2018 Our year in review

2018 Our year in review

Our branch year officially runs mid-year to mid-year but as we welcome 2019 what better way to start the year than reflecting on our achievements over the past 12 months. 

We held over 29 events in 2018 and collaborated with Acas North West and the Manchester Industrial Relations Society.

Almost 900 CIPD Members booked to attend our various activities, joined by nearly 300 students and approximately 100 non-members.

We held a joint conference with Acas North West on Flexible Working – Making Flexible Working a Reality for All and were delighted to welcome Peter Cheese our CEO as keynote speaker, together with many representatives from organisations already offering Flexible Working to their employees. Over 100 businesses from across the North West joined us, and we didn’t stop there. 

The CIPD report Employee Outlook Focus: commuting and flexible working described the top three benefits of flexible working most frequently cited by employees as

(1) enabling better work-life balance,
(2) a means of reducing the stress/pressure and
(3) an essential factor in deciding to remain with an employer.

We will continue to campaign for Flexible Working throughout 2019.

We supported and fed into the CIPD Public Policy work, holding roundtable discussions on the findings of the Taylor Review, Brexit and the Status of EU Nationals, with representatives from the Government’s Department for Exiting the EU. We worked with John McGurk, Head of Nations and Regions at the CIPD and John Wrathmell (advisor to our Metro-Mayor Andy Burnham) on the Greater Manchester Good Employer Charter.

In December we held our third Public Policy meeting with Claire McCartney (Diversity & Inclusion Adviser at the CIPD) to provide input for CIPD response to the government’s consultation on mandatory ethnicity pay reporting.  The quality of the input, sharing and listening was excellent – a really thoughtful evening, and it did raise the question of ‘how we can support organisations to do more work considering race and ethnicity in employment’.  

We are just beginning to plan our next session – we have had interest from the DWP in checking out their employer proposition around ageing and the workforce, so this may be our next topic and we are also thinking about doing a follow up session on Gender Pay Reporting.   

If you’d like to receive information on forthcoming Public Policy Panel event email is to request an expression of interest form.

In the field of L&D, we launched our increasingly popular Cake Camps, providing attendees with a novel way to share knowledge through facilitated group discussions on a series of related topics. We began our Cake Camps with Social and Networking as our central theme, discussing ways to connect and share with peers, both in person and online. We also launched our Building L&D Skills sessions, focusing on the Art of Digital and Design Thinking in the world of L&D.

Our Business HR group began the year helping Independent Consultants improve both their life and business ventures. In early Autumn, we focused on a specially adapted HR Edition of Rene Power’s proven 12-Week Marketing Plan, helping attendees to learn how to define their target market, generate news leads and promote their services via email marketing, social media and blogging. The step-by-step process has already been adopted by thousands of businesses. Look out for the group’s hashtag #BizHR as we’ve more events planned in 2019.

We’re always active in the student sphere, and last year we concentrated on helping students to improve their written and oral communication skills and guided them on adopting a structured approach to their Management Research Reports and dissertations.  We shared valuable resources and tested methods to help students embark on what many regard as quite a daunting part of their Masters / Level 7 studies. 

We held our hugely popular Kick-Start your HR & L&D career, with advice from university Careers Advisers. Our Kick-Start event gives useful advice on entering the workforce and beginning a new career in the people profession with direction on building a resume, important areas to focus upon, interview preparation and techniques, plus a whole range of resources to help newly qualified and aspiring people professionals get a real head-start in the industry. Our next Kick Start events is planned for March 2019.

The 2018 CIPD North of England Student Conference took place in early Spring, and we were delighted to lend our support to the NAP Committee who organised the event. Did you know this year’s Student Conference takes place in Liverpool? Tickets are already on pre-sale so if you are a full-time student, studying to advance your career or studying to join the profession for the first time then do come along. 

Our Annual Employment Law Masterclass 2018 was a huge success last year with almost 100 delegates attending. In terms of new legislation, 2018 was a challenging year with new Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements and the introduction of new data protection rules under GDPR, plus a host of high profile Whistleblowing and Sexual harassment cases in the media.

This year we’re anticipating ambitious new Workplace Reforms following the Taylor Report recommendations, and who could forget the big B on 29 March and the new skills-based immigration system following on from recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee and applying to both to EU migrants and those from elsewhere, plus a raft of other changes either through case law or new legislation. This year we are returning to the prestigious 1864 suite at Emirates Old Trafford with stunning views over the famous cricket pitch and venue for the 2017 One Love Manchester concert.

During the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition we held a very early Breakfast Cake Camp on Flexible Working. We were delighted so many people made an effort to join us for breakfast and facilitated discussions. It was encouraging to see such enthusiasm from organisations across the UK, and we’re delighted to report that other local CIPD branches will be taking our Flexible Working Cake Camp blueprint to promote working flexibly across their regions.

We held a number of events looking at how to move from difficult to constructive conversations within the workplace, engaging teams for organisational success and the still very current theme of performance management.

Last year we saw the launch of our Wellbeing Group which began with a focus group attended by wellbeing managers within organisations of ten or more employees. We held further meetings with these same contributors each quarter thereafter. Meetings were conducted with these same members as we built trust within the group. We opened our Wellbeing group to new members this year. We are also working on a Wellbeing conference planned for April 2019

You can also subscribe to our newsletter to get event updates direct to your inbox.

As we continued to move forward through complex and uncertain times, we focused on Organisational Development and its value in today’s business environment.

Later this year we will be holding two OD themed events, one on the value of performance consulting and the other Building Capabilities for Success through an Agile Workforce with early-bird rates until February 2019.

Organisation development helps to make sure practice aligns with a shifting focus in response to external forces. The pace of change and disruption facing organisations has never been more challenging; transformation is happening quicker than ever before, with new technology, new start-up firms, and new customer habits (look at how the high street suffered last year due to rapidly evolving way of shopping).

Being the sole source of HR expertise within an organisation is a challenge at the best of times and our Solo Group held it’s Living with GDPR event to address the day-to-day challenges and practicalities of data inventories & process mapping, Subject Access Requests, avoiding and also dealing with data breaches, storing personal data and recruitment. This was a good way for solo HR practitioners to discuss and debate the impact of GDPR thus far on their operations. We are planning more Solo HR group events over the coming months.

As these particular events are not publicised you can request an expression of interest form to be included on the group’s mailing list.

We held a free event for SMEs on Driving Productivity within their organisations via better people management, communication, objective setting, performance appraisal, and training. Our event drew on the findings of the CIPD People Skills Team report ‘Building ambition and HR capability in small UK firms‘ and associated research conducted by bodies including the ONS, OECD and the Decent Work and Productivity Research Centre at Manchester Met

Later this month we will be looking at ways to solve the Productivity Puzzle with Local Enterprise Partners as part of the North West Regional Skills agenda. We’ll be discussing the perennially thorny issue of skills supply and demand across the region, and we’ll consider how specific mechanisms can be employed to align both skills supply and demand, ultimately addressing productivity challenges.

We partnered with MiRS (Manchester Industrial Relations Society) to explore Meaningful Work, the benefits of which can be huge for individuals and organisations. Employers have long known that having an engaged workforce is essential for high levels of employee well-being, job satisfaction, motivation and performance. However, there is a great deal of confusion about how to create and sustain high levels of engagement. Dr Katie Bailey from Kings College Business School shared her research findings on organisations that have succeeded in enabling meaningful work and the positive impact meaningful work can have on sustainable employee attraction, retention, and motivation.

In June, we held our AGM and coupled the meeting with a special event on Personal & Professional Development.  We welcomed Sarah Koppen, CPD and Career Solutions Lead at the CIPD, Rachel Burnham, Learning & Development Specialist and John Hotowka, speaker, humorist and magician (who returned, by popular demand)  

We explored the range of resources available through the CIPD to help further individual careers and professional development. We also embarked on an interactive journey through the CPD cycle, which helped attendees to gain and develop a holistic and structured approach to managing and maintaining their CPD.

We looked at Rethinking Networking for career advancement and the benefits of building a Personal Learning Network. We explored with whom to network, how to grow relationships & share work (within this context) to help raise profiles and contribute to career development plans.

“When times are hard, there are always people and organisations who are successful and resilient; they flourish irrespective of the state of the economy or challenges thrown at them. The key lies in their mindset.” ~ John Hotowka

We learned from John about the powerful mindset called Achievement Thinking, and discovered a collection of simple tools to empower and assist us in finding, keeping and growing the strength to flourish, build resilience, manage change and become more productive!

Finally, towards the end of 2018, we welcomed new ambassadors to our branch, and we’re looking forward to working with them, supporting them in developing new skills and helping them to grow their professional networks. If your interested in joining our Ambassadors you can complete an application form for consideration next June.