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Designed for The People: The Intersection of HR and Brand Experience

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Hollie Lawrence
Hollie Lawrence

HR Director

Freeman EMEA

Bringing HR to the forefront in a live environment

HR Tech World recently descended on Amsterdam — an event for HR professionals that takes place in cities across the globe, including Las Vegas, San Francisco, and London. What’s interesting is this event looks to inform, educate, and inspire by putting people — both visitors through event and stand design, and employees through the informative sessions and products on show — at the centre. Combine this with an inherent focus on the latest technologies (there was even face recognition registration for attendees!) and their impact on the future of work (plus a keynote from Arianna Huffington) and you have an interesting and insightful conference to say the least. 

Changing and evolving company culture

Employee wellbeing has always been a priority, however as our lives become busier and the the rise of technologies such as smartphones and laptops make it more difficult to switch off, this has become an important aspect of modern HR. It was positive to see an entire track dedicated to this notion, which delved into the idea that wellbeing and rewards are about much more than monetary pay. This fact is true on many levels. It’s vital to engage employees by taking the time to learn about their wants and needs and in the process, identify that a company’s culture may need refreshing to reflect its current workforce. 

Recognition is also at the heart of this — by celebrating employees’ achievements — at internal events, via email communications and through monthly/annual awards, they’ll feel as though their hard work is not passing the rest of the business by unnoticed.

This also ties in with the increased focus we’re seeing on the employee value proposition (EVP). The term is used to describe the characteristics and appeal of working for a company, and it’s where employers put their employees at the centre. We’re all familiar with a company’s value proposition — it’s vitally important to the success of any business because it speaks to their goals and highlights their differentiators in the marketplace — however the EVP, and our employees, are equally important to business success. It was particularly interesting to see how the finalists in the HR Tech World Amsterdam Startup Competition had addressed this in the tech they have developed — from new ways of onboarding from Enboarder, to Vercida, an employer platform that puts diversity and inclusion at the forefront. 

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Shared values, successful business

Collaborative culture is one of the six core values that underpin all that we do at Freeman, and it felt very apparent that the value was in practice at HR Tech World. Countless brands opted for open-plan stand structures, many of which were intricate in their design. This approach made for a welcoming and inviting environment, as attendees felt comfortable exploring the area to speak with representatives or network. 

Many stands also included various seating areas and information pods, meaning people could linger a little longer to discuss and share ideas amongst one another. Overall it seemed that these designs facilitated many more opportunities for collaboration than more closed-off stands might allow for. 

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Fostering a positive learning environment

Given its focus on the future of work, there were a number of sessions — and in fact, entire tracks — that delved into new ways of learning aided by technology. It’s an age-old saying, but the most effective way of learning is often by doing. It was pleasing to see, then, that countless exhibiting brands had incorporated interactive elements and product demonstrations into their stands. From large screens that showcased the capabilities of established brands’ latest product releases — which guests could try for themselves — to the latest apps and feedback systems in the startup zone, interactivity and engagement was at the forefront.

It is vital employers recognise that employee engagement is key to the survival and success of their business, and this is important when it comes to both attracting and retaining talent. Listening to employees, celebrating their achievements, providing a platform for ongoing career progression and learning, and ultimately creating a culture in which they can thrive are important components of an effective HR strategy. 

It was great to see these values and more in action at HR Tech World, and it highlights just how effective live events can be when it comes to bringing people and brands together. Hats off to the organiser and brands involved!

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