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On June 21, we held #AvatureUpfront China at the Lianyi Space in PortMix Shanghai. The conference gathered numerous industry leaders and HR experts to delve into topics such as digital HR transformation and innovation in recruitment, employer branding and HR technology.

Song Cai is delivering the opening speech.

In the opening remarks, Cai Song, VP of Sales China, thoroughly explained Avature’s ongoing expansion and optimization strategy in the Greater China region and introduced the conference speakers. Our stellar line-up shared enlightening presentations, which provided many insights and food for thought for the attendees.

Roman Cunci is thanking our guest speakers during the closing remarks.

Let’s look back at the key takeaways.

Addressing Challenges: New Talent Management Strategies in the BANI Era

In the BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Nonlinear, Incomprehensible) era, where the business environment is increasingly unpredictable and complex, HR expert Leon Kwang discussed how to effectively use core recruiting technologies amidst rapid technological advancements. He emphasized the importance of maintaining scalability in the current recruitment environment and introduced some practical solutions.

Additionally, Leon mentioned that each organization has its unique candidate funnel model. Through sharing successful case studies from companies like Philips, he explained how to maintain the health and scalability of candidate pipelines tailored to the specific circumstances of each organization. Concluding his talk, Leon offered some valuable perspectives.

Based on my experience over the past 20 years, I foresee the future trends in recruitment: employers and job seekers will be represented by AI agents, and recruitment managers aiming to successfully attract the right talent must possess foresight, empathy and charisma.”

Leon Kwang
Thought Leader

Leon Kwang delivering his presentation speech.

Challenges in Talent and Organizational Management for Chinese Enterprises Going Global

Peter Zhao, Senior Manager of People and Organization at PwC, delved into the key challenges faced by Chinese enterprises undergoing globalization. Peter analyzed four main issues: positioning of headquarters functions, cultural integration, efficiency improvements in basic services and the integration of cross-functional services, proposing corresponding strategies and practical case studies.

He emphasized the importance of optimizing functions between headquarters and regional offices, explored how to achieve multicultural integration while preserving the essence of local cultures globally and discussed enhancing service efficiency through technological and process innovations. Additionally, Peter addressed the importance of cross-departmental collaboration and how resource sharing and capability complementarity can drive overall organizational excellence.

Peter Zhao discusses the importance of optimizing functions between headquarters and regional offices.

Roundtable Discussion: How Recruitment Teams Can Transform into Drivers of Corporate Strategy

The eagerly anticipated roundtable discussion was the first session of the afternoon. HR leaders from ZF Group, Cisco and Siemens Heathineers gathered to explore the evolution of recruitment teams. They delved deep into how recruitment teams can transition from traditional administrative roles to becoming core drivers of corporate strategy.

By enhancing strategic thinking and developing robust business execution capabilities, recruitment teams are becoming key players in helping companies achieve their long-term goals.

In this competitive era, I want to share some defensive strategies. First and foremost, the most crucial ability is to position oneself correctly and maintain the right mindset, which is fundamental. Secondly, it is essential to solidify basic skills. If one solely chases new technologies like AI and neglects basic skills, unemployment is just a matter of time. Truly solid professionals will always have opportunities. Third, deepen your understanding of finance. You need to understand financial statements and communicate with your boss using data, which will enable you to have a greater impact in the workplace.”

Burnett Zhu
HR Head Division Electronics and ADAS APAC, ZF Group

Burnett Zhu discussing HR defensive strategies during the panel discussion.

AI has been a tremendous help to recruitment personnel, especially in data analysis. Our frontline staff collect a vast amount of fragmented information daily. This information includes market intelligence and snippets from everyday conversations among colleagues. The challenge is consolidating these disparate pieces of information into reports and effectively reporting to superiors. To stay ahead in the workplace, you need to process and utilize this information faster than your peers.”

Andy Gong
Head of Talent Acquisition, China Region, Siemens Healthineers

Andy Gong discussing AI technologies during the panel discussion.

We found that over-reliance on AI could impact candidate experience, so we decided to hand back key interviewing processes to the team. Despite technological advancements, candidates prefer a more human touch. We are committed to enhancing recruiter capabilities, making tools our partners, and fostering an open learning culture internally, encouraging the team to share any creative ideas.”

Shirley Tao
Talent Acquisition Manager, Cisco

Shirley Tao discussing AI technologies during the panel discussion.

Local Impact: Global Companies’ Employer Branding Success

Standing out in a competitive market is a top priority for organizations across industries. To address this, multiple speakers took to the stage to share their insights on the best strategies for tackling employer branding.

Breaking Through Current Branding Challenges

During a deep dive into how to enhance employer branding by cultivating corporate culture and optimizing recruitment processes, Roy Wang, founder and CEO of ITS Consulting, and Frank Xu, Head of Talent Acquisition for Novartis in China, discussed significant shifts in the employer-employee relationship.

They pointed out that the modern relationship has evolved from a traditional loyalty contract, where fair treatment ensures employee retention, to a more comprehensive life contract focused on the full spectrum of an employee’s life, a change crucial for building a strong employer brand. Roy outlined five critical steps to establishing an employer brand, while Frank shared practical examples of implementing these strategies in the consumer goods and pharmaceutical industries.

Together, they emphasized that investing in talent and creating excellent working environments are key to business success, attracting top talent and boosting employee pride and performance, thereby distinguishing a company in competitive markets.

In the multitude of complex internal and external communication projects, the key to employer branding is how to synergize and cleverly integrate the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to ensure a consistent experience. Using powerful CRM tools like Avature can effectively lock in key communication targets and expand talent touchpoints.”

Roy Wang
Founder and CEO, ITS Consulting

 Roy Wang is presenting in the afternoon session.

The recruitment business in the healthcare sector faces a series of persistent challenges, including serious job diversion issues among pharmaceutical graduates, decreasing attractiveness of positions and a lack of systemic understanding of the industry ecosystem by universities. Companies can tackle these issues head-on by focusing on improving the reputation of the industry and pharmaceutical representatives among early-career talent groups, and amplifying impact through joint innovation activities to increase efficiency. At the same time, establishing a reliable employer brand assessment system to continuously track and evaluate our inputs and outputs is crucial.”

Frank Xu
Head of Talent Acquisition, China, Novartis

Frank Xu is presenting in the afternoon session.

Shell’s Continuous Innovation in China

At previous Avature Conferences, Shell’s Recruitment Marketing Advisor, Feiya Song, shared how to build an Alumni community using Avature. This year, she shared another insightful presentation, discussing how to integrate the EVP throughout the entire career lifecycle of employees.

Feiya elaborated on the successful implementation of a global EVP strategy in the Chinese market. She explained how Shell has enhanced its brand appeal and continued to increase its influence throughout employees’ careers by innovatively utilizing internal resources and breaking traditional channels.

Shell has fostered cross-departmental collaboration and leveraged local social media platforms popular among young people, such as Xiaohongshu, to engage with potential talent and build a strong employer brand presence. Specifically, she shared several effective employer branding cases, including how they obtained over 400,000 views through a campus ambassador program and how combining Shell’s Eco-marathon with open campus recruitment days effectively leveraged internal resources.

In situations where employer branding resources are relatively limited, we establish alliances by integrating resources from internal teams such as corporate relations and product marketing. Through unity and collaboration, we achieve better results.”

Feiya Song
Recruitment Marketing Advisor, China & Singapore – Shell

Feiya Song is presenting in the afternoon session.

Diageo’s Localized User-Generated Content Practices in the Asia Pacific Region

Since its inception three years ago, Diageo’s Asia-Pacific Employer Brand Team has been deeply exploring branding strategies. Samantha Wu, the APAC Employer Brand Manager, has focused on the “how” of strategy implementation, initiating explorations of the “what” and delving into the “why.”

She shared insights into utilizing user-generated social media content to localize the company’s global employer branding strategy effectively. One compelling example she provided was a one-minute video titled “A Day in the Life of a BD Manager,” which effectively promoted the company’s culture. These strategies have enhanced the company’s appeal in target markets and strengthened the brand’s popularity.

We always focus on business needs, seek and inspire internal partners, and create a vibrant and diverse employer brand through purposeful innovation.”

Samantha Wu
Employer Branding Manager, APAC, Diageo

Diageo’s speaker Samantha Wu presenting their employer branding concept.

Technology Outlook: Avature’s Innovative Products and Strategies

Avature’s Product Marketing Manager for China, Xiaobin Shi, and Account Management Team Leader for China, Nancy Yu, presented Avature’s comprehensive product strategy and its latest artificial intelligence features at the conference. Enhancing product configurability and flexibility, Avature assists clients in increasing work efficiency and effectively responding to rapidly changing business environments.

With a decade of deep engagement in the Chinese market, Avature has been committed to providing better services to domestic clients. During the product roadmap session, the Avature team also introduced localized features for the Chinese market, demonstrating the company’s focus and commitment to meeting the needs of this market.

Avature team is presenting Avature roadmap.

Avature team is presenting Avature roadmap.

Future Outlook: Exploring the Close Integration of Technology with Life

Notably, this year’s conference included a series of interactive sessions. During the tea breaks, attendees enjoyed interactive games and visited a special art exhibition titled, “Technological Advancements & Building Blocks of Life,” curated by Avature’s CEO, Dimitri Boylan.

The exhibition aimed to explore the profound connection between technology and natural biology, emphasizing a key idea: businesses that can adapt to environmental changes as flexibly as natural ecosystems are better able to innovate and evolve continuously within a constantly changing environment. As a catalyst in this process, technology helps businesses adapt to digital challenges and fosters their ongoing development.

In this rapidly changing business world, agility and adaptability are crucial for survival and success. Leaders who embrace innovation, deeply understand work dynamics and utilize technology to optimize human resource allocation will be able to outperform their competitors and successfully meet challenges. Avature is facilitating a continuous growth cycle by supporting various roles—from visionaries to designers, builders and optimizers—bringing continual innovation and progress to businesses.

 Attendees visiting the art exhibition.

Attendees enjoying the game area during the tea break.

Perfect Conclusion: Diageo’s Custom Whisky Tasting

As the conference came to a close, we welcomed attendees to participate in a happy hour. Diageo’s top mixologists provided attendees with a specially curated whisky-tasting experience. In this relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, participants not only tasted whiskies crafted specifically for the conference but also enjoyed a Friday night of networking, perfectly rounding off an insightful day.

Two expert bartenders from Diageo preparing whiskey cocktails.

This conference not only showcased the latest strategies and technologies in the HR field but also provided an ideal platform for industry peers to exchange ideas and share experiences. We look forward to reuniting with you in 2025!

Group photo of the Avature team.