HR Digitalisation & Trends – An interview with Laetitia Kulak, Swiss “HR Activist”

Jordi Sintes September 12, 2019

We recently met Laetitia Kulak, Founder & Director of Global HR Talents. She is a true “HR Activist” who is driving the digital transformation of Human Resources in French-speaking Switzerland. Specialist in the digital HR ecosystem and the development of new technologies based on Digital HR, she has been working in the Human Resources sector for more than 20 years.

Together with her fellow “HR Activists”, Laetitia has led a large number of visionary initiatives such as the HR Tech Drink. Their latest initiative is the first-ever Swiss Digital HR Award. The entire Alaya team is proud to support this award, which is close to our hearts and aims to recognise HR professionals and teams who are making digital transformation a real lever for strategic transformation, an opportunity to improve working conditions and a factor in the renewal of HR practices.

As we, at Alaya, digitise the volunteering and giving activities of companies and their employees, we met with Laetitia to discuss the latest trends and ways of doing good powered by technology.

The employee experience and the evolution towards the human experience, giving meaning to work, are increasingly relevant topics nowadays. As we saw, for example, in the latest Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2019 report. What are your thoughts on this?

This is a very broad subject that is at the heart of HR strategies. I think everything is connected to the digital revolution. Today, this digital revolution has completely changed the world of work and the traditional and classic patterns of business. The classic business models as we have known them until now with pyramidal layers are being revisited for a much more transversal and fluid management; thus improving communication and promoting the employee’s experience. In 2019, we must be less in a search of profitability if companies want to be attractive to young talent! Companies must turn to new trends such as social responsibility to make themselves indispensable to new generations. To conclude, I am convinced that placing people at the centre of innovative and disruptive initiatives to break existing codes will become a priority in the coming years!

In your opinion, how do you see employee volunteering and giving programs fitting into this context? Do you think they can address the challenges and opportunities brought about by these trends?

We are living a new era of recruitment, and we will increasingly face a real challenge in attracting the generation of “Millennials”, those whom I call the ultra-connected generations. Some companies will have a real concern for attractiveness. How can you differentiate yourself in a competitive market today without enhancing your employer brand? Developing an employer brand involves many paths, but you can differentiate yourself by showing that you are a much more people-oriented, much more socially-oriented company. It can make a big difference in attracting the attention of these younger generations. By telling them: “Here you are, you are entering this organisation, which has a partnership with Alaya (or another), and which is committed to a range of causes. Today, by joining this organisation, you are choosing to support these causes and your working time will be transformed to contribute directly”. A mindset that is much more open, much broader, may favour a stronger employer brand for some companies.

Involving employees in giving and volunteering programs is therefore becoming a matter of necessity so that they feel fully integrated into the company. The benefits of this social-orientation foster a spirit of teamwork and strengthen the employer brand.

How can HR teams connect their employee volunteering and giving initiatives with company strategy?

HR must hack their processes, renew obsolete HR practices to open up to new trends, and revisit their business model to attract and retain new generations of talent. They will have to have a more disruptive, agile mind and question themselves on a daily basis. In the Nordic countries, such as Sweden, HR has digitised almost all its processes to be more on the ground and closer to employees. HR must be open to new trends and changes in their function to implement more flexible internal strategies to bring creativity and added value to the Human Resources department.

Employee engagement and the employee experience must be a priority in future HR strategies and volunteering can be part of a new method of attracting young talent.

On the subject of digitalisation within HR, in your opinion, what role do digital HR tools play in the employee experience and in bringing meaning to work?

The tools, solutions, digital platforms called HR Tech are now an integral part of the HR sphere. We have to take these tools and say to ourselves that they will relieve us of repetitive administrative tasks. Digital tools must create value for companies and HR. We must stop demonizing technology and thinking that it will replace human resources. No, technology is not going to take our job, it’s going to help us to be more efficient! These tools optimize HR processes to refocus on people and put employees back at the heart of practices. This HR Tech must be seen as a vehicle for collective creativity and engagement.

You recently launched the first Digital HR Award in Switzerland, can you tell us more about the award?

I didn’t launch it by myself! A whole team of HR volunteers is behind this project. Various events created by Swiss HR for HR have been held in recent years in Switzerland to highlight innovation in the function. They are the ones who, by moving the teams a little, bring completely different working conditions, create emulations of different teams, bring new work concepts and new methodologies, and are in line with the evolution of companies. We would like to highlight this HR population with the Swiss Digital HR Award. This award will be spread over a year to give companies that apply time to reflect and their projects to mature. We wanted to highlight through this award, not HR Managers, but HR teams to promote collective intelligence and encourage collaboration such as holacracy, for example. For me, it is important to value a team and not an individual. We come back to what I said at the beginning, we are no longer at all on a pyramid-like management approach but on a transversal one.

I think everyone enjoys working as a group. We were talking about giving earlier, about volunteering, and Alaya. I think you’re in a good niche. You really create a spirit of self-giving. The Swiss Digital HR Award is in the same spirit: giving intellectual and human skills as part of a team and putting collective intelligence at the heart of practices!

Do you have a message for companies looking for ways to engage their employees? Or considering adopting a volunteering and giving program?

In the coming years, we will have a real problem of “talent management” and “talent acquisition” or “people attraction”. We will have to differentiate ourselves by developing the employer brand. I always come back to this employer brand which for me is important and will make the difference when recruiting. I think we will have to find new forms of recruitment that are less aggressive, less commercial and more human-oriented in order to retain employees!

And to be able to retain them: a strong corporate culture, strong values, and an attractive employer brand can make a substantial difference.  I think that a company like Alaya will allow them to identify with part of the company’s culture.

Et maintenant, over to you !

A big thank you, Laetitia, for sharing your vision with us. We are proud to be able to collaborate with you and the entire team of HR volunteers for this first Swiss Digital HR Award.

If the award speaks to you, we invite you to submit your application by September 15. All sorts of companies from all sectors have the opportunity to submit an application to highlight your HR innovations: 

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