Exclusive Interview of Pasquale Davide, of HRCoffee. Edited by Powered Magazine
Pasquale Davide de Palma is expert in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Social Recruiting and Social HC. Pasquale's interests are focused on human capital management, he has a degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Bari, and has studied at MELIUSform Business School and Spegea Business School, Italy.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I Pasquale Davide, started HRCOFFEE, a part of Exprivia SpA and an IBM business partner, specialises in HR tech innovation. Established in 2018 in Molfetta, Italy. HRCOFFEE became a finalist at the World Open Innovation Conference (WOIC) at the University of California, Berkeley, and was recognised as "one of the best global startups. Today, the HRCOFFEE SaaS solution is used by well-established companies operating across borders, including ID Logistics Spain, Lundbeck Italia SpA, IEEE, and Barilla SpA.
Everything we do is based on the fundamental idea that people are the heart of any organisation. Employees are not just "numbers" but active actors in the organisational value-creation process. We firmly believe that when people are in a state of well-being at work, they can build positive relationships with others, realise their potential, develop creativity, and make meaningful contributions. Thus, we advocate the importance of the social aspect of ESG, including professional development, employee welfare, diversity, and inclusion. In 2021, HRCOFFEE was awarded the Family Audit accreditation for its high standard of employee well-being policies and practises.
What does HR Coffee actually do?
HR Coffee has developed two platforms:
The HRCOFFEE Platform, which includes three elements of digital HR: traditional HR, social HR, and people analytics, is useful for those organisational leaders and HR strategists who want to create and strengthen internal communication, employee engagement, and cognitive analytics projects. This is a bottom-up platform, so a people strategy process is needed. This platform uses IBM Watson.
The second platform is Splash, a low-cost platform that helps HR managers gain a good understanding of people analytics and apply it in their practise. Splash uses ChatGPT, an AI-powered tool that helps to interpret data with ease and provide actionable recommendations to successfully manage employees. Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, fill-gap processes can be developed.
What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market?
HRCOFFEE remains competitive through continuous learning and development and an understanding of the changing needs of customers. We focus a lot on training our team internally, conducting market research, and advancing technology.
Every three months, we conduct focus groups and organise events to generate discussion and gain feedback. This approach helps us to look critically at our two platforms, improve them, and develop them further, as well as stay informed about customer needs.
Curiosity drives innovation, and at HRCOFFEE, we value curiosity. I believe that being curious and open to new ideas is important for organisations to stay competitive.
What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity?
When I started taking my first steps in the world of using data applied to HR practise, it was 2002. It was my first year of university, and I was fascinated by the world of business psychology. At the time, only a few talked about using data in companies. I remember that I was fascinated by books written by Dr. Jac Fitzenz. I met Professor Dean Spitzer, Frank DiBernardino, Salvatore Falletta, Fermin Diez, Sandeep Apte, and of course Nigel Nicholson.
I was fascinated by the use of cognitive data in the quantitative world; back then, the indexes were mainly quantitative, and I remember that Dr. Jac urged me to go ahead, to study, but above all, to be curious. Today I feel very grateful and want to say thank you to all those fantastic people who shared their knowledge with me, because it was the real strong motivation. I have always felt in search of what I find today in HRCOFFEE, a startup whose drive is curiosity.
So, if I had to advise anyone entering the world of HR technology, I would tell them that the most important thing is not to forget that you need to be curious, because to be innovative, you have to be curious. In the word "innovation, there is an extraordinary word: "action. The action to innovate is the most important process for HR, and this starts with curiosity. And this drives me to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity.
How have technological advances affected your life?
Technological development must not be stopped. We should not be afraid of it; we must govern and manage it. We must learn to surf the waves of innovation, and as I said, we do this by remaining curious.
HR deals with people. It deals with the needs and dreams of those who work within organisations. If we are afraid of technology and its progress, it means that we will end up no longer being citizens of the world; we will put ourselves in a ghetto, and organisations die in ghettos because the soul of the company is missing.
What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development?
I think the world is changing. Today, the most important trend is data. The data will greatly influence the next decade. I think the problem will not be technology or artificial intelligence. I believe that the real problem will be the ability of HR to identify, in a world of confusion, the real and useful data points for the people strategy.
I think it's a historic moment—HR is preparing to become strategic for the business, and this is the first time in history. We are facing a revolution of organisations, a sort of small industrial revolution, where HR will be strategic but will need to have tools and instruments such as the people strategy and a co-programming document on corporate strategy.
I will give an example. It will be strategic to understand that talent is no longer static but dynamic and therefore in transition; it will be strategic to analyse the individual leadership of people; it will be important to work on individual worker development plans; and it will be essential to move on to the concept of the corporate community. In short, we are facing an epic moment because technology will be able to support many of these processes.
Here I see an important growth in the world of engagement and connectivity. Clearly, this can be supported by analytics platforms where HR can develop their training because the problem is not using standard platforms but being able to customise your own people report analytics to understand organisational trends. So to conclude, I also see a need emerging to deepen people analytics processes, and this is the first time in the past 18 years.
Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field?
I think the passion for organisational processes is crucial for the HR Tech world, but above all, the love for one's work, the strong ethics to be applied, and the striving for success
We always need to remind ourselves that we work in a world of people and that we are at the service of the organisational process. We are the balance sheet of the organisation, and because of this, we must have a lot of humility.
What problems does the world of human capital management face today?
In my university years, I imagined a bottom-up management system of HR processes through data, then I imagined it through a system that I called the People Performance Plan. If you think about it, these three words indicate the present, the past, and the future of organisational processes.
Over the years, I have become convinced that the main problem of what is now called "people analytics" is basically the confusion created by data, the enormous amount of data, and the difficulty of knowing how to use it. For this reason, I created a sort of training platform: a technology coach who helps HR professionals understand which data points to choose, why to choose them, and how to improve processes.
The second problem I've noticed over time is the ability to read and interpret these data, and we do this today through the use of artificial intelligence. Today, we use artificial intelligence (IBM Watson and ChatGPT), which helps interpret data by giving interpretation suggestions.
That is why I believe that HRCOFFEE technology is useful to the HR world because, through social organisation processes and data analysis processes, it helps to understand and gain insights from corporate knowledge! Knowing that the evolution of organisations is determined by the development processes of creativity
How is remote or online working impacting the HR world?
I believe we are facing an important organisational pivot point. The experience brought by the COVID pandemic has made us aware that today's physicality of the workplace can fail and has given us the awareness that technology is a strategic tool for developing the organisation.
However, this produces some important reflections, such as:
Organisations must choose the technology to use to enable work. This means that the IT team and the HR team must talk to each other and collaborate to understand the needs and requirements.
Attachment to work dimensions—physical spaces and team members could be lost, and therefore HR must develop engagement processes through important internal communication.
The use of analytics becomes strategic because it serves to understand the organisation's trends.
We must not be afraid to face managerial uncertainties.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven't already discussed?
Yes, let me recommend a free online webinar that we will be running on June 27 where we'll talk about the importance of people analytics for everyone. This is a very important and strategic topic, and you can learn about it from the top researchers and practitioners in the field of people analytics.
We have also created a blog section on our site, hrcoffee.us. It's a space open to everyone; anyone who wants to tell their business story can do it! Through our blog, we would like to share knowledge and expertise with the broader community and contribute to the improvement of the world of work.