HR trends today

Tom Haak, Founder and Director of the HR Trends Institute, tells us how he became an HR trend watcher, and what’s happening in HR today.

Tom Haak has always worked in HR. Based in the Netherlands, he worked his way up from a trainee to a senior position at Phillips Electronics, went on to other multinational companies like Aon and KPMG and later took the position of global HR Director for Arcadis, a leading global natural and built asset design & consultancy firm. He founded the HR Trend Institute in 2014.

Tom transformed himself into a trend-watcher and reads, speaks & breathes HR trends. He argues that a lot of the skills/principles necessary for HR can be learnt in tertiary institutions (like how to read statistics, how to use algorithms, etc.), but the HR industry is always in flux. Keeping up with the changing trends in HR is a continued education, beyond your degree or diploma.

“A lot of what people are learning [in HR at institutions], is old stuff.”

One of the pressing issues in HR, is what he calls “average management” — leaders who are not very bad, but not very good either, and end up being blockers to others’ growth.

The HR process is in need of a gear-change — Tom suggests the following for speeding up talent management & recruiting, ultimately creating a system where the right candidates will present themselves to you:

  1. Use analytics (more evidence-based and therefore more objective).
  2. Use technology (We have a lot of data at our fingertips, and Search is a powerful feature: “Machine, I want this kind of candidate please.”).
  3. Make the processes more transparent (open processes are more engaging and run more smoothly).

Who is the best person to coach individuals within organisations? Tom argues that your manager/team leader is not the right person, as they have the organisation as their №1 priority (read: not you), which means that they are not ultimately after your personal growth (but rather the growth of the company) and may give you superficial feedback.

A growing trend is for people to procure external consultants or get feedback from people outside of their organisation who are focused on the individual’s growth and not so much on the ‘agenda’ of the company.

When it comes to people data, employees ask ‘what’s in it for me?’, but organisations are asking the questions from the wrong perspective (what the company wants to measure). If the ownership of the data is given back to the employees to use, they would be more likely to engage with surveys and other measurement tools. The question that remains, is whether people are willing to give their data…

“Do you trust your employer to do the right thing?”

Enjoy! Hit play ▶️ above to watch the interview video.
Search and add us on your favourite podcast app: Anchor // iTunes // Pocket Casts // Overcast // RSS and more…

Timestamp notes:

0.35 — About Tom and how he became involved of the HR Trend Institute

2.30 — What is the future of HR education in tertiary institutions?

6.10 — The 10 talent management trends for 2019.

10.04 — How to speed up the HR process.

13.12 — Development as a service — individual growth through external consultancy.

18.30 — Tom’s daily working routine.

19.55 — Tom’s best reads? Online sources: LinkedIN, Twitter, Flipboard. Books: Factfulness by Hans Rosling, Het bestverkochte boek ooit (met deze titel)by Sanne Blauw (dutch).

21.31 — How to use HR data, and who should own it?

27.16 — Best way to get hold of Tom? Website, LinkedIN, Twitter.

If you have any feedback, comments, ideas or suggestions, please get in contact with us on twitter @giveahi5 or email us on
Get the podcast

Don't miss these episodes

Moments of genius: how to sell your company culture

Our first podcast featuring David Donde, CEO and Founder of Minimalist Chocolate and award-winning Truth Coffee.
Check it out

A time of amazing reinvention: remote work during COVID-19

Our first pandemic podcast featuring Carin-Isabel Knoop, Executive Director of the Global Research Group at Harvard Business School.
Check it out

Being a culture change insider

We chat to Siobhan McHale (EGM People, Culture & Change at Dulux Group & author of The Insider's Guide to Culture Change) on what it means to be a culture change insider.
Check it out