16.02.2022 Human Resources Luxembourg Talents Trends

Human Capital Europe lifted the veil on the workplace of today and tomorrow

Human Capital Europe lifted the veil on the workplace of today and tomorrow

A new edition of Human Capital Europe, the not-to-be-missed event for the HR community, was held on February 1st at the European Convention Center Luxembourg (ECCL), an opportunity to discover the massive shift in strategic priorities in the workplace with local and international HR key players. The 1-day conference was followed by the traditional HR One Gala dinner – hosting the Luxembourg HR Awards ceremony. Throughout the day, 400 people attended the event, which was making its return in a physical format.


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.

“The HR year”, wellness, technology and “war” for talent

After a lunch break, Michael Neefs, Country Sales Manager Belgium & Luxembourg, Cornerstone, took over from Margaux Vetzel as master of ceremonies for an afternoon conference dedicated to the topic “The HR year”. He introduced Georges Engel, Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, who kicked off the afternoon session.

Minister Georges Engel addressed the changes and challenges the pandemic has brought to the world of work. Georges Engel welcomed the rapid adaptation of Luxembourg companies: “Home office is the corporate culture now.” If this new organization had a positive impact on efficiency, the minister warned that it is important not to leave anyone behind, especially those with low qualifications. “All employees should have the possibility to develop their skills”, he said. Another challenge is to match the skills of unemployed people with new market needs. Finally, as health and safety at work issues are increasingly highlighted, the Minister recalled that laws are currently being debated in Parliament on harassment or the employee right to disconnect.

“Mental Health and Wellness as priorities for HR” was the central issue of a panel discussion featuring Samuele Zoccari, Chief HR and Organisation Officer, Generali Employee Benefits, Eros Sharma, Head of Leadership and Learning & Development, Generali Employee Benefits, Anastasia Nazare, Specialist, Talent Management and D&I, SES, Human Capital, and Elise Pillemand, Senior HRBP, Clearstream. The Covid crisis changed HR priorities, the issues of mental health and wellness now have access to senior management. “It is the new normal”, Eros Sharma said. It’s not only an HR topic but also a management and company topic.” KPI have to be reviewed to include these issues. To take into account the health and wellness of its employees, the role played by prevention is central.

In the next talk, Audrey Bertolotti, Counsel, Head of Employment, Linklaters, provided an overview of the legal issues surrounding telework with a keynote entitled “Teleworking : legal and regulatory requirements, what is there to know? Legal and practical insights”. She focused on presenting the different obligations of employers and employees. There are two legal statuses when it comes to telework: the occasional, when telework represents less than 10% of the employee’s working time, and the regular, when telework represents more than 10% of the employee’s working time. Regular telework is more burdensome for the employer in terms of accident insurance, equipment or coverage of additional costs.

“The Magic Mix: When Tech meets HR” was the theme of the next talk presented by Emeline Barbenchon, Senior Manager, HR Technology & Transformation, PwC Luxembourg, and Tessy Thill, Senior Manager & Team Lead: Organisational Change, PwC Luxembourg. Digitalization allows the HR department to spend less time on administrative and repetitive tasks and more time for added value tasks. The issue is to find the right balance between the human factor and tech. The key for a successful implementation of tech in a company is to involve end users, meaning employees who are going to use these new tools, from the beginning, to increase the adoption of such tools and the employees’ satisfaction. In order to do so, you have to start with the question “why?”. What are the needs that these new tools will satisfy?

The conference continued with Antoinette Bertrand, Digital learning manager, MySkillCamp, who revealed “How to hack the business model canvas to boost your learning culture”. Antoinette Bertrand defines “business model canvas” as “a strategic tool used for visually displaying or designing your business model”. Her idea is to use this tool for the digital learning strategy. It allows three main benefits: always having a visual display of the learning strategy to make sure to keep the focus; asking all the important questions before jumping into any action plan; giving opportunity to have a common alignment within the team and the company on the strategy to design.

“Working in a digital world. YOU have the power!” was the focus of the next presentation by Steven Van Dalem, Training & Development Manager, jobs.lu & StepStone. He began with an overview of the current labour market, noting that “the era of scarce talent has just begun”. With increasing digitisation, working to learn must underpin the future of work. Constantly retraining the staff has to become an integral part of the way to do business. To add to the challenge, workers and candidates have a refreshed set of expectations, such as the possibility to work from home. According to Steven Van Dalem, both companies and workers can make small changes that will keep them competitive in the new way of work: for workers, creating a robot friendly CV (“because AI is behind every job’ search now”), never stop learning; for employers, using video recruiting, crossing the borders to find talent or showing some flexibility in the work organisation.

Richard Doherty, Senior Director, Solution Marketing, Workday, then took the stage digitally to talk about “the Great HR Reset”, which is different from the “great resignation”, meaning that HR needs to adapt to changes we see today. There are four innovation priorities for Great HR Reset: skills (the use of data will facilitate the management of employee skills); ML (machine learning) and automation which can added value in three main areas (matching and recommendations, anomaly detection and intelligent automation); connected experiences (it allows to create a sense of belonging, to engage and retain employees and to adapt well to change); insights.

Lars Boom, Country Manager Benelux, Personio, then outlined, remotely, “The Journey Ahead In 2022 – The War For Talent Is On: Strategies & Insights For Mastering The Next Year”. The main challenges for HR professionals in 2022 will be the lack of efficiency due to the use of too many digital tools, the staff turnover and the talent management issues. To tackle these challenges, HR needs to continue to automate core HR processes, to take more and more data-based decisions, emphasis on developing leaders, to implement a clear strategy to drive talent acquisition and  continuously iterating on the new normal.

Laurent Peusch, Head of Employer Service, ADEM, then addressed the question “Labour market – is luxembourg still worth it?”. The answer is “a big yes” according to him. The Luxembourg labour market has shown its robustness during the crisis. Today, the unemployment rate has already returned to its 2019 level. Employment has been growing steadily the last 15 years well above the European average, even in times of crisis. Luxembourg is competitive, its labour market is open, reliable and dynamic.

The conference ended with a round table featuring Christopher Freres, Head of Talent Management, Degroof Petercam Luxembourg, Laurent Peusch, Head of Employer Service, ADEM, Oreste Shimwe, Talent Acquisition Manager, CGI, moderated by Jaclyn Majarich, Employer Brand Consultant, Culture Ignite titled “HR strategies to solve talent shortage”. Christophe Freres noted that new generations are different from the previous ones. “They want flexibility, to have fun. They don’t want a permanent contract and to stay 10 years in the same company”, he said. In order to attract and retain talent, companies have to work on their employer brand and to give the wish to join them. They need to be honest, to put forward their values with leadership by example or to be involved in CSR initiatives.

Flexibility, the new super power with POST

As part of Human Capital Europe, after 2020’s fully online version, an IoT event was organized for the fourth time by POST Luxembourg titled “IoT Event with POST – Let’s make flexibility your new super power!”. This time, POST dedicated its flagship event to HR business leaders and professionals by exploring how the IoT (internet of things) offers opportunities for greater flexibility in the workplace. Alongside its IoT experts and partners, POST offered a number of specific testimonials of customer use cases as part of a session where everyone had a chance to share their feedback and insights into the place of flexibility in the world of work, health care and industry. An exhibition space allowed the participants to discover the innovative IoT solutions offered by POST and its partners. The event ended with a walking lunch.

A networking cocktail, a Gala Dinner and the Luxembourg HR Awards Ceremony

The conference was followed by a networking cocktail to favour business reconnection in a relaxed atmosphere.

The HR One Gala Dinner closed Human Capital Europe, gathering 200 high-end personalities of the human resources sector. The Luxembourg HR Awards Ceremony was held during the dinner, unveiling the best projects, contributions and initiatives led this past year by HR leaders and partners.

More info on the Luxembourg HR Awards HERE.