Strategic People Conference 2019 Review

On Thursday 7 March, we met with around 200 HR and Volunteering leaders from the sector, for our 2019 Strategic People Conference.

Sponsored by TPP Recruitment Ltd, this year’s event carried the theme ‘thoughtful leadership for a healthy organisation’. There’s no denying that the past couple of years have been tumultuous, and with no end in sight, we’re all affected – personally and professionally. In the workplace, leaders need to work hard to build a safe and open culture in which people can thrive.

‘When it comes to culture, every little thing matters’

Who better to deliver a keynote address on this topic than Girish Menon, Chief Executive of ActionAid UK? Girish spoke about why culture is so important, and how people leaders can add value: “There are hard choices for us leaders to make, and not everyone will be happy”. He said culture cuts across all levels, and it is “the oil in the cogs”. Girish’s interactive session set us all up to contribute ideas, and share experiences. Thank you, Girish.

Insight, Ideas, Inspiration, Interaction

This year, we increased the number of workshops delegates attended from 2 to 4. The feedback was unanimous – delegates loved the ability to build-their-own day, tailored to their organisation’s priorities. This year’s sessions included a fantastic presentation by Nikeesha Gosal, Development Lead – Wellbeing, St John Ambulance. Nikeesha gave practical steps to help an organisation increase its focus on wellbeing.

We also heard from a panel of volunteer leaders, about designing volunteer roles for a new generation. Helen Timbrell – Freelance Consultant, Angela Wilson – MS Society, Chris Freed – Citizens Advice, and Tiger de Souza – National Trust, spoke about workforce planning, integration, and management of change.

Also in the morning, Kyla Lacey-Davidson, Ruth Gibbins and Jess James from Stroke Association spoke about leading in uncertain times, and Emma Burrows – Trowers and Hamlins, gave lots of practical advice about managing sickness absence.

The afternoon offered four more workshops, on equally current and relevant topics. Diverse Matters Director, Natasha Broomfield-Reid, gave an information-filled workshop about inclusive recruitment, which was very well received. We also heard from Lara Roche, Owner and Lead Consultant at The Talent Sphere, about boosting mental health and resilience.

Caroline Mark and Sue Virgoe, both from Prostate Cancer UK, told us their experience of implementing agile working, with an office move in the mix too! Also in the afternoon, a panel chaired by Roger Parry talked about their experiences of employee and volunteer safeguarding, giving some practical advice along the way. Thanks to Diane Blausten – Formerly Jewish Care, Geralyn Meehan – Milestones Trust, and Tina Proudlock – Oxfam GB, for sharing experiences from your organisation, on such a sensitive subject.

‘People do not remember what you say. People do not remember what you do. People remember how you made them feel

For us at Agenda, we felt great! We hope our delegates did too, and we want to thank everybody for their contributions to a fantastic day. In particular:

Thank you to Girish Menon, and all the workshop speakers, you made a huge contribution to an excellent day.

Thank you to TPP Recruitment Ltd for sponsoring our event once again. TPP is a charity recruitment specialist dedicated to recruiting outstanding employees for not-for-profit and healthcare organisations.

Thank you to our partners, AMHP, AVM, AVSM, CHRN, CharityComms, HVG, Hospice UK, NCF, NUS and VODG for all your help promoting the conference.

Thank you to our exhibitors, Brita Benson, CoreHR, Hireserve, Team Kinetic, The Talent Sphere, TPP Recruitment Ltd, and Trowers and Hamlins for providing lots of helpful advice for our delegates.

Finally, we’d like to thank the hugely talented Inky Thinking for their live drawing of the event. Throughout the day, Helena and Dan joined the sessions, spoke to delegates, and produced an outstanding artwork, encapsulating many of the key points. Here are some samples of their work, alongside a selection of tweets from delegates; enjoy!

* Quotes by Girish Menon, Chief Executive, ActionAid UK


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