6 Popular TEDTalks That Can Help HR Transform Work


The most popular TEDTalks focus on a wide range of topics, and a few of them are relevant to Human Resources professionals. None of the most shared TEDTalks revolve around typical HR subjects or talking points.

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Instead, they help people expand horizons, consider ways to improve strengths, and muster the courage to change the world. The HR Exchange Network scoured the most watched sessions to determine the ones that offer the best advice for HR leaders. 

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek, a leadership expert, draws on examples, including Apple, the Wright Brothers, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to explain what it takes to drive behavior. This particular talk is poignant for a number of reasons, including that Sinek talks about attracting people “who believe what you believe.” This can be applied to talent and recruitment. At a time when CHROs and HR executives are taking their seat in the C-suite, learning about leadership is necessary, and this session offers timeless lessons. 

How to Speak So People Want to Listen 

Leadership goes hand in hand with communicating effectively. In this TEDTalk, Sound Consultant Julian Treasure, opens with the seven deadly sins of speaking: gossip, judgement, negativity, complaining, excuses, exaggeration, and dogmatism. Then, he describes H-A-I-L, the acronym that stands for honesty, authenticity, integrity, and love, which are the traits to espouse as one speaks. Treasure even shows the audience how to use their voicebox in different ways to communicate more effectively and shares exercises to prepare. 

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The Happy Secret to Better Work

In this delightful talk, Psychologist Shawn Achor, who is CEO of Good Think, Inc., makes viewers laugh out loud throughout the program. In addition, he explains that 75% of job successes are predicted by optimism, social support, and seeing stress as a challenge rather than a threat. Then, he provides a roadmap on how to rewire the human brain to become more positive. 

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Your Elusive Creative Genius

Sharing her personal story, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, muses about the unexpected and strange reaction people have to those in creative fields. She then talks about believing in the genius of the individual’s capacity for creativity. Certainly, HR leaders must focus on business outcomes and talent management, but creativity is the spark that can help people solve hard problems and come up with big ideas on which they can take action. 

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How to Make Stress Your Friend

People have been experiencing more stress than ever since the pandemic began in 2020. HR professionals are interested in managing stress both for themselves and the employees they manage. Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains that the way people view stress influences whether it is detrimental to their health by describing scientific studies. She explains how to manage the stress response to make one’s self healthier and by connecting with others for support. 

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The Puzzle of Motivation

Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author, makes a case for rethinking how people run businesses. This is another topic of great importance to HR executives who are finally getting a chance to make their mark and impact the business with thier work. Pink was ahead of his time, when he talked in 2009 about progressive HR ideas like self autonomy and re-envisioning traditional management hierarchy. He even ponders allowing people to work when and where they choose.  

Photo by Seej Nguyen for Pexels

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