The 2012 edition of Mercer’s Latin America and Caribbean HR Forum welcomed more than 200 senior HR leaders from 16 countries to Miami’s Fontainebleau Hotel. The Forum remains the region’s preeminent event for exchanging ideas and learning new strategies about critical workforce issues, and in 2012 it focused on the talent challenges ahead.
As Latin America’s economic and technological growth outpace Europe and the US—and as the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations mix together at work—the region’s HR leadership must confront the urgent challenges of recruiting and retaining talent, compensation and benefits, retirement planning, workforce metrics, and performance management.
We’d like to share with you some highlights—in words and images—of this year’s event, as we prepare for 2013 and look forward to your participation once more.
The Tech Connection
The 2012 Forum was truly innovative in its use of supporting technology to render the event practically paperless—and very “green.” All delegates were issued specially configured iPads at registration and a special Mercer app was available for downloading to smart phones, containing all conference materials. This new approach to delivering content made it easier for delegates to collect information, connect with each other, expand the conversation globally through social media, and provide feedback about Forum sessions.
HR’s Three Biggest Issues
Mercer Canada/Latin America Region Head Jacques Théorêt welcomed Forum delegates and introduced Mercer CEO Julio Portalatin. He pointed out that Mercer recently asked more than 400 Latin America HR leaders what they saw as the major human capital challenges for 2012. “You told us that issue number one was a desire to transform employee productivity and performance,” said Portalatin. “That includes everything from enlarging the leadership pipeline and career development to rewards and performance management.”
Mercer is helping its clients in the region to develop “high-impact talent” capable of responding to new opportunities and making decisions in real time, said Portalatin. He also stressed Mercer’s focus on health and wellness by helping employees make “smart benefits choices—sometimes too many choices are as bad as too few.” And he noted Mercer’s capabilities with regard to taking pension risk off the table. “Though many companies have adopted DC plans, the liabilities from legacy DB plans remain on the balance sheet.”
From Capitalism to Talentism
In the Forum’s opening plenary session, Mercer’s Jason Jeffay and Alberto Mondelli explored how the critical issues of human capital risk, employability and mobility were moving the business world from its emphasis on capitalism toward a more focused concept: “Talentism.”
Unleashing talentism relies on solving the challenges of talent pools—marked by skill scarcities, widespread unemployability and mobility gaps—and talent pipelines, which often suffer from slowness, chokepoints and inefficiencies. Case studies from Mercer clients were provided by Roger L. Cude, SVP of Global Talent Management for Walmart, and Aluisio Fonseca, VP of HR Central & South America for Tetra Pak.
Hard and Soft Trends
In another session, technology forecaster Daniel Burrus (one of America’s top business “gurus,” according to The New York Times) explained that there were two types of trends: “hard trends” that will definitely happen—such as demographic shifts and the aging workforce—and “soft trends” that might happen, and on which too many decisions are based. Burrus urged Latin America’s HR leaders to focus on hard trends; for example, the increase in video conferencing logically requires more training in effective video communication, and should begin with companies’ sales organizations.
“This is the first time I have participated in Mercer's Strategic M&A Ready workshop and the Latin America & Caribbean HR Forum. I cannot overstate the importance of attending these events. The Forum truly exceeded my expectations.
The Forum content was extremely valuable and the ongoing efforts of Mercer's consultants to facilitate networking opportunities and answer participants questions was remarkable. The overall logistics of the event–from the accommodation to the content provided–were very well organized and made this Forum the superlative meeting place for HR executives from across the continent. The breakout sessions were also a great opportunity to come face-to-face with state-of-the-art tools and how to apply these to our organizations. Same again next year!”Humberto Gerardo Cicia, Sr. VP Human Resources, TIBA S.A
“I have recommended the Mercer Forum to some of my HR colleagues in the region in the past, however, this is the first time I have attended myself. I discovered what a great opportunity this event provides for getting invaluable updates on the most compelling HR trends. The Mercer Forum has become a traditional meeting point for top Latin American HR executives with whom you can exchange ideas and experiences, and interact in an ideal environment.”Eduardo E. Franck, HR Corporate Director, Techint Group, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I attended the Mercer Forum 2012 for the first time this year and found it to be a great learning experience. Interacting with colleagues from a diversity of businesses and industries across the region and sharing views on new trends was extremely beneficial.
The event format was particularly well structured, such that each participant was able to choose from multiple workshops to suit their individual needs and expectations.
I have no doubt that I will be attending the Mercer Forum 2013!Marcelo Rodriguez, LAM HR Mgr, SKF, Buenos Aires , Argentina