#CIPDACE17 Embracing The New World of Work

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Today is day one of the 70th CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition or ACE for short which is taking place in the beautiful city of Manchester. Here is a brief summary of what we can expect from his years’ conference and don’t forget, you can follow all the activity in real time via Twitter!

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World Mental Health Day 2017

“Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.”

At least one in six workers experiences common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Research conducted by leading charity Mind, shows that 55% of employees surveyed said that work is the biggest cause of stress in their lives, more so than debt or financial problems.

Mental ill-health costs the UK economy £26 billion each year, this is through 91 million lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. With such staggering figures, it is within every organisations interest to establish ways to tackle the problem. What is really concerning is not just the prevalence of stress and mental health problems at work, but that employees don’t feel supported to be able to deal with these pressures.

The main causes of mental ill health at work are excessive workload, frustration with poor management, lack of support and unrealistic targets. Stress at work is also effecting people’s personal lives. One in five employees said that it puts a strain on their relationships, while 11% have missed important events such as birthdays due to work related stress.

Prince Harry has spoken publicly about the importance of mental health awareness amongst the armed forces; not just post career but has actively campaigned for mental health to become an active part throughout their career. This has lead to a review and implementation of new training methods and support mechanisms will also be rolled out to reservists, veterans and civil servants.

The starting point can be seen as difficult, but it does not need to be. Simply taking the time to speak to a colleague or manager to tell them how you are feeling and what your concerns are can help take that first step to improving mental health. It’s the little things that make the big difference, so if you are an employee reading this, your manager needs to know that you are struggling, if it is pressures with workload, they may be able to offer a solution. Likewise, if you are a manager yourself reading this, then you need to do the same, just because you have a more senior title it does not mean that you shouldn’t be able to address your concerns.

We must always keep in mind that mental ill health does not discriminate and affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives, this is why it is so important that we start these conversations to try and remove the stigma that is associated with mental ill health.

Mental health may be a hot topic but it is a very fluid subject, one critical point is to ensure that individual cases are treated as exactly that, as an individual. Just because one person has a condition, it does not mean that the remedies and supporting tools are the same. There is no one size fits all approach and therefore businesses cannot just roll out a wellbeing initiative hoping that it will work, the subject of mental health is ongoing and will be evolving at a fast pace for many years to come.

Mind has a fantastic guide to help support employers who want to promote positive mental health within their organisations; to access the guide, please click here.

 

Developing capability for shifting times #cipdmap17

With only 28 days left until the annual CIPD Midlands Area Partnership conference, which is being held at Chesford Grange in Warwickshire and I thought it is perfect timing to start talking about what we can expect from the event.

CIPD MAP 16 was an incredible event, very well organised and everyone seemed to enjoy the day. So what can we expect from this years event?

First and foremost, there are still a limited amount of tickets left so if you would like to attend then do grab your tickets via the CIPD MAP page on their website.

Secondly, if you cannot make the event, do not dispare! I will be blogging and tweeting the event as we go.

The title for this year’s event is developing capability for shifting times and with this year’s keynote speakers being Olympic Athlete Derek Redmond and Influential Professor Rob Briner, this event looks set to be one of the most successful yet.

To start the day, there will be a breakfast session held at 8:30am with Russell Deathridge from LHH Penna to discuss delivering high performance with an agile workforce in uncertain times. This is on my must see list of the day and look forward to hearing Russell’s thoughts on this incredibly relevant topic.

From 9:15am you’ll find me and a host of other branch committee members signing you all in at the registration desks, please ensure you do this in plenty of time so you can get on with some networking prior to the welcome and introduction, plus, it’s a Saturday so grabbing a good coffee is incredibly important!

The welcome and introduction to this event will begin at 10:00am before handing over to our keynote speaker Derek Redmond. Derek, as well as being an olympic gold medallist, has been a motivational speaker for 17 years and is Group Performance Director at Thomas International, so be prepared for an incredibly inspiring start to the conference.

One part of the day I am really looking forward to is hearing from Rob Robson from Tata Technologies, his session is being held at 11:55am and he is speaking about creating the employee experience, this topic is not only relevant now but will be for years to come.

Then we have the breakout sessions starting at 12:40pm;

  • A. New ways of working – myth or reality? which will be led by Professor Donald Hislop and Dr Sarah Barnard
  • B. Back from the future – is L&D ready? Led by Teresa Rose, Digital Learning Expect at E.ON
  • C. Building and developing the skills needed for organisations across the Midlands to succeed in the UK, Europe and the World. Led by Angela Joyce, CEO at Warwickshire College
  • D. The future workforce: an educational perspective, led by Matthew Crawford

I’m planning to attend sessions A and D as my work recently has been influenced by what the future holds within the education system and how that will influence the workforce.

The last but no means least, the closing keynote will take place at 15:15pm with Rob Briner; Shaking the foundations: time to challenge some common assumptions about HR;  be prepared for some fantastic quotes from Rob, he never disappoints!

Don’t forget, there is a brilliant exhibition area too, so make sure you visit the stands as well as taking the time to network with HR and L&D colleagues from across the Midlands.

I hope to see lots of you there!

 

 

What do you see your future role as?

After attending last Saturday’s CIPD MAP Student Conference I have been asking this very question myself. Throughout my career I have been a generalist, there is nothing wrong with this at all and to be honest a specialist route is one that I don’t think would suit me but it’s never something I would rule out, I just like variety.

It’s easy to say I’m going to work at Google and if you end up there is great but for many people the HR career journey has more plot twists than an episode of Coronation Street so yes you may want to work at Google, but the important part is the journey you take to secure your dream job. Consideration should always be given to career flexibility to avoid us becoming complacent and gain varying experience but we should be mindful of not stagnating our careers so it is a very complex balancing act but it can have greater impacts on our confidence if the decisions we make are the wrong ones.

When we are recruiting, if someone has moved roles a few times, they’re open to being negatively labelled as a “job hopper” but by being exposed to the thoughts of HR peers, isn’t it about time businesses adapted positively and accept that this could potentially be a view into the future of work? After speaking with fellow millennials, we often question is it a situation where an employer doesn’t set out the reality of their organisations then they risk quickly disengaging and failing to retain this group? It’s also not a case of simply recruit, see how it turns out and replace; this only starts a constant spiral so both employer and potential employee have a vested interest to set out clear expectations at the start of the relationship to avoid any “empty promises” which could then see a struggle to retain employees for the long term. In addition to this, it is not only the employee that will be disheartened, there are long terms business risks. If organisations fail to put into place a clearly defined succession plan and engage with modern changes then they simply cannot evolve by utlising millennial talent to develop their business, it has to be a joined up process, a balance between existing values married to modern values to remain competitive and recruit and retain the best talent.

Let’s consider this on a personal level; what happens if you find yourself in a position where you’re not enjoying your role (for whatever reason that may be). You are not going to be performing to the best of your ability and on the other hand your employer will not be seeing the standards of performance that they expect so a succession plan or career path is an essential tool to attract and retain the talent for the organisation. It’s not a case of one size fits all because what works for millennials will not necessarily work for those who have been in the organization for a substantial amount of time. Loyalty to organisations seems to be a rarer vision in today’s faster paced work environments which is a shame as it has worked successfully for various such as manufacturing; product knowledge, process and practicality go hand in hand, one simply cannot work without the other so industries like this are starting to see skills gaps emerging at an alarming rate which will require the knowledge and skill set to pass on to future generations.

So how does this all impact your decision making when it comes to you setting your career path? When considering your next move it is important to consider these things:

  1. What kind of HR professional do you see yourself as? Don’t jump on the trend bandwagon, find the path that is right for you and research the books out of it, ensure it’s right for you before you go for it, don’t just settle!
  2. When applying for jobs, research the organisation you are going into, look into their annual reports, google them to see how they are perceived as an employer, what they do to engage their employees etc. Find the answers to the questions that matter the most to you
  3. Trust your gut instinct – does the decision you are making feel right for you? I remember turning down a really amazing job opportunity at a highly sought after employer but every fiber in me said “don’t do it” and it turns out that I was right to call the decision I did, no regrets
  4. The age old question; where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Make sure you set out that plan to manage employers expectations and also your own to avoid disappointment, we are our own harshest critics and whilst the path to a good career isn’t always rosey, so make sure you are prepared for the occasional hiccups, learn from it, don’t tarnish yourself with negativity
  5. Review your own performance regularly, are you meeting your own expectations, are you on track to where you want to be, are there any development points to help you along the way?

Regardless of if your future lays with your current employer or a future employer, all I know is that the career journey is what you make it so don’t settle, enjoy the plot twists and remember to make the best of it.

The future is bright and not all heroes wear capes… The key points from MAP Student Conference

What – a – day! So much to say in one short blog post but I’ll give it my best shot! Firstly, I just wanted to say it was lovely to meet so many people, thank you for taking time to speak to me, it was a pleasure to meet you and I hope you had a great time today.

Today’s student conference was held at Aston University and was focussed upon the future of work, thinking about options to consider to structure your career and ultimately what you need to do to get there.

“You have one career, (unless you believe in reincarnation) so make the most of it”

David D’Souza

After welcoming the delegates and getting into the swing of the day we first heard from David D’Souza – (you’ll be hearing his name a lot in this post!) who talked all things Superman and Jurassic Park and the lessons from this were that just because that things are done in a certain way, it doesn’t make a compelling reason for continuing to do things that way. Start looking at things differently and start today, think of the different outcomes that could be and determine the type of HR professional that you want to be. He finished with a line that really resonated around the room – “you have one career, (unless you believe in reincarnation) so make the most of it”.

“The world of work is changing, don’t jump on the trend bandwagon”

Dr Richard MacKinnon

We swiftly moved into an insightful keynote with Dr Richard MacKinnon who begged the question “is it worth considering the future of anything these days” referring to the appointment of President Trump and Brexit and he’s right, if we were reading these headlines 10 years ago, we would have thought that the world had gone mad! But it’s true, our inability to predict the future from all aspects; technological, environmental or in a work capacity, we as humans are terrible at predicting the future and that is simply human nature.

He emphasised that there are a lot of myths in the workplace, be it about people, situations and others in our organisations so it’s about identifying those myths and challenging them whilst thinking that just because others are doing it, it doesn’t mean that you should. For example technology at work, just because it exists, it doesn’t mean that you have to implement it, don’t get preoccupied with future technology before you deal with the issues here in the present day.

Dr MacKinnon’s speech really was fascinating and he encouraged the room to research science at work; there is a wealth of opportunity to learn and develop yourself by using free papers and simply researching into these subjects.

I would recommend anyone to look at his work, you can follow him on Twitter @WorkLifePsych or view his website here: www.worklifepsych.com it’s perfect for those of you who wanted further information on the world of work from a psychology perspective.

Whilst there was a lot of learning going on, behind the scenes a hitch lightening us of two speakers had happened, our hero of the day in the form of David D’Souza (minus a cape) filled in for two sessions – engagement and digital recruitment proving that even when disaster strikes, the team handled it brilliantly so thank you to David and the MAP team for allowing the show to go on with no further hiccups.

Other breakout sessions including an employment law update; there are plenty of those lurking at the moment! Business analytics with National Grid and how to secure a role in HR/LD career pit stop session. To summarise there’s a lot of things to consider when looking at a career in the profession these days – and you thought a career in HR/LD was about tea and biscuits!

We concluded the day with a panel Q&A with Dr Richard MacKinnon, Tiffany Poeppelman and Carole Carson to discuss their experiences and career highlights, it’s safe to say that the whole room took something away with them in this piece; some were inspired, others motivated and others were considering which career path they would choose to take as all three panellists have different backgrounds proving that we are not all made for the same HR/LD shaped hole!

“Your actions define how people perceive you”

Tiffany Poeppelman

The closing keynote from Tiffany Poeppelman from Linked In was absolutely the highlight of my day as it helped me with an area I feel personally that I have been struggling with of late; Building your own brand through social media and networking. With the activities I’ve been working on of late, since ACE  I had not blogged very much and have let my Twitter feed fall behind a little, whilst Twitter is back in full swing with the events coverage I’m doing, my Linked In profile was in need of a refresh.

There was so much useful information and tips but these are her five top things that you should do to enhance your Linked In profile:

  1. Complete and enhance your profile
  2. Connect and grow your network
  3. Join 2 or 3 relevant networking groups
  4. Follow companies, industries and people who interest you
  5. Be an active collaborator – share, update your status, discuss and post. What do you give to your network?

Understandably there is a lot of food for thought to take away from today’s conference and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I have and I hope to see you at another CIPD event soon. Finally a big thank you to Eleanor Lloyd-Jones for allowing me to Tweet and blog at the event, it’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of.