I had the opportunity to participate in one of the sessions at HR Conference 2019 yesterday.  This is the biggest conference on HR in Japan (I believe) and held for four days in Tokyo with hundreds of sessions.  I have had participated in the sessions before-seminar style as well as workshop style- both in Tokyo and in Osaka (last year).

This year, the session I joined was entitled “What would be the ’raison d’etre’ of HR in the era of drastic transformation?” (in fact, the idea behind was “Would HR survive in the present form/structure?” I believe.)

I gave a brief talk at the beginning to set the context (focused on broader -i.e. geopolitical, economic, social issues and compare/contrast global/Japan etc.), followed by the panel discussion with two professional HR executives.  Mr. Toru Ochiai of McDonald Japan and Ms. Chiharu Takakura of Ajinomoto.  Both of them have had extensive experiences in the area of HR and worked at both global and Japanese companies, giving us insightful and inspiring remarks, based upon their own experiences.  I like interactive style much better than one-way lecture, and thus was happy to serve as moderator.

I myself learned a lot from their remarks and the session was very useful for me, as well.  When you moderate the panel, however, you are busy thinking of the flow of discussion, making sure I ask questions to both etc.,  You have a lot of adrenalin while moderating, but feel quite exhausted after it is over.

Two things I wanted to make sure yesterday were 1) we discuss the question in the title above and 2) make sure the participants find the panel relevant to them, with some tips and ideas they can try soon.  In other words, I did NOT want participants feel that these two companies are so advanced with two professionals that they feel depressed thinking about their own companies and the future of themselves in HR….

I am not sure whether participants found the session interesting and inspiring (as I did), but I would be happy if each one of them found some thing that stayed in their mind.  I am grateful to two panelists, organizers and those who came to the session.