Each year, the Strategic HR Management Center sponsors an HR Summit in which industry leaders are invited to share their expertise on relevant issues. This year’s virtual edition was graced by the presence of UW-Madison alumnus Dr. Niraj Nijhawan, a graduate of the School of Medicine and Public Health. His keynote was titled “The Brain Science of Change Tolerance: Becoming Joyful and Adaptable in an Uncertain World. Expanding the HR/OD Specialist’s Toolkit.” Dr. Raj challenged attendees to reflect on our “superpowers” in order to make intentional shifts in our minds and behavior – something especially important considering the uncertain circumstances we are facing today. By building our psychological strength, our mental and physical health also improve.
The following are key learnings I want to share from Dr. Raj:
- Uncomfortable situations, such as having difficult conversations, help us learn how to overcome challenges.
- When we recognize our discomfort, we can better identify our triggers.
- We can consciously work to re-route our minds and bodies to react differently to these triggers.
- Our brains are ever-evolving, but in order to encourage new behavior and new connections, we must be willing to make the conscious effort.
The second speaker at the HR Summit was also a graduate of UW-Madison, this time, with a master’s degree in HR. During Dr. Alvany Santiago’s presentation called “Social Responsibility and HR in Brazil and US Companies,” she shared two case studies that focused on social responsibility and human resources, connecting how HR directly impacts an organization’s sustainable development.
Here are some tips from Dr. Santiago:
- Explore how innovation can create sustainable solutions.
- Create or utilize products that have long shelf lives.
- Implement solutions that can be widely used.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle, and upcycle when possible.
This year’s virtual HR Summit also included networking sessions, a Q&A period with Dr. Raj, and a fun alumni event afterward.
It was fascinating to reflect on how human resources can play a role on both an individual, personal level as well as an organizational, global scale. I look forward to keeping these takeaways in my back pocket as I continue on my own HR journey.