Challenge, Barriers, Solutions and Boobs. #cipdACE17

Day 2 of the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition in Manchester.

I started by attending The Big Conversation, hosted by CIPD Manchester branch, Rachael Burnham and Gem Dale featuring Gary Cookson and supported by Mark Hendy.


Creating the culture of trust in organisations that we need. How do we do this? What are the barriers?

Phil Willcox responded on Twitter to say “1/ on creating the culture of trust – for this we have to look well beyond flexible working or policy. Look at conversations about milk use or toilet cleanliness or claiming back expenses. They’ll tell you much more about trust in your culture


“2/ fear of loss of control too. If I can’t see you > I don’t know what you are doing > I can’t measure you > I can’t report on you > my credibility as a manager is at risk > that scares me > so…. no! Be at your desk

Phil added “I also ponder about sadness and loss of previous unavailable opportunity. Go with me… ‘I would have loved the chance to work like this > it’d have made my life loads easier > but I managed, I coped > so others can too’

Fear plays a big part and is the primary barrier. Managers think: If I say yes to one, I’ll have to say yes to all.  PT people think: If I’m part time, it doesn’t make me less ambitious that full time person or less committed. How is this right? You can do something about this. Take positive action today, a small step or a step change but do something.

Flexible flexible working for all – this includes polices, or no polices for every single person in your organisation. Challenge assumptions about who needs flexibility (hint, it’s not just Mums). What opportunities do you have to link performance targets and reward to flexibility?

Change attitudes and challenge stigma – this will include encouraging a “can do” approach and role modelling at all levels.

Support managers to manage more effectively – what is their role? How can they role model?

We were asked to describe our ideal situation and to identify the ways to measure success – what will we see, hear or feel to know we have achieved this?

  • Build a culture of flexibility by the creation of cool rules, not policy but guidance for all. More transparent, with leadership support. Not about permission.
  • A trusting culture. Overcome barriers – fear. What works? Tech can help. How to drive real change? We, HR, if we really want to

Gem captured the output of The Big Conversation perfectly on her blog here.

How many organisations offer more than the legal minimum? Why do people have to wait 26 weeks before being afforded flex working. Why not from day one? Great challenge. What does your org do and why?

My lasting memory of this breakfast session came from Gem “Remove the lens of flexible working from a parental focus to one with a lens on talent and engagement”.

I shared with our group the agreement I have with my manager. I work based on outcomes, not permission or presenteeism. That’s it. No rules. Just an understanding. Do my job however I feel is appropriate. If that means I work 4 hours a day, so be it. Equally, if I need to put in 14hrs, I will. I am afforded trust and confidence; that I will do what I can to achieve our objectives, to deliver. I have a joint commitment, with my manager and employer, that I will do what is right; by me, by the people in our organisation, and by my organisation’s values.

The sessions throughout today were ace, yet still the language had me cringing. Yesterday Human Capital, today Personnel. What is wrong with these dinosaurs? Do they not see it? Or is it no big deal? There have been boobs everyday.

Then this afternoon, I was given boobs. I have them, but they were not on show. Yet this is how I am presented. Not even as HR. Just me. I’m OK with this but many weren’t. Thoughts?

The exhibitors I have met today have been brilliant. The stand out was AKD Solutions who offer game-based learning. This game, Equality Yours, asks the hard questions, explores deeply engrained beliefs and values to support an equal and inclusive work space.

How would you answer these questions?

How would managers in your organisation answer these questions?

My final words after two brilliant days, peppered with wankiness, is what are you doing to embrace the future of work? Should it start with bringing CEO’s (as a free +1) to events and conferences like this? All well and good being full of people types but if the man or woman heading your organisation doesn’t see its value, what are you even here for? It’s not Bullseye. We’re not playing “look at what you could’ve won”.

This is life. Not just yours but the hundreds or thousands who work in your business. Think about that.



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Widow, Cats, Family, People Stuff, Exec Coach, Food Nerd, Gin Queen.

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