We Are Almost Back to the Future in HR

The future will be here in almost 3 years. (Gen X and older who saw Back To The Future II in the 80s you know what I mean.) Gen Y and all others, please see this educational video (email subscribers click through) for a refresher.

The DeLorean time machine showed Marty, Doc Brown and us we could travel in time to the future. We were transported 30 years into the future from October 26, 1985 to October 21, 2015. Stop, sip your coffee and think about that. In about 3 years we will be in the future. Where is my hover board? Hey Bif, get your damn hands off my girl. Let’s break this future talk into some HR dialogue between Kris Dunn and Tim Sackett back in 1985. We all know they have wanted to be HR Pros since junior high. I’m sure they were talking about HR in 1985.

Back To The Future HR Dialogue played by Sackett as Marty and KD as Doc Brown.

Doc Brown (aka KD): Marty, you gotta come back with me!

Marty (aka Sackett): Where?

Doc Brown: Back To The Future.

Doc turns on his iPhone 5…

Marty: Whoa Doc.. What are you doing? I can’t use an app to manage my employee suggestion box and rolodex.

Doc Brown: I need fuel. Quick. Let me use your power station to charge my iPhone.

Marty: No, no, no, no, no, no, No Doc. I just got here. My Mom is still teaching me how to recruit. We are going to fax offer letters today.

Doc Brown: Well bring her along. This concerns her too. In the future there are new technologies for recruiting and HR.

Marty: Whoa, wait a minute, Doc. What’s a Twitter? What’s a hashtag? What, do we sell hash or something? I don’t want a LinkedIn request from you.

Doc Brown: No, no, no, no Marty. Your hash is fine. It’s your candidates, Marty. Something has gotta to be done about your candidates!

Marty: Hey Doc, you better take our expensive company color printed brochures to handout to candidates. We want people to know about us.

Doc Brown: Brochures? Where we’re going, we don’t need…brochures.

Main Title: Back To The Future Part II

Marty: All right, Doc, what’s goin’ on, huh? Where are we? “When” are we?

Doc Brown: We’re descending towards Mountain View, California at 4:29 PM on Wednesday, October 21st, twenty-fifteen. We are going to LinkedIn’s headquarters.

Marty: Two thousand fifteen?! You mean we’re in the future! You mean we have access to over 150 million candidates?

Doc Brown: LinkedIn is the future with 150 million passive candidates available to us. Verifable data on people, referral friendly, job posting ability, networking opportunities, accurate profiles, executive search options, employer branding solutions and the ability to drive sales leads. Enough talk. Time is wasting. We have to inspire others to change the way they recruit.

Back in 1985 I am sure you knew you would be an HR Pro with a cool Twitter handle and 500+ connections on LinkedIn. You saw the future coming with social technologies for HR and recruiting (sarcasm…). It’s cool when you stop to think that the future is now and we are where we are. Regardless of what Marty and Doc said will happen on October 21, 2015, we will find out in 3 years.  To make sure we are ready, make small changes each day. This will change yourself and our profession. What changes can you make that will change our profession? Here are some thought starters…

  • Eat lunch with your clients at least twice per week. Show your human side. Ham it up with them. Don’t act like an HR Robo Cop either. You poop, just like they do.
  • Hang out with your clients after work. Get to know them and their families. I’m not saying date them. Just know them in a different light. You can better serve them and help them develop.
  • Interact with your clients on social via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook (if you dare). You will get to know another side of people.
  • Walk the halls. Interact with loners. Sit in a sales forecast meeting and ask questions.
  • Teach someone something about social technologies. Show them how to blog, use Twitter or whatever they need.
  • Find a peer and agree to coach each other. Good HR Pros are good coaches and can be coachable too. BTW…the peer must be outside of HR. Don’t think you are too special to venture outside the family.
  • Disagree with an HR Technology. Plenty of HR technology software is outdated.  This waists your money or time. Go find them.  Change them. Careful though. Might change the norm and tick people off. Don’t be afraid of that. Just be aware.

Rather than a talk about changes or things that need to change, I challenge you to do one thing. Stop. Think about one or two choices in HR that you can make every day that will cause change. Must be you changing your behavior too. Not telling someone else to change.  Like I am here. In HR, we are good at telling others to change, but not good at change ourselves. Disrupt your norm one day at a time.  Now…what are you going to change?

FOT Background Check

Ben Martinez is a self-proclaimed family guy, exerciser, and HR journeyman. He has successfully worked in various HR leadership roles around the US and Mexico for Fortune 500 companies (specifically Pepsi, Sears, Honeywell, and Energizer Holdings Inc.). Currently he is the VP of HR for HireVue, where he works with incredible people in the HR technology space who have rallied around a cause to bring HR out of the dark ages. A fantasy sports hater and avid sports watcher, Ben wrote the book on coffee networking and can be found anywhere, so if you are around the area, hit him up for a cup. His home base is in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.


  1. Mary Wright says:

    Clever. And by 2015, 60% of the workforce will look more like Marty and less like Doc. So they have to be reminded to engage IRL.

    • Ben Martinez says:

      Mary…definitely IRL is the way to go! SM is another communication tool (e.g. Phone, email, etc) to help us connect with more people in IRL. In 2015…. I will look like more like the Doc! So I need to learn more how the Marty’s connect.

  2. .avi says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.

    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

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