HR in the time of COVID
HR in the time of COVID
November 28, 2021|
4 min read
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The annual FHRD conference was held on Friday, November 12 at the Hilton Conference Centre, Malta
During the welcome address, FHRD president Matthew Naudi announced that the Foundation for Human Resource Development is in the process of creating a National HR Proficiency Network which will be the basis for a national standard for HR professionals.
This year the FHRD’s Annual HR Conference theme was Beyond the Pandemic, and it was attended by 350 HR professionals. In his welcome address, Naudi spoke of how many organisations survived the pandemic because they had an effective HR team with HR professionals who were agile, open to experimentation, used a creative approach to problem solving, tech savvy and had an influence on company strategy.
He also reiterated the importance for HR professionals to upskill, reskill and learn new skills to create new ways of working thus pushing for more holocratic rather than hierarchical organisation structures. This will help organisations to respond better to similar situations.
The first international keynote speaker at the conference was Gerrit Schimmelpenninck, director, Talent Insights and Research at Activision Publishing Inc. He spoke about talent intelligence as opposed to HR analytics to strategize an organisation’s comeback post pandemic. He explained that while data analytics is the gathering and analysis of human capital data within one’s own organisation, talent intelligence focuses on human capital information of competing companies which is publicly available.
Talent intelligence can be used for competitor analysis, workforce planning and talent pool identification among others and sources used could be platforms like Linked-in and national statistics, among others. His message was that we can learn by observing what other companies are doing rather than reinvent the wheel.
Next up was Vanessa Camenzuli, People Excellence & Engagement manager at Evolution Gaming. She gave a presentation on the role of employer branding during a crisis such as COVID-19, and beyond. She said that employer branding is not about marketing and promotion, nor is it about just attracting the right talent. “Employer branding is about creating a reputation for being a great place to work and it gives an organisation a competitive advantage which leads to profitability,” she said.
It is essentially an organisation’s talent attraction and retention strategy. After listing the main functions that influence employee branding, Vanessa concluded that employer branding should be used as a tool and is not the ultimate solution.
The morning concluded with Claudine Attard, director, Management Consulting at PwC Malta, presenting the FHRD Pulse Survey 2021. This looks to identify the key HR challenges local organisations are facing and to gain insight on the priorities for people management going forward. She later proceeded to facilitate a panel discussion on the findings of the survey with some valuable and interesting insights from the panellists who included: Marie Theobold, Chief People Officer Hero Gaming, Stephanie Cacopardo, HR Manager Melita Limited and Emily Bonello, manager HR and Operations at Baxter.
The second part of the conference was dedicated to another international keynote speaker, the FHRD Quality Mark presentation of certificates as well as an energizer. 
Arjen Swank, Senior Engagement Specialist at Effectory, an international keynote speaker focused his presentation on how to retain talent through proven actions. He delved into ways of how HR can identify the company’s talents and why engagement really matters. He defined talent as being a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught, so it is important for organisations to have engaged and committed employees and a strong performance environment in order to retain talent.
The much-anticipated HR Quality Mark presentation ceremony then took place. The FHRD HR Quality Mark recognises organisations for their effective practices in the field of human resources. The objective of the FHRD Quality Mark is to recognise the professionalism, competence and contribution of the HR function in any organisation. 21 organisations were presented with their certificates by Naudi and FHRD Chief Operations Officer Karen Muscat Baldacchino. Mid-way through the award ceremony, the delegates participated in an energizer in the form of a short Pilates session.
The conference ended with motivational speaker Keith Marshall, who gave an upbeat speech on the meaningfulness behind life and making it count, which was widely appreciated by all those present.
For more information about the conference and the full results of the survey, visit​. For information about the Quality Mark visit
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