Some Key Takeaways from The HR Congress 2016

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The HR Congress – 485 attendees from 42 countries representing some 12 million employees made the trip to The HR Congress on 29-30 November in RAI Amsterdam.

After the introduction of the HR Congress chair, Jonathan Ferrar, Dr. Dave Ulrich – the father of modern HR started the day with an amazing presentation on what HR leaders should be prepared for to serve the business in the future. “HR is not about HR” – probably the simplest way to put it how critical it is to become business minded and break down the silo mentality between HR and business.

Following the keynote and a panel debate on forces shaping the new way of work the attendees could join 6 elective tracks. Next to the masterclass with Dave Ulrich on shaping the culture, 5 elective tracks gave a rich menu of choices to all participants.

During the production cycle, we carefully researched the market and next to a traditional survey we held several in-depth interviews which enabled us to assemble one of the most comprehensive congress agenda.

During the elective sessions some 60 presenters, 70 sessions and over 50 hours of learning were covering Employee Engagement, Talent Management, Culture, Learning, Leadership Development, Succession, Performance Management, OD, HR Transformation, Change, Analytics.

The #hrcongress16 hashtag captured quite a few of the key topics, it was trending as No 1 hashtag in the Netherlands during the congress. So it was indeed a very busy first day, time for a glass of wine and networking.

HR Congress Tweet

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The next morning the Congress kicked off with a very high energy keynote by Professor Erin Meyer from INSEAD – and we all get an in-depth view to the importance of understanding and managing cultural differences. As Erin put it “Smart companies exercise humility by not only pushing out their practices rather being open to ideas from other cultures. “

Erin Meyer

Right after Erin Meyer, Professor Paul Sparrow came on stage who took all attendees to a journey to look into the future of HR.

HR in a networked organization require a different approach to talent management, as SHRM lifetime achievement award winner Paul Sparrow put it: “Talent must be shaped for three challenges: Risk and Opportunity, Governance and Learning, Knowledge sharing capabilities.”


The morning keynotes were followed by a dynamic conference structure. Attendees had an opportunity to join either of the elective tracks, masterclasses, thought provoking “Idea Lab” sessions or peer to peer knowledge sharing during a 1.5 hours Unconference discussion group session.

The amount of responsibility people professionals holds certainly made everyone realize that “You cannot spell HERO without HR.”

One of the highlights of the elective tracks was a masterclass with London Business School, Thinkers 50 guru Professor Lynda Gratton on the Future of Leadership. As Lynda put it “How Leaders behave sets the tone for the people.”

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And the inspiration continued in the plenary room right after the elective tracks, where she also delivered a fascinating keynote on The 100-year Life. People are living longer, so the traditional 3-stage life is breaking up. No more Education – Work – Retirement, rather one must continuously reinvent himself and unless strikes the lottery, it is very likely that people will work into their eighties.

Lastly, Cranfield professor Stephen Carver closed the event with a shocking keynote on how communication and narcissistic leadership led to losing lives at one of the smartest organizations on the World, NASA – and how they rebuilt their culture.

HRC Tweet

In a nutshell, it was amazing two days, full of inspiration, HR training, knowledge, ideas and last not but least FUN.

Thank you for everyone attended, all speakers, sponsors and partners, Willis Towers Watson, Lumesse, CrossKnowledge, Cubiks, Springfest, Talmundo, TruQ, Dacadoo and Impraise.

See you in 2017 in Brussels with confirmed keynote speakers Dave Ulrich, Herminia Ibarra and Ram Charan.

HR Congress Brussels
We are putting together HR Congress Budapest and HR Congress Brussels. Check out our other upcoming events from here, mark your event calendar and don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. What were your takeaways from the HR Congress Amsterdam? Let us know in the comments.

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