Key Take Aways from the HR Congress 2019 in Nice (Day 1)

Key Take Aways from the HR Congress 2019 in Nice (Day 1) 3

I’m attending the HR Congress 2019 in Nice, and have pulled together a quick list of the key learnings from the first day sessions. 

Intro session

The main conference session was moderated by Nigel Barlow, who in his opening presentation focused on the topic of Curiosity, as a way to overcome the “Yes, But” syndrome which stifles innovation. His message is that we need to teach ourselves Ignorance, sometimes asking dumb questions to learn new things and move to a “What If” culture and sustain real change.

Professor Julian Birkinshaw, the author of Fast Forward, focused on new organisational models and new skills to support transformation. The main message for Organisations is that We can fight complexity only with simplicity. As for skills, the main one is to unlearn and be “unreasonable”, linking in with Barlow’s “what if” attitude. In this phase, great leaders need to be “ambidextrous”, Mentor and Role models towards the inside of the org, and Spokespersons and Champions towards the outside building a constant tension with the purpose of the company.

Claude Silver is the Chief Heart Officer at VeynerMedia. An enviable job title. Her job description is infusing empathy throughout the agency and touch every single employee. She focused on the importance of unlocking human potential through connection. Skills are commoditised; relationships are everything.

I liked her passion and the fact that despite the apparent “fizziness” of her job title, the focus is on creating an organisation that can perform, based on a thriving culture especially if you want to build it on belonging and bravery.

Specialized Tracks

I then moved on one of the Tracks of the day, focused on Agility, AI and Digital.

  • Building digital literacy is a minimum requirement to bridge the gap between silos and start digital transformation effort — this the main message from Kevin Empeyfrom WorkMatters.
  • AI can work very well in some aspects from the recruiting process, provided it is unbiased, which calls for investment in talent that can always interpret the algorithm. This out of the session with  Ehab Hafez from PepsiCo.

I moved then to a session with prof. Charles-Henri Besseyere Des Hor with focus on the role of the HR Business Partner. He identified four critical skills for HR to focus on:

  • Developing organisation agility
  • Increasing quality and customisation of HR services 
  • Creating values for all stakeholders
  • Preserving organisational culture.

And above all, preserve the Human side: it’s comforting to have a very similar view

In the afternoon, the key takeaways have been:

  • You can innovate a lot in Recruiting by using existing technologies and a definite plan (compelling case by Sixt).
  • Agile implementation needs to have a reliable and shared commitment to be successful (case by A1 Croatia)
  • Resilience is a crucial competency to be looked for and developed in Leaders (together with EQ). The case presented by Belmond.

Closing Sessions

The plenary in the afternoon was very interesting for the two dramatically different content pieces.
The first was a FireChat with Charles Bendotti, SVP HR of Philip Morris about their massive transformation. Not many might be aware that PMI has decided to move out of the smoking business, and has engaged in a considerable transformation journey, which for the moment has brought the new iQos brand, but a much more significant change for an organisation that had never dealt with the consumer directly before.

But it was the last speaker that touched everyone’s hearts: Sparsh Shah, a 16-year-old talented boy born with an incurable disease, who has given a true lesson of what resilience really means.

So far for the first today!

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  1. […] attending the HR Congress 2019 in Nice, and after my First Day Report, here are the wrap-up of the second day’s sessions. I tried to pull up the key learnings from […]

  2. […] one of the topics that has been “hot” in the recent HR Congress I attended in Nice. Technically it is challenging to define Resilience as a Skill, as it is […]

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