BUS News

During and post-pandemic HRM explained by international scholars and practitioners

08 Jun, 2020
img The HKBU School of Business and the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) jointly organised the CIPD-HKBU International Symposium 2020 on 5 June 2020 via webinar. This year’s theme is “The changing contours of work”.  Over 200 local and international academics and senior HR practitioners and representatives from major local and overseas HR associations like Personal Management Association of Thailand, Singapore Human Resource Institute, Australian Human Resources Institute, Bangladesh Society for Human Resources Management and Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resources Management attended the symposium.

Prof. Ed Snape, Dean of the School of Business, welcomed the guests and stressed, “At this challenging time, it is more important than ever to bring academics and practitioners together to consider effective HRM practices based on both research findings and practical insights.”

Ms. Margaret Cheng, Human Resources Director of MTR Corporation Ltd., shared her insights into business continuity in a pandemic. Drawing from her experience over recent months, she suggested that management should abandon the idea of dealing with the crisis while hoping for the “old days” to return after the pandemic; instead, they should take this as an opportunity to transit to the new normal, get used to managing a virtual team and learn how to allocate resources accordingly. This will allow them to be agile and to continuously respond to future change. Ms. Cheng also suggested six key areas that would impact businesses in this transition: labour arrangements, the demand for goods and services, changes in the supply chain, restrictions on social distancing, health and safety considerations, and business volume.

Prof. Tanya Bondarouk, Professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, a leading researcher in the area of e-HRM, talked about how technology will transform the practice of people management. She concluded that digitalisation of HRM was not simply about technology, but was also about effective people management. The three key takeaways for corporations were to figure out the business strategy before investing in any e-HRM, trust staff who have deep knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in daily operations, and recognise and respond to employees’ fear of being replaced.

The full day event also featured a research sessions, including gender issues and employment by Dr. Erica Xu of the HKBU School of Business, performance subjectivity by Dr. Wei He of Nanjing University, and cross-cultural research activity by Dr. Martin Sposato of Zayed University. Leading practitioners were also involved, namely Dr. Stephen Pang from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority and Dr. Aaron Chiang from Hong Yip Property Management Co., who shared their experience of managing fear during the pandemic and the changing roles of HR during crises, respectively. Dr. Martin O’Brien from the University of Wollongong provided a  macro view of the post-coronavirus labour market, and a panel discussion considered  developments in leadership in a “topsy-turvy world”, led by Mr. Michael Jenkins of Expert Humans of Singapore, and joined by Dr. Vijayan Munusamy of Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore, Prof. Xu Huang of the HKBU School of Business and Dr. Wilson Wong of CIPD.

The symposium, held jointly by CIPD and the HKBU School of Business for the second year running, provided an excellent opportunity for business academics and practitioners to interact and discuss the key issues of the day.