June 7, 2014 in Events (live blogging), CIPD NAP 2014

#CIPDNAP14 – Peter Cheese – New challenges and opportunities

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Peter opened by talking about how we live in interesting times and seem to be at an inflection point for business and HR. We live in a fast-changing context with globalisation pressures, new skills, post-recesssion growth, changing demographics and opportunities enabled by technology. Peter talked about the demographic changes in how people learn and suggested that we need to teach people to learn, not just teach them. If anybody doubts this, Peter suggests taking a look as Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk.


There are a lot of things that we need to devote attention to:

  • Building right cultures
  • Leadership at all levels
  • Managing diverse workforces
  • Agility and manage change
  • Engagement and wellbeing
  • Skills gaps and building new capabilities


And a number of Megatrends that are causing a fundamental shift:

  • Economy – More volatile and less predictable
  • Value – Continued shift towards intangibles
  • Work – Networked, collaborative, flexible
  • Workplace – Formal organisations and informal social system structures
  • Workforce – more diverse, more demanding


We require different thinking, with new strategies to address the future workforce including right-sourcing, recruitment strategies, skills building, performance and capability, and job design. Peter singled out performance management as a process that many managers hate and that needs addressing. One of the fundamental purposes of performance management is to shift the performance curve to the right, but Peter questioned whether we have done that, suggesting that we might be hiding behind process and putting too much emphasis on managing underperfomance. Recent findings in Neuroscience are suggesting that we don’t learn when we are stressed but that performance management processes can, in themselves, be a source of stress.

Alignment and engagement are critical for a high-performance workforce: We need to recruit for attitude (being really clear on the attitude we want), not just qualifications. We have too much data, not enough information – we need to have agreed definitions of some key measures (e.g. headcount!) and get better at insight, not just data. HR is a key enabler, but developing managers is critical – we need constant reminders of this.


Peter shared a ‘framework for future of HR and people development’ looking at

  • Insight on changing context
  • Business, Commercial insight and analytics
  • Science of human and organisational behaviour


Peter mentioned that CIPD is really interested in MOOCs, saying that there will be more on this at the annual conference in November 2014 and encouraging us to look at the FutureLearn MOOC on ‘The mind is flat’

We can also learn a lot from Neuroscience, and we are learning new things all the time. However, it isn’t the answer to everything and you can get a taste of the ongoing debate between psychologists and neuroscientists over at  Neurobollocks.


The purpose of the CIPD is to champion better work and working lives (by improving practices in people and organisation development for the benefit of organisations, businesses, economies, and society.)


This translates into the following critical missions:

  • Promote and develop the profession
  • Set and maintain professional standards
  • Be a career and capability partner of choice


Peter talked about how continuing professional development (CPD) isn’t just about training courses, it is about conferences, about talking with people, reading widely, using MOOCs, watching TED talks.

A number of things will come together to shape the profession of the future.

An inspiring talk (and I am delighted to see – and I’m wholehearetdly supportive of – the direction that the CIPD are heading!)



Helen Amery has also curated a great Storify, capturing the tweets of the people there:



(This blog post was live-blogged during the session. I’ve done my best to capture, in an unbiased way, some of the key points made.)


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