By Emma Brookes, Vice Chair & Public Policy Advisor CIPD Manchester Branch
Covid-19 has stretched and challenged every aspect of the world of work
When I think back to six months ago, it would have been impossible to imagine the demands now facing people professionals every day. Covid-19 has stretched and challenged every aspect of the world of work and people professionals have had to adapt and flex in ways we’ve never experienced before.
We have long been championing better work and better working lives in Industry 4.0; extolling the virtues of agile working, well-being and good work in general.
Taking stock of the now
We see entire workforces operating from home while juggling a whole host of caring responsibilities and trying to preserve both physical and mental health during a global pandemic. We see some sectors struggling to survive through a national lockdown, and others pushed to the maximum to deliver health services and feed our nation.
It is against this backdrop that we set the story of our development; our branch committee and ambassadors met (virtually!) this weekend to apply the same rigour of challenge to our delivery and ways of working. We felt it was important to share how we, as CIPD volunteers, are working hard behind the scenes to grow and adapt as a branch so that we can support our area membership, students, employers and community stakeholders.
Creating a vision
Over several months, we’ve developed a Vision statement, based on your feedback. Our vision will form the core of our focus and shape everything we do moving forwards. We want you to know that we’ve listened to you, whether through your survey feedback, comments across our social media channels, or via email. We have many strengths but, like every other local CIPD branch and organisation, we can’t stand still; we must continue to adapt and develop so our delivery remains relevant and we achieve our potential.
We started our development session in March 2020 with reflections on our purpose for serving our profession by volunteering for the CIPD – using Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model to “Start with Why”.
My own personal “why” for volunteering is growth; continuing my advancement and development as a practitioner, while supporting the growth of others and enhancing the impact of our profession. I was personally blown away by the authenticity shown by everyone in openly discussing their motivations; collectively, we share a fierce passion for the people profession.
In breakout rooms, we looked at each element of our vision statement and critically assessed how well our current performance aligns to the pinnacle of excellence; we then co-creatively determined what we would need to do differently to meet our aspirations. We also explored our branch behaviours and ways of working, determining what we should stop, start and continue to improve our efficiency and maximise innovation.
Add a dose of ‘Manchesterness’
With candour, we admit there is much more we can do to improve and perform at the level our members and community deserve. We need to capitalise on the work of central CIPD and bring it to you with a heavy dose of “Manchesterness” (thanks to Daniel Taylor for the phrasing!).
We closed our session by making personal commitments; sharing one key element to which we will hold ourselves accountable. My commitment was to raise the profile of the branch by using social media and other means to share how CIPD, and the Manchester branch, are making an impact in championing better work and working lives.
Other colleagues shared their calls to action, including increasing representation of the branch in key regional fora and innovating through technology to improve virtual delivery as a new norm. I came away from the session feeling motivated and with renewed intent to make a difference. Here’s the starting point – my first ever blog!
So what next?
Our committee members and volunteers are determined to keep pushing; to apply our passion for development in creating a branch that is future-focused and centred on a shared purpose; one that has a respected profile and a seat at all the right tables. We want to ensure all the worker bees of Manchester can thrive through good work in an inclusive and diverse working community; one that is a beacon of good practice and leads the way for others to follow.
You deserve it. We deserve it. Manchester deserves it!
Emma is a true believer in the power of HR practitioners to shape business and improve working lives by creating better places to work. As Public Policy Advisor for CIPD Manchester branch, Emma creates opportunities for like-minded professionals to gain insights and provide valuable feedback to government on public policy.
In her day job, she’s highly motivated and works collaboratively with partners inside and outside the business to deliver challenging projects that make a real difference in rewarding and recognising people.
Follow Emma on Twitter @EmmaBrookesMcr