Lars Schmidt co-founded HR Open Source for HR and recruiting practitioners after noticing a void in the market in terms of resources and tools based around modern HR practices. Here he talks about what he does and why and his long-term vision for the future of HR Open Source.
Lars Schmidt: "See, I spend most of my time as the principal and founder of Amplify, so we do strategic consulting in the way of HR and recruiting, primarily employer branding and recruiting optimization, and then we also do HR executive search. So those are kind of my two main focuses with Amplify and then about 3 years ago I also co-founded an initiative called HR Open Source with my co-founder, Ambrosia Vertesi, who was the Head of People for Hootsuite at the time, and we wanted to create a global platform of HR and recruiting practitioners based on openness and collaboration. We felt that there was a real kind of void in resources and tools and platforms really focused around the future of work and modern and emerging HR and recruiting practices. And so we basically scour the world for innovative work that’s being done, progressive practices, we work with practitioners to share and write case studies and templates about how they do what they do and then we make that available for free to everybody in the community so they could benefit from it.
So when we launched HR Open Source, we originally kind of created it as a program that we incubated within Hootsuite because a) we wanted to figure out what the hell we were doing and b) we wanted to see if there was an appetite for it, and so the first five case studies all highlighted Hootsuite’s different practices and initiatives there. Those, we had a tremendous amount of traction on, I think 20,000 downloads of the first five case studies and so then, you know, we planned to spin it out and have it be a standalone entity. And so now we’ve grown the community to over 5,000 practitioners from over 70 countries all around the world and basically work with them to help them solve the complex challenges that an HR and recruiting practitioner faces today, and most importantly, be able to do it in a way that’s free, so our core kind of mission is democratizing access to high-value resources, templates, tool kits etc. to help HR and recruiting practitioners better themselves and the impact that they can make.
Our long-term vision is to really help the field become more strategic and impactful at scale, and so that’s a foundational thing to shift and so we’re definitely in the early stages there but we’ve worked with companies from Atlassian to GE to Virgin Media, Dell, Oracle, publishing case studies from their practitioners, so we’ve published over 35, we’ve got about a dozen sparks, which are kind of snackable mini case studies, and then we actually just also released our Future of Work Report where we wanted to basically survey HR recruiting practitioners to get their actual views: when they think about the future of work, what does that mean for them? And so a lot of times we hear that term used by, you know, analysts and bloggers and pundits and that’s great but they’re not always really connected to the day-to-day of a practitioner and so we really want to kind of get their kind of views on what they think about now, what they think they’ll be thinking about three years from now and yeah, so that’s been a really interesting project to work on.”