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Brexit – so what about talent?’

Our latest event, tackling some of today’s most important talent themes such as, Strategic Workforce Planning and Diversity & Inclusion

RTM held an event on 29 November for over 30 Heads of Talent, Recruitment and HR titled ‘Brexit – so what about talent?’ at the newly created co-working space LABS House in Central London.

The event tackled some of today’s most important talent themes such as, Strategic Workforce Planning and Diversity & Inclusion with discussions around how Brexit will have an impact on these areas.

It was attended by the HR/Talent influencers who have a real impact on the people agenda within companies like Deliveroo, Infosys, Just Eat, Accenture, Network Rail, Trip Advisor and many more (full company list can be found below).

The event began with RTM’s very own director, Rob O’Callaghan as the host who introduced industry thought leader Graeme Paxton, who gave a 20-minute talk on ‘Why HRDs do not make the step to CEO”.

Graeme told us that when he was tasked with hiring a CEO, he received a CV with a candidate who had an HRD background. His first reaction was to laugh, then he got angry at why this person thought they could take that job on, and then finally questioned why he thought they wouldn’t be a good fit. Apparently, there are currently no CEOs in the FTSE 250 and Fortune 500 companies who come from a previous HRD role whilst 50% of current CEOs were previously a CFO. Graeme talked us through how the market environment is now ready for HRDs to make the step to CEO.

However, he concluded that the reason HRDs do not make the step, is because HR, whilst being more representative at board level, needs to lead rather than just be supportive of business initiatives, particularly around workforce planning and performance management.

Instead of filling the workforce gaps, HR should be anticipating where talent is going to be and using that knowledge to shape the company of tomorrow, because it is no longer capital that is scarce, but talent.

After Graeme’s informative talk, everyone was given the opportunity to take part in an interactive game experience.

Successfully negotiating a quiz, a non-verbal communication game, some tricky Brexit-based anagrams and spot-the-HR-policy tasks provided a winning team. RTM were looking to present a lucky individual with some complimentary RTM consulting insight and review services. The final winner was, Paul Hibbard from Axis Capital, whom RTM are now engaging with in early 2019 to review their existing talent acquisition function.

A thought leader panel followed and consisted of:

Alison Todd – Coach for senior people in businesses wanting to make lasting change

Sinead Trudgill – Director of Human Resources at Network Rail

Derek Gannon – Managing Director at Virgin Unite

Graeme Paxton – Thought Leader

In this segment, audience members were given the opportunity to ask the panel questions on their Strategic Workforce Planning initiatives, as well as Diversity and Inclusion in light of Brexit being around the corner.

On Brexit, Alison’s view was that similarly to the recently published Government IR35 guidelines and GDPR, we know they struggle to communicate a clear plan; the best approach is to communicate with businesses and your workforce by publishing that there are people working to educate themselves on their behalf, to ensure they are best placed to respond positively to any legislative outcomes.

Sinead was able to evidence considerable work in progress and key initiatives to support Diversity – both from an attraction perspective and practical application in the workplace. Furthermore, she highlighted the work being done to attract STEM candidates from diverse groups and communities through apprenticeships and close community/education programmes.

Graeme reiterated the need for calm heads, balanced thinking, and Alison’s point regarding proactive communication within businesses to ensure a consistent view and message is delivered to the workforce.

On the HRD to CEO question, Derek drew comparisons from the 1990s when few leaders from an IT background were at board level of major organisations; that has certainly changed today with the rise of the CIO in recent years.

The conversation didn’t end at the panel and continued well into the early evening during the networking drinks. It concluded with a lot of connections being made and some interesting takeaways that will surely inspire some innovative people initiatives.

If you would like to hear about further RTM events, please get in touch at events@thisisrtm.com

List of companies attended

A2Dominion Group JP Morgan
Accenture Just Eat
Adobe Marie Curie
AXIS Capital MHP Communications
Climate Bonds Initiative NBC Universal
Deliveroo Network Rail
Devoteam Office of the Secretary of State for Wales
DoctorLink Premier Inn and Restaurants
Dow Jones TripAdvisor
Global Data Viapath Group
Good Care Group Victoria’s Secret
Infosys Virgin Unite
John Lewis