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Four ways HR can be disruptive

This week HR professionals met at the Royal Institution in London for DisruptHR’s series of quickfire talks on innovation in the people profession.

Web3, the future of freelancers, what hybrid really means, and the purpose of the Ulrich model were some of the topics covered by an expert line-up of speakers.

Here are four ideas shared for the disruption of HR.


1. Web3 is the future of recruitment

Adam Posner, founder and president at NHP Talent Group, argued HR leaders need to prepare for recruitment in the next phase of the internet.

Web1 was the era of consuming information; Web2, which we’re in now, is the era of consumer-created content and Web3 will be the ownership economy.

Through cryptocurrencies, blockchain and other related tools of Web3 internet users will own the content they produce online.

This, Posner said, will undermine large organisations’ monopoly over the economy.

It will also decentralise talent which will challenge current systems of recruitment.

"They're [Web3 candidates] not on LinkedIn. You need to be where they are. They're on Twitter, Discord, Twitter Spaces, and Crypto Twitter.

"Decentralise yourself: Think different, act different, step out of your comfort zone as a recruiter. If you want to break through and talk to these candidates you need to be where they are. Decentralised means put yourself in different places."


2. Future talent is also freelance

Despite HR’s fear of risk compliance and IR35, Rochelle Haynes, founder and CEO of CorwdPoteneital, urged people teams to 'choose the red pill' and challenge the status quo when it comes to freelancers.

She said: “The truth is that this is the future of talent. Freelancers are growing with Web3, and metaverse and blockchain. You are seeing people working in different ways and re-prioritising."

Haynes' tip for working better with freelancers was to work on business readiness for working with them, and effectively onboard and include them the same as employees.

She added: "In addition to developing the talent models and contracts and processes that need, think about how also you can work better with freelancers, and train your employees to do the same."

3. Work is not a place

Rather than relying on employees to figure out how to work remotely, or in a hybrid fashion, Sandra Thompson, founder of the Ei Evolution CX & EX Consultancy, said organisations should be thinking about giving staffs the skills they need to thrive in such environments.

Emotional intelligence has been found to be stronger in remote first environments she said, adding that HR needs to challenge ideas that work is a place.

She said: “Work is a place where you are in flow.

"You decide to go to a cafe one day, you decide to stay at home, you decide to go somewhere else to do the kind of work that is relevant to you in that time."

Her advice to HR teams considering hybrid and remote work: "Give people the choice of where they want to do their work if you can. Make sure that you intentionally sets up the structures [they need] - don't make it an accidental thing. Ask people - how do you do your best work? And give them the opportunity to do that.

"This is how we can all learn from remote first of organisations - if you don't do it, hybrid is going to end up with them and us, we do not want that at all."


4. Challenge the HRBP model

2021 HR Most Influential thinker Dave Millner suggested an update to the Ulrich model of the HR business partner.

Though most of HR’s value is in strategic tasks, too much time is spent on operational.

He said: “I think HR is going to change. We're going to disrupt ourselves. I think we're a service station - that means you can come and go unless you like, we're very operationally sound. But do they [the business] love us? I'm not sure.

"I think we need to be a power station - 24/7, driven by technology. Not going to get loved any more but it's being driven by the three Ds - data, design, digital. It means we're going to be commerical, it means we're going to be a thought leader and we've got to respect ourselves."

Now is the time for professionals to rethink their role too.

He added: “We have got to disrupt ourselves before we let somebody else disrupts us."