Still got what it takes?

16 December 2022      Margaret Ayers, Chief People Officer

Putting students at the heart of what we do

I was delighted to be asked to attend the 2022 CUPA-HR Conference in the beautiful Californian city of San Diego. It was a great opportunity to learn from our counterparts in the USA and Canada and it was reassuring that they share the same current issues around recruitment, retention and staff burn out especially in HR.

Having Dave Ulrich as the closing keynote speaker for the 2022 CUPA-HR Conference was certainly a coup – and he was there in person – but before he spoke, I wondered if he still would have something to say to the HR community that was relevant and interesting for us today. After all his concept of HR business partnering dates from the mid-nineties.

It was I am pleased to say a really interesting to talk. He has the benefit of working in a university and so understands the context that all of us work in every day. The key messages I took from his talk were:

  • HR is not about HR – it’s about creating value for others – how we can help other people be better
  • I in 2008 we had the financial crisis but now we have the “Human Capability Crisis” (post pandemic)
  • The most important thing HR can give an employee is an organisation that succeeds in the marketplace – it’s a tough marketplace - unless we survive in the marketplace there is no workplace.

The final key message was that we need to always be considering the “so that” in everything we do: as in –

“we want to develop better recruitment practices  … so that  …we can better serve our students”

There always needs to be a clear line of sight between what we do and the value it will bring to our students

In busy times with so many possible initiatives, I think this might be helpful in helping us to know where and how to focus our attention.

Margaret Ayers

UHR Vice Chair

Canterbury Christ Church University

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