In Conversation with Tom Haak, Director- HR Trend Institute on Metaverse in HR
Tom Haak is the director of the HR Trend Institute. The HR Trend Institute follows, detects, and encourages trends. In the people and organization domain and in related areas. Where possible, the institute is also a trendsetter.
Since the beginning of 2020, he is a distinguished visiting professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey, one of the leading business schools in Mexico. Tom is one of the leading global HR thought leaders.
Tom has an extensive experience in HR Management in multinational companies. He has a keen interest in innovative HR, HR tech, and how organizations can benefit from trend shifts.
Q- What are the key trends that are changing the face of Digital Transformation in 2022?
My theme for the year 2022 is “From adaptation to transformation”. During the Covid-19 crisis, many organizations have shown remarkable adaptation. Old and traditional practices were rapidly digitized and most people in the workforce got used to new ways of working showing excellent resilience.
Now we need more focus on the second word in “digital transformation”, namely “transformation”. Organizations are challenged to review their current people and organizational practices. Some current trends are fueling this transformation.
- The changing needs and expectations of the workforce.
The workforce is emancipating. More autonomy and more equality are required.
- The changing composition of the workforce.
It is not only about the people on the payroll. The wider workforce (employees, flex workers, suppliers, candidates, alumni, etc.) need tech solutions.
- Diversity, equality, inclusivity, and belonging.
Diversity, equality, inclusivity, and belonging are not a luxury, but a necessity. Not only because of the societal pressure but also because it helps deal with big organizational issues, such as the need for more innovation and increased productivity.
- More people focus.
Many organizations say that our people are our top priority. The reality in many organizations is different. The push for a real people focus not only comes from within, but also from outside (clients, community, society).
- The move from segmentation to hyper-personalization.
Technology makes hyper-personalization better possible. The workplace can learn from the marketplace. Working with crude segments, especially when the segmentation is not data-driven, no longer works.
- The movement from job to roles with capabilities and underlying skills.
Skills are the new currency of HR. Hiring and developing skills and not for jobs has many advantages. On top of the list are more diversity, increased productivity, and increased chances to have adequate capability pools.
- An increased focus on well-being.
The well-being of people in the workforce, and of suppliers and clients get more attention. A more holistic view is taken, not only looking at the well-being of people at work but also touching on other aspects of their life.
Q- How AI and Metaverse are transforming the HR industry?
Technology is changing many aspects of the HR industry. The adaptation of new technology is rather slow, but it is certainly moving in the right direction. Most HR tech investments are focused on increasing efficiency and automating standardized processes. Using HR tech to enhance the employee experience comes next. We see too much focus on the organizational objectives and not enough on the requirements of people in the broad workforce.
Almost all solutions claim to be “AI-powered” but if you look under the hood the AI engine is sometimes hard to find. The potential and the promises though of AI and the Metaverse are big. Many HR processes can be improved a lot, by redesigning and by using clever technologies. Initial efforts are often early in the employee journey.
Profiling, sourcing, and selection can all benefit from technology. With some imagination, you can see the Metaverse being applied in many areas, for example, virtual job tryouts, onboarding, learning and development, international collaboration, and coaching.
Q- What are the technologies to support the Hybrid Work Model and how to implement it?
The hybrid working model has different dimensions. The type of work of the individuals and the team. The personality of people. The living conditions of people (location, space, family). The specific project a team is working on. Technology can be used to determine the best setup for individuals and teams. Here it is also about personalization, not standard solutions.
The technology that is provided can follow the organizational design that is chosen that fits best with the challenges of the organization and teams.
Q- What will be the next big thing in 2022 in HR Technology?
I’m not sure we should be looking for the next big thing. Applying the technologies that are available today and implementing them in a human-centric and ethical way will already be a huge effort. I would hope for less focus on efficiency and more focus on improving the working conditions. In fact, we need both: more productivity and a better life for people in organizations.
Q- Any concluding remarks?
There seems to be a lot of focus on knowledge workers, who can easily work at any time from any place If you look at the industry segments that employ most people, we see that most workers are not primarily knowledge workers. Examples: retail, transportation, healthcare, warehousing, manufacturing, and the military.
In my country (The Netherlands) we have issues at our main airport, Schiphol, because the working conditions and the pay of people working at the ground staff, luggage transport, and security are poor. Many of these people are working at a minimum wage to make the luxury holidays of the people who are better off possible. This is no longer acceptable.
Thank You, Tom!