After a break of nearly a year, Hungarian HR professionals had the opportunity to meet each other in person at an unconventional professional festival. The HR Fest Lupa was held on the shores of Lake Lupa, also known as the “Beach of Budapest”, in a white sandy beach environment, among parasols and cooling cocktails.
At the event, HR directors of several domestic and multinational companies gave presentations and participated in discussions. One of the central themes was the possibility of the general introduction of the four-day working week, about which a heated debate developed, with many pros and cons expressed. The main sponsor of HR Fest is WHC Group, a Hungarian-owned HR services company already active in five countries, a press release says.
The pandemic has turned the world of work and the labour market upside down and relentlessly forced both domestic employers and employees to adapt. Thus, Hungarian HR professionals, who could participate at a professional event in person after nearly a year, could find many topics to have professional conversations and debates about. At HR Fest Lupa festival several professional issues and hot topics were discussed, which became topical and current due to the coronavirus epidemic.
In light of this, hybrid work, economic reopening, self-improvement, employee motivation, and recruitment, development and retention of talented workforce were all discussed.
A heated debate over the four-day working week
Besides the introduction of a general basic income, the systemic introduction of the four-day working week is undoubtedly one of the most debated labour market issues in the world, both among economic players, politics, and the general public. HR Fest Lupa has therefore dedicated a separate panel discussion to the topic, within the frameworks of which Mária Szüle, HR management leader of BMW Manufacturing Hungary, Ibolya Gothárdi, HR director if 4iG, Annamária Nagy, HR Strategic Director of Unilever Hungary & Adria, and Gergely Fábián, CEO of Central Bank of Hungary have clashed their arguments, with the direction of Viktor Göltl, CEO of WHC Group.
The five-day work schedule was introduced generally in 1982, and this principle of work organization has been with us ever since, as it was mentioned during the panel discussion. Numerous professionals around the world have been arguing the viability of introducing a four-day working week, claiming that taking three days off a week creates far more opportunities to have rest and recreation, so employees also perform better – as evidenced by a number of studies. Moreover, the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic has shown that economic players, employers, and employees are able to adapt incredibly quickly to a changing situation when needed. After all, companies in Hungary were forced to switch to home office, remote work or some kind of hybrid solution last spring, which was essentially successful.
In the case of shared service centres and in the field of IT, the transition to a four-day working week would be relatively easy to implement, according to experts representing the sectors at the panel discussion. In addition, the four-day working week has been or is being tested in Ireland, Japan, Spain, and Sweden, among others, and the results so far show that this work schedule has made workers more productive.
However, in manufacturing and the banking sector, the situation is a bit more complicated, as the car industry, for example, has settled for continuous production, which is unlikely to change, and the banking sector also requires five-day availability to ensure smooth provision of banking services.
The speakers agreed that modern work schedule requires much more flexible solutions and frameworks than before, so employers must adapt to the changing environment and changing needs of employees. Therefore, the next period will certainly bring continuous transformation in the field of work organization, but a uniform introduction of four-day working week is not necessarily the best solution.
Everyone lies, the question is how often?
In addition to hardcore professional topics, educative, popular topics were also discussed at the festival. One of these dealt with the possible ways of preventing lies, with the participation of László Dr. Újszászi Bogár, persuasion and influence-technique expert, and Szilvia Gyarmati, Human Resources Development Manager of WHC Group. Among others, the conversation revealed according toresearch, a person is consciously lying about 15-20 times a day, and unconsciously about 180-200 times a day.
Lying is not a human feature, as we know many examples of deception in the flora and fauna as well. But to identify lying is not simple. During police interrogations, a reflector is used because the movement of the eye reflexively follows the direction of cerebral blood flow, so if the respondent’s eyes moves to the right, the brain’s right hemisphere, the creative centre of the brain is active – thus, a lie is being told. While if the eyes move to the left, it indicates that the memory centre is activated, meaning, that truth is being told. In the HR profession, for example during a recruitment interview, it is key to identify if the candidate is telling the truth or not. Since it would be cumbersome and strange in an interview situation to apply the method used during a police interrogation, the goal of the HR representative could be to create an environment in which lying itself can be prevented. For example, in case of interviewees who were offered hot drinks, coffee, or tea, the oxytocin level rises, which increases trust and reduces propensity to lie. But it also helps if a “function” is given to a question, so we tell in advance, why we are asking the question, so the interviewee will not unconsciously give a false answer, as a result of a defensive mechanism, for example, to the question of what weaknesses the candidate has.
Nearly 2,500 professionals, among them HR directors of several large Hungarian companies participated at the HR Fest Lupa event, held on 24th June 2021, which presented an excellent professional program in a relaxed mood. The HR-professional festival awaited the participants at 10 locations with about 100 conversations and playful, interactive professional programs.
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