The HR Congress 2018 – Five Emerging Themes


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As The HR Congress Brussels draws to a close for another year, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve learned and experienced over the last few days. Across a number of keynote presentations, track sessions, panel discussions, and masterclasses, a few key themes for the future began to emerge. So, here’s a quick summary of five emerging ideas that were presented to us at The HR Congress this year.

Full session summaries of the keynote presentations and a range of videos will be released soon – make sure you subscribe here for updates!

This is a time for the death and rebirth of HR

There is more discussed on the future of work and HR than can be condensed into a short format like this. We heard from several speakers throughout the event that HR is now dying – but we also heard that HR is very much alive, and will continue to be a value provider for years to come. The truth will probably be somewhere in the middle. Indeed, HR as “Human Resources” may disappear quickly as technologies and new management methodologies reconfigure how work best takes place. However, people are going to remain a core part of a productive society, and therefore it’s unlikely that HR professionals who possess both technical and adaptive skills will disappear entirely.

How we work is evolving, it’s really time to join the discussion

One of the key messages of The HR Congress was that many new management and organizational models are becoming an intrinsic part of HR’s professional vernacular. From the ever-popular focus on agility, to Teal Organizations, Holacracy, Self Management and Self Governance – to a myriad of hybrid ideas, the organization is evolving and so too is work. It’s no longer just a question of transforming organizations with new technologies or some kind of renewed leadership ethics; it’s about understanding how a huge range of social, economic, and psychological variables impact the operation of the organization and the lives of all employees.

HR Leaders must take a seat at the executive table

Despite the far reaching implications of current business and work transformations, one thing remains clear; HR leaders must lead their organizations into future successes. HR leaders must be consummate experts on all aspects of the business, but furthermore, they must act as a trusted guide to both their employees and the C-Suite. HR leaders have the skills to be agents of business change, leading with the interests of both the business and its people in mind. HR leaders must not only drive change in their organizations, they must also be the human face of a workplace that is under constant pressure to evolve and perform.

Safety will only get you so far

In a time where interpersonal conflict seems rife and amplified by social media, it appears evident that developing psychological safety at work is of utmost importance. While a certain level of safety and support is to be expected, most conflicts at work are inevitable. Despite this, conflict must be harnessed properly to ensure that organizations are able to move forward, innovate, and motivate. In the current knowledge economy buffeted by technology, social challenges, and economic changes, HR professionals must be aware of how to create a great workplace environment, while treating each individual with the respect they deserve, regardless of personal differences. By not silencing or suppressing others and by actively facilitating healthy ideational conflict, navigating the tensions that exist in the workplace can be a key to an agile, productive, and organically diverse workplace.

Change is changing

The rise of advanced cognitive technologies, new international economic and social dynamics, ‘agile’ organizations, and increasingly demanding schedules has revealed a simple truth – there are no quick fixes. The reality is for almost every organization that change is a constant process. The state of ‘changing’ throws many challenges at HR professionals and business leaders, as they must learn to be mindful of the entire change process in a time where success depends on rapid adaptation and experimentation.


The HR Congress team would like to extend a huge thank you to all attendees, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and guests who helped to make the event a success. We hope you had an enjoyable and valuable time with us, and will join us again in 2019 for another journey into the future of HR and work. Make sure you connect with us on LinkedIn and subscribe to the blog for the latest updates on HR and The HR Congress.

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