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"It gave me the space to stop and think"

By Cranfield School of Management

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In September 2018, we ran our first ever People Strategy Workshop. This three-day residential course is aimed at HR leaders and general managers, and aims to equip them with the knowledge and tools to create an effective people strategy for their business.

As recent figures show the global talent shortage has reached new heights, we believe organisations need to invest in developing strong workforce strategies that will protect and nurture the talent they already have and best equip them to find and draw in the talent they will need in future.

The People Strategy Workshop aims to teach delegates how to create a people strategy that ties into their organisation’s business objectives, internal environment and changing external context.

The course helps participants understand how to create conditions that get the best out of their people and appreciate how cutting-edge trends in HR may impact their company.

Aisling Kenny, Human Resources Director at Buildbase Ltd, was one of the first participants on the new course. She said: “It felt like we had been going at 100 miles an hour all year. It was great to take a bit of a step back for a couple of days, to think about the work we were doing as an HR team and the plan that we have, to get off the hamster wheel and just take time out to think.

“Everything I took from the programme about thinking about our agenda for the year we have now taken on as a team, and we’re building the plan around that using some of the useful tools I received.

“The best thing about the programme for me was the fact that it gets you to look at what you’re doing and gives you some perspective on it to see if you have just become so focused that this is what you need to achieve that you are actually missing all these other things because you’ve just not had the time to stop and think about them. It just broadens your perspective. You might still go: ‘Actually, that’s not relevant for us right now’, but it just gets you thinking.

“It has also helped me go back and have some conversations with the MD about things I think we should be doing as a business that aren’t necessarily HR related, but that came out of the strategy part of the programme.”

Shelby Bradley, Head of People and Values at Social Investment Business, also took part in the September programme. She said: “We got a new chief executive this year and are just starting to look at his strategy. I thought this course would allow me to think how I might do things a bit differently as well as give me a refresher on people strategy and on strategy in general really. I thought Cranfield would be out of our budget because we are a charity, but when I looked at the course it was much smaller and more affordable than some of the other things I’d looked at, and really in line with what I was focusing on. I came away with a lot more than I expected, because it covered a lot more ground than I thought it was going to.

“A lot of courses you go on are very theoretical or they are great for a one-day course but then you can’t really use them practically back in the office. But I’ve already picked some things out that I’ve used back in the office and I’m sure I will tap into some other bits as I go along.

“One of the best things about the course was the fact that it was a bit more tailored to the participants. The tutors were very good at reacting to our needs, even though the course went in different directions to what I think they expected it to initially.

“I really enjoyed it. I would advise other HR professionals to take themselves out of their comfort zone for a couple of days and go and do something challenging – because it is challenging but so worth it. It is worth just being in a different environment.”

Tags: talent, reflections

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