The First HR.Weekend Impresses All Visitors

Zvonimir Barišin / Pixsell

The first HR.Weekend, born in response to the growing needs and changes within the HR industry, has concluded with a plethora of insightful lectures, excellent networking, entertainment, and numerous updates in the world of human resources. It was designed for professionals, HR managers, employers, and anyone interested in the development and application of innovative strategies in human resource management.

“HR.Weekend emerged as a result of our aspiration to create a festival dedicated to the increasingly sought-after HR profession, where every participant would leave satisfied. It’s a festival where everyone can find something for themselves, and its themes are oriented towards modern and progressive HR solutions. We crafted the program for a long time, and the feedback on the first edition has been more than positive. We’ve succeeded in our goals, which only fuels our enthusiasm for the next edition,” stated Daniel Ackermann, co-organizer of HR.Weekend, at the end of the festival.

“Year after year, we continue to grow, or more precisely, evolve. Starting this year, we hosted the HR.Weekend for the first time, which is just one example of our continuous effort to listen to the market’s needs and adapt the Weekend Media Festival program to current topics and trends. This is a tradition that persists from year to year. HR.Weekend has proven to be an excellent platform for generating new ideas, forming friendships, networking, and, of course, having fun,” stated Tomo Ricov, co-organizer of the HR.Weekend.

The inaugural HR.Weekend event was characterized by presentations and panel discussions spanning a broad spectrum of topics. These ranged from recruitment strategies and selection processes to the seldom-discussed issue of underperformance. A particularly fascinating debate ensued between advocates of clinical and organizational psychology, focusing on the presence of the ‘dark triad’ within corporate structures.

Neuroscientist and professor Dr. Nikolaos Dimitriadis also impressed with his fascinating lecture titled It’s Not You, It’s Your Brain, where he explained how neuroscience perceives changes and how our brain manages them. “Can we predict human behavior?” Dr. Dimitriadis posed. “Self-reporting, observation, and biometrics—or more accurately, neurometrics—aid in this endeavor. We can question people, observe their actions, and conduct empirical studies. Yet, it’s important to remember that people are often expressive, and they frequently verbalize thoughts that don’t necessarily align with their brain’s true perceptions. This is because we don’t always consciously choose our actions or the motivations behind them,” he elaborated.

Addressing one of today’s most urgent subjects, McKinsey partners Florian Pollner and Asmus Komm presented the evolving priorities and operational models of HR functions, shaped by the influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Their lecture was aptly titled Re-imagining HR – Back to Human in a World of Generative AI. “AI has become an integral part of HR’s everyday operations; many were simply unaware of its presence because they hadn’t experienced it firsthand. Generative AI, or GenAI, is currently spearheading the enhancement of HR management efficiency and profoundly impacts almost every HR domain on a global scale,” Komm elucidated, highlighting the significant link between HR and AI.

The lecture What does burnout mean and how does it differ across generations?, also drew substantial attention. Prof. Dr. Nataša Jokić Begić led the participants through a comparative analysis of generational self-care practices, underscoring the shifts in priorities from past generations to the present one. “Different generations manifest their emotions differently in the workplace,” emphasized Jokić-Begić. “While older generations frequently suppress their feelings, younger ones tend to be more expressive about their emotions and their effect on workplace productivity.”

The HR.Weekend seamlessly integrated science into the discourse surrounding changes within the HR industry as well. The discussion was led by a panel of experts including Lucija Veličan, an HR consultant in the IT sector at Talentarium Austria; Slobodan Jović, a psychologist and the CEO of; Blagica Petrovac, the Senior Director of Human Resources at Pliva; and Maša Prebeg, the Director of Human Resources at Konzum. The dynamic conversation was moderated by Nikola Milosavljević, a managing partner of HR Fabrika, under the banner Ch-ch-changes – from selection to recruitment. “In my perspective, the roles of a recruiter and a selection specialist should not converge. A psychologist brings unique knowledge and insight, excels in non-verbal communication decoding, employs tests, and is superior in assessing individuals—making them more suited for selection. Conversely, a recruiter’s role is better performed by economists, sociologists, or salespeople, as they bring distinct expertise and excel in sales, persuasion, and ultimately, talent attraction. This delineates the fundamental difference between these two increasingly in-demand professions,” Jović expounded.

The lecture Creating an Organization People Won’t Leave: Scientific Insights on Retention by Mitja Ružojčić and Zvonimir Galić, both from the Department of Psychology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb, was met with high demand for attendance.

And for those who were contemplating a career in the HR sector, expert Michael Custers, the Director of Marketing at SD Worx, provided a deeper insight into the human resources industry with his lecture It’s a Great Time to Be in HR. He demonstrated to the participants that HR indeed has a promising and bright future. “Everything HR touches becomes fluid. Yesterday, everything was long-term, secure, and predictable, but today everything is dynamic, fluid, mobile, and changeable,” stated Custers, explaining the rapid evolution of this industry and highlighting the reasons why we should believe that now is the ideal time for work and development within the HR sector. He articulated these reasons through three key questions: will my HR job disappear, will AI take over my job, and will Europe divide? “One thing is certain, now is the ideal time for work and development within the HR sector, especially if you can harness the benefits of artificial intelligence and technology while successfully navigating the regulatory complexity in the modern world,” he concluded.

The inaugural HR.Weekend was characterized by a myriad of pertinent topics that resonate in today’s business arena. These subjects are not only crucial to HR professionals and employers but also to the entire workforce navigating the complexities of the current job market. These discussions provided insights into the modern employment landscape. Undoubtedly, during the essential networking sessions, participants gleaned valuable advice on how to adeptly navigate contemporary trends in this evolving process.

To stay informed about how the first HR.Weekend unfolded, keep an eye on our official Festival profiles on FacebookInstagram and Linkedin profiles.

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