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People and Place. Aka Work. Please join #BTWC

Are you interested in why workplaces and the provision of space given to people to work hasn’t changed that much in the last 30 years?

Technology, what we call work and where we work are all very different now than when I entered the workforce environment in (coughs) 1985.

That’s why 2 bodies - for people and place - the CIPD & BIFM have come together to declare their interests in jointly improving what constitutes the best possible environment to “do work”.

To help us do this we need your help. Join us below if you can get to Sheffield on 12 September.

Ian Ellison picks up the story… 

We have a FANTASTIC event planned in Sheffield city centre for Friday September 12th early afternoon, and still some spaces available. The event is called ‘Street Wisdom’ and is part of a growing movement that you can read about here: Learning is taking to the streets, and the answers are everywhere!

If you are interested (from any angle or professional perspective!) in making a difference to the world of work and workplace, AND you could do with some headspace to tackle a particular problem or question that has been on your mind for a while – which can be anything, but ought to be a bit bigger than ‘cappuccino or latte?’ and most definitely smaller than ‘how can we achieve world peace?’ – then this event is for you. Trust me.

If you haven’t been keeping your eye on the FM social media over the past few months, at the BIFM ThinkFM conference in May 2014, the ‘Beyond the Workplace’ movement was launched, supported jointly by CIPD and BIFM:

It’s all about people and place, you see, if we are genuinely going to improve our world of work. Since then it has morphed into the ‘Beyond the Workplace Conversation’ with significant Twitter activity (#BtWC: and a Linked In page ( Chris Kane (currently BBC Commercial Projects) is a key lynchpin in the movement, along with some other key FM and HR social media folks. You can read more about everything here: 

A range of initiatives are underway and the movement will only continue to grow. In particular, Chris collaborated with the Street Wisdom creators to use their great idea to help catalyse new thoughts about people, work, place and their interrelationship. Following the fantastic sellout event at Trafalgar Square in July, the next event is in Sheffield on Friday September 12th.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a BIFM member, a CIPD member, or neither at the moment. This is an open invitation to get involved in a brilliant, inspirational and above all very different three-hour experience that will send you home smiling. Which is why we scheduled it for Friday afternoon :)

All we ask is that if you sign up, you definitely attend, preferably with an open mind. No-shows mean someone else misses out. Get involved in the Street Wisdom and #BtWC movement. You won’t be disappointed.

Sign up via Eventbrite by clicking the link at the top of this message. Further details will then follow soon.


Why CIPD Manchester and #SocialHRMcr is a good thing

I have the privilege - and I don’t use that term lightly - to keynote and facilitate a session at a conference on 16 October at Lancashire Cricket Club organised by CIPD Manchester Branch.  

The conference has been entirely put together to discuss, debate and put to work Social Media, connecting technologies, digital tools, apps whatever you like to call them.

Why is this a good thing?  There are people who’ve been using social media in HR to recruit, engage, development, share, network, create, learn, build relationships for AGES so this is no new thing.

Except it is STILL not a norm.  

OK it’s growing.  

OK we know a lot of the tricks now of how to mine LinkedIn, use Facebook graph searching and tweet our way into some higher form of enlightenment.  

Yet it isn’t a norm for many of our fellow practitioners at all levels.

People are still afraid, concerned, sceptical, overawed, dismissive, annoyed and just ambivalent about social technologies.

We have seen some useful research by Jonny Gifford from CIPD about how social networking is viewed by our working population via a YouGov survey and from case studies of how Enterprise Social Networks are being put to work.  If you’ve not seen it, do check it out from the CIPD’s Website here.

So why make a fuss over a CIPD Branch event in the NW?

Well I’m not making a fuss but I am calling this a great thing for a branch to do - not just because I am on the bill - for its members.

Now, CIPD Branches are run by volunteer enthusiasts.  So before anyone shouts them down, these people are doing things in THEIR time, for no extra reward other than putting something back into their profession and their locality.

Members are the recipients and beneficiaries of this network of volunteers efforts through

- events with guest speakers on themes and topics pertinent to their profession, through

- networking with other practitioners to help and collaborate when its needed support in times of challenge and

- chewing the fat and making sense of this crazy world of work we now operate in.

So it’s that which makes this event all the more special.

A group of volunteers, who truly get the need to raise the game on use of social and digital technology for their members, to enhance their credibility and viability in the places they work.  That is the good thing.

We have had people love, hate and everything in between the term #SocialHR.  I like it for it says something about not the use of Social Media but the use of socialised ways to be and do, if you’re in the HR game.

So scoff, ignore, criticise, all you like.  CIPD Manchester Branch is  doing something here for its members, through the unwavering efforts and belief of their volunteers about something which will be useful to many people struggling to get their sea legs in this wavy world of digital connectivity.

When was the last time you gave something to others you might now take for granted yourself?

I’m glad to give to #SocialHRMcr and I hope the participants will then want to change their work for the better, one social media post and online conversation at a time.

Coolest twitter things to ever happen to me

So I totally got favourited by Jane McGonigal today. Jane has a couple of immense TED talks and books on Gamification.

I am also being followed by Tom Peters.

I am also followed by 70s soul singer Melba Moore.

I got several RTs; Faves and DMs even from trend spotter, keynote legend and futurologist author Magnus Lindkvist.

I was tweeted, followed and DMd by Penny Haslam - BBC TV Breakfast presenter on business.

I am sure there are others but it shows what a cool place Twitter is to bring you closer to people you admire, that are in high profile public positions and so on.

Can I get a blue tick anytime soon Mr Costolo..?

D. A. F. T.

So the Department fot Arborists, Foresters and Tree-Scientists had their annual gathering the other day.

They talked about an alignment with nature, about the regulation being followed by the FSC and the need to “think evergreen”.

Then a bit of a falling out occurred.

The Foresters were expressing frustrations that the Tree-Scientists didn’t think big enough. Forests are massive literally and there’s not enough science being put into the “Forests of the Future”. All the scientists seemed to focus on was pocket parks and plant a tree in your garden initiatives. “We need more forests so bigger thinking” they cried.

Then the Arborists got on their high horse about how limited a range of qualifications the Foresters held. “They just plant away, dropping firs and deciduous wherever with scant regards for other fauna and smaller orchard type trees.”

The Tree-Scientists replied with a lack of underpinning nature-based study and called the 2 practice fields “overly romantic Ents who haven’t based any of their practice on research or academic longitudinal, root and branch facts”.

They all ended up disagreeing on blogs and in letters to the Times whilst the FSC just called the whole thing “a ridiculous scenario akin to intellectual dutch elm disease”.

Right, so this is fiction. Might be real but I doubt it.

HR, L&D, OD, Coaches, Trainers, Reward Specialists, Recruiters whatever you are called. If you have something to do with people power at work stop calling each other “crap” and work out how you grow Oaks from Acorns or be pruned to within an inch of existence.

Link arms, branches and roots before someone chops us all down.

Posts that hype up #generationblah

PLEASE don’t keep writing posts that have something like this in them…

"So the workplace is changing as the Gen Ys and Millennials take up posts with their…" blah blah fricking blah.

You might have some research to backup your claims but if you ONLY ask a certain age demographic then how are we to judge that it is so different?

I’m (cringes) Generation X but I am digital first, loathe hierarchy and detest open plan offices with grey carpet. I am not alone.

It is more than 24-28 year old people wanting different it’s a lot of us including we 20+ years in the workplace types who thankfully never had to put up with anyone ever saying “ooh watch out Gen Xers might wear colourful shirts…”

Most of this stereotyped tosh leads us no further to enlightenment and reeks of “they’re so different, be careful.”

We’re ALL different but that doesn’t suit a tidy little over-generalised post does it?

Writing a #generationblah post is a crime against stimulating blogging. So stand guilty as charged.

Now go sit on your bean bag and put some socks on.

Hanging out with others…

#nzlead continues to be the best Twitter chat for people interested in the world of work. Today @Anj_Atkins took over and talked about dirty words. For HR types.

It got me thinking why we act like we do and there’s a bigger blog bouncing around in my head about this.

For now, I think HR gets a bit repugnant, frightened, angry, bewildered or whatever and thinks dirty about things because of a lack of comprehension. And sometimes this comes from a lack of hanging out.

I don’t mean socialising per se. I mean getting to understand new ways of working that different divisions are trying to cultivate and innovate on.

Take the story I heard of a CEO hiring a Director of Innovation. Wanted them for 3 days a week as the other 2 they were doing consulting, Non-Exec work and the likes.

The sticking point here wasn’t this although the HRD wasn’t keen apparently. The sticking point was because the incoming Director rejected an annual leave allowance.

They wanted to work 5 days or even 6 when work peaked and 1 or 2 when it cooled down. Nearly broke the machine.

Anyway, IF the HRD hung out with more flexible work types they would have seen why this was a pointless infliction of HR policy on a creative role that needed different.

So my suggestion? HR types go hang out with people in different roles more. Understand scrum, consulting, projects, creative roles.

Then maybe dirty feelings won’t occur because you aren’t puritanical about the deployment and development of great people practices.

What people who like Jazz want from work.

Like Jazz? Great.

We won’t ask why because there are so many reasons why jazz floats your symphonic boat. Why the hep cats you hang with all dig the same but different vibe that comes from a great standard or a cool bit of improv.

Anyway, we’ve extensively* researched those like you - who rock a cool bossa nova vibe - and found several things you want from work.

So, like a Miles Davis album, here’s the 6 tracks of different lengths.

1. You want work to be hip, happening and hopeful. Like a Herbie Hancock piano riff, you love it to be bouncy, bountiful and bedazzling.  Alliterations Always Accentuate.

2. You want to work how you want and when you want. Coltrane never worked to a schedule so why should you? Virtuosos (?) don’t need a calendar. They need a space to think; a den to practice in and then an audience to perform to. You can riff like no other so you don’t need any management reporting. Just a performance slot and an understanding that what you deliver will be art. Different. But art nonetheless.

3. You need supporting colleagues. Heck, even Wes Montgomery needed a bass slapper and a timpani tapper. Yes we all need people who are happy to sit in a slightly darkened spot on stage and let us grab the limelight and perform.

4. You need a break. Writing, riffing - it’s not something that can be forced through a flowchart. You need space to think. Ponder and when you need inspiration, you pop on that Chet Baker crackly 45 and things become clearer. We will give you a chamber to think in and no-one will stress you out there. We know that when you are ready to surface you will rock.

5. You want some vouchers. Yes we recognise that even Jazz supremos need to spend at the supermarket so we will reward you. In varying degrees with performance bonuses built around the ad-libbing you can do to that cover of Summertime.

6. You need to move on. We won’t keep you forever. If Duke Ellington came a calling, we’d not stand in your way. We might want you back for the odd gig. Which would be nice.

Of course none of this is serious.

It’s just meant to prove that some of the postings out there are overly cliched, stereotypical, research-devoid things and aren’t worth the digital space they occupy.

Avoid the cliche bear traps and shimmy on hep cats.

*haven’t done any research actually

There’s more important stuff than…

…fill in the blanks.

We have stuff we’re bothered about.

We come across things we want to put right.

We see people’s attitudes and behaviours that could do with a sensecheck.

Someone’s gripe is another’s triviality.

Judge all you like. It isn’t likely to alter people’s views much.

Chastise the sheer gall of their indulgence in something that just doesn’t fit your priority bucket list.

Dismiss their shallow observations as uninformed trite thinking.

Laugh at their naivety.

Or just shut up and let them get on with trying to fix things that matter to them.

They probably don’t give a shit about your importance or valiant causes.

They’re too busy fixing stuff to worry about your opinion.

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