HRBP as a trendsetter – HR Professionals Congress in a nutshell

21 November 2023
Karolina Felczak
HRBP as a trendsetter – HR Professionals Congress in a nutshell
8 min.

The main theme of the HR Professionals Congress that took place in October this year centered on the pivotal role of HR Business Partners (HRBPs) within organizations. It delved into how their competencies could enhance employee development and significantly boost the overall efficiency of the organization across various domains.

Congress topics

The speakers shared their perspectives and examples of implemented practices related to change management in both soft and hard HR. They also focused on pressing problems resulting from current challenges, changes, and market trends that require an innovative approach. The formula of the event was based on the subject-specific modules – presentations, panel discussions, and workshops on:

  • artificial intelligence in recruitment processes,
  • reskilling and upskilling,
  • inclusive communication,
  • HRBP role in the organization.

HR perspectives and need for change

The conference was opened by the premiere of Trend Map developed by Natalia Hatalska and Infuture Institute. The current trends were analyzed by Aleksandra Trapp ( who talked about the directions of changes that will influence HR processes in the near future. The Trend Map 2023 includes phenomena such as demographic changes, the mirror world, bioera, global multipolarity, and symbiocene.

An important issue in implementing changes is motivation that leads to continuous improvement known as protopia

It was noted that an important issue in implementing changes is motivation that leads to protopia – continuous improvement, also in area of competencies and skills. This applies particularly to Alfa generation (people born after 2010, otherwise known as “Always on”, „Net Gen”, „Digital Natives” or „Google Kids”). Although this group hasn’t entered the labour market yet, it’s already known that they will require a different approach to motivation and building employee engagement.

Natalia Hatalska –

Karol Wolski (Mocni w HR) turned the audience’s attention to other HR trends. He spoke about artificial intelligence, automation, and monetization, which are integral parts of modern HR.

Representatives of LuxmedDorota Sawicz i Sławomir Łopalewski focused on employee benefits and their evolution. While standard healthcare is rather common, the employees are interested in its new, extended form – hospital care services. What’s more, as research shows, 35% of employees consider it a desirable benefit – especially in the age of presenteeism, i.e. the phenomenon of individuals turning up for work when they are ill, rather than taking time off of work as sickness absence. This kind of employee presence leads to ineffective work and generates higher costs than absenteeism. That’s why it should be an impulse to redefine the employee benefits policy.

Feedforward and other development tools

Our teammates – Paweł Więsek and Monika Świderska took up the topic of employee development. They emphasized how important is to properly prepare the processes and use various diagnostic and development tools throughout the employee journey in the organization.

Feedforward is a method similar to traditional feedback that focuses on solving problems, without evaluating the current activities

What tools can HRBP and HR specialists use quite quickly? Stay interview, microlearning, or feedforward – a method similar to traditional feedback that focuses on solving problems, without evaluating the current activities and trying not to repeat them in the future. Finally, they admitted that the development programs to be effective and supportive in achieving the strategic goals of the organization should take into account its specific processes. Moreover, it is worth reinforcing them with a flexible technology that allows for measuring, monitoring, and analyzing the effectiveness of all activities.

Monika Świderska i Paweł Więsek (Productive24)

How to take care of teenagers’ mental health and how to talk to them? This was the topic of discussion between Ewa Drzyzga (TVN) and Edyta Żmuda (Forum Media Polska). They presented ready-to-use scenarios and advice that are worth taking to heart to make the conversation more productive for both parties.

The leader in the future

The participants of the first-panel discussion that day – Marta Jakowluk (Leroy Merlin), Michał Płaczkiewicz (Unum Życie TUiR S.A.), Adamina Solecka (Oknoplast), Bogusława Kotowska (Agora S.A.) and Anna Morzy-Brzosko (Youniversity) talked about the leader in the future and his/her characteristics. They pointed to the ability to build bridges between generations, helping others understand cultural differences and – what’s essential – flexibility and competence for change management. The panelists referred to a more and more common phenomenon – quiet quitting. It means a decrease in employee engagement, doing the minimum requirements of the job, and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than necessary. In their opinion, it results mainly from a transactional relationship with the organization and to prevent it, it’s necessary to build relations based on emotions.

And what about other employee benefits that the employer should consider? A lunch card seems to be an interesting option. Jarosław Paśnik (Edenred) provided some calculations that show the positive aspects for an employer. The lunch card brings tax benefits and increases the employee purchasing power by as much as 54%.

Magdalena Szudzińska, Izabela Jarecka (Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland), and Karina Popieluch z (KaiZen HR) presented a case study of Business Partner transformation at Toyota, including the goals and challenges. The project concerned the transformation of BP’s role – from operational support to strategic partnership for manufacturing. The challenge was to find 9 people who would act as Business Partners avoiding employment growth in the entire department. It was decided to conduct a 1.5-year pilot program that aimed to verify the assumptions and ensure the ongoing control of the process. The key processes have been mapped during the pilot in order to identify the touchpoints with the business. This was meant to accelerate and increase efficiency – and as a result – make the right business decisions. An important element was the start of the Business Partner Academy which includes training aimed at better understanding the business. Moreover, Business Partners share the experiences to maintain a consistent approach to their role across the organization.

HRBP and the burnout

Michał Kiciński (co-founder of CD Projekt RED) spoke about HRBP’s role in preventing burnout syndrome that may be caused by psychological burden related to the changes in the organization, e.g. staff reduction or overwhelming by excess duties. A valuable piece of advice for HR is to pay special attention to the management board because a huge responsibility rests on their shoulders. What’s more, this group is particularly vulnerable to professional burnout. It is necessary to prevent this phenomenon because it leads to low-quality business decision-making and has a huge impact on the entire organization.

Małgorzata Czernecka (Human Power) has also referred to professional burnout. She mentioned “invisible rescuers” from HR departments. They work mainly with people and for people providing support both at the individual level and corporate levels. This is responsible and energy-consuming work, that carries a high risk of burnout.

Talent development and new competencies

Sebastian Kotow (Institute of Behavioral Design) in his speech focused on adaptive intelligence. Taking into account the rapid changes, complex relations but also technology and progressive computerization, people need to develop this kind of intelligence. It consists of:

  • uncertainty management,
  • opportunity orientation,
  • emotional adaptability.

The speaker emphasized that adaptive intelligence is all about keeping calm and control even in difficult situations. Adaptive intelligence also means that we are able to understand and control our emotions in the face of various events. These characteristics create a set of competencies that seem to be desirable in the modern world.

Sebastian Kotow – Institute of Behavioral Design

Talent management, acquisition, and retention were discussed by Agnieszka Ciećwierz (Sigmund Polska). She cited the latest research of the Polish Economic Institute, which answered the question of what competencies employers are looking for. These are mostly soft skills, such as:

  • creativity,
  • ability to cooperate with others,
  • ability to solve complex problems,
  • cognitive flexibility,
  • negotiation skills,
  • emotional intelligence,
  • ability to work in a situation of uncertainty.

An important point of her speech was the issue of changes in the labor market that we will have to face in the coming years. Considering that 1/5 of employees may be replaced by robots, and by 2023 over 50% of Poles will be forced to change their sector, the employers should be properly prepared and support them in the transformation process.

1/5 of employees may be replaced by robots, and by 2023 over 50% of Poles will be forced to change their sector.

Agnieszka Ciećwierz also explained the differences between reskilling, upskilling, and redeployment. While the first two concepts are already quite popular, redeployment is not commonly known. Redeployment means complex remodeling of the employee’s current employment. It may also be essential within the context of an aging population – as a good solution for those who want to be professionally active even staying retired. That’s why it is also recommended to regularly review competencies in the organization using e.g. assessments, developments, competency tests, or behavioral interviews.

Redefined competencies – reskilling and reverse mentoring

The invited panelists: Ilona Perużyńska-Zych (Rossmann) and Marta Skiba (Play) discussed the redefinition of the significance of competencies. Allowing employees to change their positions in the IT or analytics area was an example of proactive and effective activities that helped reduce high turnover in the customer service department. It was decided to create a reskilling program that presented the positions as they are – without utopia – and it was a big success. Another topic was related to the skills development of high-level employees and reverse mentoring which – as it turns out – some managers are afraid of, mainly because the mentor is usually younger. However, it was noted that it is worth considering using such an approach to competence development.

HR tailored to the future

There were also topics concerning leadership and inclusion in the workplace. Jacek Santorski talked about the increasing role of “safety enclaves”. They gain in importance in the era of numerous changes that organizations and their environment are faced with. In the debate on this issue Michał Pietrzykowski (Green Caffe Nero), Celina Prinz (Pepco), and Marta Sikora (Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland) agreed that in an organization that employs several thousands of employees from different countries, diversity and inclusion management is the tough nut to crack. However, making each employee feel special is extremely important. Such activities are difficult, demanding, and continuous work, but worth the price. It should be treated as a long-term investment that will pay off in the future.

HR powered by AI

The conference ended with a presentation by Tomasz Klekowski, Anna Bednarek, and Anna Majkowska. They were trying to answer the questions:

  • Is AI a threat to human resources or rather an opportunity for business development?
  • What will recruitment look like in the near future?
  • How to build candidate experience, especially in the context of Generation Z?

Although the use of AI in HR is becoming more and more common, it is important to remember the legal limitations resulting from AI ACT. Especially now, when employees are worried that they may be replaced by technology.

Summary of the Congress

Conclusions stemming from Congress indicate the need for a sustainable HR approach to the changes in the market. It means that it includes both benefits resulting from process automation and concern for systematic employee development. However, the final goal is to create a harmonious work environment in which human skills and artificial intelligence cooperate and enhance each other to increase the efficiency of the entire organization.