HR Tech Festival Asia 2024: What’s happening on Day 1

HR Tech Festival Asia 2024 opens in Singapore today, featuring industry leaders and discussions on pressing HR issues.
By: | April 24, 2024

The 23rd edition of HR Tech Festival Asia kicks off today at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore. Day 1 promises a packed agenda, featuring industry leaders and thought-provoking discussion on some of the most pressing issues facing HR professionals today.

HR Tech Festival Asia 2024 commences with the Plenary Arena featuring a Guest of Honour Address by H.E. Dr Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary General of ASEAN, Association of South-East Asian Nations. Following this, Keith Sonderling, Commissioner of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will deliver the opening keynote titled A Regulator’s Perspective on Global Human Capital Trends, Outlook and Technology’s Impact. He will provide insights into global human capital trends, addressing the influence of policy and regulatory shifts on various HR facets.

Next, a leadership panel moderated by Parul Munshi, Workforce Transformation Partner and Regional Sustainability Consulting Leader at PwC South-East Asia Consulting, will dive deep into the future of work. Titled The Future of Work: Value Creation through Innovative HR Strategies and Technologies, the discussion will explore strategies for redesigning work, workplaces, and the employee experience to optimise performance. Panellists, including Aslam Sardar, CEO, Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP); Aileen Tan, Group Chief People and Sustainability Officer, Singtel; and Akarin Phureesitr, Chief People Officer, Central Pattana; will share their insights on HR transformation, talent dynamics, and maximising the value of digital HR investments.

Melinda McKinley, Global Head, HR Strategy and Digital Transformation, Standard Chartered Bank, will then present a case study delving into her organisation’s HR transformation journey. Titled Steering HR Transformation to Elevate Work and Deliver on Business Imperatives, her presentation will highlight strategies for adapting to new work models, leveraging technology for holistic talent management, and fostering synergies between HR and the employee experience to drive business value.

The final session at the Plenary Arena features a panel discussion titled Futureproofing your Workforce and Enhancing Business Resiliency in the Age of AI. Moderated by Lim May-Ann, Director of Data Governance at Access Partnership and Executive Director at Asia Cloud Computing Association, the panel will feature Dean Tong, Managing Director, Head of Group HR, UOB; Melissa Kee, Chief People Officer, Temus; Terence Chia, Assistant Chief Executive (Corporate), Cluster Director (Human Capital Cluster), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA); and Tan Toi Chia, Chief of People, Organisation and Communications, StarHub. They will explore critical topics like upskilling and reskilling workforces to bridge the skills gap, supporting employee development with advanced tools, and building agile talent models for long-term business sustainability.

HR Tech Festival Asia 2024 offers more than just the Plenary Arena. There are various conference tracks designed to cater to specific HR needs. One such track is the CHRO Symposium, aimed specifically at C-level executives.

On Day 1 at the CHRO Symposium, Diana Wu David, Work Futurist and CEO, Future Proof Lab, will present her keynote titled Adopting Agile Mindsets and Practices to Succeed and Thrive in a VUCA World. This session will explore strategies for navigating a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, including anticipating disruptive trends, adapting to change, and fostering innovation within the organisation.

Another highlight at the CHRO Symposium is a presentation titled Achieving a 23% Uplift in Performance through ESG by Joanne Flinn, Chairwoman, The ESG Institute. Flinn will shed light on the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement, emphasising its increasing significance in business strategy.

For HR professionals focused on talent development, the Talent Unleashed conference track offers a range of informative sessions, such as the keynote titled Securing the Future of Business: Boardroom Strategies for Leadership, Talent and Succession by Martin Laschkolnig, Founder and Director, Institute for the Development of Potential. Laschkolnig will discuss the importance of understanding the value of employee development, a self-esteem-based leadership culture to mitigate risks, and building organisational capabilities for long-term success.

Anish Lalchandani, Global Head of Talent Management at A.P. Moller – Maersk, will present Investing in Human Capital – The HR Playbook to Redefining Talent Experience, focusing on talent management strategies in a dynamic work environment. Lalchandani will address how to diagnose skill gaps, nurture talent by aligning employee goals with business objectives, and leverage human capital to achieve strategic, financial, and employee-centric results.

Stephan van der Vat, CEO of Management Drives International, will also speak at Talent Unleashed to present the session Recognising Drives and Motivation – The Catalyst to Turning Potential into Performance. This session explores methods to unlock individual and team potential within an organisation, and van der Vat will discuss how to implement a practical approach to development, create an active learning culture to empower future-ready leaders, and leverage a strengths-based approach to understand and motivate employees.

The other conference track is Work Reimagined, which is designed to address the challenges and opportunities of the evolving workplace. Sagar Khatri, Co-Founder and CEO of Multiplier, will present How Employer of Record Services Are Leading the Charge in Global Workforce Flexibility, which explores the growing trend of Employer of Record (EOR) services and their role in facilitating a flexible global workforce.

Another session at Work Reimagined is Effective Workforce Optimisation and Performance Management for the Hybrid World of Work, where Ankur Sawhney, Group People and Culture Director, 7-Eleven, DFI Retail Group, will dive into optimising HR practices for the hybrid work model. Sawhney will explore the benefits of data-driven workforce planning, the role of technology in boosting employee morale and productivity, and strategies for futureproofing talent management to make informed resourcing decisions and enhance overall organisational efficiency.

The first day of HR Tech Festival Asia 2024 will also host the ASEAN Human Development Summit, recognising the growing importance of a holistic approach to HR that prioritises human development. The Summit, organised by the ASEAN Human Development Organisation (AHDO) in collaboration with HRM Asia, offers HR professionals an opportunity to reimagine their roles and unlock the full potential of their workforce.

Speaking at the ASEAN Human Development Summit is Prof. Damien Joseph, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, who will present a keynote titled Beyond Digital Transformation: AI World of Work and the Next Generation of Workers. This session will explore the impact of AI on the future of work and how HR professionals can design work to leverage AI for human development and benefit the next generation of employees.

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There will also be a panel discussion titled People, Planet & Profit: Ethics and Strategy for Human Development Leaders, which will be moderated by Dr Bob Aubrey, Founder and Chair of the Advisory Board of AHDO, who will explore how human development can be linked to branding and sustainability efforts. Panellists, including Daniel O’Connor, Chief People Officer, ALBA Group Asia; and Yulius Bulo, Operations Director, Pertamina Foundation, will also discuss the evolving role of state-owned enterprises and the interplay between finance and human development in shaping a more sustainable and ethical business landscape across ASEAN.

Rounding off Day 1 of HR Tech Festival Asia 2024 is the prestigious HR Fest Awards 2024. This award ceremony recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements of HR leaders, teams, and organisations across the region. Among the categories honoured are Best HR Leader, Best C-Suite Leader, HR Team of the Year, Employer of Choice, Best Workplace Culture & Engagement (above 500 employees), Best Workplace Culture & Engagement (below 500 employees), Best Use of Technology, Best ASEAN Human Development (Large Companies), and Best ASEAN Human Development (Small and Medium Organisations).