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HR Berlin Spring Fling 22 - Remote, Turnover, Agility & Proximity Bias

Yesterday, I joined the wonderful HR Berlin Spring Fling 22 event organized by the lively Secret HR Community in Berlin - namely Hilary Klasen and Anna Ott - at the HRPepper offices.


I want to share some of the topics we discussed and insights collected.


Employee Turnover & Its Reasons

Together with the colleagues of the twinwin team (Karol and Eleni) the HR startup community discussed recent trends in employee turnover: Do we see increased turnover (tendency was yes), in which departments and for what reasons. The causes mentioned correlated strongly with those in the Great Resignation work from McKinsey: Purpose, culture, leadership and feeling of belonging were mentioned more often than compensation. We also discussed to what extent the reasons are also related to the remote work regulations - but did only see impacts if regulations and/ or leadership did not adapt to new hybrid or remote work models.


Introducing Streamlined HR Processes & Agile Frameworks to HR

In another session Erica and Mandy shared their insights and experiences from introducing HR operations processes and systems in rapidly expanding startups in their current role at Kuno and based on their experience from their work at start-ups and scale-ups.


Furthermore, we discussed the possible introduction of agile frameworks and/ or methodologies to HR. Whilst a lot felt that more transparency and stakeholder involvement in HR processes might be helpful, there was also quite some struggle around the right rhythms and team structures if this goes beyond projects or smaller businesses units into daily standard operations and the mixture of confidential information and information to be shared. This is still left as a topic for the next fling.


Fireside Chat with Hung Lee

Next up was a discussion between Hung Lee and Anna Ott about some trending topics currently discussed in the HR community.


Hung gave it a nice starter by saying: „Everyone always thinks the others are ahead: but no. Everyone is moving at the same pace - no one knows what they are doing…“ 😂 Let’s maybe rephrase and say we can all still learn and improve a lot 😊


One key topic he sees becoming really relevant in the near future is the „Proximity Bias“. Means: When operating in hybrid set-ups there is a bias causing that people onsite have advantages as things may continue to happen in office and may not be transparent to those working remotely. The question HR needs the answer: how do we deal with that bias or is it not even an HR topic?


Hung sees it especially becoming relevant now that more and more promotions / career development discussions will appear when some people work remote, others work more in the office. Promoting people in the office may cause discussions whether those came with a bias, whilst those happening for remote workers may come with the discussions whether they were done to counter the proximity bias. Personally, I do - at least currently - not see that as such as big topic as promotions are / have always been a topic that should not completely come out of the blue and be part of a natural development and transparent communication.


We continued with discussions and perspectives on various topics:

  • Salary transparency (and whether that's too intrusive for German privacy)

  • The growing importance of employee benefits and the personalization of those for individual needs

  • The growing fusion between professional life and home and how that changes also the role of HR

  • The growing importance of a healthy organization including healthy employees based on well-being, benefits and health activities

In the end, Hung left us with two topics to discuss and think about:

  • One tactical and immediate: How do digital meetings (e.g. interviews with candidates) influence how we can be more transparent and involve people more in hiring decisions (instead of those being a black box) including possibilities for having less bias in hiring decisions

  • One more philosophical: Isn't it inherent with human nature that we live with biases. How viable is the objective to have unbiased recruiting processes or isn't biases and changes of those just part of the human evolution?

Overall, the event was a great opportunity to (re-)connect with a highly engaged crowd of open and interested colleagues in the "people business" - would definately recommend to join next time!


Thanks to HRPepper for hosting the event and to the sponsors :-)


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