HR, L&D, Personnel, People, Workforce Development etc. etc. and Professionalism

Above, in the title of this blog is what I consider to be our fundamental issue. What are we as a profession? What are we all about? What makes us distinct from the other accepted business/corporate functions like Finance, and, and, well hang on. How distinct are the other professions that come to mind? And do they all have a clearly recognised scope of things that they do and a professional code of conduct/ethics that anyone you asked on the street could identify in some way? Probably not. Except maybe law and medicine, where you have to be qualified to practice, and everybody knows this.
Something I have often said, sometimes in frustration, sometimes to illustrate my point simply, is "Would you have a non-accountant heading up Finance? No? So why, in a business where 70% ish of your spend is on your people, on whom you rely totally to deliver your service, would you not have a qualified HR professional leading HR?" This is where this blog could get very messy and disorgan…

Look up, look around, listen

As I walk along, I look up, I look around, I listen, I straighten my shoulders. I find I am smiling. I start to become more aware of my breathing and how I am holding myself. I notice more colours and patterns as I look literally all around me. I also notice several different types of birdsong, and which direction it's coming from. My smile feels natural and comfortable and it settles. I am on my own outside on a glorious day, walking my dog, who is also really happy and waggy. God! I am so lucky. This is this afternoon's sunny springtime walk, 5 to 10 minutes away from my house.

Today wasn't always like this. I woke up tired again. Grey fug for a brain. That general headachy feeling that comes from lack of sleep. Unable to get back to sleep, but longing for decent sleep to envelop me. I'm 52, and some of my female friends may identify with this lack of sleep, and why. Night sweats, damn you! I have too much to do today...

I have always found getting outside and notici…

Context and Risk - a Diagram

How much process do we really need?
Is there a policy for that? (And must we use it?)
What would be proportionate?
Can we use much discretion?
What does the law actually say?
What is the bottom line absolute risk involved?
What if we get it wrong?
Is there a precedent for this? Would we be setting one, if not? (And does it matter?)
The questions above, and so many more, invariably accompany complex HR/People management decision making. If you’re in HR or line manage people, you’ve probably had lots of conversations covering the above – you may have also had to try to describe your approach to risk in an interview…
I’ve had the following on my wall sketched on some magic whiteboard for a while. I was planning to start to write in some generic examples… Then I started to think about a wheel (from the wheel of life) with an axis –LOW in the middle radiating out to HIGH on the circumference. What contextual issues would I include? I had a go (well several actually – many discarded) on drawing what t…

A Matter of Manners

I’ve been part of the team assessing candidates at assessment centres recently for posts in our charity shops. I have been asked twice, once by a candidate and once by an existing member of staff, if we ‘bother’ to let unsuccessful candidates know the outcome?
I’m really quite taken aback by this question. (Although I’m not naive, I know this happens a lot...) 
·Our candidates have taken the trouble to tailor an application for us.
They’ve done on line relevant ability tests.
They have given up a day to join us for the assessment centre.
They have been shown around, participated in discussions and been interviewed. All with our values to the fore.
We and they have made quite an investment in the whole process.
So why on earth would we simply ignore anyone who we assessed on the day as not quite the right fit to carry out this post, at this time?

Three things spring to my mind immediately:
1.It’s a matter of good manners. Not getting in touch is simply rude. Politeness costs nothing, well a few…

Murmuration Inspiration

I bang on a lot about how I love living by the sea. I do, I really do love it – even in cold grey weather. And that’s when, surprisingly, I like it best.
A few days ago I was on the beach with my dog trudging along into the biting wind. It could have been a chore to endure.
Then I looked across to the sea, and for the first ever time saw a seabird murmuration. I stood and watched for a while. It was really quite magical. There was much majestic swooping, disappearances across the bay, then graceful reappearances.  
Usually I would whisk my phone out for photos, or my digital camera if I had it on me, but like many fair weather amateur photographers, I usually only take that out on clear days.
No, I thought, DO NOT get your phone out. What would be the point? They are too far away for much focus and it is very grey today. Anyhow, trying (and failing) to get a decent photo will detract from being in the moment. So instead I stood and watched, enjoyed and soaked it up.
Just those few minute…

My Learning Year

Lots of people have predicted that pub quizzes of the future are going to be very easy. For every ‘In what year...?’ question, just say 2016, and the chances are, your answer will be correct.
I think most of the people I know are pretty much agreed that 2016 has been an awful year, and it may well be the precursor to several miserable years to follow - for world politics, stability and economies. I have to confess that a lot of the time, I just don’t know what to think in this era of information overload, post truth and fake news. Am I wrong to put some things into the ‘too difficult’ box? Does that make me a bad person? I could go on at length about this, and just succeed in tying myself up in knots.
So, what can I do? What can we do? Lots of little things, acts of kindness and generosity, taking care to do the things you do have control over carefully and thoughtfully, sharing… I thought it might be good to reflect on what I have learned this year, positively, and to share this using …

The HR Car Park

This is a blog about inter-professional envy, wishful thinking and possible unrealistic, if not downright fanciful, aspirations.
A few weeks ago, our Estates and Facilities Director pressed the start button for car park expansion works to begin. There had been a certain amount of trepidation leading up to this point, and a fair bit of dread about disruption during the works. I certainly felt this personally. A commute of 1 hour and 10 minutes at best (not enough hours in the day to accommodate public transport if I want to have a job and a life) had meant anxiety for the final stretch. Would I be able to park when I arrived? Would my working day start well, therefore? Or would I feel flustered (no spaces) and take some time to feel that I’d got off the back foot before I felt fully functional and productive?
To his eternal credit, the works went really smoothly. The contractors delivered on time, work was phased, disruption was minimal and my colleague communicated exactly what was happ…