UHR 2022 > Programme > Thursday 12 May



Day Three: Thursday 12th May

09:25 - 10:30 Welcome, and Special Interest Topic Discussion

TimeSession informationSpeakers
09:25 - 09:30 Welcome back Kim Frost, former UHR Chair
09:30 - 10:30 SIG1: Menopause and the workplace – change and adjustment for HEIs

Statistics suggest that women significantly outnumber men in the UK higher education workforce, a significant proportion of whom are women aged between 46 and 55. Institutions who wish to attract and retain female talent must therefore recognise and address the impact of the menopause on this key demographic.

In this session, we will lead a discussion on the legal and practical implications of this issue, including the impact of the menopause on performance and wellbeing, the development of women leaders and gender pay disparities, staff awareness and messaging, models for intervention and support and legal considerations such as sex and age discrimination risks, duty of care, management of sickness absence and the potential need to consider reasonable adjustments.

With input from our expert facilitators, the purpose of the session will be to share insights and best practice, identify risks and challenges and explore solutions.
Discussion led by Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG2: Building talent from within

Rapid change in the sector requires evolving leadership capabilities and approaches. This, coupled with emerging patterns of work preferences post pandemic, means that the supply of senior roles that are vacant exceeds demand and quality of workforce available. From our research, organisations expect to find better talent externally. We see an unrealised potential to grow talent from within.

Our discussion would explore how universities can invest in developing their own senior leaders, the experience, skills and qualities sought and how these can be grown in mid-career staff. The session would include an exploration of (i) the benefits and challenges of building a senior talent pipeline from within, and (ii) practical approaches to achieving this.
Discussion led by Minerva & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG3: Is your institution equipped to support your A&R team?

Within the sector Attraction & Retention, (A&R) particularly in specialist areas is constant challenge exacerbated post pandemic by the ‘Great Resignation.’ Across all walks of life availability of talent has reduced and competition increased.

The HERA process demands consistency across HE (and beyond) and the lack of flexibility can be painful for institutions. In this discussion we examine how attracting and retaining staff has changed hugely in recent years and consider how administration systems need to change to support and assist. Discussion points will include automation, artificial intelligence, internationalisation and personalisation in the areas of recruitment and talent management.
Discussion led by NTT Data Business Solutions Ltd & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG4: Global Mobility in the Higher Education Sector: Challenges and Opportunities – 2022 Global HE survey

The global HE sector continues to respond to the opportunities, and grapple with the challenges, arising from the new workforce operating models necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing landscape in general. Our Global Mobility Higher Education team has launched a survey which will help HE Senior Leaders and HR professionals to understand how global HE Institutions are responding to these challenges, adapting their operations, and grasping the new opportunities that lie ahead in relation to the global mobility of their staff.

This first ever survey in the HE sector will provide a unique insight not previously available.

We will publish the report before the UHR conference and share the survey results at the conference for discussion.
Discussion led by Vialto Partners & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG5: Academic Freedom, The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill and what your institution needs to be aware of with the proposed changes to the law

Protections under the concept of academic freedom can be a thorny issue for universities. Our experience is that it is not always clear to institutions how far these protections go, and what needs to be done to ensure that academic freedom is preserved whilst still ensuring that there is appropriate management of academic staff and that the concept of academic freedom does not become unduly prohibitive from an operational perspective. This discussion will consider the concept of academic freedom and the impact of The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill on the expected changes to the definition of academic freedom and what this means in practice. It will explore the legal protections offered under academic freedom and the interplay this has with situations often encountered by employers, for example in terms of disciplinary, capability and redundancy situations.
Discussion led by Shakespeare Martineau LLP & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG6: Workforce planning – foundation for the future

Whilst the competing challenges of increased student numbers, hybrid working, tightening budgets, employee well being, inequality and regulatory measurement are often treated as individual problems they are all underpinned by effective and efficient management and planning of academic workloads.

The discussion will explore the ways in which workload planning and modelling provides the critical foundation to support the changing needs and desires of both staff and institutions enabling data informed decisions and evidence based discussion.
Discussion led by Simitive & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG7: Building from the Race Equality Charter review – how to enhance impact

Universities are key anchor organisations in their city and/or region and yet their workforces are often not representative of their local communities. The Race Equality Charter mark seeks to address this.

The Race Equality Charter (REC) Review in 2021 sought to identify areas where REC processes or practices should be improved. The output of this led to the identification of barriers to achieving impact, which included a lack of leadership commitment and accountability, difficulties of delivering across the institution, insufficient resourcing and a lack of understanding and acknowledgement of structural racism.

This discussion will reflect on this review and seek to engage a discussion on how institutions can make progress and achieve impact, including for future REC submissions.
Discussion led by SUMS Consulting & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG8: Retirement Planning - Fears, Myths & Concerns

This session is designed to promote discussion around the fears and concerns HE employees have around retirement and wider financial planning. The facilitators will provide staff feedback on concerns, worries and the main issues around retirement. In particular we will ask the question as to whether pensions are a tarnished brand and what can be done to address this.
Discussion led by Tilney Financial Planning & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG9: Mediation in Universities: Moving beyond ‘Win-Lose’

Conflict between individuals in universities is expensive, damaging and depressing for everybody involved. Traditional grievance approaches keep the conflict in the realm of ‘win-lose’ and place the burden of resolving the issue on the employer rather than the adults involved. David and Nadine are two practitioners who have seen the transformational power of supporting people to find their own way of working together. Drawing on examples from their own practice, David and Nadine will lead a discussion of how to approach Mediation, opportunities and risks, and when Mediation is and isn’t appropriate.
Discussion led by Twin Kingdom Consulting Ltd & a UHR Representative
09:30 - 10:30 SIG10: Are you walking the walk on D&I

By leading their organizations through a multitude of changes—furloughs, rapid hiring, remote work, burnout, and challenging safety protocols—human resources helped design the new workplace, in a short time and under extraordinary pressure. Now, HR leaders are taking the perspective they gained to shift their organizations forward. This time, they are refocusing on the employee experience as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Discussion led by Oracle & a UHR Representative
10:30 - 11:00 Break & Networking  

11:00 - 11:45 Workshops Block C

TimeSession informationSpeakers
11:00 - 11:45 WC1: The Horizon is Fast Approaching: Developing Future Leaders to Navigate Unchartered Waters

Staying future focused, with an eye on the horizon has been particularly challenging during the pandemic.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) will share an approach they took during 2020/21 to develop future leaders, as part of their cultural change programme and now for a world that is unchartered.

Within the context of mergers, an ageing workforce profile and the horizon rapidly approaching, where new leaders will need to navigate the course, the ‘UWTSD Future Leaders Programme’ has sought to address a number of key challenges;
• How do you strengthen connections and build new relationships in a post-merger context?
• How do you succession plan for leadership posts that do not exist yet?
• How do we create an immersive and experiential leadership development programme in the midst of a pandemic?

Discover more about the programme and the ways in which it is positively impacting participants and the University.
Jane O’Rourke, Executive Director of HR & Sara Mills, Organisational Development Manager, both of University of Wales Trinity Saint David
11:00 - 11:45 WC2: Pensions - Has Covid led to a retirement rethink?

It has generally been accepted that Covid has changed to world of work forever with staff demanding greater flexibility from employers and, in some cases, reassessing their life choices, but what implications does this have for retirement?

This session will explore some of the recent research on this topic and the potential impact for HE employers in terms of the reward package they offer and the options available to employees when they retire. How can they make the best of the pension schemes they currently offer or should they consider whether the HE sector pension schemes remain fit for purpose?
Emelda Nicholroy, Head of Pensions Policy, UCEA
11:00 - 11:45 WC3: Hitting the sweet spot with HR stats: knowing your numbers without loving data

As HR professionals, you will be involved in making decisions every day. But how are these decisions informed by data and how can you leverage the data you have (as well as the data you don’t!) to your advantage? This session will explore the importance of real-time data collection, analysis & presentation in strategic decision making by HR professionals. You don’t need to be a data expert to attend – in fact anyone who has to use or understand any kind of HR data is welcome. We will identify the data that you should have at your fingertips; why knowing what question you’re trying to answer is crucial; and how you can ensure your teams are data-savvy (even if they are spreadsheet-averse!). Featuring examples from outside the HE sector and best practice from within, join me to find out how to hit the ‘sweet spot’ with your HR stats.

Sophie Crouchman, Strategic Projects & Research Manager, UHR
11:00 - 11:45 WC4: Culture Change at Staffordshire University

This session will provide insights into the work undertaken by Staffordshire University in its ‘top down, meets bottom up’ approach to culture change including the cultural survey work undertaken, cross-university teams who have facilitated and supported the cultural journey and the local level cultural actions and university-wide programmes of work which have been developed and delivered to embed cultural change across the University. Working with Elementa Leadership, the ‘Staff Make Staffs’ culture programme has allowed the University to develop its own unique cultural narrative which resonates with staff and, as the University starts to embark on its new strategic plan, the important cultural levers are now more fully embedded and aligned to the delivery of the plan at the outset through this ongoing programme of work.
Paula Cottrell, Director of HR&OD, Staffordshire University & Richard Sharpe, Managing Director, Elementa Leadership
11:00 - 11:45 WC5: Workforce Fit for the Future: Positive Action & Reciprocal Mentoring

LJMU launched a Positive Action Training (PAT) programme which combined both on-the-job and off-the-job training opportunities for successful candidates. Following extensive consultation, trainees were recruited onto the PAT programme. The Reciprocal Mentoring scheme on the other hand paired Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff and Students with members of LJMU Directorate to share knowledge and lived experiences. This is to inform long-term executive decision-making to produce culture change, promote a sense of belonging and good working relationships in the University. At the end of the workshop, participants will understand what the Positive Action and Reciprocal Mentoring programmes are all about and how these can be used to effect the much-needed culture change in an organisation; how learning from both can assist with devising improved ways of attracting and retaining diverse talents to the workforce and breaking down barriers to progression into senior leadership roles.
Moni Akinsanya, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Tina Purkis BA(Hons) FCIPD, Executive Director of HR & Julia Daer, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, all of Liverpool John Moores University

11:00 - 11:45 WC6: Supporting Staff to Support Students


This session will talk through Supporting Staff to Support Students project, including the range of toolkits and training we have developed to help our staff to support our students. The toolkits and training provide advice and guidance on supporting students with a range of topics from mental health awareness, through to understanding our students’ different religious beliefs. The toolkits are created in house ensuring videos from our staff and students will help to bring the messages to life, and that student voice and lived experiences are represented.
11:00 - 11:45 WC7: Risky Business: Managing People Risks in Higher Education

Higher Education is shaped by its people. Its purpose is to enable people to carry out the best research, provide excellent educational experiences and create world leading innovation. These activities are inherently risky and so examining risk through a people lens allows us to understand those risks more acutely and manage them effectively to enable us to meet our strategic aims.

This talk will compare the strategic people risks identified at a sample of Higher Education Institutions and look at the actions taken to manage those risks. We will also present ideas for ensuring managing people risks are fully embedded in the risk management process.
Clare Foyle, Planning Manager, University College London, Liz Rogers, Risk and Business Continuity Manager, University of Dundee & Ivana Vasic Chalmers, Strategy, Planning and Risk Manager, Royal Veterinary College, all of HERMN – HESPA’s Risk Management Network
11:45 - 12:15 Break & Networking   

12:15 - 13:00 Business Sessions Block C

TimeSession informationSpeakers
12:15 - 13:00 BC1: Creating a staff listening culture - acting on insights, engaging managers, overcoming barriers and involving employees

Now is the time for a more agile, inclusive and future-focused approach to your staff listening culture.

The University sector has been listening to staff for many years, but the last 20+ months has proven the value of staff surveys and other listening activities to deal with:
• Uncertainty - both personal and employment related
• Adapting to new ways of working
• Maintaining wellbeing and responding to emerging concerns
• Agility in leadership behaviours
• Future of work planning
• Responding to the social justice movement and informing diversity and inclusion strategies

In this session, we will share latest trends as well as real-life examples and takeaways on how the University sector is listening to staff today to inform workplace culture now and in the future.

Lisa from the University of Surrey will give practical tips and examples of how they have refreshed their staff listening approach in the last year to empower managers, overcome barriers to action and involve employees.
Lisa Hughes, Employee Experience, University of Surrey & Jane Tidswell, HE Sector Lead, People Insight
12:15 - 13:00 BC2: Challenging toxic cultures - the role of Investigative Review

The identification of toxic cultures, and how to challenge and end their negative impact on an organisation’s effectiveness is one of the most difficult issues that HR can face, particularly in a period when there are so many other pressures. This session will advocate a systematic and comprehensive approach to dealing with a toxic culture at any level of an organisation, using an Investigative Review process. Drawing on B3sixty’s wide experience of undertaking such reviews in HE, the NHS and in the Private Sector, and a range of investigative, organisational development and project management tools and techniques, the session with cover how to identify a toxic culture; how to set up and conduct an Investigative Review, and what needs to be in place to improve the prospects for full implementation.
Clive Bane, Director & Vijay Krishnarayan, Director, both of B3Sixty
12:15 - 13:00 BC3: Searching for HR

We will share the insight from our research with senior sector leaders who have provided their views of the positioning and influence of HR across different parts of the sector. What have they said senior teams need from HRDs and what appears to be missing?

What are those conversations that HR is missing from that shape the institution? How do they relate to executive search, talent, workforce planning and creating high performing teams?

We will create space for honest reflection and discussion. We will suggest critical work and key discussions that currently appear to happen without HRDs input and offer ideas on ways to change this.

We will be looking to provoke, and we make no apologies for this. We want to reach out to like minded leaders to find ways of working together to disrupt the normal and put HR at the centre of disruptive transformation.
Jayne Billam, Principal Consultant - Education & Tessa Harrison, Partner, Education, both of GatenbySanderson
12:15 - 13:00 BC4: Pensions reform and how your people are feeling

Pensions reform and how your people are feeling
• What questions do your staff ask financial advisers?
• Is “Pension” now a tarnished brand?
• Is it time to make a shift from Pensions to wider holistic financial planning?
• Flexible benefits – how to you create a compelling package away from over-reliance on pension.
• Why do your employees think they need to work to state pension age?
• How do you cut costs and manage expectation by creating engagement with part-time, flexible and early retirement programmes amongst your staff?
• Why is later life planning important and how does it fit with pension reform?
• Who are “The Sandwich Generation” and how can you support them?
David Vallance, Director, Chartered Financial Planner & David Smith, Director, Chartered Financial Planner, both of Tilney Financial Planning Limited
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch and Networking Carousel  

14:00 - 15:00 Legal Sessions Block C

TimeSession informationSpeakers
14:00 - 15:00 LC1: Our Ageing Workforce - opportunities and challenges

The demographics of societies across the world are shifting, with birth-rates falling and people living longer. By 2035, over half of all adults in the UK will be over 50 years of age. There is no longer a set retirement age and although state pensions may be claimed from 66, research has shown that 67% of workers aged 40 – 65 want to keep working after their state pension age. In light of the ageing workforce, what steps should be taken to ensure that older workers are managed in a non-discriminatory way whilst ensuring standards of performance remain high and opportunities for progression are available to emerging talent?

This session will (i) take participants through an interactive case study focussed on the management of an older member of staff; (ii) consider the risks arising from the different courses of action; and (iii) provide cross-sector best practice examples for the management of older talent and learning points from case law.
Tilly Harries, Director / Barrister, PwC LLP
14:00 - 15:00 LC2: How do you solve a problem like… serial or vexatious complainers?

We will use case examples to illustrate the challenges posed by serial and/or vexatious complainers, offering pointers on how to manage them internally and during Tribunal proceedings. Internal grievances often escalate tensions and can become the precursor to Tribunal proceedings, especially for serial complainers.

We will put a spotlight on innovative grievance procedures. Imperial College London has introduced a “Resolution Policy” to provide staff with a prompt opportunity to resolve complaints and to secure constructive and lasting solutions to workplace conflict while treating people with mutual respect. In a hybrid workplace, finding new ways to foster good working relationships and to resolve issues effectively when they arise is more important than ever. We will explore interactively with the group the College’s policy and other routes to get “everyone onboard” in the management of workplace concerns.

We will also explore strategies for handling serial and/or vexatious litigants in Tribunal proceedings.
Kathleen Heycock, Partner & Alice Kendle, Associate, both of Farrer & Co LLP & Ann Kelly, Head of Employee Relations at Imperial College London
14:00 - 15:00 LC3: Getting everyone onboard – how to create an inclusive workplace culture

In this highly informative and interactive session, Shakespeare Martineau will give you the tools to help promote a positive culture in your institution, ensuring that you get ‘everyone onboard’. Having a positive workplace culture is crucial to the success of any institution and goes to the heart of the conference theme. With social and cultural norms changing at an unprecedented level, from the #MeToo and #BLM movements, to managing mental health and stress in the workplace as a result of a global pandemic, it is essential for organisations to ensure that managers have the tools and knowledge to promote a positive culture. Through the medium of a case study, we will highlight risk areas and give you the skills to engage your staff to instil dignity and respect in your organisation. This will include covering family friendly rights, equality and diversity, the law around discrimination and also provide some salutary tales from case law.
Tom Long, Partner, Esther Maxwell, Legal Director & David Browne, Partner, all of Shakespeare Martineau LLP
15:00 - 15:30 Break & Networking  

15:30 - 16:30 Plenary 5 and Conference Close

TimeSession informationSpeakers
15:30 - 16:30 Plenary 5: The history of race and the struggle for equality

The history of race and the struggle for equality is a history of missed opportunities. A history of conversations that were never had, insights that were never made and changes that were never implemented. The moment we are currently living through could be yet another of those missed opportunities, and pushback against change is now considerable. Yet while governments engage in 'culture wars' companies, corporations, charities, universities and other institutions, across the world, are engaged in conversations and introspection about diversity, inclusion and anti-racism. Some are carrying out research into their historic links to Empire or slavery, others are examining their systems, practices and internal cultures through the lens of anti-racism; implementing real changes to advance skills and increase inclusion. Accepting that racism is a systemic phenomenon and appreciating that it disfigures society to the disadvantage of all, it is organisations rather than governments, that are at the centre of change and who offer hope that this moment might not be another missed opportunity. But to understand race, and how to combat it, we need to understand its history. As it is that history that explains how race was constructed and offers us the blueprints for its potential deconstruction.
David Olusoga, Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker; Historian; Author; Broadcaster
16:30 Conference Close Kim Frost, former UHR Chair & Joanne Marshall, Director of People and Campus Services, University of Bradford & UHR Chair

Please note that the session titles and speakers are subject to change.

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