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Will the robots make us happy?

Photo Credit: John Lawlor, Flickr

Photo Credit: John Lawlor, Flickr

I spent last week at WorkHuman, the conference focused on humanity in the workplace.

Inspired, I’ve spent a lot of time following the conference reflecting on themes.  As a conference envisioned by Globoforce, an employee rewards network, it is no wonder that there was a lot of discussion around the value of technology in supporting an environment of happiness. As someone in the total rewards field, I appreciated the focus on the connection between the ways and outcomes.

I was struck by the number of references to robots at the conference.  It was somewhat unexpected.  It isn’t my intention to go all Terminator 2-3D in this blog. . .well given I was just in Orlando, maybe it is.  But the robot references have me asking:

In the not-so-near future, what will be the role of the robots? 

To replace the humans? 

To augment the humans?

There was a time when to suggest that the robots would become sentient was outlandish. Increasingly improved understanding of human algorithms makes for a more believable and more efficient robot.  Will we need us at work?

Knowing that the robots are mostly more efficient than humans, if our goal is to augment humans, what do we have to do to make humans more efficient, more effective?”  The answer seems to be focusing on human happiness.

Most of the speakers had some theme of happiness to their sessions. From Steve Pemberton’s message to rise above the labels others give you and Shawn Anchor’s message describing the environment of happiness, to Amy Cuddy’s message to encourage girls to take up space and Michael J. Fox’s message to never give up, the audience was left to reflect on what makes us happy with a mission to focus on that.

Applying this in the workplace, two questions arise:

  1. Gary Hamel, WorkHuman

    Gary Hamel, WorkHuman

    Is it possible to evolve people in every industry, every workplace culture in existence towards happiness? g. is happiness an accessible idea for every workplace?  Shawn Anchor pointed to scientific research that shows that happiness is infectious, spreading from one to others. Gary Hamel said it well when he suggested that bureaucracy was the death of the modern organization.  Some organizations seem to have a much better shot at happiness.  And they will probably be the ones with fluidity.

  1. Will they develop robots who understand the human algorithm better than humans and therefore will make better people managers? Will these robots use feedback to support human happiness?  This question evolved from the notion suggested by some that there needs to be a lot of energy placed on developing managers so why not take them out of the equation. The feedback platforms are designed to do just that. Eventually the best feedback may be from the robots themselves.

Or not.  Especially if we value humanity as essential element of culture.

So where is HR right now?  Well the folks at the conference were all working on their yoga poses and mindfulness techniques.  They were contemplating a full rounded life with the hope that they will inspire happiness in others.

Essentially, HR is a great tool in the face of robots.  And, the more we adopt a platform of challenge, feedback and happiness the more effective we will be.

Or maybe we’ll just be initializing the robots.  You decide.

Do your target candidates know who you are?

Not every hiring manager or HR leader can work for a high profile company but some high potential candidates are looking for that element of name recognition when job seeking. How can you make sure your potential employees know your company – and want to work for you?

Social media can be a great leveler, and used effectively it is a recruitment tool that companies of any size and profile can use. However, few employers are using it to its fullest potential.

Nearly 100 per cent of Canadian professionals are on at least one social media network and more than half use them as tools to hunt for employment. As the hiring market gets tougher, employers need to stand out from the crowd, but less than a quarter are using social media to find talent.

Who are you connected with?

According to the Hays Canada Where People Are report, employers tend to favour generic online job boards, post-secondary career sites and traditional online ads, while candidates gravitate to social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And when businesses do use social media to recruit, they’re often talking to the wrong people.

That’s because they’re missing a crucial step in building those networks. Most are talking to their clients and consumers, not potential candidates, and of the candidates that are in their network few are high quality with sought-after skills and experience. According to our research, only about 10 per cent of the average company network is made up of good quality candidates.

This is partly due to the fact that most companies are selling their products and services on social media, rather than positioning themselves as a top employer. That means that when you then try to post jobs on the channel that message is lost in the noise because most of your network are consumers not candidates.

How can you raise your profile?

Create a content plan that engages with your top candidates with information that is interesting and relevant to them. This can include sharing external content such as news stories, or internally-produced content like blogs or reports. Sharing non-job-related content now, and building interest and engagement with potential employees means that when you do have a job to post, they already know who you are, and know that it will be relevant to you.

Sell your company culture and build awareness of your employer value proposition as well with posts about internal incentives or programs, team events or celebrations, and other activities that contribute to making your company a great place to work.

The goal of this is to build and nurture a group of engaged professionals who will come to know and trust your brand so when you share job postings they are more likely to apply and accept an offer. Putting the groundwork in early is key to getting the results you’re looking for.

Hays Canada division manager Rachel Finan has more than 14 years of experience working in HR recruitment, She excels in making the right match and brings expert insight into market trends, employer needs, and candidate requirements.


20 Simple Ways to Grow Your Career & Get New Shoes

As HR professionals we often end up as the shoemaker’s children. We focus our attention on meeting the needs of the employees in our organization. That’s our job and we’re good at it.

When it comes to career management, we encourage employees to take ownership. We remind them that how far they go in their career really depends on them. Makes sense, right?

After years of helping others become successful, many of us lose sight of our own development and ensuring that we, too, continue reaching new levels of excellence. Refocusing on ourselves is critical to HR leading our organizations by example. It sets us up to be the true advisors to the business; not just with theoretical models but from practical experience of what works.

Here are 20 ways that you can take ownership of your own career development and be a leading example for other to follow:


  1. Write a post on LinkedIn’s blogging platform. This positions you as an expert and builds your personal brand.
  2. Intentionally network with peers in your industry. Relationships matter. Author Allison Graham says “Networking, when done properly and professionally, will help you achieve whatever you can imagine.”
  3. Follow the social media profiles of top leaders in your industry. Learn what they’re talking about and what trends they’re paying attention to.
  4. Share an article that that caught your attention. Help others learn something new too.
  5. Start a blog. Offer actionable advice to your readers that will help them progress and grow on their career journey.
  6. Publish an ebook on a subject you’re passionate about. Tap into what gets you fired up, research it, and spread the word.
  7. Set aside 20 minutes every day to read a blog with industry news. It can be a leading blog or one that is up & coming. As long as it has relevant ideas and commentary, build it into your daily routine.
  8. Reconnect with the area of HR that drew you into the profession in the first place. Was it compensation, recruitment, or leadership development? Seek out the latest information & keep your expertise fresh.
  9. Sit in on training your client group is going through. This puts you directly into their shoes and gives you a natural talking point for future meetings.
  10. Invite a business leader into your next team meeting to provide a business update. This helps you learn what keeps them up at night and builds your relationship with a key stakeholder.
  11. Invite another member of HR to share their priorities & challenges with your team. It shares knowledge & builds lasting alliances.
  12. Attend one networking event per month. Have a meaningful conversation with someone new. Bring business cards!
  13. Schedule time in your calendar to follow up with people you met at networking events. Take action & share ideas within 48-hours of the event.
  14. Volunteer at an upcoming industry conference. As a volunteer, you can often attend sessions for free!
  15. Host a mastermind or think tank on an industry hot topic. Bring a group of smart people together and share ideas on the impact this will have on your organization.
  16. Host a 45-minute lunch & learn for your team. Teach your newest Excel hack and develop your facilitation skills at the same time.
  17. Volunteer to run the next team meeting on your manager’s behalf. This takes something off your manager’s to-do list (score!) & helps you learn how to run an effective meeting.
  18. Host a book club in your office. Choose a business book that everyone can benefit from and trade ideas on each person’s key takeaways.
  19. Host a training session in your area of expertise. Recruiters can teach how to get the most out of LinkedIn or ways to share jobs through social media.
  20. Mentor an up & coming HR professional. Be a leader, give back, and make a difference in a young person’s career.


The key to managing your career is taking small steps every day towards your own development. It’s an important part of leading by example in our organizations and maintaining credibility. Let’s put ourselves first, HR friends. It’s time to get some new shoes.

How do you build your career? Comment below and let’s keep this list of ideas growing.

If something here resonated with you, please share this post! You never know how you’ll inspire someone else to take action.

Cindy Harvey is the Founder of Amelia Dee Consulting where she helps purpose-driven professionals to build careers that fit them like a glove and create lifestyles with the freedom, flexibility, and fun that they crave. To learn more, get in touch at or visit