Soundbites from the AoC HR Conference

This post was first published in our FE Colleges newsletter

Last week, we were at the #AoCHR conference. Even when exhibiting at events, each presentation and breakout session offer opportunities to learn more about our clients, the sector and environment they operate in. It helps us better understand and support our clients and the challenges they face.

Hew on the stands It is also a chance to pick up ideas and learning. Here are a few soundbites that resonated…

1. Accept, don’t explain

Ian Pryce CBE, Principal and Chief Executive at Bedford College, talked about challenges and opportunities in FE. He said when we receive information we should accept it, not explain it.

For example, when we learn that our performance is X, and this is lower in comparison to some benchmark / average, accept the score, don’t start by explaining why.

I like this advice a lot.

2. Staff Turnover isn’t a bad thing

William Garnett, Partner at Bates Well Braithwaite made a strong case for HR “knowing the numbers”, and not just staff headcount. One of those numbers is staff turnover. Is 10%, 20%, 5%, 2% good?

This depends on the organisation and the industry, but two points stuck:

  • When staff leave, we want them to say “I learnt so much during my time at …” – especially in colleges which after all, are learning institutions.
  • Having 2% turnover because the staff are stuck with no alternatives is not good, especially in a learning environment like FE. The workforce of tomorrow want to be inspired and follow their own path.

A sense of pride, purpose, value and personal development is not just good karma, but good business.

3. Just a few words can have great impact

Much of our work helping organisations measure and improve staff engagement revolves around communication.

In the last session of the day, Gary Cookson, HR Director at Trafford College, made me think. More often we should think along the lines that

“No news is good news”

Sometimes people need reminding this, rather than using their imagination. That might even mean sending an email that simply says “We have no progress to report yet”.

Dan on a rooftop. I am assured the conference is indoors :-)When you are planning your next staff survey, please speak to Surveylab. Can we help? I’d love to talk.