At Skout, we have a thirst for knowledge and are always looking for opportunities to develop our understanding of the sectors our clients work in. This not only helps us build brilliant B2B stories, but it also means we can support the businesses we work with in a meaningful way, enabling us to be collaborative, supportive, and resourceful (yes, we really do live and breathe our brand values).
On the 9th & 10th November, we were lucky enough to attend The CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition in our neighbouring city of Manchester.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), an association for human resource management professionals, hosts this industry-leading event every year and we know first-hand just how popular it is! With thousands of people travelling both nationally and internationally to listen to talks and discussions by a blend of inspiring and thought-provoking leaders, it’s definitely not an event to be missed if you work in HR.
Some of its keynote speakers this year included: Robert Peston, political editor at ITV; Vicky Wallis, chief people officer at Direct Line Insurance Group; Julian John, disability campaigner and founder of Delsion; and, Sue Perkins, former presenter of Britain’s best-loved baking show. Peter Cheese, CEO at CIPD, also took to the stage to paint a picture of the issues currently disrupting the HR landscape. Whilst each discussion provided a unique perspective and explored different approaches to how HR can ensure people thrive in today’s ever-changing world, there were some common trends that were prevalent within each talk.
Here’s what we learnt from the day…
- People need to be front and centre of the business agenda
Senior HR professionals were a lifeline for employees during the pandemic and spent more time than ever with CEOs to ensure the companies were working to the best interests of its people. Yet, with recruitment and retention being a major area of concern for many businesses right now, this needs to be taken to the next level. Employees need to be invested in and ‘people strategies’ need to be part of the wider business plan.
- Employee purpose is critical, but so is company purpose
Ensuring your organisation’s purpose is clearly communicated to employees can champion a better working life by giving workers a common goal to support. This should be based on principles of belief such as building a future that embraces good work, inclusion, and wellbeing. It’s also about being a responsible business. This means understanding all the stakeholders involved and ensuring your principles are also being extended to them too e.g. suppliers, partners, customers, and any other party you have a relationship with.
- Old ways of working are gone, don’t try and cling on to them
The pandemic and the acceleration of digital transformation have been two big contributors to the way in which many organisations operate today. Hybrid and flexible working practices, for example, will be here to stay and companies that try and force employees back into the office will soon find themselves in a predicament as a new generation of workers will refuse to put up with old structures.
Gen-Z is demanding more from businesses and this generation is not afraid to hold them their employers accountable, whether that is based on working practices or principles and policies (e.g., D&I). However, there are still generations of leadership that judge people on the time they spend at their desk – this mentality needs to change, especially as businesses need to adapt in order to attract.
- Diversity & Inclusion initiatives are still the priority
Diversity & Inclusion needs to apply to all areas of HR. From the people being hired, through to learning and development, businesses need to be constantly working to build an environment that accommodates and recognises everyone. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
When it comes to learning, this could be trialling reverse mentoring, where younger employees coach and educate older employees; equipping managers with the right tools to best support their staff; and investing in each individual’s career journey to make sure it’s personal to their wants and needs. When it comes to recruitment, HR managers could look at creating roles rather than just expecting people to fit into the job description; or, take a deeper look at their recruitment strategies to make sure the benefits on offer are of value to different people e.g., workers who are thinking of coming out of retirement might be interested in flexible working and tailored schedules.
- From HR professional to people manager to positive disrupter
Many HR professionals today have changed their job title to people manager to better reflect what they do. However, their role is so much more than that; one term that was used at the CIPD conference was ‘positive disrupter’. They champion people and help change the world of work to make it a better place for employees. Whether that’s giving guidance to individuals on policy, driving programmes such as D&I and wellbeing, building culture, enabling teams to perform better, or finding ways to help staff cope with the economic crisis.
The future role of HR will rely more on technology and the data it delivers to help bring about change but it will also be more agile. With so much disruption impacting the workforce over the past few years, HR is more prepared to not only face the unexpected but to embrace it.
If you want to learn more about our knowledge and work within the HR industry, head over to our sector page: https://www.skoutpr.com/sectors/human-resources/