Member Spotlight: Steven Yee, GravitateTraining

Steven Yee
NCHRA Member Since 2008

What led you to Human Resources as a profession?

The fairly early end of my pursuit to become an ophthalmologist – graduating from high school, I had the wide-eyes prize to make a difference in the world through medicine.  Well, at UCLA college chemistry, I discovered medicine wasn’t for me. So, I reflected and thought about how else to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Then, I had a simple observation – a lot of people spend their daily lives at work! From there, I studied industrial-organizational psychology, learned about “human resources” along the way, and grabbed my first official rung of the HR ladder with a well-known heath care organization. While not quite what I envisioned back in high school, I still got into the industry, just with a way more fulfilling profession – go figure!

From your experience, why is transparency crucial for HR? With this month’s “Tackling Transparency” theme, do you see HR pros as transparency communicators?

Complete transparency is not always crucial, and could be potentially detrimental.  For example, Company X intends to increase employee engagement via knowledge management crowdsourcing. However, information overload or misinterpretations take a toll on the decision-making process. That said, if an organization considers transparency a cultural value and/or a competitive driver, then HR clearly should promote it as key. Tackling pay inequities with open awareness of all wages (top to bottom) or remedying corporate social responsibility incongruences with full supply chain disclosure reflects a viable improvement opportunity.

In terms of communication, those in accountable leadership and management roles do need to exercise certain levels of transparency. Meantime, those in HR roles have a great responsibility to educate and advise organizations on the relevance, risks (good and bad), as well as the right balance of being transparent.

In your opinion, what is the future of HR? How do you see it changing over the next few years, especially in terms of HR innovation?

The future is more deeply tech-bound, entails a vastly broadened gig economy, and highly diversified workforce of humans and non-humans.

Regarding innovation, the blockchain currently stands out.  As some already may know, in very simplified terms, blockchain technology provides a super secure and verifiable digital record that captures specific transactions of value. This nascent technology has been referenced popularly with the recent cryptocurrency (e.g. bitcoin investment) craze. An exciting aspect is to define “transactions of value” in the context of HR.

Beyond financial applications, the blockchain can have huge HR implications. For instance, let’s consider the recruitment workflow as a set of “transactions of value.” Even with the wide array of online platform options available nowadays, the general recruitment process remains quite labor- and records-intensive.  Data quality (e.g. from resumes) still comes into question. With a blockchain-based solution, the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruitment process could get a boost through – yes, transparency. A Recruitment Coordinator essentially would be able to gather quickly a job candidate’s direct records and ensure inherently verifiable employment history without a middle-person provider brokering transactions (and likely charging a premium for the services).  Now, what if these recruitment coordinator tasks were automated?

The workforce has no longer been just about humans. I think the future of human resources will become humanity resources designed to serve the citizens of our global community leveraging a multiplicity of tech-inspired resources.

What do you find is the greatest reward working in HR?

Contributing to the evolution of work towards greater meaningfulness in everyday lives.

What role has NCHRA played in your career? 

A significant one – especially with the opportunities for professional growth, idea hacks, learning applications, business developments, and long-time camaraderie.

What is something people might not know about you?

I’m looking for people to join me for my first spelunking (i.e. deep cave exploration) experience!

About Steven Yee

Steven is recognized as a value-added and dynamic presenter, facilitator, and professional / public speaker. He is always expanding into diverse and challenging opportunities for positive business and social growth.  Learn more about Gravitate Training

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