DisruptHR Vancouver: Interview With Angie Coates

Angie Coates is a creative entrepreneur living in Vancouver, Canada. FullSizeRender 2She’s also a designer, writer and talent consultant. Her passion is helping individuals lead more positive lives, create engaging communities, and build better work environments. Her approach is innovative; it combines over a decade of experience in business and management together with design and creativity.

We were really happy and lucky to speak with her about HR, her favourite influencers and her role at Disrupt HR Vancouver.

Editor: Please tell us a little about yourself – your career path and expertise.

I have worked in a wide range of industries over the past ten years. What I found is that the common denominator of the most successful places I’ve worked for – regardless of industry or type of work – has always been a positive company culture and exceptionally great HR. When talented employees are happy, that’s when organizations thrive.

Ever since, I’ve been passionate about people, creating meaningful work environments and finding talented individuals to do great work with.

Editor: What’s your company and how does it help professions in the Talent arena?

My company is innovative because, in addition to offering HR consulting services, I’m also a designer and communications expert. I use creativity and design principles in every aspect of my business. This comes in handy in all areas of HR, especially when we talk about culture change, engagement and employer branding. My passion is to help companies build more positive work cultures, where every individual has the opportunity to do their best work.

Editor: What brought you to becoming a speaker at Disrupt HR Vancouver?

I attended DisruptHR for the first time last year, and I enjoyed it. I remember sitting on my chair and leaning over to tell my friend, “I want to be up there next year!”

It was a personal milestone, and I am very excited to be one of the speakers in March!

Editor: What’s the topic you’re discussing at Disrupt HR Vancouver?

I am going to be talking about ways to become more effective at reaching goals. And (spoiler alert!) contrary to popular belief, it has little to do with passion.

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

My topic is important because as Talent pros, we are dealing with people, dedicated individuals with goals and aspirations. I am hoping this gives attendees more tools they can apply as individuals, but that they also take it back to their teams to enhance their development and growth.

Editor: You only get 5 minutes to speak to the audience. What unique challenges, and indeed opportunities, does such a condensed speaking slot offer?

I’m a talker! Condensing my presentation to 5 minutes was definitely a challenge! The opportunity was to be very concise and clear about the points I want to hit. The process of purging and pruning what I say has been really helpful – especially since most of our attention spans are so short. Learning to be even more clear and direct is a skill we can all benefit from. It’s been a fun experience.

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

What I liked the most at the last event, is that there was a wide variety of speakers, many of whom were not in the HR field. I think the traditional approach is to think HR is the only way to support employees, but that is far from the truth. We tend to forget employees are just people, with human needs. With that, we benefit from a holistic approach to physical health, emotional intelligence, creativity, etc. It’s the role of HR to bring all of that together if we are to understand and support our people.


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

Meghan M. Biro, CEO of Talent Culture – This is definitely one of my main sources of information on what’s new in HR. She is the type of HR consultant I aspire to be. Her company, Talent Culture has a great chat on Twitter every Wednesday. I always make a point to try and participate. If you have a chance, I’d recommend you give it a try.

Open Source HR (HROS) – This is an initiative launched by Hootsuite’s Ambrosia Vertesi and Amplify Talent’s Lars Schmidt to invite organizations to collaborate and open their HR playbook. They provide real case studies from real organizations, and it’s a great resource for best practices and what’s cutting edge when it comes to HR and recruiting initiatives. What I love the most is the spirit of collaboration and transparency this brings to the HR table.

Recruiting Social – I am in love with Recruiting Social’s brand and communications. They are also a bit disruptive on how they approach recruitment, and I love that. They also seem like the most fun bunch to work with. If you want to know what I mean, follow them on Twitter and read one of their ‘recruiting poems.’

Editor: The HR Gazette is a firm 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?

To me, talking about people and culture is music to my ears. It’s humanizing HR. Employees are not resources. They are individuals with values, hopes, and aspirations, friends, families, hobbies, feelings. Until we begin to understand that, we will never be able to engage the people that we work with, or create the right environments where individuals can thrive.

Editor: What do you think will be the major developments in the Talent space to watch out for in the next 12 months and why?

I would love to see more companies getting rid of asking for a resume as part of their application process and focus on hiring for skills – not experience. I would also love to see companies moving towards flexible schedules. There is no such thing as ‘work/life balance” – there is just life. Companies that accommodate individuals lives (offering unlimited vacation, flex hours, etc.) have a better shot at retaining the growing number of talented millennials who are choosing entrepreneurship or freelancing.

The next major development I hope to see is that we start focusing more on training soft skills. Companies that invest in developing soft skills in their teams will not only have happier individuals working for them but will also become more effective at anything they do.

DisruptHR Vancouver is hosted by Learnkit and will be held at the Rise office on Wednesday, March 30th 2016. You can learn more here.

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