DisruptHR Calgary: Interview with Melanie Peacock

Melanie Peacock, PhD, CHRP has over 25 years of experience as a Human Resources Management professional. She brings enthusiasm as well as a rich and diverse set of experience to her work. Currently an Associate Professor with the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University, Melanie has been extensively involved in professional and strategic initiatives as a senior manager, independent HR consultant, and educator.  She is the co-author of the 6th edition of Essentials of Managing Human Resources (Nelson) and co-author of Employee Training and Development, 1st Canadian Edition (McGraw-Hill Ryerson).  As well, Melanie has created numerous educational resources for HR instructors and as an innovator within the educational landscape, Melanie has developed and implemented introductory HR curriculum in Block Week and Blended Delivery formats.

Looking Back at DisruptHR Calgary with Malanie Peacock

PeacockMelanie_colourMelanie was a speaker at the DisruptHR Calgary event last month. The event, in case you hadn’t yet heard of the super successful franchise, talks about HR & talent in fresh, new ways. DisruptHR is built on the belief that how we’ve approached people and talent in the past won’t be the best way to approach it in the future.

We caught up with Melanie after DisruptHR Calgary, to learn more about her and her views on disruption in HR. Here’s what she had to say..

HR Gazette: What’s your company and how does it help professionals in the HR & Talent arena?

Melanie: I am an associate professor at Bissett, School of Business – Mount Royal University. I strive to increase awareness regarding the value of the Certified Human Resources Professional designation through workshops and exam preparation courses. More information on our HR programs may be found here.

HR Gazette: What motivated you to become a speaker at Disrupt HR Calgary?

Melanie: This event provided a different and vibrant format and an opportunity to challenge the way that people typically think about HR.

HR Gazette: What did you speak about at Disrupt HR Calgary?

Melanie: Cultivating Confusion: HR’s Strategic Role in Promoting Uncertainty.

HR Gazette: Why is your topic important to HR and Talent pros?

Melanie: As HR professionals we need to rethink the rules and parameters that we force upon other people.  While we think of this as helping others we may, in fact, be limiting people and organizational outcomes.

HR Gazette: You only had 5 minutes to speak to the audience. What unique challenges, and indeed opportunities, did such a condensed speaking slot offer?

Melanie: During a 5 minute talk it was difficult to provide in-depth coverage and details.  That said, this type of talk provided the opportunity to challenge people and invite them to use some quick ideas and take-aways and to think deeply and critically about issues after the event.

DisruptHR Calgary

HR Gazette: How did Disrupt HR provide you with a platform to talk about talent in new ways?

Melanie: Disrupt HR provided the opportunity to address controversial and a-typical ideas.

HR Gazette: Please share 2 or 3 ‘influencers’ in the talent and recruitment space who you follow and tell us why.

Melanie: David Ulrich is one of my key influencers.  Dr. Ulrich continues to provide active research and information regarding the HR profession.  I then use Dr. Ulrich’s ideas to challenge my own thought processes.

HR Gazette: The HR Gazette is a big believer in the shift from traditional thoughts of HR to embracing modern HR as part of ‘people and culture’. What does ‘people and culture’ mean to you?

Melanie: I continue to question the term “people and culture”.  Why is the “and” used?  Ultimately people *are* the creators and keepers of an organization’s culture.  They are not two separate items.  Through effective and strategic use of HR, people will develop and bring the organization’s culture to life.

HR Gazette: What do you think will be the major developments in the HR & Talent space to watch out for in the next 12 months and why? For example, how does the growing numbers of Millennials in the workplace shape traditional talent management approaches?

Melanie: I believe that the major developments that will be seen in HR are a change in the way we view and use performance management (less structured and more dynamic, two-way conversations need to occur) and that succession planning will be revised to reflect the fact that an organization’s requirements are changing at a fast pace and that it is not appropriate to determine (as a fact) which employees will (and will not) be able to play an important role in a company’s future.


Melanie Peacock is a gifted group facilitator and teacher Melanie regularly receives top teaching ratings from her students and has been nominated for distinguished teaching awards. In 2014 she was awarded the first Mount Royal Faculty Association Teaching Excellence Award.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
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