HR Tech Summit Toronto 2018: It’s all about growth

Carol Foote
Published on 8th June 2018
3 min read

Canada has stormed onto the HR tech and innovation scene in the last decade. Nowadays, Toronto is known as ‘the Silicon Valley of the north’ and is emerging as one of the world’s best locations for technology.

The city features on innumerable lists of hi-tech and entrepreneurial hotspots, including the Forbes Technology Council’s most recent round-up, where it was beaten into second place only by Shanghai – a city four times its size, with a population of nearly 24 million.

So what better place for a progressive and exciting HR Tech Summit? The event, which runs June 26-27, was held in Canada for the first time last year and attracted 1,500 tech and HR professional delegates.

Building on 2017’s success, we’re eager to discover what’s new in 2018, and to see how the event will grow and respond to higher demand.

With the plethora of high growth businesses in the Toronto area, it’s not surprising that HR Tech Summit’s organizers are offering delegates a choice of two conference streams over the two days – enterprise or scale-up.

We’ve been scanning the agenda for thought-provoking, future-focused session topics – and we’re spoilt for choice. Here’s five unmissable sessions to catch at this year’s event.

1. Crystal ball: will your employees’ jobs be augmented or automated?

June 26, 1:15 pm on the tech talk and tech demo stage

Krista Jones is the MD of work and learning at Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship firm MaRS. She is known for her comprehensive tech knowledge, so we can’t wait to hear her views on what will happen to today’s roles as automation and AI technology advances in changing workplaces.

In particular, we like how she’s separated augmented intelligence and automated intelligence in her session title. Often, people equate augmented and automated intelligence as the same when, of course, they’re not.

Artificial intelligence is the replacement of humans with computer systems; augmented intelligence is using technology designed to assist humans, not replace them. It will be interesting to hear how Kristina explores this in her session

2. Key IT challenges to overcome in a scaling organization

June 26, 12.30 pm on the tech talk and tech demo stage

We might be biased, but we think that our own Paul Burrin, VP of Sage People, is bang on the high growth message with his tech talk targeted squarely at fast-growing, scaling companies.

He’ll talk candidly about the problems that arise when tech hinders instead of helps organizations and identify five unescapable tech challenges for fast-growth scaling companies.

Paul will zoom in on why – and how – ambitious, scale-up businesses must use tech to create better experiences for their biggest asset for growth: their people.

3. Preparing HR for HYPERGROWTH

June 26, 1.15 pm on the main stage

A panel discussion that’s bound to be energetic, this session on preparing HR teams for hypergrowth will hammer home the importance of including HR in the discussion when planning for organizations’ growth.

The HR and People implications are massive for firms looking to grow explosively, and planning for the future is key for hypergrowth businesses.

Expect to hear about the unique risks and pitfalls for HR teams in fast-growth businesses, and how to foster a healthy and sustainable culture whilst growing your own team at pace.

4. The future of work and workforce with blockchain

June 26, 3.45 pm on the main stage

Bitcoin and blockchain have begun to enter the business lexicon. But what do they have to do with people and HR? Harvard Business Review claims these systems have the potential to ‘create new foundations for our economic and social systems.’

If you’re not entirely clear how that’s going to happen, take a seat in Soumyasanto Sen’s keynote address.

He promises to explain what blockchain technology is, why we need it, where will we use it, how it will empower the workforce and what the future of work will look like as a result. It’s going to be an information-packed 45 minutes!

5. Addressing tech’s ethical dark side

June 27, 3 pm on the main stage

How can we ensure that artificial intelligence is used for the good? That’s the question that a panel of experts – including a computer science professor, an AI public policy specialist and a tech leader – will be debating in this fascinating panel session.

AI has huge potential in the years to come, but its responsible use comes down to the people who deploy it.

These are big ethical issues. We’re keen to know more about the problems of adopting AI tech at work, from data privacy to bias, and to understand the role HR will need to play in evaluating and implementing AI solutions responsibly.

The HR Tech Summit is at the Toronto Congress Centre, 26-27 June 2018 – find Sage People at booth G6 in the exhibition or tweet us to let us know you’ll be there.

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