HR Hacking and the rise of HR Hackers

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Have you heard of Lifehacking for a better lifestyle, or Timehacking for a better work life, or Growth & Contenthacking to boost your marketing strategy or even Bodyhacking to improve your diet and workout results ? At last, it’s now time to talk about HR hacking ! 


The word “hacker” has suffered unfair negative connotations for a long time, mainly through being portrayed by the media as people who want to steal your identity or your money. Today the meaning is evolving and hacking just means building something quickly, testing the boundaries of what can be achieved or finding clever shortcuts to make faster, easier and more efficient systems.


HR Hacking is a combination of Lean Startup (with HR helping its company to learn and  pivot faster than its competitors), Growth Hacking (with HR goals supporting sales development through their knowledge of Behavioural & Neuro Economics)  and what we call Trendability (capacity of a company to find, sort and assimilate relevant trends) through the use of  measurable and scalable methodologies, driven by products, focused on clients and centred on employees.


HR Hacking works at the intersection of data (Behavioral Economy), people (Neuroscience), and finance (Metrics) it will help your company grow through 2 channels : cost reduction and business development.


Cost reduction through simplicity and speed

HR Hacking first came to the attention of French HR Managers when they realised they were often doing things in a very complicated way. Just ask them about Workforce and competency planning or in French “Gestion Prévisionnelle des emplois et des compétences” for example. Then, in 2013, a book by Navi Radjou, “Jugaad Innovation“, which talked about “being ingenious and simple”, became a hit ! It was time to think about making things simpler and as a result…faster !


A radical shift in HR thinking started spreading : “Why not try to make things better, simpler and faster ?” “Why not use what we learnt when e-Learning started using neuroscience discoveries outside of the HR field ?” “Why not use A/B testing methodology to see what can be improved in the way we attract, recruit, manage or train people ?” “Why not measure the impact of  our actions on the financial results of the company ?”.


HR Hackers was born and started to transform HR into a Experimental laboratory :

> A reduction of 80% in the time taken to transfer skills from a senior manager to a junior apprentice, by helping them understand each other’s way of processing information and dealing with problems.

> Experimenting with the amount of time spent during interviews focussing on “Past experiences questions” and “Extra curricular activity questions” and noticing that it can affect candidate engagement by up to 40%.

> Using new tools and setting up a “community of makers” to boost the number of ideas shared by 500%…


Business development through Neuroeconomics and Trend Spotting

But HR Hacker “raison d’être” is not just about saving money, it is first and foremost about boosting company growth through the people that work there. It’s the “employee-centered, client-focused part”. With “Neuroscience” discoveries coming to light and statistics used in what would become “Behavioural economics”, HR had new roles to play : Taking advantage of these tools and methodologies to influence change and transformation in the CRM field, helping their company moving from a simple selling proposition to a global solution approach.


Something else became obvious : HR could become a place to identify outside trends before communicating them internally. For example, the Gen Y effect hit the company’s Marketing department and Recruitment Services almost at the same time, social networks and communities became as important for Sales and Talent Management.


HR Hackers thought the following : “Why not become the champions of change and TrendSpotting like we did when Generation Y hit our recruitment teams ?” “Why not use Neuroscience to support sales and not just for training purposes ?” “Why not measure the impact of our actions on the company metrics as a whole and not just on  HR metrics ?”

HR was entering the sales department and things would never be the same again :

> Rising sales by 19% in training employees to their company solution.

> Selling HR Practices to other companies for a growing percentage of global sales.

> Improving company market share by 5% by inviting clients to join internal training sessions about leadership, trendspotting or big data analysis.

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