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HRNZ Summit review - The Future of HR

This year’s HRNZ Summit featured an impressive list of speakers and a fantastic opportunity for over 70 HR professionals to start to build a practical vision of the future of HR. Kathy Catton reviews the HRNZ Summit, held in Queenstown, at the end of October. 

For some of us, it’s scary to think that 2020 is just a few weeks away. 2020! For all the talk of the digitisation, rapid technological advancement and progressive changes ahead, it is clear to me that the future of work is now. So, what better opportunity for HR professionals to gather to focus on what this means for HR and work together to form a vision of the future of HR?

The speakers challenged delegates to think closely about the future of HR;

  • Jo Cribb, Leadership and Governance Consultant, on the future of work and workplaces helped us recognise that the very nature of ‘change’ has changed and is changing.
  • Katie Williams, HR Director at Vodafone and HRNZ HR Person of the Year, provided us with practical insights into the use of Agile in HR.
  • Ryan Ghisi, from Xero, talked about creating a world-class employee experience, using continuous feedback from employees and the market.
  • Rachel Mason, Partner at Lane Neave Lawyers, talked through the latest immigration changes and what this will mean for the future employment pool of foreign workers.
  • Martin King, Director at Winter Pride, challenged us to look at how we can achieve higher levels of inclusion in the workplace when faced with a broader range of cultural, physical and social needs amongst our employees.
  • Bridget Jelley, Registered Psychologist and Director of The Effect, shared the recent research about mental health and wellbeing in the workplace so we can fully understand the accurate picture of what it is that we have to manage as organisations. 

Delegates then formed groups to workshop these ideas further, using a simple framework of looking at what we would like to Keep, Get, Remove and Avoid within our organisation, in the context of workplace changes. 

Dr David Keane concluded the day by acknowledging the enormous workload and responsibilities that we carry as HR professionals. He stressed the importance of taking care of ourselves by being clear on how we define our success, being careful about choosing our priorities for 2020 and not getting distracted in our execution of these priorities.

Feedback from delegates was incredibly positive, with particular value gained by the shared activities at each table. It was a chance to ask questions such as “what?”, “so what?” and “now what?”. This led to a sense of being able to walk away with specific strategies for 2020 that were tangible and meaningful. 

“The need for a vision that is robust and right is a certainty,” says Nick McKissack, HRNZ Chief Executive. “But we must be agile in how we obtain it. This HRNZ Summit provided a roadmap on how to build a practical vision for HR. What will the future of work look like and what challenges does this place on HR?”

As Katie Williams summed up, “We are at a crossroad in the world of work, and it’s an exciting time to be in HR – as long as you like exciting times”.

For a full review of HRNZ Summit 2019 and an article about the recent immigration law changes in the Summer issue of Human Resources magazine.