Meet The Disruptors: Eric St-Jean of DisruptHR Ottawa

Who are the people that are taking the lead in disrupting the future of work?

They‰’re the official Disruptors (Organizers) of DisruptHR events held in cities around the world. Each week, we‰’ll introduce you to one of these intelligent, inspiring, and beautiful people (okay, pick two) who have stepped up, and volunteered to organize a Disrupt HR event in their city.

Eric St-Jean of DisruptHR – Ottawa- (Disruptor #117)

LinkedIn ‰- [ Eric St-Jean ]

Twitter ‰- [ @CleaHRStrat ]

Who are you, and what do you do in your ‰day job‰?

During the day I work as an independent consultant at CleaHRStrat Consulting Inc

How did you first hear about DisruptHR?

A friend, Anne Graham, got the rights for DisruptHR in Ottawa (and Kingston)

Why did you decide to raise your hand and become an organizer for DisruptHR events in Ottawa?

The first year, my wife (Sue Kavanagh) was one of the organizers. I volunteered with a variety of things that first year and became an organizer starting in year 2. I was one of the organizers for year 3 and we’ve started planning our 4th event this fall.

How many events have you organized?

Year 1: Fall 2015, Ottawa at the Diefenbunker Museum (a former bunker during the cold war). There are about 150 attendees (I was just a volunteer the first year).

Year 2: Fall 2016, in Ottawa at the Adobe Systems Canada office. We had about 250 attendees.

Year 3: Fall 2016, in Ottawa at the Adobe Systems Canada office. We had about 250 attendees.

All 3 events sold out.

What types of people/industries have attended your events?

The majority of attendees are HR practitioners from a variety of industries and levels within their respective organizations. We often have a few lawyers who work in employment law and CEOs of smaller companies.

What are you most proud of that has come out of being involved with/organizing DisruptHR events?

There are a couple things:

A) We’ve sold out each event, which is a pretty large turnout for an HR event in Ottawa.

B) We’ve been able to raise money each year for a different charity

What kind of feedback have you received from those who attended prior DisruptHR Ottawa events?

Unfortunately, I don’t remember a specific comment, but we often receive positive feedback after the event because there is a lot of value for the cost of the registration fee.

What is your favorite DisruptHR Talk, and why?

My favourite talk is from our very first speaker back in 2015, Heather Tyrie. There have been many great talks since then too, but Heather didn’t have the benefit of seeing anyone present before her here in Ottawa, and she really set the tone for the rest of the night. It’s a talk I often share with presenters who have been selected for our next event. Last year (2017) we invited Heather to come back and be our MC and she did a fantastic job once again.

Don’t Be An HR Person | Heather Tyrie | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

Based off of the Talks and conversations at your events, what do you feel are the areas with the biggest opportunity for disruption?

Based on what I’ve seen at our events and read, Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing. Many companies are looking to take their software from just automating routine tasks to having their systems learn. The recruiting space is really embracing this technology given the large number of resumes companies receive for every position.

There are a couple other areas that have been around for a while but aren’t always leveraged:

A) Automation: There are many tools available to automate routine tasks but many people don’t leverage them enough. Something as simple as Microsoft Excel or setting up an interface between 2 applications might save you a lot of time over the course of a year. Setting up an HR system can also reap significant rewards in terms of letting your managers and employees use self-service to answer their routine questions, in addition to automation, reporting and so many other benefits.

B) The Gig Economy: There is a shift in the employment relationship between a person and a company. While many people are still hired as “permanent” employees, many others are looking for short-term work. To leverage the temporary/consultant worker, organizations have to change the way they look for talent, how they track them in their systems, how they are paid, the benefits offered, and potentially change how they plan projects so that the temporary worker is there for a defined period.

What excites you or frustrates you about the future of work, your career and/or DisruptHR?

Personally, I like the ability to work from anywhere. With the right technology and flexible clients, you are no longer tied to a specific city to earn a living. Working remotely can be beneficial not only for the employee/consultant but also for a company looking for talent. The company does not need office space and they can look to fill positions with qualified candidates worldwide and aren’t limited by the city or country they live in.

What frustrates me is that some/many companies still fight the same battles companies before them did years ago. I would think that we’d be able to leverage more of what has made companies successful and avoid some of the painful steps companies go through.

What‰’s Happening With DisruptHR Ottawa:

DisruptHR Ottawa Community Page

DisruptHR Ottawa Facebook Page

DisruptHR Ottawa on Twitter (@DisruptHROttawa)


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