The Changeboard team hosted our first ever conference yesterday, Future Talent, in support of Plotr and the CIPD’s Learning to Work programme. Bright sunbeams shone over the glass roof of the iconic Royal Opera House in London – where the event took place – we were all set for a wonderful day. 500 senior HR professionals joined us to hear thought-leaders in business, the arts, education, government and HR, share their thoughts, insights and plans on this increasingly pressing leadership challenge.
words from our speakers
Opening the event, Carrick-Birtwell introduced the speakers and set the agenda on what we had to look forward to – and take away – from the day. He gave a brief overview of the future talent challenges that business leaders are currently facing, and how HR can play a key role in that.
“HR has a substantive and tangible opportunity to play a leading role across all of these human resource battle fields. Does it have the wit and imagination to impress? Knowledge sharing of leading insights and best practices will be crucial. It is in this that Changeboard aims to play a dynamic role in sponsoring debate and learning among our global community,” said Carrick-Birtwell.
Peter Cheese, CEO of CIPD: Developing and managing the future workforce
According to Cheese, generation Y and the millennials are more demanding, diverse and more flexible, than previous generations. He argued that while HR is a key enabler, developing the capability of managers is critical for our future success. “No longer a job for life…it’s a life of jobs,” stated Cheese.
He also pointed out the importance of diversity in the workplace, which continued to be a topical theme throughout the day.
Ashok Vaswani – CEO, Barclays (retail & business): Stewardship of talent
“For the first time, there are three generations in our workforce,” explained Vaswani. He urged the audience to start addressing the ‘most fundamental’ question, “why should someone want to work here?”
“The more opportunities that we create, the more young people will face a future that they are prepared to be successful in.”
Vaswani also stated the importance of collaboration when empowering your business leaders, “finding the minds that can power your organisation, is not a HR challenge, it’s a business challenge.”
Do you have trust in your workforce? This was the key question Adams examined, and whom better to approach it than the former HR director at the BBC.
“One in five people say that they wouldn’t believe their leaders would tell them the truth if they were confronted,” revealed Adams, “what does that tell us?”
She stressed the importance of ‘niceness’ in business. “Most of your employees are decent, trustworthy people, so design your HR function on that foundation, not the exceptions. Niceness in leaders is an underrated concept and it’s making a comeback.” – Hear, hear.
Dr Anthony Seldon: The character traits of success and happiness
Seldon’s speech proved a hit with our audience – especially when he ran an exercise and managed to silence the whole room. Yes, 500 senior HR professionals sat in complete silence.
The task in-hand was to define the delegates’ five key values. Seldon believes that if you consciously live by your values, you will be more successful and happier.
He argued that schools should inspire a desire to learn and develop ‘character’ education. “The greatest predictor of success for young people is self restraint and control,” he added.
– What are your five key values?
Rushanara Ali, shadow MP for education: Developing an inclusive approach to future talent
Ali stressed that Britain remains an unequal society where the class divide is still very apparent. “If we don’t create vocational pathways, you’ll have a whole generation with no credible pathway way into work.”
“37% of employers are not confident they can meet the immediate skills gap,” said Ali.
She highlighted the importance of providing highly prestigious vocational pathways for young people and called upon leaders to play their part in providing mentoring opportunities for youngsters, to build their confidence.
Alain de Botton, author/philosopher: The responsibility of business leaders to help employees find meaning in their careers
According to de Botton, the mental state of your employees will have a direct influence on the quality of their work. Therefore, for de Botton, ‘happiness’ is now on the agenda like it has never been before.
“We need the light of glamour to fall on jobs like engineering, so people aspire to them. Employers have a responsibility to provide a narrative for employees so they understand what careers might look like if they worked with them,” he exclaimed.
De Botton also argued that there needs to be a reform of the education system. “We are bringing up people according to a world that no longer exists. The youth of today is brought up to be authentic, not obedient.”
Dr Alan Watkins, CEO/author of Complete Coherence: How do we need to be wired for successful futures
Did you know that your heart rate is critical in business? This, according to Watkins, underpins your ability to respond and function. He asked the audience, “How can you get control of your physiology?” – for Watkins, the key is to observe your breathing.
He acknowledged that learning and upskilling is important, but what will prove to be a game changer is your vertical development.
“Even when people know what to do, they don’t do it. If you really want to get a sustainable result, you have to think about what’s below the surface.”
Alex Lowe – industry head, Google: Future trends in technology and what it will mean for work environments
Annually, 0.9 billion job searches are made through mobile devices and 67 million are made on YouTube – is your organisation meeting the needs of these new age jobseekers?
“We are entering a new world of technology. In 2014, 39% of our population has internet access, by 2020, it will be 100%,” predicts Lowe. He urged delegates to respond to the new generation by envisaging a world without steering wheels and a world without keyboards. “Mobile is key.”
Did you know: “On average we look at our mobile phones 150 times a day, more than we look at our partners,” said Lowe. Wow.
Marc de Leyritz – partner, Egon Zehnder: How to support your leaders and teams achieve unprecedented levels of performance
For de Leyritz, leaders and executives are struggling in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, challenging and ambiguous) world as the pace of change is so rapidly fast.
He outlined five big challenges which need to be addressed: mastering complexity; orchestration; emotion; the ability to anchor in society and finally, the capability to raise a new generation of leaders who are different from the past.
“My key advice to leaders is not to focus too much on number one,” he suggested, “but instead look out, seek advice and put trust in others. Your role is to be a watchman – look at what’s going on outside and help your teams adapt, change and thrive.”
Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP – MP of state for skills and enterprise: Fostering inspiration in young people about their future employment
Matthew Hancock made a call to action for employers, and society as a whole, to provide work inspiration for young people. By working closely with schools, Hancock believes that employers can support young people to reach their potential.
He also highlighted the importance of vocational qualifications. “Apprenticeships are coming back and they will be the road to success,” he said.
“1.8 million apprenticeships have been created since 2010. Our long-term economic plan is to give young people the skills they need and help everyone get on in life. Just four interactions with the world of work will reduce the chance of a young person being unemployed by half.”
Jim Carrick-Birtwell, CEO Plotr; Katerina Rudiger, head of skills & policy campaigns, CIPD, Kirstie Mackey, head of Barclays LifeSkills: Panel discussion introducing Plotr, Learning to Work and Barclays LifeSkills
Jim Carrick-Birtwell re-took to the stage along with Katerina Rudiger of the CIPD, and Kirstie Mackey of Barclays, to introduce: Plotr, CIPD’s Learning to Work and Barclays’ LifeSkills programmes.
They discussed what they’re doing to drive engagement, and inspire innovative careers and employment initiatives for young people.
“Plotr aims to be the iTunes of the careers advice world” – Jim Carrick-Birtwell
“Get young people to understand the benefits of networking” – Kirstie Mackey
“We’ve seen a shift in employers behaviour, they are more open and willing to engage with young people” – Katerina Rudiger
Porteur Keene – co-founder and executive chairman, Changeboard: Closing remarks
Rounding up a ‘wonderful day’, our executive chairman Porteur Keene, thanked the speakers, the teams at Changeboard and Plotr and our PR, Emma Price – and of course, very importantly – our amazing audience.
“We are closing the door on a lively and stimulating debate. Our minds have been assailed by a torrent of ideas, information, statistics, interpretations and visions. It has been a privilege and an honour to be entrusted with such an undertaking, at a gathering of 500 of our peers at such an iconic building. There is plenty to reflect upon and, if this in anyway enhances our individual and collective contributions to meeting the challenges around future talent, then the conference can be truly judged as a success,” said Keene.
With special thanks to our sponsors; CIPD, Oracle, Plotr, First Choice Software, Carve Consulting, LaunchPad Recruits, CIPD’s Learning to Work programme, Roffey Park, Success Factors, Hudson HR, Swan Turton Solicitors and SMRS for supporting Future Talent.
Check out our YouTube channel for all the keynote presentations and a guide to the Future Talent conference.
Here’s what the speakers and your peers (plus, Changeboard’s very own, Mary Appleton) are saying: