What are the hottest topics in human resources these days? That question was answered for us recently when we attended the 2012 HCI Human Capital Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona.
We spent three days in the desert enjoying keynote sessions from the world’s leading human resources thought leaders, best-selling authors and former executives. Turns out it was anything but dry.
While there were many “a-ha!” moments throughout the week, these are three of our biggest takeaways:
Whether it was Robert Cancalosi of GE Healthcare speaking about their quest for endless innovation or Debra France of W.L. Gore describing her company’s radical approach to leadership hierarchy, some of the best success stories we heard came from companies willing to strike out on their own, bold course. GE Healthcare has created a culture of innovation by challenging its employees to be externally focused and imaginative. W.L. Gore threw away the traditional corporate structure, instead operating under what France calls a “lattice” structure in which everyone is a manager and feedback is a recurring loop. In place of job descriptions, employees commit to certain outcomes and work toward those goals. To most of us, these strategies seem counterintuitive, but this is exactly why they work so well in these environments.
DreamWorksAnimation HR Chief Dan Satterthwaite described an environment at his company that fosters inherent transparency, including a daily public blog post from the CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, that keeps employees engaged, focused and informed. A typical feature-length animated film can take as long as five years to complete. With today’s mobile workforce, it’s difficult to imagine retaining 98% of your workforce throughout an entire project, but that’s exactly what DreamWorks Animation has been able to do. In fact, they consistently find themselves named among the 100 Best Companies to Work For by CNN Money. Maintaining transparency throughout all levels of the company has helped them foster an environment of innovation without employees feeling like their job is on the line if they take risks.
ChangeLabsFounder and CEO Peter Sheahan illustrated a striking example of a $5 billion market opportunity that was lost by a company because of a lack of communication among their most senior executives. Sheahan also noted that collaboration helps instill a genuine sense of commitment from employees. Several other speakers stressed the need to harness the power of the group when it comes to aligning teams and keeping employees engaged. Whether in person or using the latest social technology, collaboration was a consistent theme throughout the summit.
In addition to the conference sessions, we had meaningful conversations with many of the world’s leading HR practitioners who share our enthusiasm for innovative and fresh methods of leadership development. We certainly look forward to future HCI events, where we’ll have the chance to further explore these ideas.
Were you at the 2012 HCI Human Capital Summit? Leave a comment below and let usknow what resonated with you!