#cipdACE Flexible Working, Productivity & Toilet Etiquette

Its day 2 of #cipdACE and it started early at 7.45am!

Kicking off proceedings was the CIPD Manchester branch with a very well organised workshop focusing on Flexible Working. Around 50 HR professionals took part in this workshop where we discussed various different themes around flexible working, including building a business case for senior management, overcoming barriers, and challenging stigma.

There were some common themes coming out in the room, much of which focused on cultural views of flexible working, our own self-created barriers of the same, and how its useful to find ways to ‘fracture the psyche’ of organisations who need a ‘nudge’ to understanding the benefits of this way of working, because there undoubtedly are still some major barriers and old-fashioned attitudes that we need to try to change.

All in, this mornings session was a great way to start the day and not just because there were free bacon rolls!

Next up was a session I was really looking forward to, which was a talk on ‘The Ethics Of People Management – From Resources To Human Beings’ with John Amaechi.

David D’Souza, Membership Director of the CIPD, introduced John with an intriguing story of how he first met John in a chance encounter in a toilet in Manchester. John responded with a revelation to the room that David needs some upskilling in the rules of Toilet Etiquette. And that’s enough of that….

John started with the statement ‘I am not a snowflake. I am not a warm and fuzzy psychologist, but have safe conversations with people are really important’ which set the tone for the talk ahead.

John set the scene with a statement on the great challenge the world is facing, with the Overtone window moving constantly. John mentioned that there are lots of people talking about AI or Analytics when they don’t actually mean either. They talk about robots becoming more like people and that our vigilance in all of these processes is essential. John continued that the nature of ‘people’ becomes even more important due to this.

John explained how he has observed how workplaces are turning ‘people’ into ‘things’ and gave a great analogy of how some workers are being treated as vending machines, in that we chuck in a few coins and crudely expect something back without thinking of the more complex facets of this connection and relationship.

John continued that he believes leaders see too many people as a job description  and as a point on a gantt chart, however he reiterated that we also have a productivity problem in the UK which is profound and that we are not going to solve this by seeing people as ‘less’.

John talked about power, shadow, consequences and actions and explained how humans are evolutionary-wired to choose bad leaders at times of disruption, and that we are pre-wired to pick the most forth-right, least-collaborative people to deal with the roar of the metaphorically tiger outside the door threatening us. John concluded that we must resist this urge.

John ended by explaining that you can’t predict and prepare for the moments in life that are truly important but we must hold on to our values and that he is fearful that ‘Values’ have become a branding exercise instead of a lived experience.

A truly excellent talk and one that I’m pleased I had the opportunity to experience.

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