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Expert’s talk is a series of interviews with Human Resource leaders from the tech industry. These leaders shed light on the way they are experiencing the changes in the employment world, and what we should be expected in the near future.

In the second chapter, we have interviewed the mind-blowing-HR – Rotem Kazir.

Rotem Kazir

Rotem is a key player in the Human Resources arena for the past 15 years, specializing in startup growth. Rotem works with entrepreneurs and executive teams, both as Head of People at
Pitango VC, and as an independent consultant, and helping them build successful companies for scale.

Q: What are the 2-3 most rapid changes you’ve seen in today’s workplace?

During my work with startups, and since I’m exposed to many different types of organizations, I experience many different changes in workplaces. My perspective is that every company it’s a bit different. So instead of covering the obvious changes we constantly hear about — like the rise of AI and career development — I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the more subtle changes I’ve noticed.

Employee burnout leads to high attrition. Though the digital age has improved our lives in so many ways, it’s also leading to different complications. We are all being expected (and have the ability) to remain connected at all times. We are expected to respond quickly and keep up with the fast pace of the tech industry. This trend is taking its toll, and impacting employees mental health. There’s a blurred line between employees personal life and work hours. The stress that comes with it is causing the best talent to feel worn out and ultimately leave their jobs. It is creating an ongoing cycle that creates a burden on organizations in terms of knowledge, expertise, and money. I see more and more employees, not only millennials, prioritizing work-life balance, and respect for personal time, as a major factor in their career decisions.

Decreasing human touch. As AI and data-driven machines taking over larger and larger chunks of d2d processes (and rightfully so), there’s an ever-increasing need to compensate for the lack of human touch in our d2d interactions. As machines begin predicting employee disengagement, matching mentors within organizations, and automating suggestions for internal promotions, we may be tempted to look at dashboards all day and neglect 1:1s and casual conversations.

HR gets a seat at the leadership table – In the last two to three years I’ve seen more and more CEOs adding HR representatives to their leadership teams. They need HRs as important sensors for the organization, as key partners in leading business and organizational changes, and strategic partners in preparing the organization for future challenges.

Q: What is HR’s role in applying these workplace changes in organizations?

Personally, I think that HR should be an enabler for the company leaders and a driver of change. Its greatest asset is by understanding the human operating system, for its motives and quirks. Our role is by interpreting employee behavior to managers and vice versa. This role will only grow as we increase our reliance on machines and data. My good friend Ayala Dagan of Waze says we are “Chaos Architects”. We’re there to see and act on people’s blind spots, to assist with communication, and to bridge perception gaps. This human touch will always be needed.

Q: What tools/skills does an HR need to mitigate these changes within their organization? Should HR develop or adopt new skills?

Not all changes need mitigation, but there are a few key skills necessary to become a true partner in setting foundations for these changes:

Embracing change (cliché, but still true) — we should model to others the understanding that changes are not only constant but also a necessity (rather than a necessary evil).

Openness and curiosity – No matter how extreme a change may be, we’re not the first to experience it. Go out, read about it, consult and learn from others’ experiences globally, bring innovation and new approaches to the new challenges. We tend to stick with what we know, even if what we know is outdated… but the world is moving fast and we can’t stay behind!

Learn the business – As participants at the leadership table, we must speak the language of business. That means using data to back up our intuitions and perceptions, and showing a direct connection between our work and the business’s bottom line. 

Q: How do you see these changes impacting the future of work?

I can’t wait for the day leader will realize that participating in the modern rat race is costing them talents. They will need then to remedy this by reducing stress for their employees. I’m optimistic: I think that day is right around the corner, and I hope that HR will be a part of this revolution.

Meanwhile, AI, data, and the increasing role of HR go hand in hand. The more scientific and efficient our work becomes, the more we seek what we can’t get from machines: Kind words, human touch, and emotional interpretation. The HR will be there to provide all that and more ?

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