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HR Directors Business Summit: Day one round up

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The HR magazine team is at the HR Directors Business Summit. Here are some of the best bits from day one

  • "Who brings your brand to life?" asked Kathryn Austin, chief people and marketing officer UK for Pizza Hut. "I hope, in a room full of HR professionals, that the answer will be 'your people'. In a business like ours your brand and your people are one and the same." Austin, who discussed the relationship between the HR and marketing functions, demonstrated the transformation that Pizza Hut has undergone – not just in decor and products – but in its attitudes towards employees. "We had a control mindset so we had to reprogram. We had to ask what our customer brand was, and what our employer brand was, and decided that they are one and the same," she said.
  • Anthony Douglas, chief executive of Cafcass, explained why it is so important to care for the emotional wellbeing of staff. "I think a happy employee is 50% more productive than an unhappy employee," he said. "We have developed one of the best performance management systems in our sector." James Hyde, head of HR at Cafcass, added that the organisation had to turn around a poor image. "We needed to find ways to properly reward and motivate staff," he said. "But there would be no change unless we had top-down buy-in."
  • Payroll and HR services provider Ceridian wanted to share the power of 'one way, our way'. Ashleigh Evans, talent and engagement manager, explained that she strives to make superfans of her people. "You have to have everyone engaged," she said. "If you can get your leaders to walk the walk then your people will too." She also suggested that HR works closely with the marketing department within the organisation. "Please be best friends with marketing," she said. "This will ensure your brand message is the same to your customers and your employees."
  • Forget the career ladder – how about a career climbing frame? That was one of the messages from housing association RHP on engaging a multigenerational workforce. Head of employee engagement and communications Chloe Marsh explained: “Career development is not a ladder anymore; it’s not just about a linear movement upwards.” Group executive director of corporate services Amina Graham added that in an effort to keep things fresh and simple, and attract the right people, all job descriptions are limited to one page. “People who want a three-page job specification tend to self-select not to come here.”
  • Senior-level succession planning is becoming one of the key topics for 2016 and an opportunity for HR, according to Willis Towers Watson. “After decades of slumber, investors and regulators have woken up to senior succession planning as a serious governance issue,” said Radha Chakraborty, director of Willis Towers Watson’s talent management practice. But this increased scrutiny means nomination committees have to up their games. “Is your nomination committee sufficiently supported by HR and the board to make evidence-based decisions?” Chakraborty asked. She advised HRDs to audit their succession plans and look for potentially risky gaps.
  • Selina Millstam, vice president and head of talent management human resources for Ericsson, discussed the importance of purpose in business. "Purpose is a choice," she said. "We decide how we act upon it, we are in control. It's a practice. We see it as something deeply personal, and it has to be something about improving the lives of others." Millstam added Ericsson takes a strong stance towards values. "I'm proud of how we encourage and promote this. If your values are not aligned to our company values you're probably not a good fit for us."