Sunshine, cocktails and BBQ, facilitated networking sessions, and three days of ideation with 50 of Asia's most senior HR professionals - welcome to the HR Leaders Summit 2016.

The third edition of the annual signature summit, organised by Human Resources, was held in Thailand, at the beautiful Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa from May 16-18, 2016, in an exclusive, invite-only event.

Welcoming delegates on day one was an evening reception at The Lounge, where everyone was treated to food and drinks, in the backdrop of a floating stage, upon which regional editor, Aditi Sharma Kalra, opened the conference.

She said: "We started with our vision of getting some of the smartest HR leaders in the same room, away from the grind of the office, and here we are coming up with ideas together. This is a rare opportunity."

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Stephen Mosely, president and MD of L'Oréal Hong Kong, presented the opening keynote as a C-suite insider, with his advice on what the rest of the C-suite leaders expect from the CHRO: "Think in terms of initiatives that will last, not just programmes that are the flavour-of-the-month."

"What we really need is a sincere partnership between the HR team and the CEO", advises Stephen Mosley of @Loreal at #HRLS2016

— Human Resources mag (@Mag_HR) May 16, 2016

Up next was Haroon Bhatti, CHRO of Digi Telecommunications, with an inspiring presentation on Digi's move towards digitising the HR experience to enable data-driven decisions. "In every decision you make, there has to be a clear and significant impact to the business," he noted, while showcasing how fulfillment of an employee need is the best way to get employees to adopt digital HR.

Following him was CEO of leadership institute Roffey Park, Michael Jenkins, with his take on compassion and resilience at the workplace, proving that such traits make for equally successful leaders.

Photos from day one:

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Day two saw a mix of panel discussions, case studies and keynote presentations, with Sunil Narang, president and CEO of WDHB Strategic Learning, inspiring delegates with his take on how learning expeditions can prove value to HR professionals.

Look to be inspired. That's what conferences are for #dontlookforanswers #HRLS2016 @Mag_HR #needsomeinspiration

— Lisa Mulligan (@Lisamulligan) May 17, 2016

Following that keynote was a panel discussion hosted by Kalra, featuring Haroon Bhatti (CHRO, Digi Telecommunications); Ravi Bhogaraju (global HR leader, Archroma); and Mohd Najod Yahya (CHRO, Felda Global Ventures) - on ways HR can drive effectiveness for business growth.

Reduce employee fatigue. Take the complex out of complexity by breaking stuff into smaller pieces. Orchestrate the communication. #HRLS2016 — Arundhati Raghavan (@Aru_Raghavan) May 17, 2016


Douglas Hamer, COO for talent learning and performance at Citi, then took centrestage presenting a case study on how the firm put employees in the driving seat of their careers.

"A career development portal is absolutely not an abdication of managers' responsibilities in developing their employees," he affirmed, on the importance of preparing line managers adequately.

It was then time for another case study, this one by Paul Hotchan, assistant VP of executive recruitment and workforce strategy, at Galaxy Entertainment Group, who set in action ideation around how HR teams can utilise social media and measure its ROI.

"Creating a separate career-based account on Facebook can be a more targeted way to identify candidates among your followers." #HRLS2016

— Human Resources mag (@Mag_HR) May 17, 2016


Delegates then saw senior journalist of Human Resources, Akankasha Dewan, hosting Jean-Michel Wu (chief talent officer, McCann world Group); John Mullins (chief developmetn officer, Ruder Finn) and Ken Hoskin (head of APAC talent, Airbnb) - to identify how HR and marketing teams can work together.

The key learning there? The employee journey must feel the same across the organisation - when HR and marketing collaborate on employer branding - "there must be no difference between the customer experience and employee experience."

Day two was concluded by Norbert Modla, global head of HR at JF Hillebrand Group, exhibiting how gamification can be implemented using leadership simulations, basked by coaching based on the decisions employees make in the games.

Two new powerful trends impacting workplace and learning: gamification and social media.#HRLS2016 @Mag_HR — Arundhati Raghavan (@Aru_Raghavan) May 17, 2016


With the session finishing in the late afternoon, delegates had time to reflect on the day's proceedings, with many choosing to break out into smaller groups for discussion. A gala dinner at The Lawn awaited these 50 HR leaders in the evening.

Dinner by the Andaman Sea at the HR Leaders Summit #HRLS2016

— Justin Randles (@jaye_ah) May 17, 2016


Photos from day two:

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The third and final day of the conference heralded an intriguing discussion on gender, and other forms, of diversity - led by Lisa Mulligan, executive director HR - international, at MRC Global.

Speaking on the need for 'sponsors' at the workplace, she said: "We all need people in our careers who pull us up when we need it, and give us confidence to get back on track."

The discussion she sparked continued right uptil noon, wherein roundtable, interactive sessions on five topics helped delegates sum up their learning from the conference.

These sessions were moderated by leaders such as, Joyce Foo (country HR director, NXP Semiconductors); Asha Menon (director HR, Agility Logistics); Charles Hughley (GM - global talent management, Johnson Electric); David Heng (MD and head, talent management and culture building, CIMB Group); and Adrian Ole (regional HR director Asia, International SOS).

The conversations continued well into the afternoon, with a delicious lunch set up for these HR leaders, as the Human Resources team took a well-deserved break after organising a successful conference.

Photos from day three:

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Human Resources would like to thank its generous sponsors and partners, without whom the conference would not have been possible:

  • Gold sponsors - Roffey Park | WDHB Strategic Learning
  • Partners - Decode HR | Scotwork | The Naked Coach Ltd & Rock the Boat Ltd
  • Official venue partner - Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa
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