‘Let’s set the HR industry on fire’

Leaders must work to "fundamentally redefine HR for the future," Top 100 HR Tech Influencer Mark Stelzner said during a Twitter chat with 'HRE.'
By: | August 12, 2020 • 2 min read

Mark Stelzner

What’s one thing the pandemic has given HR executives if they didn’t have it before? To use a tortured cliche, it’s a seat at the (virtual) executive leadership table.

But that should be just the beginning, said Mark Stelzner, founder and managing principal at Inflexion Advisors, as well as one of HRE’s 2020 Top 100 HR Tech Influencers, during a recent Twitter chat with HRE. Now is the time to use COVID-19’s momentum to redefine HR’s role and responsibility in organizations.

“Use the seat and table for firewood,” Stelzner wrote, “and let’s set the HR industry on fire. We are (a) strong and capable group of professionals who should neither apologize nor shirk away from advocating for a new future of work.

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“If we take advantage of HR being in the spotlight, we can fundamentally redefine HR for the future. Do not cede this well-fought ground!”

Related: The biggest risk for HR leaders? Not taking enough risk

Fellow influencer Robin Schooling, managing partner for HR and people strategy at Peridus Group, chimed in during the chat with a similar challenge for HR leaders.

Robin Schooling

“Due to all this (**gestures widely**), more HR practitioners have been invited into ‘the room where it happens’ … (now stay in there and don’t give back the key!),” Schooling wrote. 

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HR technology, which has become a necessity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep communication strong between managers and employees and to help adjust to remote work, should remain central in that mission, Stelzner wrote. He also discussed how the function of HR has changed and how to move forward with HR tech.

“COVID amplified the need for secure, unified and available HR service delivery regardless of location,” Stelzner wrote during the chat. “#HRTech is inextricably linked to the productivity and success of the modern enterprise.”

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Throughout the pandemic, businesses have had to adapt to new circumstances and learn how to provide leadership during a challenging time. Chat participant Nicki Griffin believes one change that’s necessary is that business leaders take a more adaptable approach.

“Flexibility is key,” Griffin wrote. “All those strategic plans—yeah, throw them out the window. We’re moving into a different business mindset where leaders need more agility, quick wit and speed than ever before.”

Related: More thought leadership from our Top 100 HR Tech Influencers

With all the new protocols and changes to the workplace, Stelzner hopes some of those adjustments become permanent, even after the pandemic.

“[There are two things I want to become lasting changes:] 1) We continue to focus more on the results of our work versus the inputs (location, time, etc.); and 2) Emotional, financial, and physical wellbeing are universally embraced without stigma,” he wrote.

With remote work, balancing the needs of the entire workforce can be a challenge. However, Stelzner says that creating a balance between productivity and wellbeing requires two critical pieces: a focus on the safety and flexibility of all worker types and the provision of safety tools and onsite support.

Stelzner adds, “And how do we ensure there is no retribution for honesty under COVID? Will you pay your employees to rest (and I mean all employees) and return safely? Don’t make them choose.”

To participate in our next chat, follow us on twitter @HRExecMag and follow the hashtag #HRTechInfluencers.

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With remote work, balancing the needs of the entire workforce can be a challenge. However, Stelzner says that creating a balance between productivity and wellbeing requires two critical pieces: a focus on the safety and flexibility of all worker types and the provision of safety tools and onsite support.

Stelzner adds, “And how do we ensure there is no retribution for honesty under COVID? Will you pay your employees to rest (and I mean all employees) and return safely? Don’t make them choose.”

To participate in our next chat, follow us on twitter @HRExecMag and follow the hashtag #HRTechInfluencers.