• Do sponsor-protégé relationships really promote diversity?

    I’m intrigued, slightly surprised, that ‘sponsoring’ is seen as a progressive solution for workforce diversity. In her generally excellent book on gender equality interventions, Iris Bohnet advocates not just mentoring but more active sponsorship to help women progress their careers.[1] A new book by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, which carries several high profile endorsements, takes a similar line.[2]

    A main justification…

    • 20 Sep 2019
  • How do you solve a problem like appraisals?

    Performance appraisal has been a common point of discussion over recent years, in particular with descriptions of how to dump, ditch, axe or abolish it. Often the arguments and case studies cited don’t live up to the sensationalist headlines, it being more a case of changing performance appraisal than killing it, but changes are certainly afoot in many organisations. The main trends appear to be towards making them more…

    • 8 Dec 2017
  • Are we post-truth? Protecting HR from 'alternative facts'

    Kellyanne Conway’s gaffe on Sunday that patently incorrect statements by Donald Trump’s press secretary were ‘alternative facts’ has received a level of derision rare by any standards. The mickey-takes have rolled in from far and wide, with sources as diverse as Deutsche Bahn and (alternative) rocker Courtney Love offering their #AlternativeFacts. It was an incredible phrase to coin, even if what…

    • 24 Jan 2017
  • Boaty says: ‘Ask me something I want to influence’

    The story of Boaty McBoatface has caught the attention of many since it blew up a rather lovely storm in spring. It clearly tells us something about ‘voice’ but the discussion I’ve seen has, in my opinion, missed the most important lesson.

    For those of you who it passed by, here’s the story in a nutshell. To raise public interest in its new £200m Royal Research Ship, the Natural Environment Research…

    • 6 Jun 2016
  • The end of the dance: lessons on resignation

    The most interesting resignations can be borne of the more mundane problems. Corruption and sexual scandal have a shock value, but the resignations themselves are pretty straightforward affairs: did you / didn’t you, or did you know / didn’t you know. By contrast, Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation on Friday is being pored over in depth, both for his motives and the likely impact on the government.


    • 21 Mar 2016
  • Living life on the edge in the NHS

    ‘I want to stay as close on the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center … Big, undreamed-of things – the people on the edge see them first.’ Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano.

    The idea of ‘leading from the edge’ is persuasive in a fast changing world. Organisations need to innovate and innovation comes from thinking differently.…

    • 22 Jan 2016
  • People and place at work: clambering over professional boundaries

    In the final session at the highly worthwhile Workplace Trends conference yesterday, I sat in a group of five and we scratched our collective head on the question given us: How can we have inclusive conversations to shape workplaces for the better?
    Past five o’clock and – for all the conference’s energy – feeling the edges of fatigue, we started chatting about the photos shown in presentations. Many pictures we’d…
    • 16 Oct 2014
  • Woolly thinking or an inexact science? Unpicking employee engagement

    On Monday, the Engage for Success movement held a conference on ‘the future of employee engagement’, #E4Sfutures on Twitter. The core of the day was presentations from renowned academics and business leaders who contributed to a recent collection of thought pieces on the theme.
    The thinking behind the work is that over the last decade, employee engagement has become cemented in the worlds of many practitioners…
    • 9 Jul 2014
  • It’s all about relationships and empowerment. No, really, it is!

    Last week saw the launch of Tomorrow’s Relationships, a challenging piece of research led by Tomorrow’s Company in partnership with CIPD, CIMA, Linkaters and KPMG. The report argues that relationships lie at the heart of business, yet we don’t pay enough attention to how we understand, develop, manage and assess them. It also argues that this is possible and provides practical toolkits to help.
    • 3 Jul 2014
  • Beyond the Workplace: CIPD & BIFM roundtable

    Last week, we had a first for the British Institute of Facilities Management and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development: a roundtable discussion with a group of leaders and experts from the worlds of facilities management, human resources and workplace design. This is being followed by a joint statement from the two organisations signalling our intent to collaborate.

    What brought the 15 of us together was…

    • 9 Jun 2014
  • Formulas, guidelines, hiring decisions

    I’m struck by an article by Julian Baggini in this month’s Prospect. I'm a fan of Baggini. Here, he argues that recipes constrain us and stop us exercising judgment, which over time makes us less wise, less able to discern. That’s recipes of all sorts, not just cooking. Checklists and rules may be crucial for some things – technical things like flying a plane or manufacturing a gas appliance – but in the main, ‘we have…

    • 10 Feb 2014
  • Do something! Anything! (Preferably evidence-based, though...)

    A news item that caught my eye the other day was a UK survey by Doctors.net.uk, which found one in three GPs support the idea of charging for accident and emergency services to deter the 'entitlement culture' that has led to it being 'free at the point of abuse'. Many A&E services are claimed to be not far from breaking point and 'radical action’ is needed to ease the strain. Hence charging patients…
    • 8 Jan 2014