#CIPD15 Key Themes Day Two

@hrpotential‘s lowdown on the key themes of the second and final day of #CIPD15

The right network

Linking back to yesterday’s theme of diversity driving innovation, there was a lot to be said on day two about expanding networks. But wait a minute, we do that all the time right? Maybe so, but not with the right people.

Humans are narcissistic and we enjoy people around us who are like us (Herminia lbarra) and who confirm our opinions (Matthew Syed). These networks may be comfortable, but they prevent us from growing (Matthew Syed) as people we know like the “old” us, and consequently don’t want us to change

Another reason for networking was developing influence – something which grows in importance as you move up the career ladder (Linda Kennedy). There was a call for leaders to be visible (Inji Duducu) but it’s actually pretty lonely at the top (Linda Kennedy). So build alliances, just don’t be too Machiavellian about it (Linda Kennedy) because people see through selfish motives (Herminia lbarra)

So follow the best piece of advice Linda Kennedy was ever given and move outside your comfort zone. Venture to the periphery and engage with different people (Herminia lbarra), that’s how a growth mindset is developed (Matthew Syed, Mariana Popovic).

Celebrate the good

Inji Duducu reminded HR that what gets recognised gets repeated. However before this can happen we need to be really clear about what good looks like and live by that, with leaders setting the example (Matthew Syed and William Hague of HMRC).

Don’t get too comfortable though (see above) as what is defined as “good” doesn’t stay the same for long. Our employees may be in possession of all the required skills (Paul Matthews), and continual development of those skills may be the key to success (Matthew Syed) but it also lures employees into the trap of just honing their existing skills rather than learning something new (Herminia lbarra).

Echoing yesterday’s point by Sir Clive Woodward, Matthew Syed again emphasised that talent isn’t everything. Sending the message that it is leads to self conscious individuals branding themselves as “untalented”, paralysing HR’s ability to harness their potential. Yet this is what HR does all the time – something explained by the next theme.

Performance Management is dead?

CIPD couldn’t have branded their conference as “the future of HR” without talking about one of the key concerns of the moment – should organisation’s get rid of performance management? This of course means ditching the traditional rigid annual performance review.

Sports stars achieve the pinnacle of success through constant up to the minute feedback (Matthew Syed). But to paraphrase Peter Cheese when he introduced Dr Tara Swart’s neuroscience session on day one – we know this but we don’t use it. Perhaps the reason HR finds this so difficult is concerns regarding the robustness of whatever will replace trad-PM (Linda Kennedy) so we retreat to the familiar methods.

Technically managers already have the skills – they’re very good at immediately pointing out people’s failures, jumping to conclusions and assigning blame (Matthew Syed). In line with this an immediate “solution” is often to send the perpetrator on a course without finding out the root cause of their behaviour (Paul Matthews). So, as above, we need to be quicker with the praise as after all, you can’t improve performance by holding a gun to someone’s head (Matthew Syed).

So what is the future of HR?

Change, pure and simple. Let’s use our brains (Matthew Syed used the analogy that they’re a muscle that gets stronger with use, Dr Tara Swart’s neuroscience yesterday demonstrated there’s some truth behind this) stop navel gazing (Linda Kennedy) and get on with it because “my goodness we can add value” (William Hague, HMRC).

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