5 Great TED Talks for HR Managers

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Five TED Talks Every HR Manager Should Watch

  • ”Forget The Pecking Order At Work” By Margaret Heffernan
  • ”The Puzzle of Motivation” By Dan Pink
  • ”HR Lessons From The World Of Silicon Valley Start-Ups” by Patty McCord
  • ”Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work” By Jason Fried
  • ”Why The Best Hire Might Not Have The Perfect Resume” by Regina Hartley

Human resources management continues to be a hot topic; it has even become a popular issue for Ted talks. Business Insider has published dozens of articles on HR management and employees, including one that’s written by a manager who points out the number one sign that it’s time for an employee to quit their job. But the below talks can also be helpful for HR managers, especially since these talks are often delivered by HR professionals. Here are the top five videos every HR professional should watch today.

1. ”Forget The Pecking Order At Work” By Margaret Heffernan

Margaret Heffernan, a woman best known as a former CEO of five different businesses as well as an author, spoke at the TEDWomen 2015 Conference. Using the “superchicken model,” the idea that value is only placed on high-performing employees, Heffernan speaks about how the model is outdated and unproductive. Instead, she champions social cohesion and emotional sensitivity, two aspects of the workplace that are at the forefront of every HR manager’s mind. She also stresses that oppressing low-performing employees costs the business in terms of both loyalty and productiveness; every employee has potential, but it is up to the HR manager to find it.

2. ”The Puzzle of Motivation” By Dan Pink

One of the most popular TED videos for HR managers is the one delivered by Dan Pink. As a career analyst, Pink has insight into what motivates people at work. The traditional view that financial incentive often provides employees with the right motivation is wrong, Pink says; instead, purpose and mastery are the motivational keys to unlock productivity and success in employees. While this may go against the grain of what many HR managers are taught, the truth is that social science will always outweigh business owners and managers.

3. ”Three Lessons On Success From An Arab Businesswoman” by Leila Hoteit

Often not thought of enough by HR managers is the idea that women, and particularly women of color, are both valuable and integral to the success of any business venture. This TED@BCG Paris talk, delivered by Arab businesswoman and engineer Leila Hoteit, aims to change that. While the substance of the talk does not seem to focus entirely on HR, it should be considered mandatory viewing. The talk offers a perspective on how women view their positions in the workplace, especially if they have children or work in a region that does not have a precedent of powerful women in business. This information can prove invaluable for companies seeking to employ women from different cultural backgrounds, empowering them to have a rewarding career while having familial obligations.

Recommended reading: 50 Most Affordable Small Colleges for an HR Degree

4. ”Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work” By Jason Fried

While most HR managers might see the title of this TED talk and assume it’s about freelance workers, Jason Fried is actually talking about employees at all types of business. Fried, best known for founding and heading Basecamp, is also an author who has given valuable insight into when and where employees actually do their work. He states in this talk that most managers continue to operate on the idea that it is necessary to see employees working; however, most employees manage to do more work when they’re not distracted by managers or meetings. He advocates giving employees uninterrupted time during the day and to avoid giving employees senseless meetings to go to throughout their day.

5. ”Why The Best Hire Might Not Have The Perfect Resume” by Regina Hartley

Regina Hartley is a 25-year veteran of HR Management. She works for UPS Information Services and is the force behind this well-received TED talk. In ten minutes, Hartley exposes a vital but uncomfortable truth that most HR managers rarely want to confront: that an ideal hire on paper may not contribute as much to a company as a candidate that has a less-than-perfect resume. The idea, then, behind the talk is that so-called “imperfect” hires may actually be more motivated and feel empowered because a company took a chance on them. The opposite could also be said about the perfect hire on paper; they may feel less passionate and ambitious than those who are fighting for a seat at the table.

HR managers spend a lot of time continuing their education, whether that’s through conferences or professional programs administered by universities. That continued curiosity and education is an integral part of working with employees, something that HR managers know very well. These five TED talks are a great place for managers to learn more about employees and the workplace atmosphere, but with a little digging, even more talks can help engage these professionals with their workforce.