I’m pleased to have been asked to attend the CIPHR Customer Conference 2019 at Euston Square in London today, and to cover the event on social media and through blogs.
This involved a very early (5am) start for me, which for someone as currently sleep deprived as me was a bitter blow, but the first class travel on the train helped calm me and I’ve made it here in one piece.
I’m an ex-client of CIPHR but going back over 15 years and have some fond memories of their main product back then and also attending training at their offices in Marlow, so its nice to reacquaint myself with them.
I was surprised, but perhaps shouldn’t have been, with the volume of people here – there were far more people than I anticipated being here and it had a much bigger conference feel than I was expecting.
We started off with a view from Rob Oehlers from CIPHR giving an explanation of how CIPHR feel they fit into the world of work and how their technology helps us to cope with its demands.
He opened by talking about how connected we are and how reliant we are on both data and technology, mostly in our personal lives, but how this sometimes doesn’t transfer into the workplace.
Rob pointed out that the need for connected HR is becoming greater and greater – driven in part by the pressure to comply with legislative, compliance and regulatory changes but also by our own personal lives where we do most of our life and household stuff online.
The CIPHR portfolio of products and services offer solutions to these issues and trends, and you can find out more by visiting their website.
Next up was Karen Moran from Disruptive HR, stepping in for her colleague Lucy Adams.
She started by sharing many of the mistakes she had made and continues to make in her career, so pleasingly was not preaching from the stage.
One good story she shared was about the need to develop and maintain adult:adult conversations in the workplace, citing Netflix as a good example where the company makes ALL employees responsible for recruitment. She gave another example of another company asking all employees to share and be transparent about everything they were doing, and trusting employees to use social media appropriately by having a really short policy. There were more examples she had about flexible working, and taking ownership of individual L&D.
Its clear that, when they want to and choose to, organisations CAN reap the benefits of greater employee engagement and create a better employee experience – by trusting employees, letting them make decisions and make mistakes, and simply by asking them “how can we make your day better?”.
Sadly, not all employers do this.
Karen was honest enough to share that she hadn’t always lived up to this throughout her career but she has learnt from her mistakes.
That’s a key skill for HR professionals in my view.
We are all human, as Karen says. We make mistakes. We have emotions.
She then went on to help us to try to understand why HR have a bad reputation – suggesting that the reasons are that: we often focus more on process than impact, we have a parental approach, are risk averse, work in silos, have skills gaps and do not effectively use technology.
These are things I’d agree with and which I’ve seen over and over again in my roles.
Karen said that we perhaps need to move away from the HR Business Partner job title as it almost seems an apologetic title to try to convince people that we are connected to the business, when it ought to be obvious.
In the Q&A session after people pointed out that often the barrier is the CEO or MD, and in HR we may not have the leverage we need to change the organisation. Karen’s response was one I completely agree with – you can either put up with it, continue trying to change it or go work somewhere else.
How many of us vote with our feet?
Something to think about as we head into a break.
Till next time…
PS in other news, my youngest son is now 9 months and has started to sleep through the night, having done so 3/4 times now over the past couple of weeks. This has coincided with the worst period of sleep I’ve ever had. How does that work?