· 2 min read · News

CIPD 2013 Day 1: Roundup

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The whole HR editorial team is at the CIPD Annual Conference in Manchester. As well as the main stories on today’s news bulletin, here is what else we’ve learned:

  • When it comes to workforce planning, HR too often focuses on supply and not demand, according to Andrea Cartwright, HR director at retail group Superdry. She encouraged HR to get the business involved with workforce planning decisions from the very start. “You’ve got to engage leaders in the debate,” she said. “This isn’t HR sitting in a dark room. Leaders love to talk about this stuff. HR has to facilitate the conversation.”
  • Auto-enrolment could be the perfect opportunity to rethink your whole reward and benefits strategy – and one-size-fits all should be a thing of the past. Jenny Davidson, former director of compensation and benefits for IT company CSC, told delegates she wanted to see HR “think outside the box” (yes, she went there) when it comes to benefits. “It’s time to treat individuals as individuals and offer them whatever benefits suit them,” she said.
  • Google maps could be your best friend when it comes to finding new recruits for different sites. Insurance group LV=’s head of resourcing Kevin Hough told how his team had mapped where people travelled from to give them an idea of where to target recruitment campaigns. He also described how LV= asked new recruits to blog and make videos to show what working for the company is really like.
  • Only 30 people attended the first ever meeting of the CIPD 100 years ago. Boots HR director Stephen Lehane produced the minutes of that meeting. He revealed six of those 30 were welfare officers from Boots, making up 30% of the total attendance. So it seems Boots has always been good at HR. 
  • Leigh Lafever-Ayer, HR director of Enterprise Rent-a-car, urged every HR person in the room to mix with other departments and start sharing data. "Get out of the silos we are operating in," she said. "Ask your IT department hundreds of silly questions if that's what it takes to interact with them."
  • In a talk about developing leadership, Marks & Spencer global head of learning, recruitment, and organisational development Nigel Jeremy said it’s crucial to focus L&D efforts on those willing to learn. “As HR practitioners, we spend a disproportionate amount of time on cynics… it’s a waste of time," he said.
  • Cafcass CEO Anthony Douglas and HR director Jabbar Sardar outlined how the organisation underwent significant cultural change in the wake of the Baby P case. This involved becoming more efficient, empowering employees to self-manage, using IT to cut administration and facilitate flexible working. "Culture only changes when there is self-regulation and buy-in of every individual,” Douglas said. Sardar added that sickness absence had dropped by 15% since April by giving all employees the flexibility to choose their health plans.
  • Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme delivered an interesting talk on how his firm was inspiring innovation and engagement for the £14.8 billion London Crossrail project. He said the role of HR is to understand the business, be an expert counsel, have the courage to challenge, be a troubleshooter and envision the future.