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CXBuzz Interview With Tom Haak Director HR Trend Institute

Hi Tom, tell us about yourself and your background and how you got to the HR Tech space?
My background is in human resources management. I worked for great companies as Philips Electronics, KPMG, Aon, and Arcadis. In 2014 I founded the HR Trend Institute. At the HR Trend Institute, we sense and detect trends in the people and organization domain. Of course, technology is an important driver of change, also in HR. Technology offers enormous opportunities to improve the life of people in and around organizations. In HR the focus is still too much on control and process improvement, not enough on really improving the employee experience.
Online commerce was booming in 2020; how did it affect brands’ adoption of Artificial Intelligence? – What should be the main focus for brands this year?  

Personalization should be one of the focus points. With AI powered personalization a lot can be improved. HR can learn from marketing. Employer branding: what are individuals looking for? How can we take personality into account? Many current HR approaches are still too much “one-size-fits-all” or group-oriented (“What are the expectations of millennials?”).

Tom’s checklist for employee-experience strategy

In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good EX (Employee Experience) strategy?

Jacob Morgan, author of the “Employee Experience Advantage” provided an excellent index, the Employee Experience Index. The checklist contains 17 points, divided into the “Technical environment”, the “Physical environment” and the “Cultural environment”. Detecting and measuring “moments that matter” can be very valuable. On my website, I have a collection of employee journey maps. The favorite metaphor organizations use to picture the employee journey is a road, most of the time a highway. If you look at the collection, it becomes clear the journeys reflect more what the organizations consider to be an ideal journey than what the employees prefer.

How much has the role of an employee experience strategy in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?

The current crisis has increased the need for employee experience strategies, and not only for people who work remotely. We must realize that in many professions that employee many people remote working is not an option. Retail, transport, medical care, warehouses. Consciously designing the employee experience, taking the individual needs, preferences, and capabilities of people into account is important. Technology can help to map these needs, preferences, and capabilities. In designing the hybrid workplace, for example, we should look at the type of work, the personality of people, and the home situation. People in creative and innovation jobs benefit from “casual collisions”, and when you work out of your home office, you don’t have a lot of casual collisions. But fortunately, there are already tools that can enhance casual collisions in the virtual world.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
The COVID-19 crisis acted as an accelerator for many trends in the world of work. I would say 2020 was a year of quick adaptation. Hopefully, 2021 will be a year of real transformation. For example, many physical meetings were quickly moved online, but the nature of the meetings was not really changed. The move to more asynchronous meetings with a lot of benefits still has to happen in most organizations.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events, what was your favorite one?  
Many webinars and events were very boring. Still many people with their traditional Powerpoint powered presentations. The advantage: you can switch them off! The best one I participated in was “No more boring webinars” of Cyriel Kortleven an entertaining Belgian performer. 
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future, how should CEOs gear up to the changing times?
Benefit from the change, and use the change to offer employees a better experience. Spotify, for example, just announced that employees can choose the country they like to work from. The pool of people to recruit from has also become a lot larger. US and British investment banks have increased recruitment on the Dutch market. candidates can continue to work from home, and earn a lot more!
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Still NPS. I know of an organization that asks their employees every week two questions: “To what extend would you recommend our organization as an employer to your family and friends/” (1-10, resulting in NPS) and “In what way can we help you to do your work better, if anything?”. Simple and effective, if you follow up on the suggestions.

About the author

Efrat Vulfsons
Efrat Vulfsons
Efrat Vulfsons is the CEO & Co-Founder of PR Soprano and the editor of CXBuzz parallel to her soprano opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A from the Jerusalem Music Academy in Opera Performance.


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