Human Resource Management: Placing the human front and centre

Starts:  Jun 12, 2022 17:00 (IT)
Ends:  Jun 14, 2022 17:00 (IT)
Associated with  Human Resources Division (HR)

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented changes in the way work is performed and managed (Biron et al., 2021). More than ever, we need to reflect and re-examine how we work and do business and the role of Human Resources (HR) in promoting a sustainable future. In this symposium, we seek to understand the current and future challenges for Human Resource Management (HRM) through a human-centred lens (Cooke et al., 2022). Placing people at the centre of attention in relation to HR practices and policies enables a more humanistic and inclusive appreciation of the way in which employees may add organisational and societal value amidst significant and unparalleled change.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to many polarized debates about how organisations manage people, with many switching to a completely remote work environment (Stoller, 2021), while others have begun reconsidering their HR strategies after a mass exodus of employees (Cook, 2021). Past work on crisis management has demonstrated that employees react differently to people management practices in crisis-driven environments (Prouska et al., 2022; Psychogios et al., 2019) and that an employee-centric approach may help curb any negative workplace consequences (Nyfoudi et al., 2020).


Besides, global, and multi-layered developments increasingly highlight the need for more sustainable, aligned, and contemporary HRM practices. Pertinent pre-pandemic HR challenges continue to exert pressure and although some may have been side-tracked by COVID-19, they nonetheless remain equally important. On the one hand, the emergence of artificial intelligence and digitization creates opportunities for new occupations, efficiencies in the production and supply chain, as well as reduction of human error (Wang & Siau, 2019). On the other hand, a large number of jobs and occupations are at risk of obsolescence, the skills gap is increasingly accentuated, and adverse working conditions within and beyond the gig economy have intensified (OECD, 2019).


Furthermore, the changing nature of work, in part driven by digital innovations and in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, has made employees in non-standard forms of employment more vulnerable to macro-turbulence and highlighted their need for protection (OECD, 2020). The role of data analytics also has strong implications for productivity and experience of work as a result of instantaneous performance monitoring and management interventions. At the same time, HR itself is being fundamentally affected and changed by AI and digitisation.  


Workforce demographics are also changing. Ageing workforces and conflict- or disaster-induced mass human displacements are heightening the need for labour market integration of immigrants and refugees. Such changes present HR and organisations with both opportunities and challenges of how to effectively access and retain skilled and talented people (UNHCR, 2019). In addition, climate change and global warming have given rise to governmental and corporate green policies with clear implications for designing, implementing, and championing green HRM practices (Leidner, Baden, Ashleigh, 2019).


Following the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations aim to build back a better workplace (cf. Bamber et al., 2021). Adopting an employee-centric approach, this symposium offers an opportunity for dialogue among academics, practitioners, and policymakers to engage with current and future challenges and identify potential HRM strategies to address such challenges. We welcome both empirical and conceptual papers that may examine relevant topics at micro-, meso- or macro-level. All methodologies are welcome.


Topics likely to be examined include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • The role of HR under micro- and macro-turbulence
  • How can we build back better? The post-COVID-19 workplace
  • Employee’s experience and intersecting crises
  • Responsible HRM practices in the context of climate change
  • The role of HRM in sustainable and responsible employing organisations
  • Opportunities and challenges for talent management in the changing world of work
  • HRM practices across different organisation forms and systems
  • The gig economy and its implications for HRM in a global context
  • Designing, implementing, and promoting HRM practices for the digital age
  • Big data, artificial intelligence, and job automation: opportunities and challenges for workforces
  • Changing workplace demographics, inclusion, and diversity in the global economy
  • Human Resource Development amidst a changing workplace
  • Workers’ voice and behaviour in the age of teleworking

Important dates:

  • Deadline for abstract submissions: 7th March 2022
  • Acceptance notifications: 21st March 2022
  • Deadline for early-bird registration: 20th April 2022
  • Deadline for registration for paper presenters: 12th May 2022
  • Deadline for registration for non-presenting participants: 27th May 2022
  • Arrival and networking: 12th June 2022 (Sunday evening)
  • Main symposium: 13th to 14th June 2022

Registration and submission of abstracts

For more information and to register, please click here or go to:

Please submit an extended abstract of 1000- 1500 words (including references) by 10th March to:

COVID-19 Measures:

  • All attendees will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination, OR a recent COVID-19 recovery certificate (up to three months old), OR a 48-hour negative PCR test
  • All attendees will be given two COVID-19 rapid tests to be administered each day of the symposium and will need to report their results at registration
  • Monash University, Prato, will be sanitising all surfaces and taking additional COVID safety procedures


Monash University, Prato campus
Monash University Prato Centre
Palazzo Vaj, Via Pugliesi, 26
Prato, 59100
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