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Day one highlights from Unleash World 2023

Unleash World conference is back in Paris for 2023, featuring plenty of discussions around AI, skills and training and talent management.

Here are three lessons we learned from day one of the conference.   

Leadership development is not HR’s role

Focusing on the next generations of leaders is often part of HR’s strategy, but Eric Olsen, CEO of Alixias, said the responsibility should not be within HR’s responsibilities.

Speaking as part of a CEO panel on social contracts, he said: “Leadership development is left to HR, but it’s not HR's job.

“Instead, each manager needs to be responsible for the development of their team. And it’s a real challenge every day to drive that point home in our business.”

The key to empowered leadership

Special report: Leadership development

Power tools for leadership development

Change management is just as important as any tech development

Many of Unleash’s conference talks have discussed HR tech in great length, but Maryann Abbajay, chief revenue officer at SAP SuccessFactors, said the focus needs to switch to people.

She said: “We talk about about tech, but the change management introduction of the tech to an organisation is just as critical as the tech itself.

“We have to keep people in mind and at the centre of what we do, providing transparency as to why we’re bringing in the tech, showing them there’s no threat to their jobs and that they’re going to do more impactful work.”

Abbajay also encouraged HR not to introduce AI just for the sake of it.

She added: “You have to consider you are implementing AI. As you go through the process, HR should focus on the three Rs. That’s making AI relevant, making sure it’s reliable and most importantly of all, making sure it’s responsible.

Outstanding balance: why HR must learn to be sure-footed on the change curve

What's the evidence for... change management?

Power dynamics: Managing change in an organisation

Make employer branding an HR matter

A company’s reputation is vital during the hiring process, as we see more candidates opting for jobs which align with their values.  

More organisations are now investing in their employer branding, allowing them to attract better talent, cut down on hiring costs and reduce employee turnover.

Retailer Lidl has transformed its employer branding strategy over the last few years, recognising the importance it can have on current and future staff.

Catherine Gouw, head of employer branding at Lidl, encouraged HR to be a key player in employer branding decisions.

She said: “Everyone, especially HR, has an impact on employer branding. We need to think of it as a continuous process rather than a completed project.

“What we see our companies communicate on the outside should also be the experience inside.

“Employer branding is always evolving… and it’s relevant for all HR topics, as it supports colleagues by finding people with the right attributes.”

It’s time to rethink your employer branding campaign

HR should lead on employer brand management

External employer branding must reflect internal culture