The 2019 iteration of Talent Management Asia proved to be bigger and better than ever – held on the 19-20 March in the ballroom of Hong Kong’s historic Mira Hotel.
A headcount of 200-plus delegates were treated to an outstanding array of guest speakers and panel discussions bursting with insights on how HR can get on board with the transformative power of data analytics, AI and big data to harness talent. That represented a boost of 35% on last year’s event, where 150 attended.
Monica Novomisle, VP of human resources at luxury brand Tory Burch, kicked off day two with an energy-packed talk about how a pragmatic people strategy can drive business and inspire. She urged HR and business leaders in attendance to “rely on the data” and go by the “numbers, numbers, numbers” and urged HR pros to “act and think like business people”, before delivering the takeaway that “automation is critical to execution”.
Vidal Fernandez, director of big data and AI at China Light and Power, continued to run with the theme as he spoke eloquently on “the rise of artificial intelligence” and outlined how “big data and AI can improve the hiring process”. He expanded on the “AI opportunities in talent management” and explained how AI can enhance “talent acquisition” and “reduce attrition”. A key takeaway from the talk was that two areas AI can target first are “recruitment and performance management”.
The theme delved even further into the future with the panel discussion on reinventing talent management for 2046. Ably moderated by Laura Cho, group people development and talent attraction manager at Jardine Schindler Group, this quick-fire session tapped into the insights of HR futurists Wesley Ling, assistant director of human resources at Marco Polo Hotels, Hong Kong, and Vincent Wu, human resources manager at Microsoft.
This was followed by a case study from Florence Chow, head of group human resources at PCCW/HKT, on the agile revolution, in which she espoused the view that “cultural transformation needs to be backed by technology” and addressed the conundrum that “staff trained in state-of-the-art technology” were at risk of poaching by rivals.
Next came another thought-provoking panel discussion that posed the question: should talent acquisition be elevated?
Moderated by Anne Vermersch, human resources director at Beauty Express, and with panellists Victoria Ip, former director, international human resources at Comba Telecom, and Ivy Leung, director of human resources at Chow Tai Fook, it gave delegates plenty of food for thought before the luncheon adjournment.
After the main break, Yeonjoo Lee, senior director for global employer branding for French firm Schneider Electric, got things back on track by demonstrating to HR how it can get more involved in branding and marketing, pointing the way with practical tips on best practices in applying a marketing insights approach to employer branding.
This was followed by a very engaging panel discussion that identified parallels between candidate and customer.
Ably hosted by Renee Conklin, founder of RC HR Consulting – who nimbly switched from her event emcee role to moderating – there was a lively engagement of ideas with panellists Steven Campbell, human resources director for Asia Pacific at Hallmark Cards, and Carmen Chong, director of people at Lalamove.
A key point here was the art of attracting Millennials and Gen Z to an organisation with flexible working and a genuine concern (and action) on the environment and charity fronts as points of engagement.
There was a brief break in the afternoon – where delegates were treated to a selection of Hong Kong’s favourite street-vendor snacks – before Chong hit the stage again, this time in a solo capacity.
She enlightened the throng with the roller coaster rise of on-demand logistics start-up Lalamove – one of Hong Kong’s first unicorns – where she talked about the myth of the changing workforce and how “grit” was a valuable asset for anyone in the organisation.
The closing remarks came from the larger-than-life presence of Tony Khan, general manager of DHL Central Asia Hub, DHL Aviation (Hong Kong).
He regaled the delegates with tales of his long association with DHL and the non-negotiable of “harnessing the power of a multi-generational workforce”. He closed his session, and the event, by declaring the paramount importance of “people, people, people” to any organization.