I was very fortunate to win a ticket to the above event through CIPD mid Scotland branch - thank you very much indeed for this. In my role as Operations Director at Glendoick Garden Centre I wear many hats and HR is part of my function. We don't have a HR department - all the managers are involved in HR as part of their roles too.
Had I not won a ticket, then I almost certainly would not have attended so I am very grateful for the opportunity this gave me to learn, network and basically indulge in a whole day of HR!
The tile of the event was "Working well in Scotland: Enabling business success".
Wellbeing in business is extremely topical at the moment, and quite rightly so.
Peter Cheese gave the opening keynote speech and told us that Scotland's productivity is 20% lower than many other countries despite an often longer working week. He said organisations need to become less driven by rules and instead become led by principles, evidence based and outcomes driven.
For those that are book lovers or want to know more he recommended the book "Thinking Fast & Slow" by Daniel Kaheman.
Sir Cary Cooper spoke to us about enhancing mental capacity. He said that presenteeism, turning up and not adding value, was now a bigger issue than absence for organisations. He also said that line managers were key to the development of the business and this is another hot topic that I absolutely agree with - develop your line managers to develop your business.
His book recommendation was Joseph Heller's "Catch 22" and "Something Happened".
The first breakout session I attended was about enhancing leadership, culture and values to succeed in uncertain times. Paula Dunne from Santander spoke about how they had looked at things from the inside out and established 9 behaviours that they wanted to be part of their culture. These nine behaviours were integrated as part of their performance review, making up 50% of the mark given. Employees were encouraged to identify two or three of these behaviours to concentrate and work on at any one time.
The second speaker from this session was Chris Taylor from Subsea7. His industry has undergone huge boom and bust extremes over the years and retaining talent is an on-going issue. He gave us an example of how quality can be improved - an ipad was installed in a kitchen so the chefs could see who they were cooking for and this resulted in better food production. He also rated naturalness and employees with passion as key to business success.
Lunch and a chance to look round the exhibition followed. The exhibitors I was most interested in were:
Fit for work Scotland - a free advice and assessment service to help individuals return to work after a period of sickness absence (www.fitforworkscotland.scot)
Mitrefinch - provide a HR management software system to avoid duplication and aid efficiency when dealing with HR processes. (www.mitrefinch.co.uk)
OPP Ltd - they are part of CPP, the Myers-Briggs Company which I am hugely interested in. I am considering undertaking the training to become a MBTI practioner, although it is very expensive! I think the value of understanding personality preferences, what makes one individual different to others and why other people react in the way they do, allows teams to work much more effectively within an organisation and individuals to improve interpersonal relationships outside of the workplace.(www.opp.com)
Paths for All - this is a charity which champions every day walking in Scotland. They have a Step Count Challenge beginning on 1 May 2017 for teams of 5 people. Here they set goals and challenges to keep motivation going over the 8 weeks and at the end there are prize draws for teams that complete the challenge. (www.pathsforall.org.uk)
Scottish Enterprise - the workplace innovation team were on hand to discuss how their masterclasses could help organisations to develop their people, processes and business relationships. (www.scottish-enterprise.com)
The first afternoon session was led by Dr Chia-Jung Tsay and was entitled "Tackling bias for better business decisions". Dr Tsay spoke really well and her audience participation in asking us to "judge" a music competition kept us entertained as well as explaining how sometimes we allow ourselves to be influenced by factors without even realising! She recommended viewing "The Golden Circle" - a TED talk by Simon Sinek, how great leaders inspire action.
The afternoon breakout session I attended was entitled "Developing healthier and more inclusive workplaces to boost productivity". The first speaker was Jenny Lawrence from Lindt & Sprungli. She spoke about how they had made a flexible space and brought in basic gym equipment and an exercise leader to provide opportunities for employees to keep fit and healthy. She talked about authenticity, making people feel special. They give employees their birthday day off; employees have volunteering days and random acts of kindness take place - indeed Jenny had provided a random act of kindness by welcoming us to the session with a Lindt Lindor chocolate bar! She spoke about "choose your attitude" and how "what gets measured gets done". Lindt sounded like a place where employees ideas were welcomed and it has been recognised as a top 50 Great Place to Work as well as Britain's Healthiest Company.
for some fun and wellbeing that took place at Glendoick Garden Centre!)
Matt Elliott from Virgin Money spoke next - no free samples from him! He described how the company went about launching it's money side of the business which was a completely new area to them in a way that added to the brand. He too described volunteering days as a way for employees go out into the community and help others and still be paid for up to two days a year. He also informed us that they have set up a non profit making area called Virgin Money Giving which operates in a similar way to Just Giving, but takes much less of the donation to fund the admin so more of your money goes to charity.
The final afternoon session was from Shane O'Mara who talked about the business brain - developing organisational resilience through neuroscience. He defined resilience as adapting well to trauma, stress etc.. He told us education is neuro-productive; loneliness is bad for your brain; your emotions are part of how you think; walk 1.5miles three times a week to live longer; the brain changes because of experience; the brain needs downtime and sleep.
This was a fact-filled presentation that was engaging and entertaining. He described how the brain changes with stress but that in many cases it can recover. He has written a book "Why torture doesn't work; The neuroscience of interrogation" and has another book "A brain for business a brain for life" is due out on 18 May 2017.
There then followed a drinks reception which was a great opportunity to network and meet new people as well as catch-up with old friends.
To sum the day up - a hugely stimulating and informative day that was really well organised. Lots of interesting insight around the main subject and more personal research to be done through reading some of the great recommendations. Wellbeing at work is firmly on the agenda, and with the workplace having to react to uncertain times and an ageing workforce, this is a topic that will be uppermost in our minds for many years to come.
Thanks to CIPD Mid-Scotland branch for giving me this fantastic opportunity to attend and also to Rowan Consultancy and Activate HR for keeping me company. I'm also looking forward to keeping in touch with the other HR professionals I met on the day.