Difficulties, but also opportunities for HR to adapt in 2019

Difficulties, but also opportunities for HR to adapt in 2019
The Ignite 2019 X Best HR Award Ceremony was held on Friday, 11 January 2019. It received an overwhelming response from the HR industry, with over 280 guests attending to witness the recognition of HR across different sectors for years of passionate dedication and achievement.

Mr. Perry Mak Wah-Cheung, Managing Director of HKET Holdings and Publisher of Hong Kong Economic Times and Sky Post, gave an opening speech and launched the ceremony with honourable guest Professor Randy Chiu Ki-Kwun, Director of the Centre for Human Resources Strategy and Development of the School of Business at Hong Kong Baptist University; Ms Diane Chan Lai-Chu, Executive Director of CTgoodjobs; and Mr William Ho Wing-Wah, Assistant IT Director of HKET Group.

The Future of HR - from AI to Generation Change to Employee Experience
Honourable guest Professor Chiu gave his keynote insight on his vision and the future of HR. It is a universal truth that the global market is shifting towards technology; so is the demand of the workforce. He cited figures projected by the World Economic Forum in The Future of Jobs 2018 that the advancement of AI technology would replace 75 million jobs while creating 133 million jobs in related fields.

Such a major change would also affect the pattern of collaborations between employers and employees. He stressed that the millennial workforce have a different take on career and personal development. They are more ready to accept flexible working arrangements and expect more diversity in working styles (e.g. slashing/remote working). They are not taking a linear career path like Generation X, which currently makes up the majority of the world workforce. Their preference for fast learning is also making a remarkable impact on digital learning material and staff and executive coaching.

Profess Chiu later introduced the concept of STEMpathy, a game-changing term which he believes will strengthen the bridge between technology and human beings. He encouraged practitioners to implement positive employee experience and blended workforces in adapting to different genders, age groups and the upcoming workforce.

Difficulties in staff retention under the shrinking labour force
A panel session was also held during the ceremony. Hosted by Ms Apple Tse, Chief Supervisor of Four Dimension Consulting Limited and Hong Kong Christian Service, the panel was comprised of Ms Miko Cheung, human resources director of LAWSGROUP; Dr Felix Yip, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Management and Assistant Director of The Centre for Human Resources Strategy and Development of the School of Business at Hong Kong Baptist University; and Mr Teddy Liu, General Manager of Corporate and Talent Development of New World Development Company Limited., who presented views from both an academic angle and a practitioner's perspective.

Ms Apple Tse fired off two questions:
  1. What are the challenges that HR will face under the shrinking labour market in 2019?;
  2. Is the government's current labour policy sufficient for the industry to stay resilient?
Panelist Ms Miko Chan believed that the government has already done a lot in trying to restructure the labour market, but the problems that HR will face in 2019 still lie in the fundamentals of staff recruitment and retention.

Mr Teddy Liu agreed and identified a situation in which, "Job seekers are aiming higher and have more expectations for their lives. They will seek different kinds of learning experiences in their careers and from their employers."

On that note, Dr Felix Yip added his opinion, stating that many institutions provide staff training tools and materials which can help. He then added, "But the bridging between corporations and institutions are loosely associated, leading to a misallocation of resources and manpower.

Advice for HR in 2019
After a round of discussions, Ms Tse asked the panelists to conclude with their advice for HR professionals. Ms Miko Cheung started off by introducing the concept of "Design thinking" - a methodology developed by David Kelley, a professor at Stanford University. His theory was later brought into the field of HR to spark innovation and creativity in human-centered management.

Dr Felix Yip suggested that HR should take up a role in maintaining expectations for both employer and employee in maintaining a positive work relationship. He said, "employment branding and alignment is crucial, especially in difficult times."  Mr Teddy Liu agreed with Dr Yip, and used the entrepreneurship scheme that his company is providing for staff as an example in this respect.

Is pink the new trend for HR?

Before the closing ceremony, Ms Thierry, feng shui apprentice and designer, had a sit-down chat with Ms Diane Chan on upcoming fashion trends for 2019 and interior decorating tips for HR to boost corporate image and human relations. She hinted, "You can start from your personal style. If you would like to make a good impression, you should start by wearing red, pink, purple or anything with a twist of tint. For office design, it"s always more lively for business if your company uses plants for decoration."
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