Unleash World Conference and Expo, noted as the world’s fastest growing community on the Future of Work, took place in the heart of the Netherlands this year. Around 6,000 people made their way to the RAI Amsterdam to discuss hot topics in HR, explore a variety of vendors and to listen to experts from some of the worlds largest enterprises talk about how they are seeing the HR landscape change. Topia was in attendance as an exhibitor and our team attended a variety of talks that took place over the two days. For those that missed this great HR event, this blog post will share some of the learnings from the event.


Opening this years conference to discuss the HR disruptions that lie ahead was industry leader and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Josh Bersin. With a rapidly changing marketplace, the impact of technology was a key focus as it impacts gains in productivity, employee experience and the explosive potential for AI. A focus for Josh was around the talent gap, and the struggle of todays skills shortage. Incredibly, right now in the US, there are 0.8 people for every one job available. And with it costing more than 6 times to hire externally, than develop and promote internally, there is a burning need to hire, develop and retain your talent.

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In global mobility we’re also seeing this shift. Companies are looking to be more proactive in their approach to global mobility - as an incentive and opportunity in talent growth/strategy, rather than a reactive approach to simply fill vacancies. Statistics from our recent Wakefield research found that 70% of employees agreed that transferring to another branch or location within the company would advance their career - yet only 40% were aware this was available.

Digitalisation - how often do you hear this word when talking about the future of work? As prolific as “digitalisation” may seem, how do companies effectively drive digitalisation and transformation, with the changing nature of the business? Listening to Peter Meerman from Philips, and Ino Paap from IKEA, they discussed looking at the broader challenges in organisations, and how technology can take over roles not just tasks. Putting in technology can up skill an individual, so that their new capabilities can be leveraged for wider business goals. A lot of tools out there will focus on a quick fix for an efficiency gain, but won’t fit as organisations development over time.

The buzzword for HR teams is ‘partnership’. Operating in a rapidly changing world means HR teams want education on the impact of a technological change, with ongoing support as their programmes progress. Sitting in one of the smaller rooms at the venue, I listened to Siobhan Thomas from InterContinental Hotels Group, host a roundtable discussion on ‘Future Proofing HR Tech Investments’. As soon as Siobhan mentioned the word “partnership” a harmonious nod filled the room. Clearly, HR practitioners want to see a strong vendor client relationship develop. In the global mobility world, going through an implementation is not by any means a quick and easy task. So building upon a partnership means an organisation can develop its programme and technology solution to proactively tackle some of the complexities and changing natures of our industry.

As a “vendor” attending an event it’s refreshing and grounding to be able to attend the sessions and hear what’s top of mind for the HR experts - solutions that can scale and grow, a partner and not a vendor, education and up-skilling, and most of all to create great experiences for their employee and business stakeholders. If you couldn’t make it to Unleash, but are looking for a great resource to start your journey into purchasing HR tech, check out our HR Tech Buyers Guide.

Alex Wilson

About the author

Alex Wilson

Alex is a Business Development Rep based out of Topia's London office. In addition to being an HR practitioner's #1 fan, Alex holds a black belt in karate.

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