This year’s Digital Disruption event brought together talent leaders, business experts, and human resources executives from across the world to discuss innovation in recruiting. And try a bit of mountaintop yoga. But they were there to all discuss the Future of HR.

With so many forward-thinking individuals in one place, you’d think there’d be a lot of heated talk around the future of HR. And you’d be right.

Here are just a few of the insights that came out of this year's event:

Data, Data Everywhere

Well, we all know data is sexy. (Right?)

As Aon Hewitt’s Paul Rubenstein pointed out, using big data puts an end to the days of relying on theory, giving us the chance to make data-driven decisions:

At the same time, as Jason Averbook argued, an important aspect of this is knowing which data to measure, and how to act on it:

You see, the problem with HR data is that it’s a hotbed of human biases and bad data. Humans are not good raters of other humans, and that’s a problem.

In fact, Next D Media’s Pamela Harding has a good recommendation for dealing with that:


One solution: in order to use data correctly, HR needs to consider adding data experts to their team.

The goal? To shift from big data to real-time, reliable data.

Here’s a breakdown of Marcus Buckingham’s advice on the topic:

Oh, and Jason Averbook strongly encourages you to go out and get a DATA IS SEXY tattoo wink

The Empowerment of the Team Leader… By HR

The C-Suite are no longer the make-or-break factor for a company’s success—it’s team leaders.

As the pace of business today continues to grow, team leaders need the ability to build and coach world-leading teams anytime, anywhere.

This requires the right technology and tools—and smart HR leaders are well-positioned to deliver this and drive real business performance change.


Step one is to use HR Tech that doesn't suck (I'm paraphrasing a bit here).

In a world where the consumer technology experience can be lightyears ahead of what recruiters (and their candidates) are using each day, Jason Averbook argued that HR technology should be moving "from adoption to addiction”.

Meaning: HR Tech should be as addictive as your favorite smartphone app.

He also dropped some knowledge on 5 things HR should do with technology and talent:

Expanding on this, as Dawn Burke cites, "HR Tech” should start shifting towards “workforce technology” or team acceleration technology, in recognition of the wider role and business impact it should have:

So how about seeing this in action?

Well, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt shared how their recruiting team joined forces with their EVP of Sales to build a new inside-sales team, and avoid the potentially costly fallout of making bad hires.

The result?

100% of their new inside sales representatives met or exceeded quota, contributing to an additional $75 million in revenue in 2014 versus 2013.

Not bad.

So, two key questions recruiters should be asking when investing in new HR Tech:

  • Does it make the workforce life easier?
  • Does it impact the business?

The thinking here being that what’s important is a focus on a technology's output, not its features alone.

Another benefit? Thinking in this way will allow HR to prove value of technology to CEO to position themselves as strategic contributors:

This really is digital transformation at its finest, and it seems like innovative recruiters are on the forefront of this exciting wave.

From Feedback to Feedforward: Adding Some Science to Hiring & Coaching

In The future of work: Say goodbye to HR?, Marcus Buckingham is referenced as saying that feedback from the traditional annual review is usually too backward-looking to be of use to front-line managers.

That sentiment was a key message in his Digital Disruption keynote, in which he advocated the shift from feedback to feedforward.

While feedback just looks back, looking forward helps the team improve. Sounds obvious when you put it like that, and yet so many organizations rely on this as their only method.

Plus: turns out nobody likes feedback anyway. Tell 'em Madeline:

Outside of coaching, there are others ways in which businesses are improving their assessment methods.

Aon is putting more science into the hiring process using the ADEPT-15 Adaptive Employee Personality test:

This is used to identify potential top performers to match the right person to the right job, by assessing a person’s work style and workplace personality aspects to gauge how they will perform as an individual, team member, and leader.

Oh, and make sure you're hiring for the team and not just the job—this helps you round out the team's skills, which comes back full-circle to empowering team leaders to build and coach world-leading teams. (Clever, eh?)

Another way is to move towards higher-fidelity options for selection:

The more high-fidelity options you use in your selection process, the more you can improve the quality and reliability of your data, and the more good fits you can hire to improve your teams.

How many of these are you using in your selection process?


Ok, so this was just the tip of the iceberg that was Digital Disruption: there was a load more discussion around topics such as social recruiting, improving the candidate experience, and new technology, not to mention the annual Disruption Awards. So stay tuned for more great content if you want to take a deeper dive into some of the topics.

I thought I’d leave you with a quote that I think nicely sums up the general message of the event.

HR isn’t dead or dying. It’s just being reimagined. - Jason Averbook

What’s your take on some of the issues discussed here, and the current state of the reimagination of HR? Leave a comment and continue the conversation!


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