Vancouver Trip to HR Leaders Summit West - Latest HR Trends
24 May
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HR Leaders Summit West 2018 – Trends & Takeaways

by Jaysa Toet in HR Trends 0 comments

I attended the HR Leaders Summit (West) hosted in Vancouver last month. This was my first year at this conference and I had high expectations after Brad, Devan and Jane from our team attended last year. The conference did not disappoint! A wide variety of presenters ranging from Airbnb to HR Executives to Consultants all shared content that was thought provoking and interesting. Here are some of the latest HR trends and my key takeaways:

Diversity and Inclusion:

Despite the common belief that empathy is the most important skill regarding diversity and inclusion, data shows that problem solving ability is more critical.

Most Frequently Mentioned Buzz Words:

“Employee Experience (EX)” – treating employees like customers to create a unique experience. Airbnb focused on EX and shared how they conduct core values interviews based on their unique values (champion the mission, be a host, be a cereal entrepreneur, embrace the adventure). They also emphasized the importance of having their workspace layouts mirror exotic locations like their hosts’ countries with a shared space design. As part of their EX, internal communications are also critical for their teams.

“Gig economy” – the move toward term/contract positions instead of full-time positions.

Emerging Trend:

I hesitate to call it emerging because as one speaker mentioned – “it has already arrived”. Artificial Intelligence (AI) for HR had a significant presence in several presentations.

  • We saw a video of a bot complete onboarding data entry 1300x faster than a human.
  • A case example mentioned that the Hilton has reduced hiring speeds from 42 days to 5 days due to AI involvement in interviewing. Using AI at the interview stage has helped eliminate bias that a human may have.
Remote Workers:

One presentation suggested ensuring remote workers are interviewed remotely to recreate conditions that they will be working in. It recommended looking for their level of assertiveness, willingness to take action and problem solving as key qualities in the interview process.

Favorite Presentation:

VP of HR for Capital One Canada (What Does Strategic HR Really Mean? And How to Do It Right! – This presentation resonated with me because it connected with the topic I had submitted for Disrupt HR in Winnipeg a few weeks prior. Christina McClung was a phenomenal ending keynote:

  • Building credibility/trust means core HR is executed efficiently first, you demonstrate competence (SME), consistency, and candor (see Kim Scott’s book called Radical Candor).
  • When Christina started in her role at Capital One she “de-prioritized(what a word!) the CEO for 60 days because he had a 25-item list of reactive HR to-do’s. She did this to spend time getting the HR structure right first and because firefighting takes time away from purpose/credibility.
  • Get to know your business leader: ask good questions and understand their communication preferences.
  • What her CEO really wanted: trust, flawless core HR, a good dynamic with other leaders and coaching him to be a better leader.


I highly recommend this conference and my stay in downtown Vancouver was excellent! I had less than 48 hours there but that still left a bit of time for some touristy stuff! Here’s a quick snapshot of what I got up to in my free time:

Where I Ate: El Furniture Warehouse, Tacofino (Gastown), Café Medina

Where I Shopped: CF Pacific Centre – I made a beeline for Nordstrom because we don’t have one in Manitoba! (Pro tip – spend $200+ and present out of province ID at Guest Services to get a $15 gift card.)

Travel and Sightseeing: The Sky Train is an incredibly fast and easy way to get downtown. Walking along the Sea Wall close to the Convention Centre where the conference was held made for a lovely walk.

Future Food Recommendations from a Vancouver Foodie:

Chambar, Pourhouse, L’Abattoir, Kissa Tanto, Tetsu, Lobby Bar at Fairmont Pacific Rim & Botanist upstairs