Scotland the Blog: Collaboration for Capable People in the Shadow of the Castle

Scotland Business Partnering Conference Edinburgh June 17

On Wednesday in Scotland's breathtaking Capital City at the lovely Roxburghe hotel overlooked by the castle, we held our first CIPD Scotland Business Partnering conference. It was a great demonstration of the capability that HR working on the right issues, and managing critical relationships, brings to business and public services. A great tour of the complex multi-challenging world of defence was our opener. MOD's Angela Pope brought wisdom and common sense describing her top level role. In a constrained operating environment getting the best out of people is a complex challenge and HR capability is as essential as armour and airlift capacity to the fighting forces. Britain's part in the challenge of solving the world’s economic development deficit falls to DFID. The Director of People, strategy and Change James Saville gave a masterclass on how effective operational and strategic HR can support that vital effort. James also challenged us with two pieces of sharp better practice: Firstly, lifecycle HR isn't business partnering. Secondly, business partners for HR don't need to come from HR. He outlined some great models and tools and his approach will have many of us reflecting deeply.

Laura Clarke has had a career spanning everything from Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre and RBS. Her latest role as HRD of Martin Currie an Edinburgh investment firm re surfaced a familiar theme. The BP has to work with some of the brightest and best and needs to drive impact.

Next We got a wide variety of viewpoints on the role of the BP with senior practitioners panel including Michelle Shields from Network Rail,, Sarah Copeland of Glasgow Life and Doug Brown of Scottish soft drinks Icon A.G. Barr. All gave varied insights on the role of BPs in tackling the challenges and opportunities faced. Working with unions was one. Restructuring with rigour and responsiveness was another.

The afternoon session was opened by Andrew Brown from P.Z. Cussons the family business that gets us all into a lather with products such as imperial leather and Charles Worthington. Andrew has had a long career working for a university, Disneyland and Eurostar and was able to draw some lessons on how to work across different contexts.

Jessica Cooper of CIPD research has developed an insightful piece of work on changing HR operating models and yours truly delivered this weaving insight from other key projects such as Business Savvy and our Innovation Imperative Research.

Finally Graham Salisbury HRD of Action Aid delivered a fun session where I worked with his wife (unknown at the time to me) to prove that two people can draw a better house. The exercise demonstrated that driving collaboration is a key business partner skill. However Graham also challenged us on Capability with a great session using Ulrich's work to make us all reflect on development.

That rounded off a great day of learning. It was also a business partnering first for CIPDS with our Conference team colleagues Anton and Tracey, working with Suzanne, Best Lee Panglea and Sarah Simpson our volunteer lead, to deliver the event. Following our Scotland Conference this was Events lead Kirsty Talbot's second major capability Conference. Kirsty recently welcomed Flora her most important on time delivery among many!

One issue which came up continually for was the need for BP’s be analytical and switched on to data and evidence. We are delighted to say that on September 30 we will be hosting an HR Analytics Conference in Glasgow. See you and your team there!

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