UNLEASH London 2018: Everything you need to know

Daniel Paylor
Last updated on 2nd September 2020
4 min read

Unleash your people! That’s been the message from organizers of what was previously HR Tech World over the last few years. As they hit London’s ExCel this March for the fourth year in a row, it’s no surprise, then, they’ve now re-branded with a new name to reflect their mission: ‘UNLEASH’.

What can attendees expect from the UK’s largest enterprise show, though? And, how will the show differ now it’s been re-branded?

We summarize everything you need to know.

What’s the difference between UNLEASH and HR Tech World?

HR Tech World is re-branding to UNLEASH – something organizers announced at their last event in Amsterdam in October (we rounded up the main takeaways from the event if you want to check it out).

Their rationale, quite rightly, is that the issues we’re facing in the world of work today aren’t just for HR and People leaders to address; they’re something that the entire leadership team need to be engaged with. This is particularly important considering all job functions will undergo radical transformation over the next five to ten years.

Founder and CEO Marc Coleman explains: ‘The UNLEASH community will look to become more open to leadership from across organizations, and to engage with the people that are making big differences in the world of work.’

We’d argue that the types of transformations in the world of work explored at organizer HRN’s events are still ones that HR and People teams can lead, though. It will be interesting to see how organizers can strike the right balance to ensure topics are still relevant for some of the day-to-day issues HR and People leaders are facing too.

When and where is UNLEASH London?

The UNLEASH London 2018 conference and exhibition will run between March 20-21 at the ExCeL London.

Over the two days, 120 speakers will present across 12 stages to over 2,500 decision makers from across HR and People teams, and the world of work.

Organizers have also published a floor plan of the venue, so attendees can get acquainted with where everything is before the event kicks off.

The event follows organizers HRN’s latest event in Amsterdam last October. Before that, they were at San Francisco, where we blogged about the key thoughts attendees took away from the event, including why it’s all about the chief heart officer. Next up on the agenda for UNLEASH after London is Las Vegas in May.

What’s the focus at UNLEASH London?

There’s certainly no shortage of topics for speakers and attendees to get their teeth stuck into at this month’s event.

Organizers explain that they’ll be facing Brexit ‘head-on’ and looking at how it will affect the world of work; de-mystifying the impact of GDPR on HR; exploring the conversation-shift from ‘AI armageddon’ to re-skilling the workforce; and, of course, HR tech and digital transformation will remain firmly at the top of the agenda.

Who’s speaking at UNLEASH London?

As usual, there’s a stellar line up of speakers from across HR and People teams and the world of work at this month’s event. There’s many not to be missed, but there are certainly a few which stand out.

Co-creator of Skype Jonas Kjellberg, ‘How do you disrupt and change the world of work?’ March 20, main stage (9.25am to 10.05 am)

The keynote speaker, according to UNLEASH’s website, ‘gets great solace in helping to “f**k things up” for the lumbering, and sometimes complacent, corporate giants of the world’ so his session certainly looks to be a lively one.

Bersin by Deloitte’s VP of solution provider research Christina Degnan Manning, ‘AI in HR: Everywhere and Nowhere’. March 20, HR Tech stage (11.15am to 11.35am)

AI in HR is that topic which is simultaneously talked about to death, yet also very hard for HR and People leaders to understand some of the impacts of using AI and automation in their day-to-day roles, outside using a cloud HR system that may automate tasks. So, the name of this session is quite fitting. It’s a topic Bersin by Deloitte knows best, however, and anything Christina Degnan Manning will say will be repeated back by organizations in the weeks and months after, so it’s in our list of not-to-be-missed sessions this year.

Professor of international affairs at the University of Oxford Alexander Betts, ‘Brexit as an opportunity for business’. March 20, main stage (4.40 pm to 5.10pm)

How will government policy decisions on trade and mobility, and economic adjustments, affect businesses? Professor Alexander Betts will explain – whether we like it or not – Brexit is happening.

Director of GDPR transition programme at Henley Business School Ardi Kolah, ‘Countdown for GDPR: are you ready?’ March 21, main stage (9.55am to 10.15am)

As May 25th creeps closer, Ardi Kolah will speak about how GDPR will affect the way companies work and how to bulletproof your organization.

EMEA VP of Twitter Bruce Daisley, ‘The science of happier work’. March 21, main stage (11.15am to 11.35am)

Work is becoming harder. The demands of emails, meetings and electronic communication are becoming oppressive. What can we all do to improve work? Well, according to Bruce Daisley, the answer starts with science. We’re really interested to hear this session, as it sounds like it draws a lot on two things we speak about regularly – creating great workforce experiences, and People Science.

Panel discussion on leadership in the digital age. March 21, main stage (11.40am to 12.00pm)

The line-up for this session looks ace. Net-a-Porter’s chief people officer, Google Cloud’s head of customer change and culture and Facebook’s VP of HR will come together to discuss how to create a culture of experimentation, and the tricks to staying a step ahead of innovation. It’s great to see an all-female panel. There’s also certainly lots to get stuck into on this topic, so it looks set to be a great session.

Sage’s solution consultant Kate Thomas, ‘Delivering the perfect onboarding experience, with Sage People’. March 21, product demos (12.30pm to 12.45pm)

We’ll be giving a demo of our Sage Business Cloud People system, where we’ll be demonstrating the impact of delivering a smooth onboarding experience for new joiners.

What does my ticket give me access to?

Tickets will get you access to all sessions at UNLEASH, so over 120 keynotes, panel discussions, demos and workshops over the two days. It will also give you access to the expo hall.

We’ll be at the expo on stand 304, where we’ll be talking about our research from 500+ HR and People leaders on the challenges they’re facing today – and how they’re overcoming them. Why not pop over to our stand to get your copy, or talk to us more about the research?

Where do I find out more?

It’s not too late to get tickets for the event – which can be found on their website.

We’ll be tweeting at the event too, so if you want to stay on top of the latest of what’s happening, give us a follow at @SagePeople.

We’ll also be writing a wrap up of the event, so sign up to receive updates from us so you don’t miss it.

We’ll see you there!

Let us know you’re attending UNLEASH by tweeting us at @SagePeople.

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