“This is the Golden Age of HR during which we can demonstrate like never before the true value of our profession in wise corporate stewardship, linking profitable, strategically sound business decisions with honour, trust, and hope”.
These words were actually written by a blogger in 2003. They could have been said and indeed have been said in 2012. What this blog post does remind us is that there will always be change going on and there have been and will always be opportunities for HR if we deliver human resource activities and interventions well, in ways that fit the needs of the business and we are true to the values of our organisations. What we need to focus on is doing HR well, to a world class standard. In a way I do not care if our current circumstances are unprecedented or not. What I do know is that the basic business conundrum facing us, of how we can sustain services, whilst significantly reducing our costs, can only be addressed if there is a dynamic, but deliverable workforce strategy at the heart of the overall business strategy. People working in public sector HR now, may not feel that this is a “Golden Age”, but there is certainly a great opportunity now to demonstrate the true value of HR and this does make it a very exciting time to be working in HR.
I think also that there is no more important and exciting time for the PPMA. The future has to lie in much more collaboration between organisations and HR professionals and the PPMA can play in big part in promoting the best practice and in facilitating opportunities for people to come together, learn together and collaborate. One of the biggest challenges HR professionals face is how to manage the day-to-day delivery of savings programmes and the changes associated with them, whilst also ensuring that there is a focus on the longer-term strategy. Whilst the pressures of work encourage us to get our heads down as the weeks just rush by, finding the best long-term solutions demands that we get out there, look around and find the examples of best practice, the stories of success and failure and the opportunities for working collaboratively.
My own organisation, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, is part of a “One Oracle” project, which aims to introduce one standard and non-customised version of Oracle across six London-Boroughs. We have also just agreed to share a Chief Executive (on an interim basis for now) with Thurrock Council, with a view to exploring other opportunities for sharing. There are many other examples of shared services and joint working in local government and beyond. What I feel quite strongly is that we do not have time to reinvent wheels and whilst sharing services will not be right for all, sharing ideas and adopting common approaches must be.
I know many events are struggling to attract decent audiences. Cost is clearly an issue, but so is time. The turn-out at the April PPMA Annual Seminar was good and people have commented on the quality of the agenda and the competitive pricing structure and reasons that encouraged them to attend. The PPMA is planning further events during the course of the next year. One idea is to hold short events on key topics. Called “the PPMA debates” we would get some challenging speakers and engage the audience on a debate about something which is very relevant to our work. Topics might include:
– Member/officer leadership
– Employee relations
I’m keen to get feedback from you so that we can structure these events to fit in with your busy schedules, for example holding them over breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea and not just in London! I would therefore like to ask you to take part in our quick survey by completing a short questionnaire below and, as a thank you, we’ll enter you into our PRIZE DRAW for a chance to win a free ticket to one of our exciting events.
And finally, don’t forget our next event is being held on 25th July on “The Unspoken Truth About Shared Services”. See the events page for more details.