#CIPD13 Progress.

This blog is a sharing of my reflections, learning points, challenges and ideas from #CIPD13

The impact of a leader

We have a figure-head as a profession in Peter Cheese who is actively engaged with his members and with a widening range of external partnerships and relationships.  

At the conference he was present, engaged, active, proactive and credible.  He was visible throughout the conference, open to challenge, demonstrating his ambition for our profession with great integrity.  He was available, up for challenge and debate, open to influence and seemed to have endless stamina.  People believe him;   believe in him and my take on this year’s conference was that there was a coherence between the different sessions.    I sensed a connection, experienced a momentum and perhaps because he has engaged so much with members, it made sense to me – it linked together.

Peter was at many of the sessions I attended and it is clear he has a personal stake in progressing the HR profession.  He was open to challenges, available to everyone, and didn’t talk management bollocks.  He is clearly very smart but is grounded and speaks without jargon or acronyms.  He was authentic without needing to tell us he was.  That is probably my biggest take away from this year’s conference; that strong leadership brings people together, creates a shared purpose, through openness their personal vision is understood, and it makes people want to get involved and what an impact it has had on me.

CPD from #CIPD13

There is a tumblr website curated by Doug Shaw  to access some incredibly eloquent and well written blogs, describing each session.  Don’t know what you do for your CPD?  Read the curated reflections.  Couldn’t get to the conference?  Immerse yourself in these reflections.  Want to know what HR’s professional body is advocating?  Dip in.

Jettison the keynote

I attended the keynote opening speech, which Ian Pettigrew blogged about here.      Would like to offer up a hack of my own for conferences – jettison the celebrity keynotes.    I and many others I spoke to would have liked to have heard much more from Peter and other members of the CIPD team.  CIPD have published some compelling research (more for your CPD) and I think members would benefit from and respond well to engaging in discussing the research and getting involved in setting the agenda for change.

I like Hacking

You can read about the Hackathon here and how you can adapt the methods into your own work – whether it’s HR or not.   I opted out early because I read more and more hacks which weren’t relevant, sounded like book reviews, consultancy dogma.  It turned me off.   I was unable to relate my work, or the challenges of my clients to what I was seeing, and it felt like rhetoric and self-serving cleverness.

I went to the Hack session – I learn more from stuff that challenges me – and actually it was probably where I got the most value.  HR-Gem put it beautifully through the “fruit rule”.  It’s simple.

“Employees may eat fruit at their desk during working hours, only where the fruit may be eaten and / or peeled by hand.  Where the fruit needs to be eaten with cutlery such as a knife or fork, or is in a receptacle such as a plastic container, the fruit in question may only be eaten in the break area, during official rest periods”.

This made me remember a meeting once – a staff group had got stuck on setting the rules for dress down Friday.  They wanted my help.  The question at hand was “how  much cleavage should be on show” – they were discussing the merits of size of a pound coin as a yardstick. 

What are you doing that doesn’t add value?

Download your own guide to hacking here.


Just because it’s intangible, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Intangible – unable to be touched

“intangibles like self-confidence and responsibility”

Data, analytics, metrics. Yay, we love these words.   I come from a perspective of linking my work to business results.  I am very proud of some of my achievements; producing 50% more business with reducing costs (no  jobs lost), working in partnership with an amazing CEO and team of people to return over £1m profit after a £10m loss), reducing attrition from 44% to 3% and all the associated tangible and intangible costs.   I get it.

I attended a session about Human Capital Management (shudder) – CIPD’s partnership with CIMA to help business measure the impact and value of workers.  I went  because, I learn more from what I resist.  Hoping to be persuaded I suppose.    As the CIMA revealed their thinking, my timeline started to wobble, bubble, froth, and so did I.  There was something repellent to me in some of the language “the assets that are human”.   Don’t get hooked on the language?  Our language reveals what we are thinking, really, deep down.

A great tweet from @stevebridger “we need to be careful,  the messiness of the intangibles is going to be what offers most value”.

  • We can already do the numbers.
  • We know if people are stressed at work that costs us
  • We know if the culture isn’t conducive to whistle blowing before we need to call it that,  people will make decisions that aren’t in the interest of the greater good
  • We know that the more senior people get, the more isolated they are from day-to-day reality, and
  • We know that decisions that are informed by solely financial gain are unlikely to serve the organisation i the long-term, and discount other realities.

“Culture and the Bottom-Line: Important Lessons from the Research

Kotter and Heskett’s landmark study Corporate Culture and Performance documented results for 207 large U.S. companies in 22 different industries over an eleven-year period. Kotter and Heskett reported that companies that managed their cultures well saw revenue increases of 682% versus 166% for the companies that did not manage their cultures well; stock price increases of 901% versus 74%; and net income increases of 756% versus 1%.”

We don’t need to develop another set of consistent metrics; we have data already.    Manage culture; we know enough already to know that adaptive organisations are the ones that survive, that we NEED to be adaptive.  If we are adaptive, stress will be lower, we’ll recruit people into work they want to do, and we’ll make sure that people doing transactional work are rewarded well, treated well, offered respect and provided enrichment in other ways.    We’ll keep the right people and ditch the wrong, people will be working for common purpose, not promoting internal rivalries.  We already know that if people do not feel valued, discretionary effort will be reduced.

We know that governance has failed us, that excessive pay gaps do not foster constructive cultures.  There is nothing new here is there, other than perpetuating the financial dominance.

If we value quantitative data over the qualitative, the phenomenological, that’s what employers will pay attention. What will be missed?

OK, some takeaways are:

·       That the Hack is down to the individual.  I have hacked my own way of recording information – evernote is mine.

·       The messy stuff, the edgelands, is more interesting and useful than the obvious.

·       The CIPD is truly becoming a leading advocate for changing attitudes to work more than I ever thought could happen.

·       People want to talk with each other during conferences to reflect on what they have heard and to help land their learning.  It’s a great big hack opportunity.

·       People will get up to attend an 8.00am discussion if they are committed, even when some of them hardly go to bed at all @perrytimms

·       Sharing, collaboration, learning are our priorities.

·       Exploring with people who are fearful/suspicious/sceptical of technology to broaden the reach of SoMe.

·       We could share podcasts of the case studies and talks prior to the conference, have an area too at the conference where people can go and experience them, and have the speakers engaging in workshopping, discussing, tweeting.  Treat it like an art gallery; installations, exhibitions, interactive workshops.

·       80% of HR people work in SMEs; it’s a different reality from the large corporates – the consultancy holy grail, working with the leaders of large corporations – I think CIPD get this but there’s still more.

·       Context is everything.  Didn’t hear the end session, but know that Bob the Builder was used as a role model for leadership.  Without context….


*leaves the building*.


4 thoughts on “#CIPD13 Progress.

  1. Meg, great post! I missed the conference this year so thanks for the honest round up. Does this mean we might have a conversation where you wont be moaning about the CIPD?! 😉 I have to say that Peter is stepping up – hopefully some of the ambitions we all have for the profession and the CIPD will be met within our professional lifetimes!

    Agree on the format – conferences are tired and celebrity keynotes are a good example. Maybe one day such a conference will open with an open mic session, hearing the hopes and opinions from those who count – the paying punters!

    Keep up the good work. And lets get that long overdue coffee in the diary 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s