Samuel Thomas Johnson was a young boy when he wrote a letter to the CEO of LEGO telling them that working at the company was his dream job, and what does he need to do to be hired by them. He received an encouraging answer with a list of qualifications a design engineer may need to be hired by LEGO. 15 years later as a young graduate he pursued the company and landed his dream job, working on projects like Ninjago and the smash hit the LEGO movie.
Photo: Peter Porst – Zukunft Personal
To cater to the ever changing needs of their attendees, HR events, just as much as other meetings are constantly pressured to broaden their spectrum of topics covered and pump up the volume on everything they do from conference design to participant engagement strategies. The same trends that are shaping the world of work, like digitalisation, globalisation, demographic trends among others, are also influencing how HR conferences can best deliver on their promise to educate, inform and inspire visitors.
Talking to the main sponsor of Zukunft Personal 2017, SAP, represented by Stefan Schuessler, Business Development Manager Human Capital Management, one thing becomes blatantly clear: Digital transformation is in the hands of people. It needs to be embraced, explored and used by humans. So in a way, even technology platform providers and enablers, just like SAP, need to reach out to the professionals and engage them in learning about the technology and the role of people in making technology useful and a value add to businesses.
You can’t hide away from it: everywhere you turn Artificial Intelligence (AI) is embraced by industries and companies. Even the least anticipated sectors are taking advantage from the benefits of AI as, for example, in the music industry classical albums are being fully composed by computers, or in the news production sector where computer programs are collecting and personalizing sport related results, recaps and events to avid fans.
Artificial Intellingence is also shaping functions within HR such as recruitment, training & development or compensation & benefits. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that by today Artificial Intellingence has become one of the main driving forces in lifting the burden off from the shoulders of HR, and there are two general directions towards which these developments are taking us. First: What is the best way of using the information gained from AI programs? And Second: What HR should do with its freed up time and resources thanks to AI? Is it really time for HR to take its well deserved place in the Board Rooms of companies and become a strategic partner, a role foretold years ago by HR thought leaders? Easy questions, but with no simple answers.
As the 2017 Zukunft Personal has already been covered in great breadth and depth through various summaries, articles or LinkedIn posts, we decided to bring you a new perspective and highlight those social media influencers who have profoundly shaped and determined the online conversation during the conference and exhibition.
Illustration: Studio Fee Overbeeke
When you ask CEO’s and CHRO’s what their key priorities are for the coming year, talent management always is one of the issues high on the list. Talent management is an easy and safe choice. Nobody will argue that talent management is not important. Supervisory Boards love to talk about succession and talent management. Talent management is generally seen as something long-term. When you hear terms as “strategic”, “long-term”, “future” and “investment”, you must be careful. For talent management this means: it is important, but not urgent. For the CEO, it means: I have ticked the box, but now HR can deal with it. Of course, I will visit the final session of the senior management program, of course, I will personally mentor one or two high potentials, but please, do not bother me too much about talent management, I have more urgent matters on my plate. A big challenge for organisations is to make talent management urgent, and to make it a priority of today, not of the future.
Photo: Nell Watson
In the second episode of the interview series in which we welcome some of the keynote speakers of the Zukunft Personal in 2017 we spoke with Nell Watson. In a truly mind-opening conversation we touched upon human resource management, her experience in teaching in Brazil and many more. Nell is a super insightful, inspirational, imaginative and broadly-aware communicator whose talk you surely don’t want to miss at the conference.
Foto: Gary Kildare
Before his much awaited presentation at Europe’s largest HR gathering, we interviewed Gary Kildare, Chief HR Officer at IBM Europe, for our interview series with the keynote speakers at the 2017 edition of Zukunft Personal.
One of the key secrets to IBM’s long-term success can be found in the company’s ability to constantly reinvent itself, to continually transform and to search for strategic technologies that enhance human labour. It is a 106-year-old journey that now takes IBM to its present top position in the Artificial Intelligence and cognitive computing market designed to support, inspire and lead current generations. Gary Kildare has spent much of his professional career with IBM as an HR leader and I was pleased to speak with him about AI, the history of HR, Germany’s AI talent shortage and many more.
A much quoted Workforce Management article, HR 2018 Future View, from 2008, famously predicted that in ten years time “An HR executive will become CEO of a Fortune 100 firm”. What do you think? Did the prediction come true?
Actually, it has never been a typical career path, still the prophecy came to light. Albeit, it might be important for us to underline at the beginning of this blog post that for HR executives to reach the top of the top has been a pretty unique pattern. Also, in terms of the corporate landscape it is worth mentioning that HR has always been considered to be a “backwater area” with lots of administrative and repetitive tasks to attend to; a label that held HR hostage for decades and against which the tide has recently started to turn.
Photo: Thorben Albrecht
A podcast interview with Thorben Albrecht
In a one of a kind process, the German Federal government involved its 80 million citizens in co-creating the future of work. The process, which started in late 2014, involved experts, citizens, business, trade unions and artists, and culminated in a policy White paper at the end of 2016. Taking us into the details of Arbeiten 4.0, or Work 4.0 is Thorben Albrecht, Permanent State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Germany.
Anyone who followed the process since the beginning, perhaps at the annual Zukunft Personal HR exhibition in Cologne, where the Ministry and the stakeholders regularly presented the progress of the Work 4.0 dialogue, surely gets a sense of the forward-looking and innovative nature of this initiative. Perhaps one of the key aspects worth mentioning is the underlying motivating factor, namely not to let technological change shape the way people work and live, but to be more in control of these changes and trends, and find out first how do people want to live and work, and then ensure that technological change is an enabler for that.