Next Gen HR Leadership Summit 2017

NEXT GENERATION HR Leadership Summit 21/02/2017 – Genval

HR Leadership Summit 2017 “Building the NextGen organization” : how should next generation organizations effectively embrace digital technology, a fluid nonhierarchical work place with highly empowered, networked and engaged teams, enabled by digital platforms, managed by authentic leaders who inspire their teams through collaboration, trust, transparency and purpose?

I had the pleasure to facilitate the NEXT GEN debate with the 3 winning companies of the HR Corporate Awards 2016:‘Building and sustaining a change-capable workforce’. The jury and public were impressed by company’s great achievements through collective engagement from great people!  The final 2017 Winners DELHAIZE, IBA and FOD/SPF Fin excelled in adapting to a disruptive world by:

  • managing change and disruptions while building foundations to quickly react
  • preparing a change capable workforce with people as the driving force to manage the change

The 3 CHRO’s highlighted what made their success and the real differentiators supported by many People driven initiatives:

  • Frederic NOLF, Chief Human Resources & Sustainability Officer IBA (1400 employees): ‘the IBA 4.0 program was created to manage the “organizational danger zone” of growth through an acceleration program that transforms high business volume into high performance’.
  • Kurt VAN RAEMDONCK, HR manager FOD/SPF Fin (22.000 employees) : ‘we transformed the organization from functional to customer centric with an HR impulse that moved the FOD /SPS Fin to an PIONEER federal service with the best HR practices of innovative companies’.
  • Sylvie VAN DEN EYNDE, Senior VP HR & OD Delhaize Belgium (13.000 employees): ‘we developed a clear, simple communication around the Grocer 2.0 strategy, building change from the inside, turning major changes into opportunities while keeping high commitment from staff in the turmoil’.

Since co-creation is part of my DNA, I couldn’t imagine the 2017 HR leadership Summit ‘Building the NextGen Organization’ without the main stakeholders around the table. Three millennials accepted with pleasure our invitation: Bao NGYEN (IBA), Andreas DE RIDDER (Delhaize) and Gwen JENNES (FOD Fin).

The debate was introduced with an inspirational video :  Airbnb #1 Best Place to Work 2016’ highlighting the Next Gen expectations on Employers and workplaces.

Summary of the video:

  • ‘We want all colleagues to feel they can go anywhere, they can belong to anywhere, it is not even a culture, it is a sense of community and it is a huge part of what energizes me every day.’
  • ‘If I wake up in the morning and have a bad day, I know that when I come at work, I gonna be surrounded by people who collaborate together, who are supportive, people have a smile on their face, a genuine smile and I can trust them.’
  • ‘We want an employee experience where our work environment and way of collaborating make people feel like they belong here.’
  • ‘I want to feel on a day to day basis that my work and that of my team touches the lifes of our customers and guests.’

The current shift in employment patterns will make most of our current HR approaches obsolete in the next decade.

Today MILLENNIALS want to make a difference with a broader vision, deeper mission, faster learners, better at playing Leap Frog and quicker to adventure.  

Watching this video, is this the employee experience that our Millennials need to feel good and to be good at work? Is this a dream?  Is this the reality?

Here are some of the questions from the debate and that each organization should ask itself to ensure more cohesive teams and better collaboration to get the best out of the NEXT GEN potential:

  • What are the aspirations of Millennials today when entering the world of business?
  • How would they respond to this statement: ‘Millennials would rather prioritize the sense of purpose around people rather than growth or profit maximization’.
  • What do Millennials basically need in their work place and work space to be happy (happier) at work?
  • Millennials are fast learners; they are connected both internal and external. They want to be informed, connected, inspired and learning every day: how would you millennials, address these needs to enable more of innovation, collaboration and daily learnings?
  • In a disruptive and ever changing world, organizations need to adapt the leadership capabilities: what do Millennials expect from their leaders in the way they lead?

Guest speakers were so happy to share their experiences, that there was no time left for my KEYNOTE.  Let’s share it with you:

The world of digital transformation and social media are changing the way we work. A world where Millennials, digital since they were in diapers, are expected in 2025 to be the dominant generation, with no other business model than the digital one and who can’t imagine teamwork without Facebook or SLACK Apps , co-creation and knowledge-sharing.
Because after one century of industrialization and decades of implementation of Information systems, leaders were focused on designing efficient processes and standard practices. There is too much CONFORMITY and this is no longer adapted to our DISRUPTIVE world : the choices of Trump, Brexit, the disruptive UBER, Airbnb are NON-CONFORM collaborative business models and NON-CONFORM choices.

AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP with PURPOSE is increasingly seen today as the key to navigating this complex and ever changing disruptive world. Leaders need to become AUTHENTIC leaders who know their deep purpose and translate it into action plan to work and co-create with millennials.  

BEING GENEROUS — readily sharing our time, energy, and expertise —will give sense to our passion and fulfill our leadership purpose of having a meaningful contribution to the Next generation. This is what makes me happy and give sense to my every hard working day.

LEARNING leaders need to rethink and reimagine the way people learn. People need to learn from the future, not from the past and shift the way they learn since daily learning is now part of life and should never stop.  

Some years ago, the desires to enter the business world were money, status, early retirement and more money. It was a time of classic clothes with designer labels and fast cars showing that “I’ve made it.”

The current shift in employment patterns will make most of our current HR approaches obsolete in the next decade.

Today MILLENNIALS want to make a difference. They are aware that what they do, and more importantly, how they do their work has long range implications:

  • Broader vision: they want to work at socially responsible companies, ones that are not planet polluters.
  • Deeper mission: there is a desire to care about the community in which they live and are willing to volunteer to be of service to help those who have no voice, the homeless and disenfranchised.
  • Faster learners: not as impressed with degrees, but rather creative, information gatherers. College is only one route to success, not the only one.
  • Better at playing Leap Frog: the corporate ladder has been put in the closet. Different ideas are politically correct and office politics are a waste of time.
  • Quicker to adventure: material goods can only last so long while memories of travel and camaraderie last a life time. Source:

Are you ready for it?
Thank you Andreas, Gwenn and Bao: you were generous by sharing your many opinions and ideas.  
We also realized during this panel that the millennials’ expectations have to match the field and job realities and that there is still a long way to go for a ‘millennial’ friendly work place where the Next Gen can reach their full potential.  

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