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2020 Virtual HR Innovation & Tech Fest – “You Don’t See Squirrels Building Elevators”

The <a href="">2020 Virtual HR Innovation &amp; Tech Fest</a> celebrating talent, technology, and ideas was certainly off the beaten track as far as large-scale national events go with everyone involved participating from their loungerooms. However, as sponsors, we were excited to hear how the speakers and audience had used the COVID pandemic as the unlikely accelerant to innovation and embracing technology. A key insight unique to this year’s conference is how COVID is the accelerant to the innovation and adoption of technology not to replace human resources, but as a tool to improve employee engagement, customer experience, and business outcomes.  Here are a few of the sessions from the 2020 Virtual HR Innovation &amp; Tech Fest that we found most inspiring.

Conference Room
Technology helping businesses become more people-centric

Author and speaker Heather McGowan stressed that the skills of the future are uniquely human. Creativity, collaboration, and empathy are the cornerstone of successful people and businesses, and therefore something that all organisations should be investing in. However, technology and innovation are increasingly important and integral to our development. After all, you don’t see squirrels building elevators – it’s a singularly human aspect to prioritise growth, respond resourcefully and agilely to situations, and disrupt ourselves with plans of the future.

If we want to focus on developing interpersonal skills it’s time to automate, innovate and optimise using technology so we can focus on what’s really important.

Using technology to improve employee engagement and collaboration

It’s important to keep employees accountable but organisations need to jump on board a new culture of giving employees more flexible communication and knowledge sharing. The idea that work management should rest upon uniquely human skills such as collaboration was also talked about by James Dellow from Chief Technology Solutions. The working-from-home response to COVID-19 has shown that micromanaging and a strong command of control is no longer aligned with what the workforce needs. The barriers to knowledge sharing that helped organisations maintain procedures are now forgone for a social media message.

COVID-19 has changed the game

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic means that engaging employees, improving customer experience, and maintaining business outcomes are more pivotal than ever. It’s now clear that employee experience directly impacts business outcomes through people analytics as described by Jordan Pettman at Nestle. What organisations need to look for is a handshake between influencing employees and business outcomes, which means blending technology-powered innovation with uniquely human skills.

Humanforce’s Managing Director and Founder Bruce Mackenzie and CEO Clayton Pyne spoke with Linda Carroll, Head of People and Culture from Affinity Education about how adaptable businesses need to respond to the pandemic with agility to make themselves the employer of choice and improve business outcomes. Technology, specifically workforce management systems, plays a big role in improving worker collaboration and communication to engage employees which has tangible outcomes for workers, customers, and your business (read more here). Workplaces need to leverage technology as hr innovation, to grow as people-centric companies working together, knowledge-sharing, and creating team value.



Almost every shift has its no-shows, late arrivals, and special requests, but, you’ve also got to deal with the big shifts in how people work – everything from new employee expectations to new technologies, new regulations, and other major changes. Humanforce brings a whole new approach to managing your teams where you can simplify the process, see everything at once, and stay ahead of the curve. That’s why thousands of businesses of all sizes – hotels to hospitals, resources to recreation, stadiums to shops and more - use Humanforce to get ready for the next shift.