the very least new ideas for me to chase further.

For me, life and work as a part of that, is about constant change, development, improvement and as much positivity as possible. I would love to be fearless in all I do, however whilst I would describe myself as having “balls”, I also genuinely care about people and their well-being, and therefore tend to see the view of both parties in all I do. This isn’t always a happy medium in business; best outcome for all is the ultimate goal, but that’s not always possible from a business and profit perspective. As a result the ultimate takeaway from the #RHUBNZ for me would be to leave feeling fearless, armed with new practices and the ability to implement them ASAP in recruitment, with a sound ROI to feedback to the powers that be, at the same time providing a superior “service” to my “clients” – the employees.

Fearless Change Agent?

The agenda for the upcoming #RHUBNZ Conference claims that “After two days you can expect to be a fearless change agent” (http://rhub.co.nz/agenda/).  That’s a big call, but one I’m more than willing to put to the test. I’d love to be considered and consider myself as a Fearless Change Agent. How would that be for a job title? Sounds like a super hero. So aside from this, what else has got me excited about attending the conference touted as a must attend for all in NZ recruitment?

The line-up for one thing. The speakers confirmed for the conference read like the glitterati of the talent world. There are people here who I’ve looked up to and learnt from in one form or another for years now. Including one of my former AUT lecturers, so good he wrote the text books. I’m anticipating being more than a little star-struck over the conferences’ two days.

I’m looking forward to networking. Meeting people #IRL (in real life) that I’ve previously only met via social media and the like who share similar interests. This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of another conference I attended recently, resulting in deepened and strengthened connections with people I was already in regular contact with and a host of new people to share with and learn from. The incredible technology available now means that through social media it’s even easier than ever to maintain these relationships on an on-going basis.

Recruiters. I’ve heard them called the car salesmen of the HR world – don’t hate me for that comment, for it’s not one I subscribe to. Rather, I see recruiters as something of the super hero’s or “change agents” of the HR profession. In my opinion they appear to be the group forging ahead into new and different ways of working. Utilising technology, embracing it and pioneering a way forward. I believe the rest of the HR disciplines could learn a lot from recruiters, how and where they are working both now and into the future.

Takeaways, learning, development, growth, new ideas and new ways of working should all be given results of any conference, but to do so you need to be fearless. Fearless enough to learn and recognise there is always more to learn. Fearless enough to open yourself up to new. New people, technology, ways of working and thinking.

In reviewing my thoughts to this point I’m aware that I’m expecting what looks like a lot from this conference. However, as I’ve rarely stopped preconference to really think about what I want to get out of it before (other than the obvious – in this case honed recruiting skills) it may well be that all of the above is highly deliverable. Here’s hoping. Here’s to fearless learning.

Post the #RHUBNZ Conference I fully intend to be a Fearless Change Agent (with Super Hero like recruiter practices). I hope my post conference blog has the same title, but with the question mark replaced by a period. 

changing the hr game

I was fortunate enough to attend the #hrgcnz last week, and I can’t speak highly enough of my experience. I’ve come away excited by the new ideas, concepts and thoughts, so much so that it’s taken me almost a week including two days in an isolated Kaipara Harbour bach to unravel my thoughts and takeaways. I have developed an extended network of like-minded people, some new to me others I’d previously only known via social media; I have validated and benchmarked my own thinking through shared ideas and was more than a little star struck by the calibre of speakers we heard from. The conference itself was exceptionally well run by the team at Elephant HR & Training; providing a range of learning solutions and forums from speakers through facilitation and group work.

It’s thought to be a world first that as we were closing off the NZ conference each day, there was a UK contingent kicking off the beginning of their day. Simultaneous conferences, running concurrently – both with the aim of facing the future of HR, and changing the path as we know it. And both with group members tweeting and sharing the conference content in real time. Sharing so much in fact, that in NZ the hashtag #hrgcnz, was trending in the number two spot, vying for attention against the election and the Joan Rivers tragedy.

The conference concluded with the announcement of a new HR Institute for NZ – CHRI; the Chartered Human Resources Institute. Limited details at this point as to what it means for HR in NZ, but if the conference is anything to go by, I for one am excited to see what comes next.

My main takeaways from the conference are summarised under the three headings below:

 Change the game
To be game changing you must first seek to fully understand the game you’re in, from an industry, company and team perspective. Use technology such as the likes of social media for internal communications, building team culture, development of staff and recruitment; also as an avenue for leaders and CEO’s to connect with those on the shop floor. Create environments for staff to experiment and advocate right practice, forgetting best practice. Stop doing what you don’t need to and instead link up with what the business is trying to achieve and work to add value through collaboration. Hold yourself accountable, constantly ask why of yourself, others and procedures. Stop worrying about minimising risk and instead look to maximising potential. Get rid of anything that doesn’t add value or change the game.

“Celebrate when it changes something, not because you build it” Fiona Michel, NZ Police

Blaze your own trail
Take opportunities, grow, evolve, reinvent yourself and your organisational practices – embrace and drive change. Continuously look forward and focus on developing yourself, challenge and disrupt to create and enable transformation. Lead, don’t serve. Stop worrying about not being at the top table or otherwise, deliver, deliver, deliver and the results will follow. Spend time outside HR, get out of your comfort zone and establish a fundamental knowledge of the business values, goals and strategy. Think like a business leader. Seek innovation, get over yourself and stop naval gazing.

“Become infamous, not irrelevant” – Jan Bibby, Vodafone

Make people smile
Bring in fun; find ways to introduce fun through low and zero cost means to engage employees and create employee champions. Ask staff what rewards matter to them, and similarly in all dealings ask yourself what’s in it for them, and focus on delivering this. Showcase great experiences and results, after all culture drives performance. Encourage diversity and work to break down segmentations. Communication is key, so find new and innovative ways for HR and leaders to stay in touch with the people in the business.

“Make people’s lives better” – Nigel Latta