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News - 20.11.2020

Posted by Seth Keil

News - 20.11.2020

Reflections on The HR Congress 2020


In March, Our Tandem attended a HR conference in Birmingham, England. Little did we know how much the world was going to change and that it would be the last in-person event we would attend in 2020. COVID-19 has had catastrophic consequences for many industries, and in particular the events and hospitality industry. As spring bloomed, organisers and vendors awaited guidance from public health officials and governments on how to proceed safely. One by one events were cancelled or delayed in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading. The outlook was bleak whether we would have an opportunity to gather as a HR community to share our knowledge, hear new ideas, meet new people, and celebrate our accomplishments.

With Mihaly’s vision and aspiration his team set out to hold the first virtual HR Congress. It was the event the HR Community has been waiting for, and we must applaud Mihaly and his team for creating such a successful event. The last three days were packed with over 40 hours of incredibly insightful content from 73 of industries top-level speakers featured in track sessions, panel discussions, keynotes, and Masterclasses. With that being said, we want to share with you some of our highlights to inspire you to keep leaning forward until we meet again.

Key Event Highlights

  • It’s time for HR to be BOLD.
  • Creating a compelling human experience is what employee experience is all about.
  • It’s not feedback it’s feedforward. – Dave Ulrich
  • It’s time to stop rating people. You don’t rate your children or your partner. Why do you rate employees? – Tom van der Lubbe
  • There are two types of HR organisations: 1) Those who look at the benchmarks what everyone else is doing and follow. 2) Those who create the benchmarks and lead. What do you want the future to be?
  • We need to have the courage and confidence to move with the times and proactively impact change from the front rather than lag behind.
  • What would you do if you were not afraid?
  • How can you change if you are doing what you were doing in the office?
  • It’s time to look at things with new eyes.
  • We can’t progress and solve with the same way we did things a year ago.
  • Be brave and create urgency. Now is HR’s time to stop asking for permission and believe in their business case.
  • When I was young, I had all the answers. Now I’m old I have all the questions.
  • We are not leaders because we rule. We are leaders because we care.
  • HR needs to step into two critical roles in the ‘next normal’: to RUN the function and to help the business to ADAPT in volatile markets. – Siobhán McHale
  • A leader needs to be emotionally available. To be a good leader you must be 100% caring. Caring shows interest. To be a leader, you must inspire others and that means you´re inspired. The essence of resilience is getting back to the joy (of life / of work). As HR and leaders, we need to seek answers to: How do we connect to people? How do we create psychological safety? – George Kohlriesser
  • It doesn’t matter what you think people will like or what they want. If you see in your heart what is the right thing don’t think so much about it and just start doing it. – Lara Bezerra
  • Everything is not black and white anymore. We need to learn to live in the grey. Use systems thinking to look at things with a new set of lenses Move from being an expert service provider – complicit with the system – to a disrupter, a catalyst for the change we need. – Joan Lurie

As the legendary godfather of HR, Dave Ulrich said, “The best is yet ahead.” And with the wonderful news of multiple vaccines in the last couple weeks this could not be truer. We hope it means that not only will we see you at HR Congress next year; we are optimistic it will be in Valencia. Until then, Año nuevo, vida nueva.


*We endeavoured to credit the brilliant minds who said our favourite learnings. These might not be the people who originally said the words. If you recognise your words or someone else’s please let us know and we will attribute them correctly.

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