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The Futurist: What’s Rock ‘n’ Roll got to do with the future of HR?



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Alessandro Paparelli, vice president of human resources, Kering envisions the summer of 2026 – complete with the Asia Talent Tour akin to a rock concert, holo-projection of a medley of career stories, and Mick Jagger as the Honorary Advisor.

It’s the summer of 2026. I’m celebrating with the team at the pool bar: today we had our last gig and wrapped up the Asia Talent Tour. We “played” in Shanghai in front of a crowd of hundreds of young talent and students from Tsinghua, Jiaotong, Fudan, SISU and CEIBS. Good vibes.

We’re chatting about the big excitement in the crowd when we holo-projected the “Career Stories Medley” with our brands’ CEOs, as well as for the entrance of the drone-transported test station to demonstrate our cutting-edge work on sustainable materials through our Research Lab in Hong Kong. Those always work well during the show.

Oh, yes, the show aspect: some were skeptical about it a couple of years ago, they said it was superficial to attract talents through show-like events. But they had to finally embrace the change: we needed to be on the road, go where talents are, and connect with them.

And just like a rock concert, the show is an important context, but in the end what counts is the content: music and the engagement you create. And what an Honorary Advisor we had this year! Mick Jagger is with us also for this after-tour little party, obviously still looking younger than me, the bastard.

I have to leave for a moment though, they’re calling me from Tactical Unit. We’re in the final stage of a search and HQ asked for a last briefing.

TU asks me where I can set up the War Room: in the end any fairly dark environment would do, so I ask the crew for one of the mobile containers that we use for the bigger tour gear. I borrow four personal devices from the team, put them on the floor and ask TU to remotely push the various modules I need through each device and video-float them around the container.

I’ve got the info from the Mobile Talent Intelligence Module (chatter, comments consensus, referrals) floating on my left; the Context Module (organisational structures, position’s metrics and business metrics) on my right; the Relationship  Module (network around the candidate, who knows who) up above and the Assessment Module (candidate’s bio, assessment results, leadership profile) right in front.

It’s a delicate search, for a PIP (Primus Inter Pares) of one of the brands’ collectives: the prima donnas’ era of heads of design is long gone, and we now have PIPs whose role is to stimulate the full potential of collaborative design collectives.

I aggregate some key information, make a couple of validations and add some comments into the recommendation pack. TU pulls back the modules, the virtual screens disappear in the darkness of the container, and I go back to the pool bar.

Mick looks like he’s possessed and gesticulates to me to join him for a limbo dance challenge. Which he’ll probably win.

I know. It’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll. But I like it.

Image: Provided

The June 2016 issue of Human Resources magazine is a special edition, bringing you interviews with 32 HR leaders, with their predictions on the future of HR.

Read The Futurist or subscribe here.

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