UHR Annual Conference 2024

14-16 May


Future Imperfect: Thinking Ahead

Annual Conference 2024



The UHR Conference 2024 took place from 14 to 16 May

Conference 2024 had the theme 'Future Imperfect: Thinking Ahead', and it was a virtual event that took place on the Ring Central platform (the new name for the Hopin platform that many of you will be familiar with). Via Team Tickets, every colleague in every UHR member university was invited to attend. Great sessions from headline speakers, and specialist sessions from a wide range of providers and peers in other universities mean that #UHR24 is an amazing source of CPD for everyone working in Higher Education HR.

Recordings of sessions and slides, where we have the presenters' permission to share, are now available for delegates to view. UHR members in teams that did not attend conference will have access to these resources from 1 August.



This year's theme: Future Imperfect: Thinking Ahead

In every workplace, including in HR teams in universities across the country, we find colleagues that have not known life before the smartphone sitting alongside those who can remember the fax. The pace of technological change during the forty years that divides those closer to retirement from those brand new to the workforce has been extraordinary, and every generation is challenged by the constant change we have to deal with. We are used to the idea that a level of technology that perhaps we don’t quite understand governs much about how we experience the world, and particularly our online and working lives. ‘Cookies’, ‘the algorithm’, ‘chatbots’ and similar can surprise, delight or frustrate us – and these are things we know about now. As we stand on the edge of a world where AI systems are becoming deeply entwined with everything we do, from shopping to banking to healthcare and indeed to ‘everyday HR’ too, where is the latest technology taking us as HR professionals?

How can we ensure we remain ‘human’ organisations, and ‘human’ HR teams, when the underpinning systems behind our activities are increasingly automated or even explicitly non-human in their action? What can the different generations teach each other about the world of work – what to embrace fully, and what not to lose in the cacophony of change? How can we ensure guard rails exist, so that opportunities can be seized, whilst we avoid the potential pitfalls?

At #UHR24, ‘Future Imperfect: Thinking Ahead’ (online - 14 to 16 May 2024) we looked at the coming world of HR in our universities. We thought about technology, but also the human response to technology, and looked at ‘next generation HR’ in everyday tasks from pensions management to recruitment. We looked at productivity, the four-day week, creativity and innovation. We thought about the extraordinary possibilities of AI, but also the necessity of ensuring our values and beliefs – from our focus on equality and inclusion to the ever-growing need for universities to be sustainable in everything they do – are right at the heart of the technologies we use. We looked at what we can learn from the coming generation, and the attitudes and behaviours of the newest members of our teams. They are ever more ethically focused, and less willing to put up with compromises on ‘values’ issues. They know they are starting careers where many of the jobs of the future haven’t even been imagined yet, but which may be only just around the corner. They are interested in the psychological contract in employment, and fostering mental and physical wellbeing; and they may well consider themselves as ‘digital natives’, able to work any time and anywhere, and perhaps reluctant to see great value in the traditional office-based 9 to 5.

Thank you for joining us.

Thank You

We are very grateful for the support of all of our partner organisations for UHR24, including our headline partners for the event, NTT Data Solutions and Shakespeare Martineau. Find out more about all our supporters for the UHR 2024 Conference using the navigation to the right or click below.

Find out more about our partners


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