City Hall, located on the bank of the river Thames in London, proved an apt location for the CIPD London Centenary Dinner and Conference, and, as one of the guest speakers mentioned, would provide excellent views should anyone get bored during the Conference!
Fortunately, there wasn’t too much to bore us. Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD, discussed the new challenges and opportunities for our next 100 years. Peter’s Keynote presentation focused, in detail on a number of topics, including: The volatility of the economy; a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world and a crisis of trust in the workplace with a shift of trust from the CEO to well-known personalities. Peter also touched upon the fact that 70-80% of the value of enterprises are intangible, with less than 10% of the UK workforce now working in manufacturing.
So what does this mean for the future of HR? We must understand the context of what happens in the workplace. We need to understand what is most important in HR - the person; how we operate, are motivated, think and perform. We must have better business knowledge; both commercial and analytical.
After these insights, we listened to a group panel session from three HR professionals who shared their leadership secrets. Discussions included: HR should be at the heart of the organisation & should be the organisational glue, make the FD and Communications Director your best friends, have the courage of your convictions, continually review the performance of your team, and ensure every employee understands their contribution. Leadership is a team game - you should always be willing to learn from your team.
The Centenary Keynote was delivered by Stephen Lehane, Group HRD of Alliance Boots. Alliance Boots are one of the companies that attended the inaugural Welfare Workers Association meeting back in June 1913 and are still operating today. This was an entertaining and engaging session in which Stephen noted that as HR professionals, we need to work with both rational and irrational responses. Stephen noted the following 6 key leadership points:
• Identify what makes the difference
• Leadership alignment and engagement
• Embedding the brand value
• Performance leadership
• Colleague engagement
• Celebrate success
The day concluded with a panel of three HR practitioners from three different generations giving their perspectives from different stages of an HR career.