As you may have noticed, the workplace has been going through some changes in the past 20 months. So on Tuesday, HR Brew’s virtual launch event (yes, we’re live, haven’t you heard?) tried to unpack some of these monumental changes over the course of 30 minutes. It got pretty ambitious, as the conversation veered into the daunting territory of “where are we” in this time of great workplace upheaval and what that means for HR.
HR Brew editor John Del Signore spoke with software giant SAP’s former global head of transformational change and future of work, Kerry Brown, about the myriad issues facing the working world today, and how HR professionals are making the most of a moment in which they find themselves “front and center,” as Brown put it.
Watch the full event recording here, or keep reading for our biggest takeaways.
You can’t stop the Great Resignation! The Great Resignation, as many media types are calling it, is so pervasive, it even happened during the interview. Brown delivered some *checks notes* personal news early in the call, noting that she’s “joining the 15 million” people in the United States who’ve recently resigned from their posts. (Del Signore, ever the contrarian, did not resign during the event.)
Asked about how hard it must be to give up a title as cool as “global head of transformational change and future of work,” Brown said, “There [are] certain words that resonate with people as they’re trying to tackle what it is they’re tackling, and ‘transformational change’ is what the rest of the world is doing and what we’re trying to get done.” That said, the time has come for her to begin a new chapter along with millions of others. What that will be remains unwritten.
About that transformational change: The future of work is here, and Brown said change will be sparked by generational shifts, starting with the “the mass flow of Baby Boomers out of the workforce.” But there’s also evolving tech and its necessity at organizations. “How do AI and machine learning and robotics fit in? Safety became a big consideration for a lot of organizations during Covid, and so where do you support employees from [a] safety perspective with drones?”
Speaking of Gen Z…According to a recent HR Brew/Harris Poll survey of American employees, Gen Z workers are far more distrustful of HR departments than their older colleagues. Asked what HR can do to gain the trust of skeptical Zoomers, Brown said they should start by acknowledging that “the experience [Gen Z] has is different. The people who’ve been working for a long time have a known predictable entity in HR.”
Brown advised HR professionals to build trust for all generations among employees in the same way: “For every HR person for every generation, it’s…showing up and listening and responding in a tangible way that the employee can see that you’re listening. And like with any relationship, your trust is going to grow.”
Watch the event in its entirety here.—SB
Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Contact Sam Blum via the encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram (@SamBlum_Brew) or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.