I’m getting ready for action at the CIPD Annual Conference tomorrow and Thursday. Last week, I mentioned some of the exhibitors who have the unglamorous (and often difficult) messages to get out there.
Today, I’m here to remind conference goers that looking after your people properly starts with the absolute basics. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but if the fundamental building blocks of work relationships aren’t in place, no amount of “next big thing in HR” investment will have a positive impact.
- Have you taken all necessary steps to ensure equality amongst your people regardless of their personal characteristics?
- Can your people be confident that they will be treated fairly if there is a problem with them, or they have a problem with someone or something else at work?
- Are all of your people receiving all of their legal entitlements as and when they become eligible?
- Do your people know what is expected of them in terms of behaviour and how they interact with their colleagues?
- Do your people know when they are doing a good job and when they are not?
If you can answer yes to all of those questions, then you have my blessing to look around you at the conference and exhibition for inspiration to see what else you could be doing to enhance and improve people experience and business performance. If you answer no, then looking to introduce advanced level initiatives probably should wait a little while. You don’t get to level-up until you have slain the equivalent of the “end of level baddie” where you are right now.
I have been to many superb conference sessions at ACE over the years, and the very best ones for me are the ones presented by employers who start the story with recognising that things weren’t right in their organisation. I’ve seen senior people from big household name brands stand up and admit to a crowded room that they as an employer, were getting something wrong. They then share with the room what they have done and are doing about it. The story usually spans several years, and is still a work in progress at the conclusion of the session.
There is no quick fix. There is no magic wand. You don’t get to unlock higher levels with a cheat code. If something is awry in your organisation, it takes commitment and hard graft to sort it out.
The good news is, there are many speakers at conference who know this all too well. Find the case study sessions, listen hard, and learn from others’ experience to help you on your way. Use the networking opportunities to share your experiences and gain fresh perspectives on perennial HR conundrums. See the exhibitors who have products who might play a part in your journey – just don’t be fooled into thinking that a product alone will be the answer to all your prayers.
PS – that’s not me in the picture.