It will be all eyes on the latest employment and talent management challenges at the end of May, as the World Employment Confederation’s annual World Employment Conference takes centre stage. With post-pandemic labour market reboots, reskilling, evolving worker priorities and world of work transformations at the top of agenda in most countries, has there ever been a more important time for the global HR services industry to come together and showcase new approaches to shape-shifting employment challenges? No, I didn’t think so!
The overriding theme of this year’s edition is ‘Bridging the Gap’ – particularly with regards to worker and employer expectations. But the theme also applies to a range of other priorities for the industry, including shifting perceptions, influencing public policy developments, and nurturing different relationships between employers and HR services providers. Here’s a preview of some of the bridge-building activities that will be discusses at this year’s global gathering:
- Bridging the expectations gap – What do people want and expect from their work? Has the pandemic really impacted on life priorities, and if so, what are the practical implications for employers and HR services professionals? Getting a handle on this new reality of work is essential for employers and their recruiting partners all over the world, especially in markets experiencing a staffing and skills squeeze.
- Bridging the talent gap – Finding the right staff and skills to meet demand is priority number 1 in most countries; and the challenge is becoming more acute with every passing month. How can HR services providers work with their clients to re-imagine their employer brand and find new ways of attracting talent? What innovations are we seeing across the world in terms of effective reskilling and career management activities? Is now the time for radical thinking, for a veritable ‘recruitment revolution’ with hiring channels, procedures and criteria all in the mix for a transformative shake-up? The World Employment Conference will provide a vital staging post for industry leaders and national federations to take stock of these and other hot topics.
- Bridging the perceptions gap– Progress has been made, but the focus must remain on showcasing the positive role of the global HR services sector and on challenging latent misconceptions. This is key to addressing suffocating and disproportionate regulation on the sector; it is also vital for attracting a new generation to work within the industry and for reframing and re-energising relationships between employers and their recruitment partners. The global HR services sector is first and foremost a people industry; let’s celebrate this and find innovative ways of telling our story.
- Bridging the public policy gap– The HR services sector must be at the forefront of influencing post-pandemic labour market policies to ensure that these reflect the reality of a fast-moving world of work. Creating 21st century social protection systems that support all workers – irrespective of how they choose to work – is part of this. The priority is also to ensure that regulations are fairly and effectively enforced so that the activities of rogue providers are addressed and that a tangible impact is made on informality and the black economy.
- Bridging the #futureofwork gap – There is a broad consensus around the kind of future of work we want to create: One that is based on inclusivity, choice, opportunity, fulfilment, fairness and agility. The challenge lies in building the bridge between where we are now and where we want to get to. The global HR services industry must be at the forefront helping policymakers, employers and workers make sense of the fast-changing world of work and make the right decisions going forward. The World Employment Conference will be a unique opportunity to take stock of where we are on this journey.
So there we go, more bridges than Pittsburgh…But perhaps the most important example of connectivity will be the bringing together – either virtually or in the plush surrounds of the Radisson Grand Place – of employment experts from over 30 countries, including specialists from a wide range of HR services (agency work, direct recruitment, career management, RPO and MSP) as well as international policymakers, think tanks, social partners and research institutes.
Volatile times stir up many troubled waters; the HR services sector must remain at the forefront of laying down the necessary bridges. See you on the other side…
Tom Hadley is an independent consultant focusing on global world of work trends and high-impact campaigning.