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HRINZ Conference 2004 Shifting the Thinking
HRINZ Conference 2004 Shifting the Thinking
next practice in people management

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“The HR function will have to change because it’s heading towards a precipice.” Ed Lawler

A recent survey undertaken in the United Kingdom by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development titled ‘Where we are, where we’re heading’ revealed that significant transformation is facing the practice of human resources. As the profession increases its role as strategic business partner and agents of change, many are realising that they aren’t sure just what this will mean for them and wonder if they will be ready. 88% of respondents to this survey said that business strategy and goals would be a very important driver of change in people management policies and practices in their organisations in the next three years.


Are these lines straight or curved?

The situation is no different in New Zealand, though some might say that we reached this thinking a while ago. The HRINZ Conference 2004 will be focusing on the challenges facing the profession, but more importantly on the need to change the thinking of those driving the beast. Reinventing the profession and ourselves; the hybrid approach of looking at broader professional disciplines and different perspectives on the increasingly complex environment; and taking stock of where we’re starting from and where we want to be are all issues we will hear about.

One thing is certain - the only constant is change.

The three concurrent streams are Change, Creativity, Certainty - turbulent C’s?

The “Change” stream will look at why some change management initiatives work well and why others just don’t meet their objectives. Change is seen as intrusive, disruptive and scary for many people who are often less than enthusiastic at the thought of having to rethink how they behave and constantly adapt in order to survive. How does an organisation move forward to become or remain competitive when some employees resist at every turn? The time it takes to introduce change can sometimes be financially crippling, but the cost of the emotional upheaval to those involved can be fatal if the change isn’t managed well.

Creativity” will be the key to success, as the turbulence we’ve learned to live with over the past few years becomes the norm. In order for organisations to harness this vital ingredient the culture has to be conducive – it must embrace wild ideas, freedom, experimentation and risk taking whilst allowing for the occasional miscalculation or failure. Creativity alone is not enough – being able to release or unleash it in a supportive and flexible environment is where the value really gets added. Problem solving, innovation and paradigm flexibility are all important capabilities that will be addressed in this stream.

The “Certainty” stream takes the position that economic and technological change means that some things are never going to be the same again and will look at how these things will need to be done differently to ensure a sustainable future. Jim Collins says that if we get the ‘who’ right first then the ‘what’ should follow; that it’s not about having a place at the table, HR is the table and the others have a place. Roger Collins says we need to reinvent ourselves individually and as a profession if we are to flourish. We want this stream to explore the concept that HR may be operating in a strategic vacuum – do we need to play yesterday’s game differently or better, or should we be playing an entirely new game?

We don’t have all the answers but we can provide a great platform for discussion and debate and this conference will be our most interactive yet. It will also be the scariest and rattle lots of cages, but isn’t that what a great conference does?

Be seeing you…

Beverley Main
Chief Executive

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