By Rachel Burnham
3 December 2021
The inaugural CIPD North Senior People Professionals Network (SPPN) launched on 24 November 2021
Whenever you’re part of establishing something new, there’s always a moment when you wonder whether anyone will show up – a sort of ‘Will they? Won’t they?’ moment. Well, 80 senior People Professionals participated in this online launch session, so Sophie Tothill from CIPD North and the other volunteer facilitators needn’t have been concerned!
This initial session focused on our personal wellbeing and how we had been finding support for ourselves through the different challenges of leading HR and L&D teams and our organisations/external clients through the pandemic.
The session began with a short honest, and open conversation between Rachel Stuff, Senior Policy Adviser Employment Relations at CIPD and Naomi Edwards, Head of People at Show Business Interiors. They shared their personal experiences of doing this and discussed the need to ‘practice what we preach‘ and how easy it is for our own wellbeing and support needs to fall down the chasm between supporting individuals in our teams and our organisations.
They talked about the seductiveness of being an ‘HR super-hero’ – it may just be me, but I am picturing capes & jet-pack shoes, the reality of coping with tiredness and finding new ways to gather support and find networks of trusted colleagues who can act as sounding boards.
We then moved into conversations between participants exploring our own experiences of our challenges and how we met our support needs. I was delighted to have the opportunity to facilitate one of these discussions with a very diverse group from different sectors, both with heads of in-house HR and L&D teams.
A key area we explored was the differences in our experiences and how our challenges and needs for wellbeing support changed as the pandemic went on.
There was a lot of interest in the idea of a Network for Senior People Professionals in the North —people were looking for community, opportunity to share experiences and ideas and even for friendships to develop.
The network’s vision is to develop to meet participants’ needs, with emphasis on mutual support and conversation. Future sessions are already in planning so; please spread the word to any Senior People Professionals in your contacts.
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