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Local CIPD Branch Events - Do you attend?

Good morning,  I am trying to find if people out there value the events that the local CIPD branches hold,  I have been part of the committee for our local group for sometime now and am finding it increasingly frustrating,  we hold around 8 events a year on a wide variety of topics, but find that we have an average attendance of around 15 people attend each one.  

We are also finding it incredibly difficult to find people who are willing to volunteer to join the committee, which means much bigger workload for the few that have joined, and also I worry that we are not putting on events on topics that are interesting to those who are new to HR, we do ask for ideas from all those that attend, but very few people are even willing to contribute these!

There is also very little recognition from CIPD for the work that the volunteers do (not even a Christmas Card!)

I would be interested in getting your feedback,  

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  • In reply to Laura Fazackarley:

    Hi Laura,

    I agree with many of the points you mention, frustratingly CIPD will not let us have email addresses (due to DP) so we too use paper feedback sheets - certainly not ideal.... We generally highlight the opportunity to volunteer at all our events, and if you are interested I am fairly certain all the groups in Wessex would be delighted to have another volunteer, I really like your idea about putting current HR news at the beginning of the event - fresh ideas from people is another reason we desperately need more volunteers. I also agree that holding all events midweek evenings isn't ideal, but we do always try to provide some kind of food as we appreciate people may not have been able to eat beforehand, and we do try to stick to time!

  • Hi Chloe (and all),

    I’ve been following your conversations about branch events with interest. A couple of things that you may find useful:

    We, centrally, have done a lot of thinking around this recently in the context of our active member engagement strategy. What we want to do is support branches to become a key channel to drive active membership. This means three things:

    a) joining up branches with our community investment work and volunteering programmes where members use their skills to support jobseekers, schools, local charities (such as Steps Ahead, Enterprise Advisors, Skill-up) and most recently our work around in-work campaigning (ie Living Wage, Flexible Working)

    b) for us to support branches to deliver activities in addition to the traditional events across five key areas (campaigning & volunteering, local labour market insights, CPD & member to member mentoring, promoting HR as a profession and HR support for local businesses & charities)

    c) Using CIPD CPD products and tools (e.g. HR inform etc) to make branch events more impactful and an integral part of very practical support and career development.

    What have we done to make this happen?

    - We have run sessions and consultation workshops at this at the last two Council meetings (please ask your representative for more detail, engage with my team and the Regional Heads, have a look at the last two branch links newsletters if you are on a branch committee)

    - Adapted the business planning process to support and incentivise these activities. Business planning templates have gone out this week with a lot of guidance (written and video) and we are engaging around this throughout the month of March via phone ins with branches (again talk to your committee about this please).

    We have joined up the branch team with the community investment team so we have put more dedicated resource behind this. The team is supporting the vision by delivering on projects that help with the following:

    1. Ensuring we have the right people being active for the right reasons (eg volunteer role profiles, recruitment)

    2. Training, support, guidance, technology (investment in salesforce portals, volunteer training, marketing cloud, communication support and strategy)

    3. Investment and incentives (e.g. you can now ask for non-financial support and for financial support for non-event activities in addition to funding for events)

    4. Recognitions and embedding into CIPD propositions, strategic tools etc

    It’s still early days so your feedback and engagement is super useful, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch directly. And please nudge your branch chair and committee to engage around this!

    Recognition is very important – I agree, we are lagging behind on this! We will make this a priority later in F18/19 but again, just a couple of things that are under way:

    We are holding our first Volunteer Summit in June (during Volunteers Week) which will be open to all volunteers (branch, community and everyone else who is volunteering on behalf of CIPD). This is designed to provide volunteers with training but also networking and of course recognition!

    We are also currently working with our CPD and strategy colleagues to embed volunteering and more generally using your skills for the benefit of CIPD, the profession and society, into our Professional Standards Framework and our CPD offer. We have already integrated some of this into our online qualifications.

    Because recognition should not just happen at the end it should acknowledge how important this is to membership.

    What we need to do in the longer term is make clear links between using your skills for the benefit of others and careers progression (we have a lot of research evidence around this) linking it also to membership progression and upgrading, however, this will need careful consideration and involvement of a number of stakeholders across the organisation.

    I hope this is useful – as I say, all work in progress but we have started to test some exciting new ways to make your volunteering more impactful and visible and also to make branches the focal hub of active membership. Watch this space and please, please talk to your branch committees about this.

    Thanks,
    Katerina

    Head of Member, Branch and Community Engagement, CIPD

  • Hi Chloe,

    I have to confess that I have never attended a local branch event either. The timing - always Wednesday evening just doesn't work when you have two children, and as there is always a networking time built on at the start I would need to leave by the time the speaker was actually starting (I fully recognise the importance of networking, but maybe afterwards for people who can stay longer?).

    In addition, I have really good links with our local universities and they run some excellent sessions for SMEs, which I find far more relevant. As a general rule, these also generate a lot of information, rather than someone trying to sell their product or service. It also gives me a good source of seminars that I can disseminate across the business - I've just booked our entire sales team on a sales think tank later this month, running one afternoon, at no cost.

    I find some of the events organised by my local branch seem to be aimed at organisations who have much bigger HR budgets and HR teams, and therefore they just aren't as relevant to my needs.
  • In reply to Chloe:

    Hi Chloe,

    Not sure how you get people to register for events but Wessex use Eventbrite - you have to supply an email address to register therefore even if CIPD won't allow email addresses, there should be a disclaimer that allows agreement to use the email address for contacting related to and after the specific event so genuinely, I do not see a need for paper feedback forms. My email can be used to confirm my 'ticket' to the event - it should be the same process for follow up after. Or - worst case - ask people when they arrive to supply their business cards/email when they sign in then follow up.

    As mentioned, I offered my services before - no response. Maybe I'll try again (like I said their administrator is great) but wondering if the effort is worth it?

    It seems as though different branches do different things - reading the comments following mine - which is NEVER ideal. Maybe that's something Katerina and team can take in to account centrally.

    Reading through, it basically sounds like current process doesn't appeal to enough members, and those that perservere with it are left frustrated (volunteers included based on your OP).

    Also forgot to mention - nothing has ever actually been provided to me in terms of attending so my CPD record is very much my own say so.

    Kind regards,
    Laura
  • In reply to Laura Fazackarley:

    Hi Laura, picking up on your last point re: CPD - and something I failed to mention about my local branch - they provide paper copies of a certificate of attendance with the event title and date plus a space for your name, these are left by the exit so attendees can pick up a copy as they leave. Also, members can book places via Event Brite, totally brilliant system!
  • In reply to Clare Marie:

    Yes my local branch does that too. The Certificate of attendance is emailed out with the event detail so we print them off and get them signed at the event if we want too. Have booked all CIPD evens through Event Brite.