Total Rewards Asia Summit 2024 Singapore
5 things that Inspire HR professionals to strive for more in 2024

5 things that Inspire HR professionals to strive for more in 2024

It is important to take a partnership approach to employees’ career development, and to be a trusted partner in their career journey, noted a speaker at Inspire HR 2023. Event report by Aditi Sharma Kalra.

There are five things that every single employee in your workforce is looking for – recognition, trust, empowerment, clear direction, and genuinely caring about them as people. Most of our employees want to be challenged to grow beyond their comfort zones, they want to stay relevant, and they want to do so by contributing to your business objectives.  

And this is exactly why Human Resources Online got together more than 250 of Hong Kong’s HR and talent management leaders together for the third consecutive edition of Inspire HR 2023, held on 19 October 2023 with the aim to “navigate change, transform futures”, at The Mira Hong Kong.

Good people will always be in demand – so how can Hong Kong’s HR & talent management leaders give them a reason to stay? 

At Inspire HR, we aimed to share ideas and solutions that can help engage talent in a meaningful way. All this while they enjoyed networking with their HR peers, as well as learnt about new products showcased by HRO’s sponsors and partners.

Under this year’s theme of “Future-proof your humans”, and produced by HRO's Gokce Narin, we dedicated the day to building an agile and change-ready workforce for the organisation. Below, we have shared five of the many inspiring snippets we captured during the day from the several on-site presentations and conversations:

  1. Make career development a shared responsibility

HR plays a pivotal role in preparing organisations for the future of work, as highlighted during our opening keynote session featuring Julia Schielke, Chief People Officer at Mox Bank Limited.

She emphasised the importance of HR's strategic role in upskilling and reskilling employees. “We are taking a partnership approach to employees’ career development. We want to be a trusted partner in our talent's career journey,” she affirmed. 

This topic also came up during a panel discussion, where all panelists agreed that career development is a cornerstone of how organisations attract and retain people. “We do have a strategic intent to keep people longer in the organisation, so the approach is very caring,” Priscilla Chau, Director, Human Resources, CLP Power Hong Kong, noted.

As such, companies are thinking about their overall livelihood – benefits such as home loans to help young couples establish their family, social recreational activities across age groups, as well as retirement engagement and assistance programmes.  

  1. HR must take pride in managing change effectively

From a panel discussion moderated by Jovan  Trajceski, People Analytics Center of Excellence Lead, H&M Group, we identified five key takeaways around the change management imperatives for HR leaders:

  • Possess an active learning & growth mindset, as well as a risk acumen: Be able and willing to learning new things – put your risk management caps on, because none of us can afford to be non-compliant. 
  • Transform ourselves to become a generalist: The future of work requires us to make complex decisions – so as HR professionals, we need to build a broader range of skills.
  • We need to accept AI as a specialist business partner – one that provides us useful suggestions to think about.
  • We now have four generations in the workforce – as HR professionals, we need to understand the needs of each generation and foster collaboration among different age groups.
  • We need to have a forward-looking mindset with strategic thinking. We need to be able to foresee future work trends, and align work trends with long-term business goals.
  1. Put workforce planning high on your agenda

We had Dorothy Chan, VP, Skills Transformation Global Project Lead, Schneider Electric sharing with us the vital shift from jobs to skills, and how this impacts workforce planning. So how do we build, buy, and borrow to ensure we have the critical skills we need to drive business growth? There are six steps she cited:

  • Understand the organisational strategy and initiatives,
  • Determine future workforce needs,
  • Understand internal/external supply & demand,
  • Identify workforce gaps/risks,
  • Develop and execute action plans, and 
  • Measure & review effectiveness of actions.

“Be transparent. Make sure employees know the different roles & opportunities in the organisation, and the development they have to undertake to get from 'here' to 'there',” Chan advised us.

  1. Is a work-from-anywhere future realistically possible?

In a conversation around global talent mobility, we heard from prolific moderator, Stef Teng, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Asia, Warner Music Group, who was joined on stage by panellists Adeline Looi, Senior Director of Talent for Asia Pacific, Estée Lauder Companies; and Gwen Lockington, Head of HR, Asia & India, National Basketball Association (NBA).

For work-from-anywhere arrangements to work, one of the things, the speakers shared, is to make sure leaders create an inclusive space where people can show up as they are, rather than worrying about who they are seeing in the office. As such, a lot of work still needs to be done in management capability – to develop our leaders & managers and make sure they are comfortable with these new practices.

These include training them on things that are simple as well as complex – an example of the former being a Zoom meeting, and a leader’s role in ensuring to create similar experiences for people across locations (e.g. 15 people huddled in one conference to align with the one person who is dialling in remotely).

  1. Collaborate to overcome change resistance

Another great point made by the panellists in the previously-cited session was on preparing managers to manage talent virtually was to make sure they don’t get overwhelmed with tools as well as resistance. Further: “If it’s the business that is resistant, we need to partner with the business leaders and help them see the benefits of it (work from anywhere). It's not a talent strategy, it is a business strategy.” 

In conclusion, the panellists agreed to focus on small wins, as well as on examples where this has been really successful. “It could be one superstar employee that you’ve made an exception for,” they said.

"It's also about taking opportunities for coaching. Be able to show leaders that you’ve been able to access a much wider breadth of talent across the region if we don’t all have to be sitting in Hong Kong.” 

In another panel discussion as well, the conversation hovered around having a well-thought-out change management programme.

The essential point the leaders made was: “Projects are often delayed because of resistance from stakeholders. So for every change you do, you have to have a very thorough change management programme. It's not just about the management, but also about the staff who will be using the systems.” 

Human Resources Online would like to thank all speakers, moderators, panellists, and delegates for being valuable contributors to this event.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to our sponsors & partners for making this conference possible:


Fidelity International 

Crown World Mobility  
foodpanda for business
Morgan Philips Group  
Steam Building


EVENT PARTNER: Pigeonhole Live

ALSO READ: From 'transaction' to 'experience retail' shops: The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s focus on employee development

Photo / HRO

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