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2014 HR Forum - Event in Review


Last week’s Human Resources Forum, June 1-3 at the Four Seasons in Dallas, TX was a huge success, with 100% of Delegates rating their experience as very good or good (4.6 average on a scale of 1-5) and nearly 80% of Supplier Companies immediately booking their place at next year’s event.
 
Companies averaging 44,481 employees were represented, from multiple industries, with a strong presence in healthcare, financial services and retail. CHROs, and HR VP Generalists, Directors of Talent Management, Compensation, Benefits, Acquisition, Development, Training, Effectiveness and more; the HR department powerhouses all under one roof, with a common mission - to network, learn and find solutions.
 
Setting the tone for the opening of the 2014 HR Forum on Sunday evening, with his heartfelt leadership style, was keynote speaker Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 Company.  In his compelling presentation, Ridge addressed that even in tough times, creating a tribal culture among employees and a sense of belonging - and removing the biggest obstacle to learning – fear, will truly enable companies to engage their people, build a great place to work, and improve employee performance, job satisfaction and retention.
 
#LearningMoment Fact: WD-40 produces $1M in revenue per employee!
 
Following Ridge’s keynote, the group mingled their way into the foyer for the welcome cocktail reception and a series of 8 minute speed dates - executive style, all pre-arranged meetings. For HR leaders meeting with peers - a quick-fire exchange of challenges and best practices. For Suppliers meeting buyers – a quick “cup of tea” conversation to determine a match or not and where a potential relationship could go.
 
The most popular areas for discussion and top areas where delegates were seeking solutions centered around Employee Engagement, Change Management, Organizational Culture, Succession Planning, Rewards & Recognition, Performance Management, Coaching & Leadership Development, HR Metrics and Wellness Programs.
 
Over the next day and a half over 1000 meetings took place between senior HR leaders and suppliers to the industry, one-on-one, and over meals with peers, as they discussed the critical challenges facing their companies and their people, developing new relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships and solutions.
 
91% of Delegates rated their meetings with Suppliers as Good or Very Good and 69% said they were useful meetings that were unlikely to happen otherwise, stressing the importance and value of face-to-face meetings.
 
So far, 66% of Delegates are arranging further meetings with suppliers they met, 49% are asking suppliers to pitch for a specific project and 22% intend to commission work with a supplier based on their meeting at the HR Forum alone. 100% of suppliers expect to see ROI, majority within 3-6 months.
#HowDoYouBizDev?
 
Continuing the keynotes on day two, Sheldon Yellen, CEO of BELFOR, delivered what many were referring to as the most honest and inspiring presentation they ever heard. Known from his appearance on CBS’ hit show Undercover Boss, Yellen took us on a story of his own life and how his appearance on the show and actually getting to know his employees, transformed him to become the leader he is today - leading from behind, putting people first and his “be humble or get humbled” philosophy.
 
It was clear that HR leaders really appreciated the CEO perspectives of both Ridge and Yellen, and left recharged and inspired to return to the office ready to make a measurable impact to their business and their people, reiterating the importance and effectiveness of effective leadership, starting from the top-down.
 
Other popular conference sessions and discussion groups amongst Delegates focused on:
-      The Power of an Engaged Organization
-      Employment Branding Strategies to Stand Out from the Pack
-      The Realities of Recruiting
-      Starting with a Moral Purpose: Driving Business through Sustainability
-      GenZ – Adjusting to the Changing Needs of Tomorrow’s Labor Market
 
The next Richmond Events’ Human Resources Forum will take place June 7-9, 2015 at Omni Barton Creek in Austin, Texas.
 
For more information, please contact Project Manager Brielle Pope at 212-651-8713 or bpope@richmondevents.com.

Women On Top: Getting Women On Board(s)


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Nicola Bunting, Owner, La Vita Nova Executive and life coaching will be attending The Human Resource Forum at Savoy Place on the 1st November. She has conducted a study which looks into why such a low percentage of woman hold senior management roles:
 
Almost half of the UK workforce are women, but only 12% of FTSE 100 directorships are currently held by women, and women hold just 22% of senior management positions.

These are extraordinary statistics, especially considering how little this imbalance has been even spoken about until recently. And there are strong commercial reasons for redressing the balance. Mckinsey's study, "Women Matters" found that companies with most women in senior management roles outperform their sector on many levels...return on equity, operating results and stock price growth. On a more human level, including women in senior roles clearly adds to the rich multidimensional range of contribution, perspective, and growth.
 
What is holding women back from leadership positions? Here are a number of factors:
  • maternity and childcare-related issues
  • women choosing to step off the career ladder
  • the male breadwinner career model
  • the need to create a work pattern of career advancement that is more family-friendly, with less focus on time worked, and more attention to work/life balance and flexible working
  • women having less clarity about their career direction than men
  • women being less ambitious than men
  • women having less self-confidence than men and being more cautious about developing their career and taking on new opportunities and more challenges
How do men and women's different communication styles factor in? A new book by American academic John Lock, "Duels and Duets: Why Men and Women Talk So Differently," argues that men often have a more forceful, win/lose, confrontational communication style which can be perceived as more authoritative, serious, and business-like, whereas women tend more toward the collaborative and connective, which can make them appear less leader-like.
 
Perhaps we need to expand our images of leaders and extend our archetypes to make more space for alternative models?
 
Carol Gilligan's classic, "In a Different Voice," also looks at men and women's relational styles as essentially different. So when we look at patterns and dynamics in work interactions , for example, we need to see who speaks up, who is comfortable asking for a raise or promotion, who is openly celebrating their achievements, who gets important clients...all of these areas may have gender implications.
 
Another fascinating new book, "Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital" by Catherine Hakim, contributes a different perspective by arguing that women should actively use their social skills, beauty and sex appeal to their advantage to get ahead at work, rather than trying to disguise their femininity in order to be taken seriously. Personally speaking, I can see a distinction between embracing who you are as a woman and being comfortable expressing your femininity authentically as part of who you are and your leadership style, versus actively using the impact of your sexuality to manipulate. But this is probably a different article!
 
For now, though, I celebrate the newly formed 30 Percent Club, a UK movement set up by Sir Roger Carr and others, designed to make boards thirty Percent female, and I suggest we all look carefully at how we can empower women and empower ourselves as woman to reach the full range of our leadership potential and make a difference at work and in the world. Clearly, work / life balance culture, flexible working, and recruitment policies all need to be addressed.
 
Leadership development also has a crucial and powerful role to play. I suggest that coaching, mentoring, and training programmes to help women actualise their leadership potential and step up into higher levels of confidence and aspiration could well be the most targeted and effective route to creating more balanced and successful companies where senior management positions are held equally by men and women, and where the board edges steadily up to at least 30% female representation.
 
Companies invest hugely in talented women, and need to retain them and help them reach their full potential from a business standpoint. Women are often not prepared to sacrifice their personal lives for their work lives, even if they are ambitious, and for their careers to be kept on track, companies do need to think about helping them manage their careers, rewarding business performance rather than simply hours in the office. And of course men can benefit equally from more enlightened workplaces which allow and encourage employees to have careers and personal lives that inspire each other, rather than being in constant mutually draining competition.
 
It's not just about "diversity" for the sake of it...or quotas as a reflection of the need for diversity. It's about giving capable, bright, and ambitious women every opportunity to step up and shine as senior leaders within an organisation, for everyone's benefit.
 
Nicola Bunting will be joining us a supplier at The Human Resources Forum at Savoy Place on the 1st November.

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