III. Connect Conference: Connecting with Your Community!

How can we connect for good causes with clients, colleagues, and each other? How can we address the community credibly and free from clichés, both in the workplace and beyond? These were the key questions of the third Connect conference organized by Blue Colibri on April 11, where, as usual, trends in HR and communication took center stage. The top-notch professional content was delivered by 120 speakers, from whom more than 900 attendees could learn while enjoying themselves.

The opening already held a surprise, as in celebration of Poetry Day, Barna Baranyi and Bence Bárány summarized the pitfalls of modern marketing communication in slam poetry. What does the often-repeated slogan "dynamic workplace" really mean? Why has the CEO become a ninja, and should we really address the Gen Z colleague as a girl boss? From this fantastic "worst practice guide," the professional audience could recognize familiar tropes.

Rockstars and Design Engineers

In the opening keynote, Tamás Barathi (Blue Colibri) brought two current examples from the world of pop music to illustrate the overwhelming influence of influencers. We learned about the role of FOMO experiences in Azahriah's three sold-out concerts, how Taylor Swift boosted the popularity of American football, and what lessons all this can offer in corporate communication.

Attila Semperger, founder of ValueTeam, spoke candidly about industries often stigmatized with negative social labels, whether it's the banking sector, pharmaceuticals, or construction. What can leaders or organization developers do if they feel that some are ashamed of their workplace when they could rightfully be proud? He addressed this in his presentation.

In the opening panel discussion, Csaba Azurák asked three company executives active in social media about what and to what depth they share with their audience. Zoltán Gazsi (Eisberg Hungary) earned the title of "rockstar," Éva Kiss-Forgács (metALCOM) the "innovator," and Kriszta Kárpát (Bayer Hungary) the "design engineer": while some post directly about company events, others share aspects of their personal lives with the audience.

Beyond the Fence Painting

Throughout the day, more than 30 professional panel discussions took place in three rooms, where a total of 120 speakers exchanged experiences and analyzed instructive case studies.

This year, we again tried to unravel the intricate relationship between responsible social marketing and civil organizations. A separate section dealt with what makes a social issue likable and how companies can operate authentically, conveying genuine empathy.

In the conversation between Fabiola Kopasz (GANZAIR Compressor Technology) and Béla Szabó (Magyar Telekom), we heard about case studies from new perspectives, from best practices to failed, superficial campaigns, from which we should draw lessons.

Is purpose truly dead, replaced by ESG? What is planetary idiocy, and how can we counteract it with a "business to human" approach? In the next panel discussion, four CSR and sustainability leaders discussed what lies beyond tree planting, fence painting, and Christmas cookie baking.

We also touched on the value-creating effects of personal branding: it's also a team effort - as our recurring speaker, G. Gábor Varga (Uniomedia), revealed. Artistic collaborations, such as through the Art Is Business platform, can creatively assist brand building, as recounted by Zakariás Fruzsina (Porsche Hungary), Gabriella Liptay (KPMG Hungary), and Péter Mondovics (Mastercard Hungary).

Nuria Torrent, Regional Account Manager at Top Employers Institute, and Ági Nyeste, Head of HR at JYSK, shared insights on how HR practices can be leveraged to boost employee engagement in intercultural management.

Once again, the SME Zone by OTP Bank welcomed small and medium-sized enterprises with a mini-conference featuring 40 excellent speakers, who discussed holistic digitalization, interim positions, sustainability, and how to embark on organizational building.

Can leaders become tabloid heroes?

At this year's Connect, top experts helped navigate the trends and challenges of internal communication, highlighting what truly makes leadership messages authentic.

Katalin Kiss (MAM-Hungary), Béla Markovich (Mapei), and Csongor Juhász (Prohuman) with over two decades of leadership experience talked about how their attitudes and toolkits evolved over the years, while thanks to Anikó Vogyerák (ATV) and Tímea Jamniczky (JCDecaux Hungary), we also addressed the social responsibility of female leaders.

Can a leader become an influencer? And how sensational can internal communication be? Csaba Azurák sought answers to these questions with the participation of Péter Pantl (MOL) and Ádám Szinai (CIB Bank), from whom we heard individual approaches to aligning organizational goals and internal messages. In the conversation between Balázs Varró (Prohuman), Ákos Kalmár (Continental), Béla Szabó (Magyar Telekom), and Bence Gáspár (OTP Bank), we also received superb tips on how to put the social network at the service of value creation.

We didn't overlook other hot topics in the HR profession either: for example, we compared the differences between offline recruitment and the use of AI-supported selection tools. In the Best of BeneFit Prize presentation, we heard about the best and most creative benefits, while in the interactive presentation by Here and Now Company, we analyzed conflict situations and negotiation strategies with the involvement of expert guests.

This year too, a shower of awards awaited the owners of the best thought-provoking ideas, who received Blue Colibri Game Changer and Engagement Awards. And of course, everyone's favorite, the networking zone sponsored by Prohuman, returned, where storytelling and experience sharing were made easy with the Eureka networking game.

We look forward to welcoming you next year with fresh topics and updates. In the meantime, the Connect professional community will not be bored, as the Connect Club event series continues in the fall.

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