HRD Summit UKHRD Summit UK 2020: Day 2 – NBA, LEGO, British Heart Foundation and more

HRD Summit UK 2020: Day 2 - NBA, LEGO, British Heart Foundation and more

Day 2 of this year’s packed event featured fascinating sessions on talent, cultural transformation, artificial intelligence and much more. 

With the HRD UK Summit 2020 well underway, attendees gathered once again at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre (ICC) for another busy schedule of keynote speeches, seminars, demonstration and plenty more. 

Many of the event’s 1,500-strong audience arrived bright and early to attend one of the Summit’s compelling Breakfast Briefings – short, relaxed seminars with food and refreshments provided. 

Attendees were able to enjoy breakfast during the day’s first round of sessions.

HRD Connect joined Selecting and Developing Diverse Talent in a Digital World, a breakfast session led by Rob Field, L&D Director, Advanced People Services. Field delivered an engaging session, exploring the challenges and imperatives for organizations in optimizing recruitment and onboarding, and applying the dimension of virtual, machine learning and artificial intelligence to the issue.

He spoke of the distinction between charisma and humility as employee characteristics, discussing how to find “that sweet spot”, and touched on the importance of technology’s role in modern businesses.

“It’s not about being brand new,” he said. “It’s about how existing elements are being reshaped and re-imagined with the help of technology.” 

Field concluded by clarifying how obtaining, observing and nurturing talent is the key to progress, and how technology has already influenced that process so drastically. “It’s about how we can take assessment and turn that into a development process,” he said. “The digital world is helping us do this much more easily.” 

Next, HRD Connect turned its attention to Experience, attending Creating Lasting Cultural Transformation, one of the Summit’s most anticipated events. Powerfully presented by Eric Hutcherson, EVP & CHRO, National Basketball Association, the session dived into the topic of evolving engagement, exploring how lasting change in the workplace can be achieved. 

Eric Hutcherson was met with a packed-out room for his talk at the HRD Summit UK 2020.

“Change is about commitment, and commitment comes when you give people an experience to commit to,” said Hutcherson, but later acknowledging that “leaders often want change to happen and want to contribute as little as possible.” 

Concluding an enthralling session and Summit highlight, Hutcherson said: “Engagement is about who deserves to have your greatness. Because not everybody does.” 

Next, we explored one of the industry’s most topical themes in health and wellbeing, attending a fascinating session from Kerry Smith, Director of People & Organizational Development, British Heart Foundation.

Smith established a theme of conflating wellbeing and people experience, stating that it’s about “enabling people to feel confident and comfortable in bringing their whole self to work”. She continued by talking the audience through what she referred to as ‘insight-led action’ in identifying colleague health behaviors. This can include things like skipping lunches at work or BMI measurements. 

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Smith closed her inspiring session by questioning whether those in the industry could be doing more for their colleagues, asserting that this is a pivotal factor in improving employee experience. 

Later in the day, attendees gathered at the Summit’s Gold Theatre for one of HRD’s thriving Lightning Talks, led by Johannes Habel, Associate Professor, Warwick Business School. Habel used his twenty-minute slot to explore the onset of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in HR.

However, as the session’s official title demonstrated, Habel set about Debunking the Myth of AI, stating that “It’s really just statistical analysis.” He elaborated, telling the audience that, “it’s just a numbers game. It has nothing to do with intuition.” 

Breaking this down in order for HR practitioners to apply it to their trade, Habel said: “Never base your decisions on an AI tool unless you know its key metrics,” reasserting that the trend is really just a continuation of traditional statistical analysis.

The site’s Gold Theatre was a Summit hot-spot this year.

Concluding, Habel stressed the importance of such analysis in organizations. “Over the next decade, AI won’t replace managers, but managers who use AI will replace those who don’t,” he said. 

With this year’s UK Summit beginning to draw to a close, HRD Connect attended another of the event’s most anticipated sessions. Led by Liz Elder, Leadership Development & Learning, LEGO, the talk focused on how to create a design framework in which workforces can thrive. 

She outlined that leaders must be curious, focused and brave, and that a leadership framework must, “create a space so that everyone feels energized every day.” 

“It means creating that sense of trust, connectedness and caring,” she said. Elder called this framework ‘The Leadership Playground’, concluding that the goal is to “create that space to ensure that everyone can bring their authentic self to work.” 

In the Summit’s final session, Stephen Robertson, CEO, The Big Issue Foundation, presented Changing Lives One Newspaper At A Time. Delivering an impassioned session, Robertson explained the ins and outs of Big Issue Invest, the company’s social investment arm, and explored the notion of how ‘Everyday Activism’ can translate to the modern workplace. 

Stephen Robertson provided a touching end to this year’s UK Summit.

With the final session complete, Summit Chair Frank Douglas made his final appearance in the main auditorium, thanking all involved, and even collaborating with the event’s musical outfit SongDivision for a closing number. 

With attendees pouring out of the ICC’s auditorium for a final time, the HRD UK Summit 2020 was officially drawn to a close, having spanned two days and attracted record numbers of senior HR professionals. Next, the world’s most prominent leaders in HR will gather in Boston, Massachusetts on March 18-19 for the HRD Summit USA 2020. 

In case you missed it, part 1 of HRD Connect’s comprehensive Summit coverage can be found here.

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