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Day two highlights from Unleash World 2023

Speakers discussed flexible work, retention and AI

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 two of the conference.  

Employee expectations around flexibility will never be the same

Anabel Fall, chief people officer, Zühlke Group, described the covid pandemic as a great experiment for flexible working.

She said: “We never would have dared trying to do what we had to do in covid when it comes to flexible work. There is now an expectation from employees to be more flexible, because we proved it could work [during the pandemic].”

As a result, Zühlke Group has introduced a series of measures to boost its flexibility offerings. 

She added: “We now have a nomad programme where we employ people where they are and find the talent where the talent is, which means we can be more location agnostic. 

“We have also started ‘unlimited recharge’ which means we don’t give vacation days, but people take time off when they need it. They are more engaged and excited through that.

“We encourage office work for inclusion and belonging, but you need to have a purpose for the office on why employees should go there.”


Read more: If we aren't tracking flexible working… what's the point?


Market conditions are reducing job moves

Mel Lee, group head of HR strategy and transformation, HSBC, described how macroeconomic insecurity is impacting the job market.

She said: “Because of the macroeconomic uncertainty out there, we are seeing more people choose security over mobility. People are staying where they are, and it’s getting harder to remove people from their organisations and put them into your own.”

Lee encouraged HR to be more creative when it comes to reskilling the workforce.

She said: “We are seeing an increased appetite of people who want varied careers.

“They want to move between roles, and where we can offer up that opportunity provides us an advantage. We need to have the method to accommodate this if we want to keep talent in the organisation.”


Read more: Five ways to recharge your retention strategy


AI is a workplace evolution, not revolution

AI featured in most, if not all, of the presentations during the conference. 

Jesper Klitgaard, Netcompany's chief people officer, said HR needs to embrace the tech and prepare in the best way possible. 

He said: “Within HR we need to ensure that businesses are talking about AI and its expected impacts to discuss potential changes and adaptations to roles. Communication and change management are key to prepare our workforce to embrace and work with AI. 

We should not let AI dictate our way of working, but instead define how we want AI to work for us.”

Click here for the day one round up