By Emma Clayton
07 May 2022
The origins of the HR Book Club
When I first decided to embark on a career in HR, I looked for a book club to join but couldn’t find an active one. Fast forward a year or so and I joined the CIPD Manchester Committee as the Membership Engagement Lead – giving me the perfect opportunity to launch the HR Book Club!
Looking through the previous year’s member survey results, it was clear reading was one of the main ways our community were working on their CPD so it seemed the HR Book Club could help support members’ professional development.
Each session has involved Mentimeter activities, discussion of the books in small breakout rooms plus a Q&A segment with the authors, and they’ve ended with a giveaway of a copy of the next book club title, courtesy of our friends at Kogan Page.
Not only have we read some really interesting books since October, we’ve also been lucky to have the authors join us each month!
Building an Inclusive Organization
How to make workplaces inclusive has been a hot topic of discussion the last couple of years so choosing Building an Inclusive Organization seemed like the perfect book to kick things off.
Both authors, Stephen Frost and Raafi Alidina, brought their energy and passion for what they do to the event. They shared insights from their experiences in the field and guided us through some thoughtful reflection. Our discussion explored the ins and outs of embedding D&I into an organization’s goals and strategies, different types of bias in the workplace and how the approaches needed will shift from organization to organization.
The Power to Change
Trying to make improvements at work can often be challenging because people react differently to change – cue our December book focused on this topic! Author of The Power to Change, Campbell Macpherson, quite rightly says that ‘embracing change is the most important skill any of us can hone’ (pg. 203).
We had a lively discussion around change in all its forms with Campbell sharing his knowledge gleaned from his vast and varied experience in this area. We explored the psychology of change and overcoming barriers to change plus different models, including Campbell’s own ‘The Change Matrix’.
With the rise of hybrid working, flexible working has come into even greater focus so it was fitting that our third book was Flexible Working. Gemma Dale brought her energy and passion for the topic, sharing insights from her research and practical experience to guide us to a better understanding of how to embrace working flexibly – a key driver of inclusion in the workplace.
There are so many flexible working options out there and the results from our Mentimeter poll about participants’ experiences reflected a similar distribution to what the research shows.
Gemma sums it up so well when she writes: ‘flexible working is about rethinking how we work at a fundamental level’ (pg. 5). We discussed the impact of the pandemic on the way we work and, with recent shifts in where we work, the importance of being intentional in how we work in these places to reap the most benefit from them.
Neurodiversity at Work
Sadly, illness kept me from hosting this event at the last minute but we received nothing but positive feedback for the CIPD Manchester team and the authors, Theo Smith and Amanda Kirby! Their book, Neurodiversity at Work, led to discussions about the many ways to support neurodivergence in the workplace: from improving recruitment and selection practices to onboarding and day-to-day work activities plus setting up ESGs and the challenges these can bring. The book is a thoroughly practical guide and a wonderful blend of the two authors’ voices.
Our fifth and final title for this year is Agile HR and we’re looking forward to welcoming co-author Natal Dank for what will no doubt prove to be yet another interesting and thought-provoking session! If you want to join us, you can get your free tickets here.
Emma works as an HR Advisor for Mobica, a global software services company, supporting the HR team and employees based in the UK, the US and Germany. Since becoming Membership Engagement Lead in 2021, Emma has been enjoying running events and working behind the scenes to further our offering for members and the local HR community, including launching the HR Book Club.