With their engaging format and thought-provoking content, TED Talks have become a go-to source of inspiration and learning for many, covering science, art and everything in between. They’re also an invaluable resource for those working in HR, providing insights and advice on various issues related to the workplace.
HR professionals face many challenges in today’s rapidly evolving work environment, one that’s constantly changing, with new methods for attracting and retaining top talent, managing engagement and wellbeing, and navigating complex labour laws and regulations. TED Talks are a unique source to learn from experts and thought leaders who are tackling these issues head-on and showcasing valuable insights and perspectives.
We’ve handpicked some of the most inspiring and informative TED Talks for HR professionals and highlighted the key takeaways from each one.
The Puzzle of Motivation, Dan Pink
Bestselling author and speaker Dan Pink challenges traditional notions of motivation and offers a fresh perspective on what drives people to succeed. Using scientific research and real-world examples, Pink discusses how traditional rewards like bonuses and incentives can backfire and reduce performance. At the same time, intrinsic motivators like autonomy, mastery, and purpose are much more effective. This talk is a must-see for anyone interested in boosting their motivation or understanding what motivates others.
Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume, Regina Hartley
Regina Hartley, an HR executive with over 25 years of experience, argues that traditional hiring practices are flawed and that employers should consider candidates who have overcome significant life obstacles. In this inspiring talk, she shares stories of “scrappers” who have succeeded despite adversity and explains why these individuals often make the best team members – a reminder to look beyond surface-level qualifications and consider the whole person when making hiring decisions.
HR Lessons from the World of Silicon Valley Start-Ups, Patty McCord
As the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, Patty McCord has a wealth of experience building and managing high-performance teams. Here, she shares some of the unconventional HR practices that helped Netflix become one of the most successful companies in the world, offering practical insights on hiring, firing and creating a culture of excellence.
The Way We Think About Work Is Broken, Barry Schwartz
In this thought-provoking talk, psychologist Barry Schwartz argues that our current approach to work is fundamentally flawed. He shows how emphasising efficiency and productivity has stripped work of meaning and purpose, leaving many workers disengaged and unfulfilled. His suggestion? We must rethink our values and priorities and create more meaningful and fulfilling work for everyone.
Forget the Pecking Order at Work, Margaret Heffernan
Margaret Heffernan, a CEO and bestselling author, challenges the idea that competition and hierarchy are the keys to success in the workplace. The best teams are those that work together, not those that compete against each other. Drawing on natural examples, she demonstrates how collaboration and diversity can lead to better outcomes and greater innovation.
Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work, Jason Fried
With a moderate dose of humour and insight, entrepreneur Jason Fried argues that many workplaces are the worst places to get work done. He reveals how common distractions like meetings, email and office politics can prevent us from doing our best work. He also suggests simple changes to create a more productive and enjoyable work environment.
The Happy Secret to Better Work, Shawn Achor
Positive psychologist Shawn Achor shares some surprising insights into the relationship between happiness and success. One of his key takeaways shows how a positive mindset can improve productivity, creativity and health. Achor’s talk is a reminder that happiness is a byproduct of success and a key ingredient for achieving it. He reveals practical tips for cultivating this happiness in the workplace.
What It Takes to Be a Great Leader, Roselinde Torres
Leadership expert Roselinde Torres shares insights from her 25 years of studying and working with leaders worldwide. She shows how the best leaders can adapt to changing circumstances, build diverse networks and foster a culture of innovation. Torres’s talk offers solid advice for anyone who wants to become a more effective leader.
The Workforce Crisis of 2030 and How to Start Solving It Now, Rainer Strack
Economist Rainer Strack warns that by 2030, there will be a significant shortage of skilled workers in many industries worldwide and suggests that we must start addressing this crisis now. He shares some demographic and technological trends driving this shift and offers potential solutions, such as investing in education and training programs and increasing workplace flexibility. Strack’s TED talk is a wake-up call for policymakers, business leaders and individuals who want to prepare for the changing nature of work.
Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe, Simon Sinek
Leadership expert Simon Sinek is here to tell us that great leaders prioritise the wellbeing of their team members and create a culture of trust and collaboration. It’s not just about achieving goals but about caring for those who make them possible. Drawing on examples from the military and business world, he illustrates how leaders who prioritise the needs of their people can achieve remarkable results and create lasting impact.
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