4 takeaways from UNLEASH London 2018

Grainne Shaughnessy
Last updated on 2nd September 2020
3 min read

How do you unleash the power of your people?

UNLEASH, formerly known as HR Tech World, kicked off last week at ExCel, London. The two-day conference centers around changing the world of work and technology for the better and ultimately ‘unleashing’ the power of your people’s potential.

There were plenty of lively and exciting discussions from leaders and visionaries across the business, HR and People space, all exchanging views on the world of work and what it will look like in the future.

Here’s our biggest four takeaways from the event.

1. Disrupting the world of work: delight your people

When it comes to your people it’s not about profitability, it’s about delight. People want freedom and flexibility and that’s what technology enables companies to give them.

Jones Kjellberg, co-creator of Skype opened the conference on Tuesday morning with his talk on how to disrupt the world of work and this was his main message to attendees.

‘Innovate, don’t imitate’, he explained. For him, it’s about recruiting talent who have the potential to really change the way things are done.

It’s then those employers who create great workforce experiences which delight employees.

His words echo what we found when we quizzed 3,500 employees on what really drives them at work.

Feeling valued and being recognized for the work they did was important for a whopping 66% of respondents. For 92% of workers we spoke to, having a great experience at work was one of the biggest things that makes them productive.

2. Brexit: an opportunity to transform your HR and People strategy?

Britain’s vote to leave the EU has meant the topic has been dominating the business agenda for some time and will continue to do so. Many policy decisions surrounding Brexit are still unclear, but we do know one thing for sure: leaving the EU will signify a change for businesses.

For example, how will UK businesses continue to hire EU citizens – and what will those citizens’ rights be to live and work in the UK?

Alexander Betts, professor of international affairs at the University of Oxford delivered a positive talk on the opportunity Brexit has for HR, drawing on this, explaining that global companies will have to think truly innovatively about recruiting international talent in a post-Brexit world.

His message to attendees was clear: Brexit can be a trigger point for transforming the way companies attract and retain talent.

However, firstly, he explained that companies need to be taking a proactive role to communicate the potential impact of Brexit across the business. They should also be evaluating alternative talent sources and reviewing hiring and staffing plans.

3. What does the perfect onboarding experience look like?

Ensuring a smooth onboarding experience for new joiners is essential. From the moment successful candidates accept a job offer, through to their probation and onto completion of their first year, a smooth onboarding experience will go a long way to help companies retain top talent.

So, during our product demonstration at UNLEASH London, we showed how the global Sage Business Cloud People system can enable HR and People teams to deliver great candidate experiences throughout the entire onboarding experience.

We demonstrated how employees can consume key information, familiarize themselves with colleagues and processes, and complete key tasks at the right time before they start – all through an engaging and intuitive self-service experience.

To learn more about Sage Business Cloud People and how to develop the perfect onboarding experience request your personal 30-minute live demo.

4. Unconscious bias: ‘flip it to test it’

At her keynote presentation at UNLEASH London, global head of HR for Roche Diagnostics Kristen Pressner shared her take on how to best address unconscious bias in the workplace. 

‘Now more than ever, companies need HR’s leadership to be the disruptors that drive strategic change. The problem is, our own unconscious bias is likely holding back our people, our organizations and perhaps most surprisingly, ourselves,’ Pressner said as she explained her famous mantra: ‘flip it to test it’.

HR doesn’t support business leaders – HR are business leaders’, she explained, ‘HR’s leadership needs to be the disruptors that drive strategic change from within to unleash their people’s potential’.

Watch the Are you Biased, I am Ted Talks from Pressner to learn more.

Next up: Vegas

Overall, the verdict on a new-look and re-branded event? It works.

The people agenda should be on everyone’s agenda – not just HR leaders’. This was evident throughout the two days of the event, just as it has been at the last few events they’ve run and in the sector as a whole.

We’re looking forward to the next Unleash event in Las Vegas to see how the US HR and People leaders plan to challenge the status quo in the world of work too. We’ll see you there!

Stay up to date on the latest news and views from us, including what we’re up to at industry events by following us on Twitter @SagePeople.

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