11 important lessons we learned at DisruptHR Vancouver
Engagement 7 minute read

11 important lessons we learned at DisruptHR Vancouver

Rise | April 5, 2016

The future of work has never looked brighter, thanks to the inspiring and creative Pecha Kucha-style talks at DisruptHR Vancouver.

With 11 speakers and over 300 attendees, this event—organized by custom e-learning development platform Learnkit and hosted at the Rise headquarters—was a massive success.

From the future of robots in the workplace to lessons we can learn from brave pigeons, here are 11 things we took away from DisruptHR Vancouver last week.

Leadership and management are not the same

Let’s move away from the outdated view that moving up in a company means becoming a manager, shall we? Rob Catalano, CEO and Co-Founder of WorkTango, is on a mission to change the way we lead traditional workplaces by focusing on leadership skills rather than toe-the-line management techniques.

“Don’t treat managers like tools—empower them with tools,” he said, adding that we need to stop enabling bad management and start encouraging great leadership.

Want to hear what Catalano learned at DisruptHR (and at the after party)? Read his take on things here.

Lead with love

When Lorie Corcuera, Co-founder at SPARK Creations & Company Inc., said that we should be encouraging love in the workplace, she wasn’t telling us to start dating our co-workers. Rather, she believes in the power of being true to your emotions rather than hiding them.

“Lead with love, not with fear,” she said. “We can choose to work in silos, or we can open ourselves with trust and learn to work together.” Leading with love means leading with your heart, and that’s an idea we adore.

Collaborate with your competitors

Tess Sloane, talent acquisition at lululemon athletica, wants to elevate Vancouver as a global talent hub. How’s she going to do it? By finding out who the competition is and collaborating with them.

“Partner with your enemy,” she said, asserting that, in the complex world of talent acquisition, we all need to forget what we know about business and collaboration and think bigger. Way bigger.

Go rogue responsibly

“If there are rules holding you back, break them,” said Matt Corker, People Consultant & Co-founder at The Corker Company. “Go rogue responsibly.”

For Corker, being disruptive is not just about talking the talk: it’s about taking action and taking chances. We love that idea. Using an anecdote about spirit animals—a pigeon, specifically—Corker invited the audience to have the courage to make a change, to strike out on our own and create the world we want. This is exactly the crux of DisruptHR: have the strength to fix what’s broken, or better yet, break what needs fixing.

Benefits are broken

When it comes to benefits, people need choice. Kevin Hawryluk, Consultant at Pointbreak Consulting Group, asked the DisruptHR audience to imagine how powerful it would be to be able to have a benefits plan that you pick and create yourself. Need a flight to visit your mom? Buying your first house? Getting dental work done? Your benefits plan should be tailored to suit those needs, not nebulous wellness goals set years ago.

“50% of employees aren’t using their benefits,” Hawryluk said. “Current benefits plans are basically saying, ‘We really value half of you.'” To improve benefits (and, consequently, wellness, engagement, and happiness), Hawryluk suggested increasing the flexibility of plans, making them more applicable and more human.

Success is a mindset

“Form a daily habit of gratitude,” said Angie Coates, Talent and Culture Consultant. Why? Because success comes from thinking positively, not negatively. It comes from imagining your best self, and surrounding yourself with other positive people and forces.

In a room filled with our peers, listening to inspiring talks about the future of work, we sure felt like we had a lot to be grateful for.

Technology is changing work

“26% of adults believe an unbiased computer program would be more trustworthy and ethical than their workplace leaders and management,” one of Nikolas Badminton‘s slides read. In his mind, the routine replacement of humans with robots is a really good thing. It opens up a new and even more connected future than ever before.

Whether or not you can imagine working with robots in the near future, technology is certainly disrupting the world of work. From big data to wearable tech, the future is looking more futuristic and friendly than ever.

Measure fulfillment, not engagement

When it comes to measuring your workforce, we’ve been focusing on the wrong metrics, said Brenda Rigney, VP, People Operations at Nurse Next Door. She believes that it’s about fulfillment, not engagement. Building relationships in the workplace, finding work you enjoy, making an impact—these are the things we need to look for and strive for rather than engagement and performance.

Finding a more human way to track the workforce is something we talk about a lot here at Rise, and Brenda said it best: people are not numbers, and the metrics we use in the workplace need to be more holistic.

If the old way doesn’t work, try something older

Jean-Pierre LeBlanc, Co-Founder of Saje Natural Wellness, is looking for inspiration for the future in an unlikely place: ancient history. He shared with the audience an enneagram, which is a tool that dates as far back as the 4th century and breaks down nine basic personality types. LeBlanc’s hope is that, by using symbolic tools like the enneagram and focusing on personality and individuality, he’ll find people who align with the values and missions of his organisation.

In addition to finding alignment, connection, and purpose in the workplace, LeBlanc also sees the importance of celebrating milestones as a way to foster a positive workplace, which is something we agree with wholeheartedly here at Rise.

Find the human connection

People have more in common than we realise, said Rochelle Davidson, Partner at BLANKSLATE Partners. In her talk, she explored the generational differences between millennials and boomers. But ultimately, she said, it’s about the human connection and finding similarities rather than dwelling on differences.

That kind of thinking is what makes workplaces great, fosters collaboration, and helps us make the future workplace even better than the present.

Stop CHRPing, start yelling

Rocky Ozaki, our own People & Culture Director, has some pretty strong feelings about the way HR professionals are educated. “Is the CHRP certification really preparing you for the future of work?” he asked the audience. Their answer? Hell no. The future of work is upon us and the traditional forms of education need to catch up.

What does he propose as an alternative? Embrace the sharing economy (think Airbnb and Uber) and communicate best practices with your peers (#HROS). Consider developing subject matter experts rather than generalists.

“People and culture teams need to think beyond traditional HR roles. For example, we now look to data analysts and marketers, not only for inspiration but as potential additions to our people and culture teams,” he said.

With all of these amazing lessons and so much more, DisruptHR was a night to remember. It left all of us here at Rise feeling honoured, proud, humbled, and excited for the future of work. What’s more exciting? Our friends at Learnkit are already planning the next one! Find out more and get your tickets here (and hurry, they sell out quickly).

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