The business benefits of a happy workforce form the core of this year’s HKIHRM Annual Conference |
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The business benefits of a happy workforce form the core of this year’s HKIHRM Annual Conference

Published on Saturday, 26 Sep 2015
Left: Barry Ip, HKIHRM chairman / Right: Francis Wong, HKIHRM conference organising committee deputy chairman(Photo: Sky Lip)

Professionals from across the Asia HR spectrum will once again gather in Hong Kong to listen to the latest expert insights at the 35th Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM) Annual Conference and Exhibition.

The two-day event on November 24 and 25 will see a number of industry professionals share their thoughts and opinions on enhancing organisational capability and improving business performance through effective HR management.

“In the past 35 years, the conference has become not only a signature event for the institute and Hong Kong’s HR community, but also one of the largest people management events in Asia for HR professionals,” says Barry Ip, chairman of the conference organising committee. “It is a very prestigious event, supported by most leading corporations, which regularly send speakers to the conference to share best practices.” 

Pressing issues

Every year, members of the institute’s HKIHRM’s conference organising committee hold discussions on discuss the business climate and major issues that are facing face the HR field. From the information gained, through these discussions, the committee distils the conference theme.

This year, many factors were taken into consideration. Under the influence of social, economic and political changes and fast-paced technological advances, the business environment is transforming rapidly. These developments create unexpected people-management challenges for business leaders and HR practitioners alike.

Managing and motivating a workforce where four or five generations work together requires new skills. Globalisation, diversity and virtual teams are growing in importance and challenge what we know about building teams and developing people. 

In addition, Hong Kong is facing a serious problem presented by decreasing birth rates and an ageing population. , and delivering good results will increasingly depend on attracting, recruiting, developing, motivating and retaining the right people. 

In an answer to all these pressing issues, this year the conference will focus on people, with “People First” as the central theme.

“Companies used to believe they had to compete on innovation and technology, but now, people are the most important asset,” Ip says. “The challenge is how to create a highly engaged workforce to further enhance an organisation’s capability. We need to drive positive attitude in the workforce: a happy workforce will have a positive effect on the company’s performance.”

Francis Wong, deputy chairman of the organising committee, adds that key to driving this positive attitude is HR. “In the past, CEOs were usually finance people, as that was the key to good company performance. Nowadays, it is becoming more and more important to find the right people and soon it will be the HR which drives the business.”

The importance of being liked

Speakers at the conference include “Guru Speaker” and author Michelle Tillis Lederman from the US, who derived the principle of “Relationship Driven Leadership” and will present the idea at the conference. She will provide useful new ideas and approaches to people management at the Guru Plenary session. 

“We don’t work for a company; we work for an individual, for our boss, for a person,” says Lederman, who will base her presentation on her book, The 11 Laws of Likability. “That relationship is what can increase or decrease our engagement.”

She adds that engagement is achieved when employees are making a discretionary effort at work, which shows that they put their heart, soul, energy and passion into doing their job. The driver of such engagement is having a belief in the work being done – that it has and doing something with purpose and meaning that speaks to the employees’ values. 

“It is very interesting to think about what motivates an individual and that’s where the concept of a relationship-driven leader comes in.” ,” she says. “Leaders need to have these relationships to be able to ask the right questions, get an understanding, and then explain how work assignments and decisions are made. Explanations go a long way in acceptance and understanding of a decision.” 

For leaders to create these important relationships, they have to be authentic, says Lederman. They should consider how different situations bring about different reactions, behaviours and comfort. When there is discomfort, we need to tap into a productive and authentic approach. They can think about a past circumstance when something made them uncomfortable, fearful or uncertain that might have made them put on a mask, be closed off or, guarded – the result of those feelings leads us to show up in an inauthentic way. 

“You don’t tend to like a person who is not being real with you. You just feel like ‘that was uncomfortable, let’s move on, I don’t want to talk to them again’ – and that’s what we want to avoid happening,” she says.

Cutting-edge HR

The conference boasts two other plenary sessions: the CEO Plenary and the Senior HR Forum. At the CEO Plenary session, senior executives from a number of large companies will share their insights into how the right talent can help deliver bring business success and help the company deliver good business results. Brian Renwick, vice-chairman of Signium Greater China, will join this year’s CEO Plenary as the act as facilitator to have an inspiring exchange with speakers including Ivan Chu Kwok-leung, chief executive of Cathay Pacific Airways; Hari Krishnan, LinkedIn’s managing director of Asia-Pacific and Japan; and May Tan, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong).

At the Senior HR Forum, well-known HRM personalities such as Edgar Tung, managing director of group HR at Esquel Group; Raymond Co, vice president of HR, Greater China at Intercontinental Hotel Group; Simon Yip, executive director of leadership development, corporate culture and sustainability at Swire Beverages; and Rebecca Lucas, general manager of HR mergers, acquisitions and integration at Telstra Corp, will be joined by facilitator Andrew Weir, regional senior partner, Hong Kong, KPMG. Together they will share their best practices and innovative ideas in creating a highly engaged workforce, among other cutting-edge HR strategies.

More high-level insight sharing will take place during concurrent sessions over the two days, featuring industry luminaries such as Alan Ovens, international director of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; Philip Chan, head of people operations at Google Greater China; Enid Tsai, president and board director of HIWIN Technologies Corp; and Young Ma, principal of the Tencent Academy at Tencent.

Every year the conference also features an inspirational speaker who does not necessarily come from an HR background, but who can share stories of significant breakthroughs in life and career. This year’s inspirational speaker will be Antony Leung Kam-chung, group chief executive officer of the Nan Fung Group. 

There is also a sizeable concurrent exhibition featuring HR solutions and services open to the public for free, where HR people can get updates on the latest HR solutions and services from service providers.

“We want to drive the message through the conference that human resource support in Hong Kong is world class,” Ip says. “The high quality of the speakers will further enhance local human resource professionals’ international perspectives, and the conference is an excellent platform to learn from each other. With all the big and small organisations participating, it will be a meaningful event.”

HKIHRM Annual Conference Management details

35th HKIHRM Annual Conference & Exhibition

Organiser: Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management

Date: November 24 and 25

Venue: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

Enquiries and registration

Tel: 2837 3822/3817/3823


Early bird registration ends on October 10  

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Putting people first.

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