Jermaine Daw, Vice President & Head of International HR at National Basketball Association (NBA) where he leads the strategic & operational delivery of services and solutions. The HR executive has amassed over 17+ years of experience in the sports, media, entertainment and luxury consumer goods industries.

1. In your opinion, how has the HR industry evolved over the years? What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?

Even the use of the term Human Resources in this day and age evokes images of the Personnel department from your favorite 80s TV sitcom. Rebranding the People function and appropriately positioning it as a true strategic partner to business leaders and employees alike is one of the important evolving aspects of the people industry. Progressive people leaders and practitioners are rebranding the function and the industry as People, People & Culture, People & Inclusion, Human Capital, and the like. People leaders are now being called upon like never before to solve complex organizational challenges and be the expert in the room on a number of topics. Advancements in the HR tech space have certainly resulted in increased efficiency, improved ease of engagement with the function, more data and insights driven decision-making, but to sum it up, it has really resulted in HR now being viewed as an industry ripe for technical product innovation. Particularly, when it comes to talent selection, performance management, DEI, people analytics and the Future of Work, to name a few areas that have benefitted from the tech evolution.

2. What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the HR industry and how can they be effectively mitigated?

People practitioners have always had their work cut out for them, but with the added complexity of navigating through a global pandemic, those challenges have been amplified tenfold. Many of us have heard of or read about the Great Resignation that’s happening. As a result, identifying ways to maintain a competitive advantage and keep your employer value proposition current, has increasingly become a challenge for the People industry. Prospective employees are demanding more from HR and companies; they aren’t just looking for robust compensation packages and the perk of the month, they’re demanding that companies live their values. They’re demanding to see the representation inside organizations be reflective of the broader society that they serve as a result, People leaders are being called upon to build and implement DEI strategies, inclusive of scorecards that hold organizations accountable for representation. You can’t do diversity, it has to be a core value upon which your organization is built, so getting senior leaders to commit not just because its good business, but it’s the right thing to do, is a tall order for People practitioners. Building culture in a remote/hybrid work environment, development & retention, employee wellness and managing a multi-generational workforce are all other challenges that the industry is facing.

"Advancements in the HR tech space have certainly resulted in increased efficiency, improved ease of engagement with the function, more data and insights driven decision-making, but to sum it up, it has really resulted in HR now being viewed as an industry ripe for technical product innovation"

Companies have realized they would do well to invest in these areas of their businesses, thus it’s no coincidence we’ve witnessed a tremendous uptick in companies hiring Chief Diversity Officers, Heads of People & Culture, Directors of Remote Work, Vice Presidents of Wellness & Belonging, and other roles geared towards addressing these challenges. Simply hiring these roles are by no means the end all be all, but its a sign of acknowledging these challenges and being committed to solving them.

3. Which are a few technological trends influencing the HR industry today? What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors?

In no particular order, the use of People Analytics and more specifically predictive analytics to inform strategic decision-making is one of the booming trends in the industry. Employee Engagement platforms like CultureAmp, Leapsome and Glint to name a few to enable ease of employee engagement and interactions in a remote/hybrid work environment, is a trend that were likely to see for the foreseeable future. Increased focus on tech solutions that optimizes self-service, particularly in a remote work environment is something the industry is seeing at a sustained trend. Continuing the focus on operating in a dare I say it, a COVID 19 work environments, the use of biometric technology for purposes of a frictionless and touchless employee user-experience is something we should expect to see more and more companies employ.

4. Do you have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the HR industry space?

Whether you a 25-year veteran in the People industry or an entrepreneur cooking up the next great tech solution for the industry, opportunities are abundant. I would say seek out opportunities to fill voids by listening to the employee and consumer voice. Employees know what they want and they’re willing to tell you if you’re willing to listen. I would also say look at HR Tech solutions as tools to optimize process and efficiency, but they’re only as effective as the culture in which they’re introduced and the people leadership championing them.