HR Festival Asia 2019: All bases covered

With more than 100 speaker presentations and discussions scheduled across seven separate stages, HR Festival Asia offers something for everyone.
By: | April 23, 2019


HR Festival Asia makes its debut in Singapore in just 15 days’ time, and there is set to be something in the two-day, seven-stage agenda for every HR and business professional.

From the strategic level discussions of the C-Suite Symposium to the practical insights of the HR and Digital Transformation stream, and from the short, sharp inspirations of the Power Talks stage to the global pedigree of the plenaries, organisers have planned an agenda that befits the many, diverse facets of the modern HR function.

Let us take you through some of the highlights across each of the conference streams:

CxO Symposium

With the rise of digital workplaces, automation, and mobile teams, businesses – and the markets the treasure – are rapidly evolving., bringing about unprecedented challenges for today’s leaders. Now, more than ever, leaders are expected to adapt to the uncertain and disruptive world of Industry 4.0, in order to maintain a competitive advantage and sustain business success.

The CxO Symposium will keep business and HR leaders up to date and empower them with the keys to strengthen their organisation’s capabilities from the top, down.

This is the place to catch HR Festival Asia’s biggest plenary speakers up close and personal: Josh Bersin, John Sumser, and Jason Averbook will all be hosting exclusive sessions against the more intimate backdrop of the CxO Symposium.

They will be joined by top regional leaders such as Wouter Van Wersch, President and CEO of GE in Southeast Asia, Dean Tong, Managing Director and Head of Group HR at United Overseas Bank Limited, and Bicky Banghu, President of Rolls-Royce for Southeast Asia, the Pacific, and Korea.

Hosted by Transformational Leadership expert Dr Tanvi Gautam, the CxO Symposium will be a one-stop-shop for the modern, forward-thinking leader in Asia-Pacific.

HR and Digital Transformation

Workplaces today look nothing like they were 10 years ago. Over the past decade, the world has experienced an intense growth in technological capabilities and connectivity, and these dual engines show no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Undergoing a digital transformation is already at the forefront of most business leaders’ minds. There is now, however, a need to go the extra mile – being “digital” is no longer sufficient. Conversations have shifted to the need to be “smart” around technology and processes.

The HR and Digital Transformation stream features a host of case studies and thought-leading presentations from HR professionals experienced in these workforce revolutions. They include Pallavi Srivastrava, Asia-Pacific and Greater China Talent Leader of Global Technology Services at IBM. Also featured on this stage will be Alexander Nicolaus, Head of People, Talent, and Culture at Circles.Life, Jeff Lee, Chief HR Officer for Agoda, and Audra Pakalynte from Fave.

Smart Workforce and Innovation

How can you attract, enable, develop, and also empower a smart, innovative workforce? What tools and infrastructure does a smart workforce require to thrive? With globalised talent flows and the power of the cloud, the smart workforce of today need not be a physical space. In reality, it is more likely to be focused online with work taking place anytime, anywhere and through collaboration with partners located throughout the world.

The Smart Workforce and Innovation stream will focus on the opportunities made available by increasingly tech-savvy and mobile workforces. Nicole Poon, former Senior Vice President of Performance and Regional HR at MatchMove Pay, is one of the expert speakers slated here. Saurabh Jain, Head of HR at ABN Amro, and Grace Yip, Head of HR for Accenture will also offer exclusive presentations from this part of the world.

Professional speaker and emcee Shaun McEwan will host this stream focusing on the New World of Work.

Talent Management and Development

With the recent entry of Generation Z employees into the workforce, organisations are hosting as many as five different generations across their headcounts. Each one comes with different perceptions and expectations of their jobs and colleagues.

It’s not just diverse ages either. The global workforce is becoming much more mobile, and across Asia-Pacific in particular, you can see a wide range of cultural backgrounds across any one organisation’s talent pool. This newfound diversity is a key focus of the Talent Management and Development stream at HR Festival Asia.

Aye Wee Yap, Head of Learning and Development at OCBC Bank will among the keynote presenters here. She’ll be joined by Peter Wood, Vice President of Talent Management within Schneider Electric’s global HR Function, Michael Kim, Head of HR for Spotify in Asia-Pacific, and Syed Ali Abbas, Group HR Director of Global Fashion Group.

Author and professional speaker Joanne Flinn will host this important stream on how to keep workforces agile, engaged, and productive in the disruptive business environment.

Recruit and Engage, powered by Indeed

As the working world transforms, and organisations strive to keep up, the pressure tio recruit engage, and thereby retain quality talent is dramatically intensifying. With increased transparency and innovative technologies enabling a new world of work, HR is also expected to evolve and lead the charge across the workforce.

Across the Recruit and Engage stream, powered by Indeed, the complex art of attracting and retaining talent will be demystified. Attendees will gain real-world insights, and hear practical tactics to get ahead in the seemingly never-ending war for talent.

JPS Choudhary, Regional HR Head for Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific at Vodafone will feature a keynote panel discussion on this stage, along with John Kivel, Head of Recruitment at GSK in Asia-Pacific and Yenita Oktora, HR Director for L’OReal’s Asia-Pacific consumer division John Hall, Head of Talent Acquisition for Grab, Sandra Teh, Head of Employer Brand for Amazon Web Services in Asia-Pacific, and Annie Lim, the global lead for Diversity and Inclusion at Sanofi will also feature on the Recruit and Engage stage, powered by Indeed – and hosted by Richard Farmer, founder of Connector Talent Solutions.

HR Tech

HR technology is a multi-billion dollar market that’s only set to grow further in the coming years – so it’s only natural that a key focus of HR Festival Asia is on how technology is revolutionising the world of work. This covers the full range of HR functions, with exciting new applications impacting the way organisations recruit, engage, train, and even reward their staff.

The HR Tech stage, with presentations running throughout the two-day event, will highlight all of these changes, and much more. It is also home to the celebrated Women in HR Technology series of speakers. This “conference within a conference” takes place over the first half of Day One on May 8, and is hosted by Jeanne Achille, Founder and CEO of The Devon Group in the US.

She will introduce several game-changing women who are achieving great things in the HR Technology space, both in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. They include Kylie Baullo, Vice President of Client Services with ADP in Asia-Pacific, Cecile Alper-Leroux, Vice President of HCM Innovation at Ultimate Software in the US, and Dr Jaclyn Lee, Chief HR Officer at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Also gracing the HR Tech stage will be Deepak Bansal, Vice President of People Analytics at OCBC Bank, Stacey Harris, Vice President of Research and Analytics with Sierra Cedar, and Merle Chen, Chief Talent Officer of the Lo & Behold Group.

Graham Brown, host of the Asia Tech podcast, will host this stage set directly adjacent to the HR Festival Asia expo.