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Not All Who Wander Are Lost – CoCreated Conversations On The Future of HR

For the third year running, the CIPD has kindly invited Meg Peppin and me to their annual conference in Manchester. One of the main reasons we go is to facilitate some cocreated conversations about work, under the banner of HR Unscrambled. Everyone’s invited and our guests are asked to suggest the questions they want to discuss together, over breakfast. Our experience shows this is a welcome opportunity to reflect on and synthesise some of the learning people are absorbing at the conference.

This year – the questions offered up for discussion were:

How can we influence wellness?
How can we drive analytics?
Is employee engagement just about doing the right thing?
If we started again, would we invent HR?

The essence of the conversations were transcribed by Meg and we have now shared them on Slideshare. If the questions interest you, please take a look at the conversation summaries.

In addition to some suggested answers to the questions, further questions emerged too. That’s a benefit of giving people the time and space to talk, and ultimately, action is what really matters. By way of illustrating that, I overheard this snippet as people were in discussion: ‘After this conversation, we need to act. Cary Cooper’s been talking about wellbeing for the last 20 years, and nothing has changed’. You may or may not agree with the detail of this observation – but I’m sure you can relate to this frustration to some extent.

Here are a few more signals and snippets that wafted past my brain as I listened.

On wellness:

We should pursue wellness for its own sake, and if we need to link it to £ in order to release budget, so be it.

Use ‘stealth mode’ – this brings to mind Proceed Until Apprehended and Trojan Mice.

Part time fully present beats full time not there (physically and/or mentally).

Ban internal email two days a week. I’m not a huge fan of banning stuff but if this stick can be used to stir the pot of conversation then maybe it’s worth a go?

On the inclusion of women at work:

What is the gender make up of your future employer? How is that make up represented at senior level – do the two match up? If your work force is diverse and your senior management is stale, male and pale, is this a place you want to invest yourself in?

Consciously target and recruit – make it easier for those women who want to return to work. Truly flexible working – attitude shift away from presenteeism. Job share.

Meg subsequently wrote a powerful piece on diversity and inclusion. Here’s a short extract from it, the whole thing is well worth a read.

Meg Peppin Blog Post Extract

Thank you to the CPD for their ongoing support and sponsorship and to everyone who came and participated in these cocreated conversations. Without people, you’re nothing.

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