One of the wonderful things for me is that no week is ever exactly the same – perhaps this is what gives me energy and sparks my sense of mischief!

Monday was getting back to the office after a week in Gibraltar and then an evening meeting with my Chair of Haywards Heath & District Business Association (HHDBA) hat on.

We are planning a conference for our local businesses in September.  Lovely energy, some serious discussion and of course that essential ingredient laughter!

Tuesday was attending the launch event of the new CIPD’s Fellow Networks.  The event was held at London City Hall and the topic was The Future of Work.

The venue was stunning and the company challenging.  David D’Souza, Head of London, CIPD kicked the event off and quickly introduced Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer, Microsoft UK.  His presentation was energetic, fast paced and exactly echoes my thinking.

To me the saddest thing was when he asked the audience what computers they prefer to work on, their personal one or the one provided by their employer, the majority of the audience said their personal one.  It made me think how far some employers still have to travel to get technology right for everyone.  Especially when Dave linked it to productivity.

It is so important to get this right from day one with HR demanding that new hires be given the right tools to do the job and these days this means a good laptop and a smart phone as a minimum.  If we are to encourage flexible working, and by this I mean working at a time and place that is appropriate, these are non negotiable tools for the job.  Imagine being asked before you start with your new employer what laptop and mobile phone would you prefer?  Or even what device do you want to bring with you!

This leads me to another thread of Dave’s presentation – the urgent need for us to re-imagine business, re-invent concepts of productivity to get the culture of transformation as the new norm.  To me change is the new norm and we can either embrace it and be energised by it, or stick in the mud of old processes and practices.  I regret to say that HR tends to get stuck in the mud.  So we need to re-imagine HR by perhaps moving away from that term and keep focussing on People.  We are the experts in People, we understand what makes them tick, we know the value that our People bring to the business by regularly assessing their strengths and weaknesses, we can articulate that value to the board, succinctly and persuasively.

Neil Morrison, Group HR Director, Penguin Random House UK and International was the next speaker.  My takeaway from his presentation was this:

  • technology gets smaller
  • employees get pickier
  • talent gets broader
  • culture gets realer
  • reward get harder

So these are the challenges to People Professionals and what we need to be is:

  • adaptable in our practice
  • technically savvy
  • demonstrate commercial acumen
  • creative in our solutions
  • think systemically

So no challenge really!

One lovely aspect of the event was being encouraged to draw, make notes on the paper table cloth.   I look forward to seeing how this will be collated!

So back to the rest of this week – Wednesday planning our new IT infrastructure with some great techies and today Pétanque, Pimms and Pizza with the HHDBA – so as you can see life is never boring!