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HR Hackathons

Today's post comes to us courtesy of board member Jeanne C. Meister. Jeanne is a Partner at Future Workplace, and co-author of the award winning HR book, The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption In Recruiting and Engaging Employees.

The rate and pace of digital transformation is impacting all business functions. HR is at the center of this as digital disruption is fundamentally changing the ways employers recruit and engage talent.

The hackathon, once used only in the IT world, is now being reinvented by HR to improve both the candidate and the employee experience while helping to develop deeper cross-functional skills within the HR department.

Simply defined, a traditional hackathon is an event where computer programmers, software designers, graphic artists, and others come together to create a new product. In fact, the Facebook “Like” button and Facebook Chat were both first demoed at internal Facebook hackathons.

Hackathons are now being used inside Human Resources, led by the Chief Human Resources Officer, to re-invent the candidate and employee experience. In the past, I have researched hackathons at LinkedIn to better understand the experience of a college intern and Cisco to "break" big and small HR practices to deliver a more memorable experience. What both of these hackathons have in common is the desire to let go of process thinking and silos and become more employee-focused.

Increasingly HR Hackathons are bringing together HR practitioners with internal business leaders, design thinking Facilitators, software designers, product researchers, UX designers and start-Up CEO's to ideate and prototype new breakthrough solutions for the organization.

Regardless of whether the end-product is improving the candidate experience, creating new banking solutions or enhancing the employee experience, the goal of a hackathon is the same: to bring a diverse group of individuals together to meet digital disruption head on.

Often this involves defining the business problem, setting up the process and criteria for success and watching individuals collaborate and produce amazing solutions for the business.

Have you tried a hackathon - HR or otherwise-focused - at your organization? What did you think? Tell me about it in the Comments section!

You can read more about HR Hackathons and learn how and DBS have used them to innovate in my expanded article on this topic on

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