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Collaboration unlocking the future

Collaboration and empowered teams are what you need to create a really successful organization. For many businesses this means big changes in the working culture. Tina Stiegler, EVP People, Change and Strategy in Schibsted, looks into the trends that are shaping HR of tomorrow.

HR is going into a new phase. After fighting its way into becoming at strategic force, incorporated at the heart of the business, it’s time to become the real “People Partner”. It’s a fundamental change that means creating a new culture and finding new ways to attract talents.

The reasons behind are found in the changes in the world around us, not least the technology advances and the competitive business landscape. But this change is also connected to new generations entering the work place, and to new ideas on how to reach the best business results in the most efficient way. HR people are talking about “The new organization” and “Empowered Teams”.


Let me explain a bit about these teams by telling the story of the American General Stanley McChrystal. In his book “Team of Teams”, McChrystal describes how the US military’s hierarchical command and control structure suffered defeat when Al-Qaeda disrupted the army and won battles in the early stages of the Iraq war. McChrystal decentralized authority to highly trained and empowered teams and developed a real-time information and operations group to centralize information and provide all teams with real-time, accurate data about war activities everywhere.

This new structure enabled officers to quickly move from their administrative positions to mission-oriented projects for a set purpose, and it changed the game.

Even if most of us don’t deal with an army, many businesses do know about disruption and McChrystal’s tactics serve as an inspiration to many companies. Why is this so accurate in businesses today?

It all comes together when looking at the changing world. In a highly competitive landscape, where disruption is just around the corner, there’s a need to speed up processes, to be more custom-oriented and adapt to an ever-changing reality.

Empowered teams get the best out of people – the essence is to give small groups the freedom to experiment while driving everyone to share what they learn across the entire organization.


These ideas also fit the needs of the new generations. Today there’s a real fight to find the best talents and to win this game we have to recognize that millennials have slightly new needs, values and demands.

They have high expectations for an inclusive and collaborative culture, and their own personal development. They also know how to value life as a whole and they are focused on a higher cause, wanting to know how they contribute to making this world a better place at work. Nice food, access to gym facilities and free massages, simply are not enough anymore.

To tackle this a new concept is getting established, with Airbnb in the lead – the “workplace as an experience”. This means taking all elements of work into account  – the physical, the emotional, the intellectual, the
virtual, and the aspirational.

This is why HR leaders will have to be that people partner and start building a new culture, focusing on creating a shared culture, designing a work environment that engages people, and constructing a new model of leadership and career development, built on a strong learning culture, collaboration and innovation.

From the business side you have to be prepared to challenge yourself. To tear down old hierarchies, give up established ways of doing things and open up – and allow for decisions to be made across the organization.


Data and analytics will also play a big part in HR looking forward. In Schibsted we’ve taken a first step, introducing a common tool across our business – Workday. For a start this will facilitate routines, but also serve us with a broader picture on our workforce. With these kind of tools and their follow ups HR will be able to support managers with data and help making data driven decisions.

HR – like everything else in the world – needs to continuously develop to remain relevant. But it will still be about how to attract people, challenge them and make them grow. It’s about all of us, how we together create a working environment that makes our business prosper.