CIPD Learning & Development Show 2015 part 1 #CIPDldShow

Thoughts from the CIPD Learning & Development Show on Wednesday 13th May …

Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning & Development Content at the CIPD asked (with my answers) …

What is the best e-learning experience you have had?  (Twitter.)

What is the worst?  (When classroom content is simply picked up & dropped online.)

A common theme was not only the pace of change, but that change has already happened – has work learning kept up with people’s expectations as customers and the way they learn at home?  Using the distinction between work & home very loosely.  (It reminds me of a recent meme I saw which said “work is where I go to use out of date technology”)

Andy gave us an antidote for this VUCA world –


Transport for London and Kallidus  were driven by the changes in technology & customer expectations – they shared their approach to using e-learning to underpin more traditional approaches to train 1,500 people in 12 weeks.  A programme which is ongoing.  The approach they took to e-learning meant that they had to ‘rip up the standard linear approach’ to developing learning.

Ralph la Fontaine from the Home Learning College spoke too about the benefits of developing e-learning in this way, saying that the technology gives you the means to ‘iterate and improve quickly’.  He went as far as to say “Well delivered virtual classes are better than face to face”.

Joanne McManus & Kirsty Palfreyman from ICS Learn explained why social learning is important.  What stood out again, for me, was that people are learning socially anyway in their life outside work.  They made the very good point that in some of their forums people were being helpful & sharing answers, which is great, but they are not always the right answers! Therefore it is important to have some form of ‘community management’ and be proactive.

Key points from day one – 

  • Change has already happened.  Make the connection between the way you learn ‘at home’ yourself and apply this it work.
  • Rip up the rule book.  You don’t just have one opportunity with e-learning / social learning, don’t expect to put it out there and move on to the next thing.  This is an iterative process, part of a conversation.  Users will generated feedback and content – use it to constantly improve.
  • There’s some great communities of practice out there – get social yourself. Make connections, get out of your comfort zone and learn, learn, learn.

The day in numbers:

Use of twitter to procure coffee – 1

Business cards collected – 3 (must do better)

Business cards given out – 0 (Must make & bring some next time)

Disco injury – 1

Rock stars met  – 2

Twitter stars met – too many to count!

Man with purple shoes met – 1

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Busy, Busy… How to influence with little time

You know how it goes – someone asks ‘How are you?’ You reply without thinking – ‘ Oh you know….busy’.  There are lots of problems with ‘The cult of busy’ – one of them is that if we’re all rushing around do we really have chance to listen?  Another one is what if we really are busy?

Here are my top five ‘How to… influence when there’s little time.’

1)   Always, always book more time with the busy, busy, person than you need.  That way when people turn up late and have to leave early you should still get some  time that you need to get your point across.  Remember, they’re busy not daft.  Don’t make it obvious.

2)      Be prepared.  Have a list.  Know exactly what you want.   Otherwise it’s a best a waste of everyone’s time and at worst you’ll end up with lots of stuff to do that you don’t want to do.  Sometimes that’s ok, no man is an island & everything is awesome when you work as a team,  just don’t let it happen too often if you want to influence, rather than be influenced.

3)    Persistent, Consistent.   To get a message across on social media, be it sales or simply ‘LOOK AT ME!’, you need to (in the nicest way) be persistent, consistent and focussed.  Take the same approach with the busy, busy person.  Pay attention and the perfect time will come to land your message – sometimes it may seem that you are getting nowhere but eventually, like Frank Underwood,  your patience will be rewarded.  Please try not to murder or ‘destroy’ your enemies colleagues along the way.

4)      Try starting a session / meeting with a couple of minutes of stillness.  Be prepared for funny looks and accusations of ‘hippy shit’ but it will, if they embrace it, get people into the present not in the previous meeting / crisis.  Even if they don’t embrace it they may be so surprised that you shock them into the present.  Give it a go – I once did it on a webinar on ‘email zero’ and asked people to visualise an empty inbox.  I’ll be honest, I think I may have pushed their imagination too far.

5)      Be kind.  It’s easy to get frustrated with the busy, busy person.  After all, we’re all busy, right?  The busy, busy person must have a million things whizzing around their head.  It doesn’t stop, they’re probably exhausting.  Be kind, try to make their life easier and your message is more likely to get through.

Good luck!  Must dash, can’t stop, busy busy.

One more thing (if you’re not too busy)  If you’re going to be at the CIPD L&D show on 13th May check out Learn>Connect>do  helping busy people make sense of the day!

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Learn > Connect > Do — The Fringe Networking Event for SME HR People

HR Em:

This is going to be a great event, thanks to Helen Amery and #TeamFringe!

Originally posted on People-ology:

Are you going to the CIPD L&D Show for Day 1 (13th May)?  (*look at the end of the post if you’ve not booked yet)

Are you in-house HR or L&D for a small to medium organisation?

Do you sometimes feel like all the speakers at conferences work for big business and corporate?

And do you sometimes leave an event with a head full of stuff, unsure what to do with it next and wishing you had someone to bounce some ideas around with?

Then this is for you!


The CIPD have made huge progress over the last 12 months, bringing in more speakers from SMEs, not for profits and charities. But there are still a lot of big names on the agenda, who definitely do great stuff, but it can be hard – and sometimes not entirely relevant – to transfer what they do into smaller…

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No crying in the toilet!

I read an article recently about how people (ok women) can keep their emotions in check at work. Basically how not to cry at work, for women.  One of the tips was to take it to the toilet, if you’re going to cry, just make sure no one sees you.

But I say NO to crying in the toilet!

I am standing up for all the blubbers like me out there. I have cried at work – when frustrated, in interviews ( mostly when being interviewed), when angry… I can face a room full of trade union colleagues scrutinising sheets of my statistics with a fine tooth comb, I can be questioned by a hostile solicitor in a tribunal BUT I crumble in front of three lovely people asking me questions and only wishing me well.  All they want to know is how I  make sure appraisals are aligned to organisational objectives.
Why cry?
I have done it in front of people, do they think I am weaker? That I am not good at my job? I got one job after crying at the interview, another job I didn’t get. I’m assured that throught the tears I gave good answers and that had nothing to do with why I didn’t get the job.  They were very kind.
Here’s a couple of things I’ve learnt from my own crying in the workplace –
At times I have been overly worried about what people thought – I was doing things that I thought I ‘should’ do, how I thought I should do them.  Not doing things in a way that felt right to me – I wasn’t being myself and that is stressful.
Most recently I was applying for a job I didn’t have any recent experience of, it didn’t feel right – why did I apply? I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t interested, that I wasn’t committed. I ignored my gut feeling.
I believed that work had to be hard, really really hard,  otherwise why would anyone pay you for it? I’ve learnt that working on what you are good at and amplifying your awesomeness makes life much less stressful than working on the gaps & focussing on the deficiencies,  except where absolutely necessary.
Learn to say no when things aren’t right.  Don’t qualify it, don’t apologise.
Surely we don’t want to ban emotion in the workplace?  We want people to engage, be brand ambassadors. To do that we need them to feel.  If people are crying lets not cover it up, it’s a sign we need to change something – whether it’s yourself or the culture around you.
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Top 50 Shades of Grey of valentines day

We don’t really do valentines day in our house.  Mr HR Em works in the restaurant business – apparently he’s a bit busy at this time of year.  So instead I’m off to see 50 Shades of Grey with the HR Em Director of Procurement & Sailing.

However, I am a bit worried. I did read an alarming blog earlier in the week warning of the danger of grievances, or worse, arising from discussing 50 Shades of Grey in the workplace. Now, I haven’t read the book and I’ve stayed away from the publicity so as not to spoil the film.  I am a bit confused about how a film about interior design might land me in trouble in the office.

Apparently it’s quite steamy, maybe they have to take the wallpaper off before deciding on which shade of grey they are going to use.

I’ll let you know when I’ve seen it, just don’t mention it in the office.

Christian Grey

Christian Grey

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Funny rumblings in Social Media

I’ve blogged over at theHRDirector!

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Out of Coffice

I’m supposed to be on a digital detox, it turns out I’m not very good at it.  I started this because pretty soon I will be somewhere with, pretty much, no internet connect and no WiFi.  NO WIFI.

I’ve got 5 twitter accounts for different things, which I nurture with varying success! Sometimes they leak into each other by accident, which can be embarrassing.  But hey, who doesn’t love a cute cat picture from #CatFriday or (new this week) #Caturday.

I’ve got my personal Facebook account, a Facebook page and am member of various groups.

I’ve got four email accounts – not bad for someone who doesn’t ‘do’ email.

I’m not even counting – yammer, pinterest, google+, linkedIn & a Linkedin group.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got a Vine and an instagram account lurking somewhere.

Then there’s my employer’s internal online social networks too.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Oh and You Tube, I nearly forgot You Tube…

Basically I think in blogs, posts and tweets.

I’m not saying this to show off, I know there are people with more than me!  It’s just a reflection that since having virtually no digital footprint four years ago to now, I was actually quite surprised when I added it all up.

So what?

Well, I stated my intention to do a ‘digital detox’ partly so that I would stick to it and then it started feeling like I was saying to all my friends – I’m sorry, but you’re cluttering my brain up, I’m not speaking to you! Which is just a bit rude and not true.

I also wanted a way of saying I wouldn’t be online, without telling burglars to come and help themselves, A social ‘Out of Coffice’. (Don’t, there are people in my house while I am in the place with no WiFi and a big dog.)

The idea of the ‘digital detox’ just serves the argument that being online, social,  is bad for you and I don’t agree with that. It gives fuel to the people who just don’t agree with Social Media.

What I do agree with is that sometimes it can be difficult to juggle it all, even with Hootsuite. The other thing is that given that a lot of my work is to encourage other people to get involved* – what does it say to them. No wonder they look at me like I’m a crazy woman when I try to persuade them that this stuff actually makes their life easier!

Arianna Huffington describes her life just before she collapsed with exhaustion “The space, the gaps, the pauses, that allow us to regenerate and recharge – had all but disappeared in my own life”.  I don’t have a media empire and I don’t know anyone who does.  I’m not about to collapse with exhaustion,  but I will be thinking about how to help people to navigate all this better when they are already overwhelmed with email, so that it does actually add something worthwhile to their days.

So consider this my ‘Out of Coffice’ message.  Emma can’t answer your blog, post or tweet right now.

When I get back I’ll be putting many more pauses back into my day – I think it will be better for everyone.

(*My other mission is to encourage use of the work ‘Awesome’)

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