This year, one of the biggest HR technology events in the world changed its name: switching from HR Tech World to Unleash. What is this transformation about? It shows that the event organizers wanted to go further, from a name focusing on technology, to another that puts the spotlight on revolutionizing the people served by this technology. And of course, real transformation in organizations will be one that unleashes the power in professionals to attain their full potential.
With cutting-edge technologies and artificial intelligence on the rise more than ever, this year, at the event we witnessed a profound reflection on what it truly means to be human alongside an analysis of how we can work together with machines. None of this is new, but we observed a much deeper emphasis on these issues.
Thus, the profession of two keynote speakers at the event was not surprising: Esther Perel, a psychologist, and Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk. They were alongside other prominent speakers such as Josh Bersin, an analyst and Andrew Keen, a businessman.
Here are 6 of the most interesting trends these gurus discussed:
The Return of the Human Element.
As we said earlier, given how other forms of intelligence are entering the ecosystem of work, such as artificial intelligence, human beings are questioning their identity as a species and are returning to their most primordial values to find out what makes us different. In this context, Andrew Keen said in his talk on "Working Humans in the Digital Age" that what differentiates us in a technological world, apart from the fact that we age, is above all empathy.
Trust. You Must Learn to Trust.
All the influencers of the event agreed on this point. Josh Bersin spoke of a growing lack of trust among individuals, something that Esther Perel, the psychologist, said is taking root in the increasingly individualistic world that surrounds us. For her, autonomy has been imposed over interdependence, as is the case with competition versus collaboration. Perhaps it's time to favour the latter to get better results.
The Power of Understanding and Altruism.
One of the strengths of this edition of Unleash was the presence of the Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard, who endorses one of the most valued trends in the world of work: meditation or mindfulness. Achieving balance and personal happiness is essential for understanding those around us and for creating an optimal environment in all aspects. To do this, it is necessary to learn how to deal with people and not just with numbers and results, since it is not possible to do sincerely if we are pursuing a selfish goal.
Companies are increasingly concerned with to offer a good employee experience, as shown in the studies that Josh Bersin shared with us during his talk "HR Technology Disruptions for 2019". These also reveal how the role of loyalty has grown subtly, something that could acquire even greater relevance when placing people at the centre of any organization. This employee centricity must combine their personal happiness, their integration into work teams and, even if seemingly secondary, their physical well-being. All this leads to sustainable productivity and favourable employee engagement for the company.
Conversations are at the Centre of Everything.
All the speakers at Unleash 2018 concurred on the need to humanize work relationships. This fundamentally involves: communication. Paying attention to how we express our ideas, how we adapt to our interlocutors to have dynamic relationships without isolating us in our points of view, and to tackle problems face to face, all imply a vital change in work teams and, thus, in the work environment.
The Importance of Soft Skills.
By putting people in the centre, the formal curriculum opens up to give way to other more important social or vital skills. To know how to manage conflicts, understand the situations of teammates, offer creative alternatives or even respond with kindness—all these are beginning to be important pieces when interviewing candidates, as underscored by the psychologist, Esther Perel, in her talk "Where should we begin? The Future of Workplace: How Good Relationships Promote Well-being & Success".
In short, at the Unleash Amsterdam 2018 event we saw that technology is a given within HR, but now, more than ever, we must put the employee at the heart of all processes and know how to use technology to improve their lives, because at the end of the day they are a company’s maximum asset.