Tag Archives: Manchester

It’s that time of the year again – #CIPDACE16

4 Nov

It’s November and that only means one thing and no, it’s not the Red Cups from Starbucks or the German Christmas Markets popping up everywhere, it’s the CIPD Annual Conference. Wednesday 9th to Thursday 10th up here in chilly (wrap up warm!) Manchester. IMHO, this is the biggest and the best HR conference in the country.

Every year it offers the opportunity first and foremost to think about yourself and your own development. Us HR lot are the first to understand the importance of keeping up to date and learning, but we often forget to take the time out of our busy schedule to do so. We all need some time off to refocus.

This time last year, I was listening to Professor Cary Cooper talking about wellbeing. This prompted a blog post with some practical ideas on how to improve wellbeing at work. I knew last year that I was not leading by example. I realise now quite how badly I was looking after myself. I now know, looking back at how I was feeling this time last year, how much the office routine and my bad practices were really impacting on my health.

Reading the post today made me feel extremely proud of all the small adjustments that I have made and that have now become part of my routine and helped me feel better and perform better. I am mentally more resilient and I am happier. I am taking my lunch breaks, team meetings have been outdoors on nice days, I encourage colleagues to take breaks, have breakfast together and I’ve led by example. I’ve even joined our recently formed workplace choir!

I’ve realised in the past 12 months of how lucky I am to work for a company that will allow colleagues to sing for an hour a week, an organisation that allows yoga classes to go ahead, an office with free fruit around every corner and free breakfast. I know not all of us work for companies like mine, however it does start somewhere and it usually needs to start from the top. Are you a HR Director? Then if you campaign for a choir or fitness classes, you may even get a sign off and approval to go ahead. (please note that you may also get shouted at and lose your job…)  You can make things happen and then you can also lead by example. If you join the choir, this will encourage many more to do so and the company’s culture will slowly start changing. I’m seeing this happening every day. Are you a HR Manager? Then take your breaks, let your guys go home a bit earlier if they have worked hard for you and mainly lead by example.

I am excited to find out how #CIPDACE16 may change my life this year. I am looking forward to catching up with the rest of the blog squad that by using the above hashtag will keep the content coming your way in case you cannot make up your mind on what session to attend. No need to stress about it, we have it covered and you will be able to read up on what you have missed. I look forward to talking some more about change, uncertainty, Brexit, as this is already having an impact on our workforce and I look forward to the more light-hearted sessions like ‘Humour and Happiness for More Engaged and Effective Teams’. And I am really looking forward to hearing my first Italian keynote speaker and getting involved in all the fun events around the conference. Have a look at Gemma’s post here for 10 things to do.


And just in case you need somewhere to reflect on all the great things you have learned or you need to catch up on some blogs on the Thursday night before heading home, Manchester has indeed got German Christmas Markets opening that day.


#connectingHRmcr n.8 + Ian’s 50th celebrations

14 Oct

Tonight was the night of connectingHRmcr and I quickly want to jot this down, before I forget what emotions I felt at this successful 8th Tweetup. I’m probably going to sound like a teenager writing in her diary and I might learn the lesson of not writing anything down past 11pm and after a few glasses of wine, but I don’t want this feeling to go.

It was a while since the last #connectingHRmcr and I was so grateful to see the amount of old and new Tweeps that turned up. It is always incredible to see how naturally this happens. Thanks everyone for creating such a friendly atmosphere. I think you could feel the warmth and love in the room.

This Tweetup was a bit unusual from our previous one as we also wanted to celebrate Ian Pettigrew in a special way. On Saturday he celebrates 50 wonderful years and we had to organise something special for him. We had to give some background around Ian and recognise him not just in front of some of his good Twitter friends, but also in front of strangers that were attending their first ever #connectingHRmcr event.

Nearly 3 years ago Ian and I met for the first time, after being Twitter friends for a while. We had many of the same connections and one desire, to meet our HR followers in person. We had heard of Tweetups organised in London and we went ahead and replicated it in Manchester. Since then we have not only met our followers, but we made great friends and connections. In so many ways, so many of our lives changed for the best. It’s soppy, but true.

People that know Ian, know how positive he always is, in fact every night he looks back at his day and thinks about at least 3 things that have gone well. This is a positive psychology technique that some of us use on Twitter with the hashtag #3goodthings. Our one and only Appreciateologist Dawn (yes, that’s one hell of a job title) came up with the fantastic idea of collating #50goodthings about Ian, for his 50th birthday!

The result was explosive (and OF COURSE we got more than 50!!) Thank you to everyone that took part and I’m really sorry for missing some people out.

ians present

A simple idea + a magnificent technology enabler Mike, who with his design skills came up with the fantastic way of displaying the #50goodthings and there you have it: a perfect mix of thoughtfulness and a true account of who @kingfishercoach is. He is all of it: the great friend, coach, the kind and positive person and the beans on toast, the strategic lattes, Happy Valley and Jake + Sue. That is a testament to how authentic he is both online and offline.

I could see that he was struggling to take it all in and I know how it feels. Sometimes, especially in our profession, from business/personal coaches to HR, we are used to make people feel special, giving them the tools to perform better and encouraging them, by pointing out all the great stuff that they have already achieved. We teach them how to give positive and constructive feedback to their team members to get the best out of them and we try and make them feel that they can achieve absolutely anything. It’s hard to sit back and take in great feedback about ourselves.

I realised this when I was one of the 400 people to be nominated as part of out V-Fest at rentalcars.com. If you haven’t heard what happened, we had a weeks’ long Values Festival to try and define our company’s values. You can read more about it here. One of the activities was to nominate someone that personified the rentalcars.com values and to explain why. Not only I was nominated, but I was one of the 10 winners. I have received the video of the Awards ceremony this week and my face and reaction taught me exactly this. We work behind the scene and we do great stuff and our recognition is our work, but boy it feels good (and weird!) to be properly recognised for it. It’s powerful stuff and it can teach us a lot. I most definitely did not expect that and it has been the highlight of my career so far.
Processed with Moldiv

We are humble enablers, that preach recognition, but are surprised to get it. Well take it all in Ian, enjoy your #50goodthings and all the love and appreciation for you at #connectingHRmcr and all throughout this week. You deserve it and happy birthday!