What Can HR Learn About Business Impact From Tesla?


Over the last few years of HR Tech World, the conversation has gone from mobile to big data and now to AI (artificial intelligence) with AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) taking a bit of a back seat. But, these three are fine bedfellows and between them, over the next 5 years, are going to revolutionise the workplace. I get it, you’re thinking this is just another AI hype bandwagon post so bear with me.


I’m a big fan of Tesla but not just because of the great cars or even Elon Musk, but because of what they stand for. Tesla is forcing change on a market for the good of mankind because if we don’t move away from fossil-fueled transportation, what is our future, or even the future of our planet? But even if you do not believe there are any risks at all to us or our planet, Musk has still taken the fight to the car industry and slowly but surely force them to change. Even though the tide is rising faster than they would like, they are adapting. Volvo, for example, has now stated that by 2019 they will only sell hybrid and fully electric (EV) vehicles. Others have also made similar promises into 2020 and beyond. Way to go Elon!


This same forced change is coming to HR because of how technology and digital transformation is changing the workplace. HR has always been seen as the internal police force; party poopers, setting the rules, determining good from bad, being the parent. And whilst parents have to set some guidelines, the world has changed so much during our tenure as parents of the workplace, we too now need to make dramatic changes in how we think and how we act.


No longer are our children “out of sight, out of mind”. We know where they are, when they are there, who they’re with and what they’re doing. In. Real. Time. And shake our heads we may, but they are no different to how we were, just more visible. As my Zen leader advised, go with them and find the way; or fight them head-on, fire with fire, get the explosion of emotions, and lose them until next time (the 10-year-old swearing game is always a winner!) and then go again.


Our people have technology in their hands that connect them to anyone and everyone. We are beginning to extend that technology to the entire workplace as part of the digital transformation maelstrom heading our way. We know the storm is coming, we know it’s heading in our direction. The fundamental question we have to ask as we approach this year’s HR TechWorld is: do we flee or do we build an organisation that can stand strong in the ensuing face of technical adversity. Only the strong survive, only the likes of Tesla and Amazon endure. HR must take a change to the workplace. We need to think more like Tesla, don’t wait for it to come, don’t wait until it is too late.



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Published on Sep 27, 2017

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