From ordinary people to extraordinary leaders
“From ordinary people to extraordinary leaders” was the morning topic of the conference. Farvest Managing Directors Margaux Vetzel and Charlotte Boutelier kicked off this new edition of Human Capital Europe, stated: “At a time when massive investments are made in technologies to improve performance, foster innovation, develop automation, we have to remember that Human Capital is also a significant investment to consider because these technologies are used and delivered by humans and without talents, without appropriate training, without commitment, this technology will not lead to the results expected or will not deliver its full potential. This conference highlights individuals’ pugnacity to meet companies’ objectives and it contributes to spotlight the most important value we benefit from: Human Capital.”
Following the opening speech, Cristina Maldonado, International consultant for Organizational Change Management, took the stage and delivered a talk titled “Is old leadership dead?”. According to Cristina, the Covid crisis has allowed us “to think the unthinkable”, changed the way we see the place of work in our lives and the place of the office in work organisation. The Covid crisis has led to “the great executive-employee disconnect”, she said, and executives fear of losing control and power. But leadership’s aim is to improve people’s lives, for this purpose, transparency and communication are crucial. It is therefore a question of implementing new behaviours to improve employee performance. She declared that we need to build more humanistic organisations, organisations made by people. Because if the old world of work is dead in form, it is not dead in the way people think.
Filip Westerlund, Founder & CEO, OUR CHOICE, continued the discussion and presented his vision of what “Being a meaningful leader” is. He introduced three pillars to implement meaningful leadership in any organisation. The first one is self-efficacy: “Every employee needs to feel competent and able to master tasks.” The second is autonomy to give freedom of choice to employees. The last one is togetherness: “We all strive to build great human relations based on trust.” Building leadership on these three pillars provides employees with purpose, self-worth and recognition.
A roundtable featuring Niccolo Polli, CEO, HSBC, Aline Muller, CEO, LISER, Ilana Devillers, CEO, F4All and moderator Charles-Louis Machuron, Founder & CEO, Silicon Luxembourg, then addressed the central question of the day thus far: “How to manage in 2022: what are the role(s) of modern leaders?” All the panellists agreed on the role of a CEO: “Getting the best of the people”. With the Covid crisis, management priorities have changed. It is now about implementing an emphatic culture within the company, adapting to each employee by proposing a flexible work environment, creating the conditions of self-confidence and offering a meaningful purpose to each member of your team.
Zoomer Somi Arian, Founder & CEO, FemPeak, then took the stage to share her thoughts on “Career Fear and how to beat it”. In her presentation, Somi Arian, brought a fresh and relevant perspective to the future of work and what it will take to lead successful and fulfilling careers in the digital age. Tech always disrupted the workplace but never this fast and widespread. Technological advances will not necessarily destroy jobs but will transform the tasks required of employees and automated many of them. In this new working environment, the following skills will become more essential than ever: critical thinking (understanding probability, prioritising, healthy scepticism), emotional intelligence, contextual creativity (seeing the big picture, connecting the dots, finding new solution, inventing new paths) and mindfulness (deliberate attention and awareness, openness, receptiveness, inquisitiveness).
“How anti-ambition can save you” was the next topic addressed during a fireside chat moderated by Nicolas Klein, Content & Communication Officer, with Paul Douard, Editor-in-Chief, VICE. Based on his provocative and sarcastic book “I cultivate anti-ambition”, Paul Douard reflected on the notion of ambition Cultivating “anti-ambition” means accepting that failure and success will not necessarily come from hard work. In our achievement-obsessed age, resisting the cult of ambition may be challenging but it can make life more meaningful, positive and fulfilling. Paul Douard is part of this massive shift brought by the Covid crisis, which highlighted the issue of work-life balance.
Peter Rutanga, Enterprise Transformation Manager, CoachHub, and Leonardo Carcovich, Head of Human Resources, ArcelorMittal International, then came on stage for a discussion titled “Coaching in the Era of Hybrid Work”. With the pandemic, coaching is no longer limited to a small number of people in the company but extends to everyone. “It is a tool to unlock the potential of the people, to help them to have a better work-life balance, to have better communication between all the remote teams and to improve the sense of belonging to our organisation”, explained Leonardo Carcovich.
“Change your perspective on soft skills” was the central theme of the next presentation which brought on stage Gildas Fras, Head of International, PerformanSE, and Yentl Vandenbroucke, Country Manager BeNeLux, PerformanSE. To support their thinking, they took the example of a use case of a recruitment process to show the audience that we all have biases and how these biases prevent us from being objective. To better understand these biases and to limit their influence on the recruitment process, the answer is studying objective data to assess skills, especially soft skills, by using models and psychometric questionnaires. Using objective data also makes it possible to go beyond soft skills and find out what motivates a candidate, what its needs are, what type of work environment he will be able to thrive in.
The morning session ended with a startup pitch by Sylvie Fleury, Founder & CEO, Hunteed. Hunteed is a platform that manages outsourced recruitments by using AI to select the recruitment agencies that match the companies’ searches in order to meet and recruit perfectly qualified candidates for their needs.