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About this Video


John Sumser discusses HR’s new pandemic triumvirate, safety, health, and development (SHD). This is an excerpt of John Sumser’s popular keynote presentation at The HR Tech Conference & Exposition in the Fall of 2020.


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Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and fairly accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused (or extremely confused) and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation and let us know if you find something wrong and we’ll get it fixed right away. Thank you for your understanding.



JS – John Sumser, Principal Analyst, HRExaminer


[00:00:04] What I’m going to tell you now is about how HR’s priorities could, should, might reorient themselves so that safety is the first thing, health, which is what you can do if you’re safe, you can get healthy is the second thing and development, which is many of the things that we talk about in talent management, performance management, talent acquisition.


[00:00:29] Is something that you do once safety’s in place and once health is in place. So the priorities of the HR department in my view will turn out to be safety first, health second, development third.


[00:00:44] I’m going to use the acronym S, H, D to describe safety, health, and development as we walk through the process. So safety it isn’t just, are you going to cut your arm off, safety is, is it emotionally safe, are you subject to discrimination or harassment? Is it mentally safe? Are you being asked to do things that are beyond you?


[00:01:08] Is it in line with the values of the company? If the operation isn’t in line with the values of the company, the operation is unsafe, it’s unhealthy, Are the finances, right? Are the individual finances right, and is the organizational finances, right? What’s the impact on the environment of the overall enterprise and what is my experience of the work environment?


[00:01:34] Then there’s the stuff that has been traditionally talked about in learning and development, which are the occupational safety, health, and development things and occupational growth. And then you cap this off with the social functions that happen inside of healthy organizations. If you think back to the Humanyze data, the social function is starting to look unhealthy in a lot of organizations.


[00:02:01] So safety, health, and development have goals that build on each other. In safety, what you’re trying to do is reduce the risk of damage. You want to make sure that there’s no physical danger, that harassment, discrimination, exclusion, and bias are minimized and that any unnecessary stress is moved away from the business.


[00:02:27] You’ll want to think about these breathing moments in this presentation as a way of removing unnecessary stress for something, and think that that’s the job of keeping a safe organization. Health builds on safety and gives a sense of control in the work environment. There’s lots of reciprocation and relationships in the work environment.


[00:02:50] In a healthy organization with healthy people in it, merit is a primary value so that people are moved around because they have earned or deserve it. Inclusion is how you make the teams strong, shared values are something that we work on together. Relaxation, you might think that relaxation is a funny thing to talk about at work, but it turns out like Bill Murray says.


[00:03:16] Everything’s better when you’re relaxed. And so what we want inside of our healthy organizations is commitment to goals, but relaxation in their execution. Nothing’s better if it’s done in a hurry under pressure. And finally, health means being competent in what you do. Once you’ve got safety and health in place, you could go on to develop and to improve individual autonomy.


[00:03:45] The coherence of the work team, the feeling of fulfillment at work and the experience of the fulfillment of achievements and goals, a improving world has better and better equity inside of it. There’s a sense of community and belonging. There’s a sense of equanimity, which is sort of relaxation on steroids.


[00:04:11] Professional growth is possible. And part of the arrangement and out of development comes organizational agility.


Watch more of John’s talks on his YouTube Channel »

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