Snipply is all about the future of work, an interesting term that blankets everything from AI and automation to shifting demographics and workplace environments and dynamics.
We believe the future of work is way more about how we work, and how technology is influencing how we work together. We're starting an interview series with accomplished like-minded business leaders and are kicking off the series with Hason Greene, Founder and Principal of HumInt Labs, Inc, who has a ton of experience steering leadership in their preparation for the future of work.
Hason has a ton of great content on his company blog, which you can find here, and is an expert on human resource strategy and solving the current and future challenges facing organizations by prescribing human-intelligent remedies backed by data, neuroscience, and analytics.
Now let’s get to the questions!
To start can you introduce yourself and what you are currently working on?
“I’m the Founder and Principal of HumInt Labs, Inc., a New York City-based human resources strategy consultancy helping startups and small-to-medium businesses to create healthier organizations by identifying and diagnosing threats and opportunities, offering prescriptions for people problems and work ills, and designing better ways to measure a company’ true health — that of their people.”
Why do companies choose to work with you?
“Well, I like to think it’s for two reasons. First, our lean organizational structure — together with our partners — enables us to rapidly scale to projects of all sizes on-demand and at a moment's notice in a ‘plug and play’ model. Second, our approach leverages both data and people science to get at the heart of a company’s ills in order to improve the health of the organization and better position the workforce for the future.”
You are working with a few different tech companies in the space, can you talk about one of them, and why what they’re doing is important?
“Yes, I am currently consulting on the development of a few different HR tech companies. I can talk about two. The first is HiLo. At HiLo, we are building the future of ‘employee voice’ — where employees share anonymously what’s in their hearts and minds each and every day, and leaders receive to-the-moment actionable data. It isn’t just a tech solution, it's going to be THE way for organizations to communicate, hear, and learn all about the heath and well being of their people, replacing the outdated survey. The second is Candidate Collective. At Candidate Collective, we are building what is, hopefully, the last platform you will ever use to find the best talent; whether that is hiring a candidate or contracting an outsourced firm. We use a proprietary algorithm to match crowdsourced referrals to top opportunities based on criteria that matter to you. The experience is an end to end solution fueled by data, not the unconscious bias of the mediocre recruiter. As an added bonus, you save time and money.
Here is the take away: data makes the world go round. data shapes the future. data is what we use to create happier, healthier organizations, cultures and workplaces for the humans that work for us. and both of these technologies leverage relevant, meaningful data to make decisions, not gut or unconscious bias.”
What makes HiLo so powerful for management?
“Responses are truly anonymized and data is only viewed in aggregate. This protects the identity of the individual, which in turn encourages honest responses. This is critical because dishonest feedback is not only a waste of time and money, but acting on bad information can lead to an even more harmful and unhealthy situation than the original problem. Analytics and language processing allows leaders and HR to learn employees’ concerns and measure employee mental and emotional health, all while improving communication organization-wide.”
And for employees?
“There are scientifically proven mental and emotional health benefits to voicing one’s thoughts and feelings. Since individual employees have their own dashboards with access to their data, they can monitor and manage their own personal health. The great thing about this platform is that it is not something that is being done TO employees. Rather, it was designed and built to work FOR employees, on their terms. It is not forced survey questions. Neither is it performance management. No, it is ‘employee voice’.”
On The Future Of Work
Why do you think the future of work is scary to some?
“It’s scary, first, because it’s volatile and uncertain and, second, because it affects everyone. No one is safe from the future. Neither the business owner nor the worker know what the future job market look like, what future work or jobs will be. Its only human nature to fear what we don’t know. Especially since, when we have limited info about the future, we are limited in our ability to prepare for said future.”
What can we do to make it less scary?
“There are two things you could do today to prepare for an uncertain future. First, include scenario planning in your strategic workforce planning and career pathing. Running scenarios helps you to prepare for multiple possible eventual futures. A second practice to get ready is to learn to think and feel better. By this, I am referring to the ability to think and feel more strategically, more smartly, more humanly. For example, decision intelligence, design thinking, critical thinking, strategic thinking, negotiating, public speaking, and storytelling, as well as, data management, data analysis, data visualization and analytics are all timeless skills.”
What excites you about the future of work?
“It has yet to be created. It’s structures, relationships, leaders, technologies and solutions are not defined yet. Humans have before them an opportunity to do what they do best — create. To get started, business owners need only to start with themselves.”
What is an over-emphasized concept or talking point in the future of work?
“Artificial Intelligence. We have valued its promise too highly. Its been given so much attention you would think it was a miracle cure. First, it's incredibly misunderstood. Half the time, what people call AI is not real AI. Second, only so many companies actually have data architecture and money to take advantage of it. Third, for it to truly deliver on its promise, we would need to relinquish too much power and authority to it. It should be a tool to facilitate decision making, not to replace decision makers. It will be at our peril to remove humans from the equation. Finally, there is other tech I believe holds greater potential than AI, such as blockchain.”
What is one thing you believe to be key in the future of work that other people aren’t paying attention to?
“The need to redesign roles and organizations is not being met. Not enough attention is given to restructuring organizations to perform the work of the future. We are still relying far too heavily on the old hierarchy. It’s not diverse enough, not differentiated enough, not agile enough, not remote enough, not connected enough, and has not enough teams. Two groups, in particular, that are not seeing enough attention are the executive team and the HR function. We have had incredible advancements in technology and yet executive and HR roles have been stoic. They need an overhaul.”
How do you see organizations changing to adapt?
“Sadly, most still are not. Where you do see it is in startups and large companies with the means to do so. One example is the creation of innovative roles that are more forward-thinking and data-driven. Another example is an increased use of outsourced talent such as contractors, firms or overseas freelancers.”
How can companies make sure they are investing in human capital properly?
“Most companies don’t invest at all. They fear they will invest in people and then those people will leave. Step one, invest strategically. In items that support the larger business strategy (eg. learning, tech, support). Step two, measure your investment. Create a metric on your financial statements to track and measure it. It is a future indicator of both human capital and reputational capital. Third, make it part of your employer brand and employee value proposition. Brag about it. Show it off. Internally and externally.”
Where do business strategies need to change in order to prepare for the future of work?
“To deliver on solutions to future problems, workforce strategies and structures must be more adaptive and differentiated. They need to be living organisms, responding in real time to data from the front lines. They need to change with the times and the times are changing rapidly.”
Why do organizations look past Human Capital?
“Business owners view Human Capital as a great big cost center to be cut at the first sign of financial uncertainty. They do this because its an easy short term ‘fix’ that can be executed fairly quickly. It's a numbers game with head count and labor dollars. They behave this way because they value and manage it as a liability on financial statements. Instead, it should be valued and managed as an asset, a resource to be leveraged, especially in times of volatility and uncertainty.”
How do you see technology changing the way we work and interact with our companies?
“It’s already enabled us to work remotely and connect to teams around the world. But the experiences aren’t seamless yet. In addition, it’s widely known that the same technology that connects us more easily makes us feel more isolated at times. Thus, companies and technologies have to create more meaningful connections, that are more human and personalized. Extended Reality (XR) and IoT have tremendous potential in this space. The goal of these solutions being for users to not notice the physical distance between people.”
What’s currently wrong with current technology and how we’re using HR data?
"The intelligence (ie. data, information, insights) we collect today is held in disparate databases, often not communicating with each other. We don’t treat the data with the respect it deserves. We don’t value it as strategic or terribly relevant. It sits static until we need to run payroll, create next year’s workforce plan or lay people off. But now imagine you can make human capital work for you, the same way you can make money or some other capital work for you. It is possible. Let’s look at a real example. With the increase in remote workers (freelancers, teams, firms); those who need data for decision making need better ways to access, view, and act on that data — a real ‘intelligence architecture’. Where all other data is analyzed in relation to people data. With a reinvention of the traditional HRIS at the heart of this intelligence architecture, you can have a much more dynamic Human Resources Intelligence System that, unlike the repository it is today, has the capacity to not merely collect and store people data but make recommendations on how to develop and deploy your human capital.”
Can you talk a bit about privacy and the future of work?
“The future is going to be more data determinative than ever before. In the process, we are pushing the boundaries on data privacy laws that restrict us from collecting and using certain types of data. For example, with smart devices and IoT, we are collecting more personal employee data (such as medical) than we ever have before, in an effort to personalize the employee experience more than we ever have before. This people data requires protecting. It requires governance, security, privacy and permissions.”
What challenges do you foresee being created by the future workforce and how we work?
“One of the greatest challenges will be the mental health issues that result from remote work. Mental health issues were always there. But we never gave them the attention we gave physical health and safety. The isolation of remote work, however, will exacerbate the issue resulting in increased anxiety and depression and lower productivity levels. Business and government alike will need to give greater attention to employee mental health. Businesses can update their sick leave and workplace policies while government can update laws like OSHA. We also need to provide employees greater access to resources to address mental health. Right now, most companies include some version of mental health resources in their benefits package. But we need to put these resources in the actual hands of our workforce.”
Where are organizations falling short in measuring company health?
“Generally, companies measure their health by their financial performance. This is what business leaders look at when making business decisions and what we look at in deciding to invest in a company. Except financial performance is not an accurate assessment tool to measure company health when companies bloat their valuations, pad their numbers, buy back stock inadvertently manipulating share price, or set unrealistic targets which causes employees to cut corners to meet those targets for fear of punishment. People and tech are the two most direct drivers of performance and yet we don’t measure their value enough. We need to better measure the health of our workforce, the humans in our care. To do that, we need more human capital metrics and people analytics data. ”
What’s the biggest pitfall in measuring health for the organization, the team, and the individual?
“If the data we collect is not properly managed (not anonymized and protected), it can have disastrous consequences. Without proper data leadership, governance and enforcement, data will surely be used for dark and devious purposes. With proper safeguards, data is a tool for personalizing employee experience. Without them, data is a tool for targeting employees for punishment.”
Where is the future of measuring company health and what can technology do to help?
“I would like to see three new indices used to measure a company’s health, and have them be on what decisions are based. The first, a ‘Wellness Index’ that measures individual medical health from sensors, smart devices, and medical records. The second, a ‘Fitness Index’ that measures team chemistry to determine fit taken from both assessments and actual performance. The third, a ‘Health Index’ that measures human capital metrics in relation to people analytics data.
To accomplish this, we must start to build the ‘intelligence architecture’ and the new ‘Human Resource Intelligence System’. This technology does not exist yet but, thankfully, I am building it.”
Hason's Simple Key Take away:
“First, begin to restructure your organizations for the future. Second, do more with your data, in particular, your people data.”
Love the interview and interested in more? Make sure to check out HumInt Labs, Inc and stay up to date with Snipply’s blog where we’ll be publishing more interviews, research and commentary on the future of work. And if interested in tools to make your world in the future of work easier, check out Snipply’s beta here.
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