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Community : Centre

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I received an uplifting and moving email from Robert Ordever last Friday in the immediate aftermath of the 2013 CIPD Annual Conference. Robert wrote to Perry Timms and me with a wonderful reflection about what being at the conference meant for him, and for others too as it turned out. Perry sent the note on to Peter Cheese and we all thought it should be more widely read. Robert has kindly agreed so the good news is today, I get to shut up and hand over to Robert for a most lovely guest blog post.

Community Centre

I have dabbled in HR for around 15 years. I qualified after a couple of years of practicing because it was the right thing to do and for some years I have been a Chartered Fellow of the Institute.

If I am honest, I was a Fellow of an Institute I felt absolutely no connection with, in a profession I had very little time for. I was at times reluctant to say I was an HR professional and would caveat it with ‘but I’m not a stereotypical HR guy’.  I had, perhaps unfairly, judged the Institute and profession on the ‘safe’ rhetoric, obsession with process and the ever patronizing ‘seat at the top table’ debate.

Then along came Twitter and I started to discover other ‘non stereotypical HR folk’ aplenty. I found the social HR community and in doing so found a group who shared my passion for pushing the boundaries, for making work better, for prioritizing culture over process, for having conversations rather than networking and for being confident enough to challenge our own. I found people who were not ‘HR’ at all. Great people who just happened to earn a living in the people business.

The more I got to know them, the more I understood their sense of community. They are welcoming, unselfish, non-judgmental and have infectious energy. They are not in any way soft, unchallenging or safe.  Discovering unconferencing with these folk was a breath of fresh air. It was in many ways maverick but felt remarkably natural. It was not the normal bullshit, canvas bags or sales pitches I was used to at traditional conferences.

Imagine my surprise as I learned that the Institute had started to engage with some of these guys. Working with them, learning from them and involving them in shaping the direction of the Institute and the profession.  I have no idea if this is a new direction or something I simply hadn’t realised.

This discovery was the only reason I attended my first CIPD conference.

There has been plenty written about the content, but for me this conference was about community. I felt welcome and at home in every sense. Peter Cheese’s accessibility was remarkable and his attendance at HR Unscrambled was great to see.  Engaging the bloggers and tweeters with the event was a stroke of genius.

This week I finally felt proud to be a member of my Institute and profession. That is down to a community I am privileged to feel a part of.

Thanks Robert, have a great week folks.

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