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CIPD conference round-up: Day two

What the HR magazine team learnt at the second day of the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition

The HR magazine team has been at the CIPD annual conference in Manchester. As well as today’s top stories, here’s what else we learned on day two…

  • Group HR director at Unipart Group John Greatrex underlined the crucial difference between employee satisfaction and engagement. “Before you can do anything fancy on engagement you have to have a base level of satisfaction in the business,” he said. “Satisfaction is different from engagement; it’s a hurdle to overcome. It’s driven by fairness and expectations.” Greatrex also offered insight on his organisation’s strategy of not linking appraisals and reward and remuneration. "Once local managers have direction on the broad parameters we leave it up to them and trust them. We put a lot of authority into local business units,” he added.
  • HR director for Xerox Louise Fisher and her CFO counterpart VP of financial planning and analysis Xavier Heiss demonstrated the theme of their talk perfectly by standing up to speak together, taking it in turns to share insights on how HR-finance collaboration works at the £3 billion, 140,000-employee business. Tips included being physically close office-wise (or picking up the phone regularly); cross-function learning and development initiatives, for example the finance director mentoring someone from the HR team seeking to build greater financial knowledge, as Heiss does; challenging each other’s thinking; and supporting one another. “The HRD and CFO are the only people who see everything,” Fisher added. “We both see the data so we’re not breaking confidentiality when we talk about things with each other.”
  • Mariana Popovic, head of learning and organisational development EMEA for Ebay, said that HR should re-evaluate how it thinks about talent. "I'm a big fan of doing away with the phrase 'talent management'," she explained. "Instead we need to ask how we enable our talent.”
  • Group captain Adrian Bettridge, who commands the MoD's Defence School of Personnel Administration, outlined his hard line on bullying in the workplace. "I have no tolerance for bullying," he said. "We also have no tolerance for others who see it happen but do not act.”
  • Want to start adding value to your business via the meaningful application of analytics, and move from data to insight? Clean your data first. That was the advice of Giovanni Everduin, head of strategic HR, communications and change at Middle Eastern shared services firm Tanfeeth. “Lots of people talk about the fancy front-end stuff, but cleaning back-end data is the most important,” he said. “It’s not sexy, it won’t impress the CEO, but it has to be done.” Cleaning data and creating a “single source of truth” via one HR database means giving leaders access to people data. This frees HR professionals from the grind of reporting operational data and allows them to focus on value-adding insights, he said.
  • Encouraging leadership visibility is key to culture change, according to Benenden’s group people director Inji Duducu. “A quick win is always to ramp up leadership visibility,” she said. “Where leaders spend their time is symbolic of what matters to the organisation. If leaders give up their time it’s a real demonstration of what matters.” She also advised HR professionals to embrace celebration and recognition. “What gets recognised gets repeated,” she said, sharing how Benenden has worked with OC Tanner on an “appreciation hub” that allows employees to send each other e-cards to say thank you for a job well done.
  • CIPD CEO Peter Cheese told HR magazine that the annual CIPD event is one of the highlights of his calendar. "I think I'd have to rank Christmas slightly above it though," he added. "I've learned a lot from the sessions I went to, including Cary Cooper and Tara Swart. They focus on the human stuff; about thinking of the 'human' in 'human resources’."