Today I popped along to the exhibition and free seminars at the CIPD conference in Manchester. I go most years, and to be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. This year was no different.
On the plus side, it’s a great way to stay up to date with what the hot topics are, and thanks to twitter and the blog squad, you can get a lot of information from the key-note speeches without having to attend them. It’s also a good place to meet virtual contacts in person, and catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while. This year was no exception.
On the down side, I’m getting fed up of hearing the same old things: We need to be more agile; we need to cater for millennials; we need to put the people back into people management; we need to use analytics; what can we do to be taken seriously by the Board? OK, things ARE moving forward, but it’s very slowly. There’s no doubt in my mind that HR people attend this conference for personal development and bench marking. They leave all fired up with ideas, armed with useful data to make their argument, and determined to make changes in their organisations.
So why, a year later, are we having the same conversations? Wrestling with the same problems?
I think it’s for exactly the same reason that a lot of training doesn’t really work. It’s not that the training is bad. It’s not that the individual doesn’t try to implement things. It’s because they attended (or completed) that training in isolation. Just as none of the HR managers’ peers attended the CIPD conference, most of an individuals colleagues don’t receive the same training. You cannot bring about change in a vacuum.
Not that I’m suggesting we go back to sheep-dip training… but the one benefit that approach has is that everyone has the same experience. Everyone knows what’s been discussed. Everyone knows what their colleagues are trying to do differently and why.
Having a common understanding, genuine buy-in, someone taking an active interest and supporting you long after the event, is so important, and for that there’s no quick and easy solution. But one things does strike me – the more we can make L&D just part of normal work, and less of an add-on the work, the better the results will be. Just as HR needs to be just about good management and not something separate to really have an impact.
If you want to have a chat about how we can make L&D ‘business as usual’ contact me to arrange a chat. I can’t guarantee to have the answer, but two heads are better than one, and between us, we may just get one step closer to the solution.