Botification and the future of HR – HRUnconference Finland, 2016

Can you imagine a week full of warm days during May in Finland?

Can you imagine 100+ senior executive recruiters and HR leaders, discussing predictive analytics, bots, technology, and tools like Sales Force, Oracle, Slack, Trello,  and so on?

This week I witnessed both in Finland. I have never seen HR folks, so passionately discuss about these topics and add to that candidate experience, user personas and Inbound Marketing (Yes, you read it right!).

All these discussions were part of the HRUnconference Helsinki, 2016 event. What differentiated this event from others, was the informal restaurant setting, 100+ participants, and the track design. The line up of track leaders were carefully selected, covering different industries, seasoned professionals and great cases.

Why am I so impressed with this HRU event? Because, it highlights the way HR leaders are renewing recruitment, adapting to changing times and becoming a business partner with core functions like R&D, Sales and Marketing. I spent the day attending different tracks and found the discussions very useful. This also gave me several insights into how different organizations in Finland are preparing for the future of HR.

Global HR Head for Finnair, Juho Toivola, started the day discussing recruiter biases, and he left us with interesting food for thought. A future that will involve – predictive analysis, machine learning and distributed CV reviewing to overcome the usual recruitment biases. Humans are biologically wired to be biased, and to quickly categorize the world and people based on pre-conceived notions. It will take a conscious effort and change to overcome this bias.

Next up, I shared my thoughts on building distributed teams and why HR has to lead this change. Virtual competence, coined by Cambridge is a new norm and a must have for remote workers, traveling roles and for business leaders managing distributed teams. Automattic, Canonical, MySQL and several other companies have adopted a global workforce approach, and research is already showing increase in productivity, employee engagement, and reduced costs. Having worked at Nokia, Microsoft and our own startup –Shoppire, creating distributed teams, we brainstormed several thoughts around this shifting paradigm and future of work.

Julius Hurri, Talent acquisition at Netlight Consulting then shared his thoughts on building Inhouse headhunting, MVP and why it is critical to have a talent pipeline. Participants highlighted the constraints that most of them share, resources, time, huge number of applicants, inability to reach passive candidates among others. Julius had some great examples to overcome them, and helped the group to brainstorm more ideas.

As we split up for lunch, the energy in the room, and also outside was quite infectious.

After this, Samuli Kivilehto, Head of Talent Acquisition (North Europe and Central Asia) at Ericcson, shared his journey on Recruitment Process Outsourcing. What fascinated me most was that the discussion was focused around internal customers, stakeholders and candidate experience. Which is again a shift from the usual topics like cost savings and time.

Oscar Mager, Founder at Recruitment Essentials took us to the future of recruitment and how Bots will play an important role in recruitment and communication. It’s an opportunity to automate and improve candidate engagement and deliver a seamless experience.

David Price, Talent Acquisition, Valmet then engaged us with a thought provoking session on screening candidates in a fair and quick way. This had a great connect with Juho’s morning session and how we can move away from only CV’s to other methodologies. Several tools were discussed, mediums like video recruiting, casestudies, subjective applications were exchanged from the best practices among different companies.

The final track I attended was to hear about SC5, from Marjaana Murtomaa, HR Director, SC5, and how they have adopted Slack, Trello, Hubspot for recruitment. It was interesting to hear that HR team in SC5 works in Agile development mode. “We try out all new tools, and retain the ones that are working, and keep moving forward” – said Marjaana.

Only regret I had, was missing other tracks that were running in parallel.

Customary drinks, after party, and awards followed with some active networking. 

All in all, a day well spent. One where I learned, engaged, and left wondering if Marketing and Recruitment will come under one umbrella at some point in time? Will the future recruiters, start reporting dotted line into Marketing organization? Where does employer branding stop, and recruitment begin? But let’s reserve those thoughts for follow up discussions and next HRU :).