As I sit here after 11pm after two days on the @DPGplc stand at a buzzing #CIPD13, I can’t get away from a few thoughts and feelings. It’s niggled me all day so I’m just going to put it down and see what happens.

This morning I attended HR Unscrambled hosted by @Dougshaw1 and @OD_Optimist. A fantastic thought-provoking start to the day.

I thoroughly enjoyed talking to people who viewed bacon butties with an assortment of sauces, caffeine and meaningful conversation as a viable alternative to a lie-in.

It was entitled HR Unscrambled – Co-creating the Future of HR and the event info went something like this

Whether you’re passionate about improving organisational culture, employee-led change, employee communication or anything else that will help make work better, we’d like to invite you to HR Unscrambled.

HR Unscrambled is a breakfast unconference, where you will meet and talk with other HR professionals who want to make work and working lives the best they can be. You will spend time meeting new people and talking in small groups about the things that matter to you. After the session, the key themes and outputs will be written up and shared with you.

It was enough to provide a hook to leave my warm duvet in the midst of morning darkness to go and make some new connections and chat about where HR sees itself now and in the future AND (more importantly) how we are going to create this future together. I’m not a HR generalist / specialist / sensationalist or any other -ist you care to think about but I do have a deep rooted desire to make work and working lives the best they can be. Count…..me…….in

There were a few people I knew and more importantly a lot that I didn’t and, in true unconference style we started to develop the topics to explore in-more depth and detail. As Doug and Meg started to collect and collate the ideas a  surprising theme started to emerge – all the groups were talking about LEARNING. Yes I know… I’ll repeat that, a HR event at 8am in the morning talking about making work and working lives the best they can, the overwhelming topic of conversation was based around LEARNING. Not just learning but how people could and wanted to learn had changed AND more importantly how the skills needed to operate effectively in the workplace of today need to change. I was hooked on this and it brought back strong memories of my first unconference hosted and facilitated by the gang at @LnDConnect. It was insightful, exciting and enthusiastic chatter.

Now this is where is gets interesting (or frustrating) as the LnDConnect unconference touched on many of the themes coming out during the Unscrambled conversations. It was 18 months since that event and the lasting effects are still with me as I was inspired and enthused to write a summary and a follow up post called Assumed Constraints and L&D thinking.

In the 18 months since that event I’ve started a new job with @DPGplc and have developed the DPG Community which now has almost 2000 members and has radically changed DPG’s approach to delivering and facilitating all our programmes including CIPD qualifications – putting social, sharing and collaboration at the heart of everything we do. I’m not saying this with a self-congratulating pat on the back and “hey check me out – look what I’ve done” but it is proof that with the right attitude, desire and people around you, you can achieve a lot in a short space of time. I want to share this journey, warts and all so people can learn from it and do it better.

Here I am again following a similar event writing another blog…… but something this time has changed. It’s a grim realisation that we DO talk a different language to everyone else and we confuse the hell out of people, there are those that ‘get it’ however (as @Dds180 quite rightly said) we’re good at sharing this stuff amongst the same people. Why? Because it’s a safe environment to do so – the real challenge is with those we work with on a day to day basis within and outside of HR and L&D – that’s where change needs to happen. Not with those who are already converted.

I’ve joined a few of the dots – rather messily and incoherently as this blog would suggest but let’s delve deeper in to the thoughts of a madman and stop looking at this through the eyes of HR…

  1. Whether you’re passionate about improving employee communication

What does this mean? Sounds like typical HR drivel to me….’employee communication’. How about changing it to

  1. Whether your passionate about connecting people and helping them talk to one another and encouraging them to learn from each another

How about another one….

2. Whether you’re passionate about improving employee-led change

Uh oh, the HR BS express is building up speed, how about as an alternative

2. Whether you’re passionate about listening to the ideas and suggestions of others and taking action to help make them a happen.

And the last one…

3. Whether you’re passionate about improving organisational culture

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN????? Talk to me in a language that I understand – please! This is slightly longer but how about…

3. Whether you’re passionate about helping people connect with what they do and how they do it, instilling a sense of pride and belief in themselves that shines through in all that they do.

All of these have a problem. The problem is us.

Throughout #CIPD13 and Unscrambled in the conversations that I’ve had, I get a sense that in most organisations L&D and HR sorry, the PEOPLE in L&D and HR provide barriers the channels through which everything ’employee’ must go – training, performance, induction, policies, processes, content, learning, communication, change, culture etc etc

We are our own worst enemy because the change and the future that ‘we’ talk about when we come to these events means radical change to the way in which we think, act, operate and *shock horror* how we view ourselves as a function and what we actually do as a function. Do we view this change as a threat to our very existence? You bet.

If we view change as a threat then what hope have the people within the organisations got? We wonder why things are happening much more s  l  o  w  l  y than expected and there you have it – we are the reason. We are dragging our feet while the world around us changes.

I had some great conversations today but a lot of those conversations were around “we should do”, “we could do”, “we want to”. I say:

If you should then you MUST

If you could then you CAN

If you want to then you WILL

Whatever you do, don’t just talk about doing it, as talk is cheap – it’s time for action not empty rhetoric.

The themes of #CIPD13 were:

  • Lighting up your HR strategy
  • Finding bright HR ideas
  • Leading HR in to the Future

It’s action that will do all three things –  not lip service.

What action are you taking after CIPD13? What are you going to do differently and how are you doing it?

How are you going to share this with others?

Let’s make sure that next time we’re together we’re not still talking about the should’s, could’s and want to’s.