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Former Head of People at Slack shares the Craft of HR and How to Drive Business Impact

The world is changing, and so is the face of Human Resources. Dawn Sharifan, former Head of People at Slack offers her expert perspective on how HR is evolving to meet the demands of the modern business landscape, and the impact it can have on people's lives.

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Sharifan shared a powerful anecdote from her early days as an HR professional when she worked tirelessly to get someone a lung. “The day that I was able to go to that person and say, ‘I’ve got your lung’ is still one of the proudest days of my entire life. When the stars align and you can do something like that, it can be more impactful and meaningful than any other experience that I know.”


In a recent interview, Sharifan shared her thoughts on the changing face of HR, from the challenges faced by HR professionals to the future of work. As an HR leader and educator with well over a decade of experience, Sharifan believes that HR is a craft that can have a significant impact on both businesses and individuals. “When the stars align, it is a true opportunity to impact the business and someone’s life, in a really key way.”


Despite the importance of HR, negative perceptions still exist, and many people underestimate the range of capabilities and motivations required of HR professionals. Sharifan believes that HR is a craft and that it’s essential to get your motivation and drive from connecting to the business. “People that are helpers tend to gravitate towards this profession. But you have to be doing it for the right reasons, and not for the thank you. You have to do it because it’s the right thing to do. You have to do it because you’re building a culture. You have to do it because you’re helping the business in some way. But you can’t do it for the people because it will break your heart.”

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The Changing Landscape of HR


Looking toward the future, Sharifan sees a significant shift in the role of HR professionals. She predicts that most operational and day-to-day HR work will be replaced by technology or outsourced to third parties in the next 10 to 15 years. Instead, the real HR work will be in organisational development, learning and development, and coaching. “I think that will be the next wave of HR.”


As HR continues to evolve, it’s crucial to recognise the value that HR professionals bring to the table. Sharifan believes that CEOs are recognising this value and that the head of HR is reporting directly to the CEO more often. It’s also essential to invest in organisational development and learning to ensure that HR professionals have the necessary skills and capabilities to thrive in the new HR landscape.


The changing face of HR is not just a trend, it's a necessity. Dawn Sharifan's expert perspective on the evolution of HR highlights the importance of recognising the value that HR professionals bring to the table, and investing in their development to ensure they have the necessary skills to thrive in the new HR landscape. As we move forward into the future, it's essential to understand that HR is not just about managing people, it's about building a culture that supports growth and development for all. As Sharifan says, "HR is a craft, and it's of value. I am absolutely in the most amazing career and right craft for me." With a renewed focus on organisational development and learning, HR professionals can drive the success of both individuals and businesses alike.

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Article Details

  Feature with:           

Dawn Sharifan, HR Leader

Written by Team Hyer

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