Hello PPMA members and friends

Our post this week has been written by Tom Haak, a leading global HR thought leader and a keynote speaker at our live Annual Conference in Manchester in April. Tom has extensive experience in HR Management in multinational companies and has a keen interest in innovative HR, HR tech and how organisations can benefit from trend shifts. He’s the director of the HR Trend Institute which follows, detects, and encourages trends. To set the scene ahead of his session, he asks 10 questions about the HR plans you have in mind for 2022.


Recently we published our 2022 HR trend report: “10 HR trends for 2022: from adaptation to transformation”. Based on this report we formulated ten questions that can inspire you when you are considering or implementing HR projects in 2022.

  1. Are your projects transformative?

Unfortunately, many HR projects are far from transformative. They are more reinforcing the current status quo than driving the organisational digital transformation. Many HR processes that are the basis for the projects are old-fashioned and based on traditional views on how organisations should work. Organisations are viewed as hierarchical, with clear boundaries and people assigned to well defined jobs. But organisations have moved on and need to transform. Are your HR (tech) projects transformative?

  1. Is the scope of your HR projects broad enough?

If you look at the ecosystem of your organisation (employees, flexible workforce, clients, prospects, suppliers, universities, local community etc.) there are many organisations and individuals for whom the HR could add a lot of value. Are you scoping your projects beyond the boundaries of your organisation (the people on the payroll) and do you include other parts of the ecosystem as well?

  1. Are people treated as employees or as co-creators?

The workforce is already a lot more diverse than just employees. The rise of the flexible workforce is a long-term trend. During the Covid-19 crisis employees and teams have experienced that that they can function very well without too much control. More independence and autonomy created a positive experience and it tasted like more. The concept of the traditional employee is changing, from submissive employees to independent co-creators. Is HR fuelling this transition?

  1. Are you entering the metaverse?

The metaverse is quickly developing, creating experiences where the real world and the virtual world are blending, creating, and enhancing the experience of the workforce, the clients, and other stakeholders. Immerse yourself in this new world, learn with the early adapters and help to shape the metaverse.

  1. Are your technologies adaptive and forgiving?

End of 2017 Trenwatching.com published their consumer trend forecast for 2018. Number four on their list: “Forgiving by design”.

I quote from their article: “Consumers are already sky high on expectations – fueled in part by their digital lives – of constant service upgrades and seamless personalization. One consequence? In 2018 they’ll expect all kinds of products and services to forgive them when their past – the product they selected, the size they chose, the service they wanted – doesn’t match their future. How? By near-magically adapt around their changing needs, wants and whims.

HR technology and other technologies in the workplace are often not very flexible and forgiving. People are forced into workflows that don’t take their preferences and capabilities into account. The opportunities are numerous.

  1. Are skills the main building blocks of your approach?

Instead of looking for the full stack employee that exact fits in the job profile, organisations start looking for people with specific skills and education and experience become less important.

The current mainstream trend to look more at the required skills than job profiles and redesign the HR practices with skills as the main currency, is very promising.

Are skills the main building blocks in your approach?

  1. Is your focus really on the people, not just efficiency?

Many organisations say the right words: we are people focused and our people are at the core of the digital transformation. The personal experience of people is different. It is often: organisation first, people second. The language is full of machine related metaphors. Efficiency, smooth operation, 100% user adaption etc. Are you really focusing on enriching the life of people inside and around the organisation or is it just words?

  1. Do you provide solutions for life coaching?

There was a time when the view of most employers was that they had no dealing with the life of the employees outside work. With the increasing blurring of the boundaries between work and private life and the increased attention to work-life balance this is changing. Organisations are increasingly offering the people in their workforce life coaching support. With this more holistic approach they help people to cope better with the various aspects of life, at work and at home. Areas could include health, finance, sustainability and housing.

  1. Is one of your focus points “learning in the flow of work”?

It makes a difference if an employee must search actively for a learning module that he or she needs, or that the module is offered at an appropriate moment in the workflow, based on real time observations of the behaviour the employee. If there is a meeting with company X in your diary, your personal learning aid might ask: “Do you want to learn more about company X?”. If you are stuck in designing a difficult Excel macro, the Excel chatbot asks you: “Can I help you to design the macro?”. If you have a meeting scheduled with an employee with a low performance rating (the computer get this information in the HRIS), you are offered a short module “how to deal with under-performing employees”.
The solutions become even better if your individual learning style and the level of your capabilities are considered. “Learning in the flow of work” is an important trend. Not easy to implement, but technology can help a lot.

  1. Do you master Design Thinking and agile methodologies?

Finally: the adoption of design thinking and agile methodologies in the HR arena has been slow. Maybe this should have been question number one, as many of the questions above will be answered in a proper design thinking process.

Success in 2022, hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought.

Tom Haak, Director of the HR Trend Institute . LinkedIn: http://goo.gl/u0GnoU

If you would like to come along and hear Tom speak at #PPMAHR22  you can book your place via our website