This May, EU Business School invited alumni experts from around the globe for a full-day VAR program to hone in on new trends in HR and the business world at large.

Luis Pardo Céspedes, Former CEO at Sage, opened the event with his keynote speech, which laid down five key pillars in today’s business trends: sustainability, trust, technology, risk management and talent. He vouched that “building a competitive advantage, a culture, a brand, a reputation, or developing sustainability is a matter of building trust.”

Luis went on to establish a strong theme for the event: the shift in the mindset of today’s jobseekers and the growing prominence of solid sustainability values, “talent wants to be an active part of sustainability and wants to work for a company, project or organization that cares about it.”

For the following Business Alumni Panel, led by Head of Research at EU Business School and Editor-in-Chief at ONResearch, Suddha Chakravartti, we were joined by specialists in transformation, corporate sustainability and business strategy to discuss up-and-coming trends in their sectors. “Embedding sustainability and corporate strategy is no longer wishful thinking, it is now expected”, Dr. Ravi Fernando, Chairman & CEO at Global Strategic Corporate Sustainability.

We went on to discuss the importance of transparency and a meaningful product: “these days, we want to see the people behind the products we’re servicing, partnering with, or buying”, Jesse Bak, Digital Business Strategist and Entrepreneur, and the human aspect to the change management process: “working with human beings requires adapting to the fact that some people can change quicker than others”, Delphine Paillon, Digital Workplace User Adoption & Transformation at Airbus.

Joad Lopez, Business Strategist and Entrepreneur, summed up this panel perfectly: “people are not led by managers; they’re led by good ideas and organizations.”

The third and final session of the day was an HR Alumni Panel moderated by our very own Head of Alumni Relations, Learning & Development, Veronica Cancio de Grandy. Our HR experts reviewed contemporary work models and introduced us to tools which could help us adjust to new work environments and improve performance. “Going forward for HR is dealing with the changing needs of people within the organization”, Sandra Yap, Head of HR & Marketing at Se-cure Waste Management (SWM). Zach Traer, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Talkwalker, noted his experience with the new generation of jobhunters: “Gen Z will not work for any company just for the paycheck, they will be actively looking for companies that align with their own values.”

Pamela Mokaya, People, Culture & Change Manager at Oxfam GB-Kinshasa, delved deeper into company culture and the benefits of creating accepting and diverse workplaces; “you see a lot of harmony where there is diversity and inclusion.”

We concluded the event with celebrating humanity and diversity, which time and time again is demonstrated by our vibrant student and alumni community. We hope this edition of the VAR opened minds to the indisputable human needs of our workforce and the abundant benefits and opportunities we can create in flexible, sustainable, and inclusive work environments.

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