TED Talks are incredibly engaging and span a variety of topics and disciplines, including science, psychology, technology, art, and business. The speakers deliver stimulating talks which are not only inspiring but deliver nuggets of wisdom in a small duration. Human resources—and the broader subjects of work and leadership—have featured prominently in many of these talks. As HR is a huge part of what makes businesses work, there are a few accessible talks that focus on creating a rich, spirited company culture. Leaders, managers and HR professionals who wish to strengthen and motivate their teams can watch these Ted Talks to pick cues from the speakers.
Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume!
Regina thinks that those who don't always look good on paper may be just the person you need to hire. Given the choice between a job candidate with a perfect resume and one who has fought through difficulty, human resources executive Regina Hartley always gives the "Scrapper" a chance. As Hartley has faced adversities while growing up, she is aware that those who flourish in the darkest of places are gifted with the grit to overcome the challenges of an ever-changing workplace. "Choose the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose," she says. "Hire the Scrapper." Watch the talk here.
Forget the Pecking Order at Work
Breed a group of “super chickens,” and they’ll peck each other to death,—similar to a team of high performers or so-called “rock stars,” Margaret Heffernan argues. Conventional wisdom has always suggested that the secret to success was finding the best men and women for the job and letting them have at it. More often than not, however, this just leads to “aggression, dysfunction, and waste.”
So, if all-stars can’t work together or produce results, what kind of teams do? Heffernan identifies three key characteristics that define successful groups. We won’t spoil them here, but here’s the bottom line: characteristics like individual intelligence and ambition can’t hold a handle to the relationships and bonds that bind the best teams together.
Simply put, “What matters is the mortar, not just the bricks.”
Performance Management: The Puzzle of Motivation
So, what happens when you want your employees to work harder and deliver better results? You give them a pay rise, of course! What if we told you there were more effective ways of motivating your workforce?
This Ted Talk is witty and inspiring and the kind that leaves you wanting more – ten minutes just isn’t enough. Dan explores employee motivation and suggests that cash incentive “motivators” can have a negative impact on employee performance. This is especially true when it comes to creative tasks. He found that to ensure people perform at peak efficiency, managers should strive to offer employees three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
Talent Management: How To Live Before You Die
Have issues with employee turnover and poor employee morale? What if we told you that if you take a step back from “managing” their employees, and instead allow them to manage themselves?
This is one of the most prominent Ted Talks of all time, and one that has applications to all phases of life. Even though it is not a talk that is usually referred to in the context of Human Resource Management, we would argue that it has a place. To be able to manage talent within an organization, you need to be able to identify with employees. Sometimes, it is easy to get consumed with business objectives. It is important that you are able to empathize with what the employees’ objectives are, and also the fact that work is not – nor should not – be their life.
At the end of the day, employees are real people. They have families, lives, hopes, and dreams. If you can allow them to pay attention to those, they will be happier individuals. Happier people leads to reduced employee turnover and increased productivity. Increased productivity leads to satisfied business objectives…ten times over.
The way we think about work is broken
What is it that motivates us to go to work every day? Other than our paychecks, there are intangible values that our current way of thinking about work simply ignores, suggests Barry Schwartz. He traces the modern-day condition to the industrial revolution and subsequent rise of the factory system, which he argues created an environment where the employee served as merely a cog, and not a meaningful beneficiary to their day’s work.
Pay, Schwartz argues, isn’t enough to override the demeaning, “soulless” work the vast majority of the population is shouldered with. It's time to stop thinking of workers as cogs on a wheel and instead understand better how to enrich the lives of employees with more meaningful work. He studies the link between economics and psychology, offering startling insights into modern life. In a stirring plea, Schwartz asks the audience to go back to their workplaces and turn the tide. “Just what kind of human nature do you want to help design?”