#CIPD15 Key Themes Day One

@hrpotential‘s lowdown on the key themes of #CIPD15 Day One:

The swings and roundabouts of HR Analytics

There is little disagreement that the data is there, we just need to use it to make better decisions. Maybe one of the reasons why it hasn’t taken off in this way is that even the experts can’t decide whether analytics should sit in HR or not. Morten Kamp made a very balanced argument both for and against in his two previous blogs.Additionally numerous sessions referred to the dangers of over reliance on data. This ranged from looking at the “why” behind the data to Sir Clive Woodward’s rugby players acting strangely to improve their performance stats. The quote that served as the most beautiful reminder to look behind the data came from Bobby Kennedy (via Professor Cary Cooper), “GDP measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile”.

So Analytics may be the current buzzword of HR (Morten Kamp) but the general approach appears to be one of caution.

Expect the unexpected 

Sir Clive Woodward was one of my standout sessions of the day. He gave a very clear lesson on how the “unexpected” (a guy in a tutu bypassing security and jumping off your diving board just before you perform your gold medal winning jump) can be the difference between being at the top of the leaderboard and the very bottom.

This was something that fitted rather neatly with Dr Tara Swart’s following session, whose evidence based approach informed us that an encounter with uncertainty has a more powerful effect on the brain than the threat itself.

Sir Clive’s advice? Imagine any possibility and how you would deal with it, humorously reflected in an audience member suggesting a “bee sting” as a disruption, misheard as a “beasting”. Very unexpected.

Diversity Trumps

Numerous speakers picked up on what (hopefully) HR has always known – diversity is a differentiator. It’s been proven to increase not only creativity and innovation (Prof Cary Cooper) but the bottom line (Dr Tara Swart). This can only be a good thing, particularly as Morten Kamp emphasised the need for HR pros to show the CEO “the money”.

Male and female brains may be different (Dr Tara Swart) but we need to work together to get the best results.

Employees overcome 

I loved Prof Cary Cooper’s quotes from Joseph Heller’s “Something Happened”. He wrote my favourite book ever, Catch 22, so I’m justifiably biased. Heller’s concern was that his disobedience had no impact, whereas Coopers’ focus was what people in organisation’s are subjected to when they don’t conform.

I enjoyed the many messages of how employees managed to get round the systems organisations tried to put in place. If email were to be banned over weekends (a good thing) employees would find a way of accessing them (Prof Cary Cooper) and if a field was placed in a performance management system that had to be completed in order to progress, 40% would fill it with “blah blah blah” (Morten Kamp). Then think of blind recruiting – it’s aim is to drive diversity (see above), but employees who are that way inclined will find a way. As Dr Tara Swart said, if we’re aware a stereotype exists, it’s in our brain somewhere.

Other points:

  • Email bad. If you’re in the same building communicate face to face;
  • Total wellbeing means better performance (did you know, broken sleep lowers your IQ and a stressful manager makes you fat? – Dr Tara Swart)
  • Talent alone is not enough (Sir Clive Woodward)
  • The biggest failure in business is not to acknowledge that emotions underpin every decision (Dr Tara Swart)
  • CEOs understand the purpose of HR, they just don’t think we can do it (Morten Kamp)
  • There are hierarchies (Tim Scott and Andy Lancaster) but billionaires still worry they’ll be found out for being frauds (Dr Tara Swart) and those at the top need to be sponges rather than rocks in their approach to learning (Sir Clive Woodward)

Final highlights:

Best surprise

Dolly Parton helps kids get access to books see @TeamDollyUK

Worst Bloooper

@hrpotential tweeting #blogsquad, autocorrected to #blowhard. Swiftly deleted and much respect to the recipient who still gave a polite reply!

Quote of the Day

“The shift from accounting to accountability” Peter Cheese, CE of the CIPD

Best Speaker

Got to love Tim Scott for his passion and down to earth analogies.

Best stand

Investors in People without a doubt – once I’d found it (luckily Dr Tara Swart proved why I’m bad at Map reading). It has fab lights, topiary, afternoon tea and a huge fake cake! If you haven’t seen it yet you must visit tomorrow.!!

That’s all for today folks – hope to see you tomorrow at #cipd15 !!

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