Instant chemistry: inspiring leaders get it on with disruptive tech

A snapshot from day one at HR Tech London 2016

It’s hard to put any order around my thoughts, because my mind is so full of challenging new ideas and stimuli after part one of the HR Tech World event that kicked off today in London. On a day spent in the company of giant walking trees, oompa loompas, people in cloud suits and a talking sofa, there’s been excitement at every turn! Not least because disruption and surprising perspectives cropped up everywhere.

I was really looking forward to hearing Simon Sinek’s views. He’s a big name in leadership thought – the giver of one of the top three TED talks of all time. And he lived up to expectations with his keynote session on – you guessed it – leadership. He started by asking if anyone even knows what it is.

I’d never considered the chemistry of leadership – Simon talked about endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin in the context of how we act as employees and leaders. An intriguing new take on why we behave the way we do in traditional workplaces – and brilliant body science insights to help HR leaders create environments and culture where humans flourish.

DisruptHR then – that theme again – brought us Josh Bersin. He talked about the revolutionary impact of digital HR and showed how employees expect to use it to interact with HR just like they use Facebook. So many lifestyle and generation trends are transforming our industry and the way we lead and manage. Josh told us how networked teams are the structure of the future, rather than top down hierarchy, because people like to work that way. Back to human instinct and preference then, from another angle. His food analogy made me smile: “If there are more than two pizzas in the room, there are too many people in this meeting!” Or maybe I was just ready for my lunch!

Knowing your people is key – that theme came out of many sessions and conversations. The latest HR software gives us analytics that help us understand more about how people behave and what they want, so we can attract, retain and develop them. Great to hear, as Sage People’s solutions are all about helping businesses get actionable insight from their HR data whilst delivering great workforce experiences.

On the Sage People stand, there was lots of interest in how we can help organizations picture their people more clearly. Our silhouette cutter was in demand as we challenged delegates to visualize who their employees are and how best to manage them. Using an art form to promote the science of people seemed to hit the spot.

The most exciting thing? It was being among a peer group of focused, motivated and forward-looking HR practitioners, sharing their experiences of daily success and challenges. Everyone was open to new approaches and inspiration. And boy, there was plenty of that.

Roll on day two – I’m anticipating more surprises to challenge and accelerate my current HR thinking – and more fascinating conversations and encounters!




Wait - don't go!