After we spent a decade talking about how to get HR a seat at the proverbial table, the discussion at this year’s event made it clear: We’ve made it.
But now that we’re in the room, HR Leaders are grappling with the role that they play – especially now that strategic conversations have shifted from scaling up to scaling back.
Here’s a CliffsNotes version of what got discussed:
Walking the Walk
Guild CPO @Dean Carter laid out an ambitious mandate for HR: Leading the “V-Corp” – the values corporation.
He posits that profitability isn’t the only yardstick to use when evaluating the success of companies; we should also measure companies by how tightly they upload the values they were founded upon. For Dean, that means thinking about Guild’s “people P&L” and holding that at the same level of importance as their financial P&L.
Electronic Arts Chief People Officer @Mala Singh and Chief Operating Officer @Kate Kellogg built on the theme of living your values as they teamed up to talk about inclusion. They spoke about how people & product teams can come together to better serve customers. One remark that stood out: Beyond pay equity, how are we driving equity in career progression?
Teaming Up with the CTO / CIO
One of the spiciest conversations was the panel with @RJ Milnor provocatively titled: "Should HR Own the Tech Stack?"
Somewhat surprisingly for the conference formerly known as HR Transform, the answer was a pretty resounding "no."
Over the course of the event, speakers and attendees regularly spoke about an increasingly tighter partnership with their CTO / CIO that was being driven by the shifting demands of hybrid & asynchronous work.
But while distributed teams are becoming more common, most agreed that HR's expertise is around navigating people + process for those changing work modalities while IT is best positioned to lead a conversation around which technologies best suit the company's needs.
Using Data to Persuade Others to Follow
One of my favorite sessions was a panel hosted by @Hallie Bregman that was chock full of actionable tips for how people leaders can use data to persuade executives. Some examples:
AI Can Get You Scale, but Not Connection
Predictably, there was a lot of buzz around AI. The general consensus in the room was that AI will give us more reach, but not more connection.
On the reach side, AI can give us access to data that we wouldn't have had before. It can also help our data reach far more people within the organization than we could have previously touched.
But while you'll get added scale, it's still up to HR as a function to build connection. AI can help us generate dozens of simple stories from the data, but it needs a human touch to bring emotion, nuance, and personal context to give those stories power.
Asynchronous Work Is Increasing
Continuing with our Hamilton tribute, we heard a lot about "how the sausage gets made" when it comes to defining a hybrid or return-to-office model. Some nuggets that stood out: