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Revealed – the Future of HR – 5 ways we need to prepare ourselves for the future of work

On 2nd and 3rd September, Topco Media and Simplify hosted the digital Future of HR Summit – an annual innovation-focused initiative that aimed to help delegates prepare for the hyper-digitised workplace of tomorrow. The Summit gathered business leaders and HR thought leaders in an environment where they shared their challenges and successes and advance strategic HR within their organisations and across the economy. In response to the global pandemic, the summit took place virtually on the platform Hopin.

1. Financial planning – are you covered?  

In this session, brought to us by Sanlam with panellists:

  • Viresh Maharaj, Managing Executive, Sanlam Corporate: Distribution
  • Anna Siwiak, Head: Product Development, Sanlam Corporate: Umbrella Solutions
  • Shaun Biggs, Branch Manager: Sanlam Key Solutions
  • Ayanda Ndimande, Development Manager: Retail Credit: Sanlam
  • Moderated by Dr Jerry Gule, we looked at empowering people and employees to make better decisions around money, and understanding and utilising financial statements. Of crucial importance is education on retirement funds and financial planning which should start at school. Core financial planning needs to become part of the business culture.

HR plays a meaningful role in impacting the financial outcomes of their employees and human capital specialists need to understand their role in employee engagement and how an individual’s personal financial situation can impact their ability in the workplace.

2. The importance of leading from the front.

The leadership capital index session was hosted by Alexander Forbes with panellists:

Marge Mantjie, Human Capital Head, Human Resources, Alexander Forbes

Xolani Mawande, CEO, SABPP

Nicola Tager, Head of Careers, Investec

Jasmin Pillay, HR Director, Microsoft South Africa

How do you ensure impactful leadership? This timeous discussion looked at what are the mission critical leadership skills required today and what role HR plays in leadership development. They dived into what the benefits are of effective leadership as well as the challenges leaders are facing in this current market climate.

3. Success requires a clear strategy from the top.

Marc Privett GM at Simplify emphasised that success requires a clear strategy from the top – which includes the ability to mobilise a team in challenging times as well as the ability to adapt and embrace digital transformation.

COVID has accelerated the digitisation of our workforces, driven by the need to work from home and HR Simplify leverages the power of online platforms to uplift audiences in meaningful ways. The session on Digital HR transformation from a South African perspective was hosted by Simplify, moderated by Dylan Piatti, Managing Director Africa: Advantage Group International, with panelists:

Prof Shirley Zinn, Author of “Swimming Upstream”, and Non-Executive Director of Sanlam, Spur & MTN

Henneri Crous, Head of Commercial at Simplify

Shelagh Goodwin, GM: Human Resources at Media24

The panellists looked at both workforce digital transformation and HR process digitisation.

4. Get your Insta on.

Social media is all important. The power of social media was covered in depth by Dave Whelan who noted that social media will help you build stronger relationships with employees and customers, boost your credibility and amplify your visibility – it is the lens people use to gauge your role and the expertise you bring to the companies you represent.

Engagement is key – and 4 out 5 (80%) employees prefer to work for ‘socially active’ leaders and its power lies in its ability to connect with employees and customers in a more authentic way. This means talking about things that matter, interact authentically, focus on topics that your audience cares about and make it part of your routine (small amounts on a regular basis)

5. The youth are our tomorrow.

And if the future is now, are we investing in young talent? This important topic was addressed in the session on “Developing, employing and investing in young talent: a case study from South Africa’s top employer in the public sector, NHFC, with panellists:

Dr Nomsa Ntshingila- Executive Manager: HR, NHFC.

Mr Morongwa Mawela- Payroll Administrator. Former student of the NHFC learnership programme.

Waseem Carrim – CEO, National Youth Development Agency.

The far-ranging discussion looked at whether indeed South Africa is investing in young talent in a meaningful way and focussed on the reality in South Africa today – are our educated youth being employed and what effects has COVID-19 had on unemployment. The panellists also looked the importance of preparing young talent for the workplace – through theory as well as practical training.

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