Learning & Development Asia 2024
Empowering talent to transform the future: Key takeaways from Talent Management Asia 2024, Hong Kong

Empowering talent to transform the future: Key takeaways from Talent Management Asia 2024, Hong Kong

New generations, new expectations, new aspirations – learn more about how to manage today’s talent more effectively from an esteemed set of speakers. Event report by Tracy Chan.

We all want to build a productive and resilient workplace where employees can thrive and shine.

The business world, however, is evolving fast. With Gen Z taking up a greater amount of the workforce, the prevalence of AI and technology in the workplace, and employees’ shifting priorities in their work and personal lives, it is more challenging than ever for HR professionals to curate innovative strategies to drive change and unleash talent potentials in alignment with the visions, values, and most importantly, the budget of their companies.

All these crucial topics have been weighed in at Human Resources Online’s annual flagship conference, Talent Management Asia 2024. Held on 18 June, the event saw more than 200 HR professionals gather at the Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel to engage in meaningful on- and off-stage dialogue, and immerse themselves in the opportunities to learn and network with their peers.

To recap the day, here are some snippet takeaways.

Let the young generation lead

As Gen Zs gradually become the mainstream of the workforce, this comes to a time when the earlier generations should start letting go and allow the young generation to take ownership and responsibility, as told by Leonardo Anderle, Global Director, Talent Development, Rosewood Hotel Group, in the opening fireside chat with HRO’s Tracy Chan.

“What they are looking for in a role is for them to handle the project from start to finish. They want to be involved in every step and in decision making,” he stressed. “We need to be open-minded and allow them to do it on their own. And, of course, that's where coaching is also important.”

He believed the skill and competency of connecting is what leaders should be equipped to engage Gen Z effectively on. “It is not just about having effective communication, it’s really about connecting with them, understanding their needs, and being aware of what will make them successful in their respective roles.”

"Ask them to begin the conversation, allow them to express themselves, and let them do the talking," he added.

Maximise ROI by focusing on skills and digitalisation

Finding equilibrium among filling talent shortages, delivering positive employee experiences, and controlling costs, has posed unique challenges for today’s businesses and HR leaders.

This topic was addressed during a panel discussion with Sharon Lee, Human Resources Lead, Bayer Healthcare; Yolanda Ho, VP – Talent and Organisation Development, PVH Asia Pacific; and Florence Wong, Head of HR, Hong Kong, Co-head HR, GBA, Standard Chartered; moderated by Iren Fabian, APAC Client Solutions Director, Sterling Lexicon.

The panellists agreed that careers are no longer boxed in. Transforming into a skill-based organisation, enabling internal talent mobility, and diversifying some of the skillsets across regions and functions can help us stay agile and adaptable to rapidly changing business needs.

Meanwhile, digitalisation plays an important role in enhancing employee experience and improving their performance.

Summing up on how to leverage technology, a panellist said: “We really believe that the magic happens when we bring technology and humans together to create the best employee experience that supports our talent and, at the same time, motivates them to do a meaningful job and ultimately contribute to the organisation performance assets.”

Manage talent effectively

Amidst the current state of talent management, where work-life balance is the top reason for resigning, the question for HR is: how do we manage employees through effective talent management?

Christine Lau, Founder and CEO, Lauris Walton, shared three parts to benefit the whole talent management planning process:

  • streamlining the process and the workflow
  • refining the recruitment funnels and onboarding procedures
  • enhancing employee engagement and retention

“Employees today want HR's attention through personalised coaching and career guidance, from which they will not only learn to develop themselves, but also feel that HR really cares about their career, so they want to share more. This is how you can manage your talents more effectively, especially for cross-departmental employees,” she said.

On the other hand, employer branding is also important.

“Because today’s talents want to work in a company they like, love and enjoy. So building employer branding is not only for hiring people, it’s also for retaining talents,” she affirmed.

Show employees you care

Sharing some real-life examples and hands-on experiences on employee wellbeing was a panel discussion joined by panellists Tony Wo, Learning, Culture & Facilities Management Director, AXA Hong Kong & Macau; Gunjan Parekh Dias, Head of Learning & Development, HR, APAC, CHANEL; Samantha Yong, Vice President Human Resources, INTO University Partnerships; and Wendy Wong, Partner, Head of Employment Asia, Lawyer, Simmons & Simmons.

“Wellbeing is no longer about perks anymore,” said one of the panellists. “It is a solid investment that each and every organisation will need to make if they are thinking of productivity and a very loyal talent pool.”

As panellists shared, taking care of employee wellbeing doesn't have to cost you a pretty penny. Instead, it is all about the time and effort you put into showing your care to your people. Otherwise, the cost of not doing so, either from a compliance or non-compliance perspective, may even be higher.

Be a change-driving CHRO

Cassady Winston, Head of Human Resources, Leighton Asia, took us to a different topic: the role of the future CHRO and what impact HR can bring to a company.

To move from enabling success to accelerating success, he outlined the four musts on a CHRO's agenda:

  • align and focus energy
  • engage hearts and minds
  • prioritise attention and resources
  • mobilise teams to execute

He indicated that, instead of just asking for a seat at the table, HR leaders need to lead the change in organisations. This requires them to think holistically in four areas: strategy, talent, culture, and operating system.

“This model is a new way of thinking about an agenda. It's a new way of thinking about diagnosing the issues in an organisation,” he asserted.

“I would say that any organisation in any industry will be highly successful if they're winning in strategy, talent, culture, and operating system.”

Think what you can do with AI before you use it

There are a lot of generative AI tools. But before talking about automation, Virginia Lun, Vice President of Human Resources, HKT, advised us to take a few important steps:

  • think about your work process
  • understand the tools
  • consult IT department for implementation
  • manage your stakeholders well and make sure every one of them is on board and can use it
  • learn how to use the tools
  • be cautious about data privacy
  • more importantly, walk through this journey with your team

“It's not about you creating a tool and letting people use it. They need to know how to incorporate the tools because they are the process owners. Only your people will know how we can use AI tools in the most clever manner to save manpower. And it is not going to eliminate their jobs. They are just going to do more value-added stuff,” she said.

“The generative AI tools are there. Our role is to imagine what we can do with it.”

Keep learning

Elaborating on a case study, Catherine Chow, Head of HR, HK & Macau, Nestlé Hong Kong, summarised a few key takeaways in helping the team learn:

  • Gathering a team with diverse backgrounds will allow people to expose themselves to different parts of the business and encourage lateral thinking. And this is where the learning is.
  • Breaking down complex business problems into smaller sizes can help people better understand what and how they can do, and what are the expected results. This is the key to helping them learn and getting the so-called tangible business results.
  • Don’t blame the team if they fail. Otherwise, instead of encouraging your team to move beyond their comfort zone, you actually penalise them for doing so.

She concluded: “It's okay if Plan A didn't work. We still have 25 more letters in the alphabet. Just try it until things work. And this is the only way for your people and company to grow.”

Human Resources Online would like to thank all speakers, moderators, panellists, roundtable hosts, 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:

Lauris Walton Group

AXA Hong Kong and Macau
Sterling Lexicon

Citi Wealth Management Services
COL Consulting Limited (COL)
foodpanda for business
Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)
Paradigm21 Group
The University of Manchester East Asia Centre


Lead image / HRO 

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