CIPD NAP 14 – Do you need to get out of your own way??

First session for me at the CIPD Northern Area Partnership Event with Lynda Holt, Director of Way Ahead is going to talk to us about whether we need to get out of our own way.  My own coaching practice is grounded in unblocking and unlocking people from the limiting beliefs they hold that get in their way so I’m really interested to hear what Lynda’s perspective is on how we stop ourselves being amazing! read more

Childhood Truths

So does this ring any bells from childhood?

Child 1 – “You’re a big smelly poo”

Child 2 – [say this part in a sing-song ‘nah nah nah nah’ child’s voice for maximum effect] “What you say is what you are”

Child 1 – Urgh no fair!

But it occurred to me the kids are actually onto the truth here!  [Note my use of ‘the’ kids – you really have no evidence that it was my own kids having this high brow discussion during a boring, rainy half term!] read more

Psst, SMEs, look over here. There’s another way!

After a full on day in Sheffield yesterday at the CIPD HR in SMEs event, I’ve been pondering and reflecting.

There was a huge variety of content from the inspiring Keith Jackson, MD of JRI Orthopaedics (, to the HR foundations from Sue Harper, HR Advisor of Leap 29 ( and then with some brilliant practical sessions in between: lining HR activity up to the business needs from Sara and Martin from MJF Cleaning Services (, attracting, selecting and retaining talent from Ben at IMarEST ( and a brilliant L&D programme for first line managers from Anabela at Just Eat (  All rounded off with a discussion and Q&As on leadership in SMEs ( read more

Panel Discussion about Leadership in SMEs

Peter Taylor’s (partner from the ICT Partnership LLP) talking about the big challenges for leaders in SME organisations where the leader needs to take responsibility for many aspects of the business and who spend their time working in instead of on the business.  Plus there’s then the aspect of often being family-owned and the shares being spread among a number of family members which can make decisions more difficult than in other businesses. read more

Inspiring Managers to get Passionate about People

Anabela Yourell who’s HR Manager from Just Eat is the final speaker for today.  Started in Denmark Just Eat is now in 13 countries – so you can Just Eat all over the place!  Having bought most of the other similar organisations in the UK they only have Hungry House left as a UK competitor. So really they’re not still an SME.  In 4 years they’ve gone from about 50 to 750.  1400% in employee growth!! Valentine’s night was last record breaking night at 195,153 orders – how romantic!  Wonder what’s driving that trend – economy?  In 4 years that’s grown from 15,000 as a record breaking night back then. The challenges they’ve not surprisingly faced along the way are a lot to do with the right people in the right jobs – need to just get bums on seats which means you just hire someone even if you don’t really know what you need, and you don’t really know how to select those people.  And promoting from within without developing managers meant that people weren’t actually doing the role of a manager. Anabela joined a very reactive HR team with no contracts, no passports on file – the basics just not in place.  Since then there’s been investment in HR so that they’ve grown from a team of 3 to 13. To move out of this place they had to figure out their priorities, and help the senior management see the difference that could be made through bringing a people focus.  Their first priority was to develop line managers who they clustered into groups of managers from similar areas of the business.  This was right because they needed the examples to be relevant to the delegates to help the learning.   But outside the classroom they encourage cross-business working – especially for discipline and recruitment where managers help each other out cross-function to bring an objective perspective to decisions. So they created ‘Passionate about People’ – 8 days that could be completed over a year but delegates wanted to book on quicker than that because they were getting so much from it. It was made up of : 1. A pre-course test to assess levels of passion for people to get people of similar capabilities grouped together and make their learning more effective by feeling safe and similar to those around them. 2. Employment Law, equality & diversty 3. Finding Nemo – recruiting, selecting, inducting and onboarding – are you recruiting for skill or culture?  Great to have this focus for the questions that need to ask in interview. 4. Be Frank – having difficult conversations about things like body odour, and Where are They – to focus on absence 5. Performance Mgmt – Getting Back on Track, and Performance Appraisals – Get them to the Moon – with quarterly reviews and a whole new set of objectives – things change fast!  Some elements might be continued but with a new angle or new focus and it’s all hooked into the longer term plan that’s created at the top to ensure everything’s pulling in the right direction. 6. Homework and Getting to the Bottom of It – investigations, discipline, dismissal – purposely didn’t put grievances on the course because they wanted line managers to come to HR when they got to that to avoid fire fighting if they got left too long 7. How passionate are you now? An end of learning test to spot where further development might be needed. And so what?  The differences they’ve seen…… The HR team saw that line managers were more confident, the HR team had more time because managers were less reliant on them and the teams’ confidence in the abilities of managers was growing with respect for them growing too. Recruitment and retention is working better, staff survey’s showing better results.  All in all a better place! read more

Attracting, Selecting and Retaining the Best Talent

I spoke to Ben Saunders (Head of HR and Learned Society at IMarEST) last week ahead of today’s event ( and he’s up first in the post-lunch slot to talk about his work.

As a member-funded group, people are at the heart of what they do.  They’re a complex organisation with representatives worldwide, which began with their first team member abroad in 2006, but they have only 50 employed staff, considering themselves as the CIPD of the marine world.  Also, like the CIPD, in 2012 they appointed David Lucy as CEO – someone with a commercial rather than marine background. read more