From June 16-17, AmCham China hosted the 2022 Human Resources Conference. Due to ongoing pandemic restrictions, the 23rd annual Conference was held virtually with over 200 attendees joining over two days.
This year’s conference, held against the backdrop of two incredibly disruptive years, centered around the theme of building organization capability in the changing workplace. As the current external environment continues to challenge companies of all sizes and across industries, it gives corporate leaders much to think about on sustaining and transforming people, organizations, and businesses with resilience.
Day one kicked off with remarks from Michael Hart, President of AmCham China, and the day’s MC, Charles Shao, Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry and Co-chair of AmCham China’s HR Committee.
The first keynote speech came from Dr. Jian Lu, Corporate VP of LinkedIn and President of LinkedIn China. Lu’s keynote discussed “International Remote”, focusing on the rise of a distributed global workforce and remote HR platforms. Lu observed that the past few years have seen the trend of remote work become the new normal. Prior to the pandemic, a small percentage reported working remote or hybrid, compared to now, with 60% reporting working onsite, 8% remotely, and 30% hybrid. Lu also shared that LinkedIn has seen the number of remote jobs posted since January increase markedly, with views on remote jobs more than two times the average, and even demand for remote work outpacing the remote positions available. Just as the last decade saw the rise of “mobile first”, Lu says he believes we will see more and more “remote first”, meaning that new businesses will be “born remote” without physical locations and employees working from around the world.
The second keynote was from Sharon Yang, Managing Director and Chief Human Resources Officer at SPD Silicon Valley Bank (SSVB), on the topic of HR’s role in ESG and how organizations can achieve actionable changes. Yang said that ESG is of increasing importance to stakeholders across the board, from governments and investors to company executives and employees, and must be prioritized. She also discussed HR’s role in the sustainable transformation journey of an organization saying there are three main roles, to manage goals in a sustainable way, provide HR solutions to support strategic goals, and extend influence to society and community.
The first and only panel of day one centered on a topic that is top of mind for many organizations today, “challenges in attracting and retaining staff”. The panel was moderated by Annie Wang, HRVP at Bayer Greater China and APAC, who was joined by: Tin Ip, Education Director at YCIS Beijing; Sonia Wang, Senior Client Partner, China Market Leader, Global Life Sciences at Korn Ferry; and Sherry Li, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Nestle Greater China. The panelists agreed that retaining and attracting talent is a top concern for organizations regardless of industry, and suggested different strategies and approaches to not only retaining talent, but cultivating a more positive, empowered work environment.
Attendees returned to the virtual conference for day two on Friday, June 17. Once again, AmCham China President Michael Hart opened up the program and introduced the day’s MC, Charise Le, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Schneider Electric and AmCham China HR Committee Co-chair.
The keynote speech of day two was delivered by Kenneth Zhou, Partner at WilmerHale, who discussed the impact of China’s Personal Information Protection Law on HR management by MNCs in China. Zhou explained that, since 2017, organizations have experienced tightened data security in China after the passing of key legislations. The regulations addressed a broad range of data security and privacy issues including, consent-based data processing, data localization, cross-border data transfer, and more. Zhou said these legislations and in particular the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) have had a significant impact on HR resources and management for MNCs doing business in China. He recommended that MNCS consider adopting specific compliance measures to address new requirements under PIPL. Zhou also shared an overview of what constitutes “Personal Information”, gave examples of Sensitive PI, and shared general recommendations for organizations with large China operations.
The second panel was moderated by Janet Chen, Chief Human Resources Officer at Microsoft Greater China, with guests: Charise Le, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Schneider Electric; Roan Kang, VP of Marketing and Operations at Microsoft Greater China; Laura Wei, HRVP at Tal Education Group; and Daimler Qiao, Vice President of China at Mercer. The panel discussed HR transformation at a high level. Kang observed there are three major themes in the post pandemic era: hybrid work, business resilience, and talent retention. The panelists agreed that in an increasingly divergent world, the role of HR is more important than ever, and they encouraged organizations to foster a culture of innovation and empowerment.
The last panel of the Conference focused on upskilling and reskilling in the changing workplace. Michelle Zhang, Head of HR at Pfizer Investment moderated and was joined by, Rich Qiu, President of New Ventures at Udemy; Melody Xu, Head of People Organization at HP Greater China; and Lin Gao, Executive Coach, Trainer, Author and Speaker at Message Coach. As Qiu noted, even though the pandemic changed everything, digital transformation had begun prior to COVID-19. HE went on to say that tech skills are crucial for digital transformation, and predicted that we will continue to see soft skills, or “power skills” as he reframed them, at the top of the list of essential skills. Xu agreed, adding that storytelling, technical skills, and critical and analytical thinking are all necessary in today’s workplace. For her part, Gao added that today’s leaders require a combination of skills to succeed, “speed and reflection; strategic and execution; heroic and humble.”
If you’re interested in learning more about AmCham China’s HR Committee and how to get involved, email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
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