5 ways to get social during #cipdnap16

nap hashtag

Are you coming along to the CIPD Northern Area Partnership conference this year? And if not… why not?

Whether you can make it in person or will be watching from afar, here are a few ways you can get social and join in with the event.

  1. Hashtag away. We will be sharing plenty on the run up to the conference using the hashtag #cipdnap16, so keep your eye on it for all the information you need about the event.  The hashtag creates a resource for everyone.  Which leads onto……
  2. Share stuff.  Help us create a useful back channel of information and learning for everyone, whether or not they are at the event.
  3. Engage with @CIPD_NAP on Twitter.  If you are not following us over there already, head over there right away!  And if you aren’t already on Twitter, this is a great time to set up an account and connect with fellow conference delegates.  If you get stuck, look out for our resident tweeter @HR_Gem who will be happy to help!
  4. Follow the speakers. You can find all of their Twitter handles below. Give them a tweet!
  5. Check out the blogs.  We will be live blogging some of the sessions right here and our resident blogger Ian Pettigrew of Kingfisher Coaching (@KingfisherCoach) will be blogging too over at http://www.kingfishercoaching.com/ providing overviews and insights from sessions across the conference.

 We will see you there – in the social world or IRL!




















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Even more amazing workplaces

new cipd logo

The countdown has commenced……

It is nearly time for the best HR conference in the North!

This year we return to the theme of amazing workplaces.

We are delighted to welcome a fabulous arrange of speakers and sessions to the conference this year, held as always at York Race Course.

We are joined by President of the CIPD Professor Sir Cary Cooper, who will address delegates on wellbeing. We also look forward to welcoming, to name just a few….. Dawn Smedley, Dominic Colenso, Gary Cookson, Tim Scott,  Tim Pointer, Sue Cox, Sam Sales, Phil Willcox, Michelle Parry-Slater, Helen Amery and Professor Bob Garvey.

We have workshops on appreciation, emotion at work, communication, culture, learning and mindfulness, and lots of others.

And if that wasn’t enough, we will be joined by some leading senior HR practitioners who will be talking about how they have created amazing workplaces and giving you ideas that you take away for your own organisations.

There will be the usual fancy dinner on Friday night, including a few surprises. Oh, and dancing.  Don’t forget the dancing!

So what are you waiting for? Book your ticket before they sell out!

Make sure that you are following our Twitter account @CIPD_NAP and following the hashtag #cipdnap16 to keep up with the news on the event!


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Coming Soon…

It’s that time of year again.

That time when the CIPD Northern Area Partnership conference planning kicks into high gear.

Behind the scenes, we have been working on this year’s event since, well, the last one. Our aim every year is to make it bigger and better than the one before.  Our theme this year builds on NAP 2015… ‘even more amazing workplaces’.

Topics already include appreciation, mindfulness, wellbeing, emotion at work… as well as the opportunity to hear from a range of experienced practitioners about what they think makes an amazing place to work. We have some fantastic speakers lined up already, and there is a strong but as yet unconfirmed rumour that the retro sweets stand will be back.

And don’t forget about the evening entertainment…… NAP isn’t NAP without some awesome HR dance moves.

So keep your eye out on the hashtag #cipdnap16, follow the blog and our twitter account @CIPD_NAP for more information on what is coming up and how to book.

We hope to see you there!

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Positive Pyschology 

Next up at NAP is Sukh Pabial on positive pyschology. 

He starts with a question to the audience:

‘When did you last feel vibrant?’

His challenge: Why don’t we allow these feelings to happen often and purposefully?  Instead, the mostly are just happenstance. Why couldn’t we deliberately live a better life? 

We have to get a myth out of the way first. Positive psychology isn’t positive thinking. It is part of it but not all of it. Positive thinking stops being useful when you can’t positively think your way out of something.  Worse still, is when someone has a serious mental health condition – you can’t just tell them to think positive. Positive thinking has limitations. 

Moving people from feeling bad to feeling normal isn’t enough. Why aren’t we helping people to thrive and to be vibrant? This is the basis of positive psychology. 

Now – everyone in the audience is asked to do the practise of Three Good Things.  Reflect for a few moments on those positive things that have happened. Write them down, tweet them. Get into the habit; there are benefits to bring the positive aspects of our daily lives forward into conscious thought. 

Now onto relationships. A healthy relationship has a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions. How much do you appreciate your partner?  How these interactions, the language we use and the way we respond is also a habit. 

Positive psychology isn’t about living in la la land. It isn’t about pretending or faking it or appreciating someone if you don’t really mean it. Sometimes life is rubbish. It passes or you find a way to deal with it. 

Finally, Sukh introduces us to the concept of the third place. Somewhere you can go and do something that makes you happy, without judgement.  No justification. A place in which you can find flow. Did anyone ever tell you that you can have a third place – or even that you should have one?  A place, an activity, something that is just for you and only you.  A place from which you can draw strength.  

What I loved about this session?  Sukh standing up with no slides. The tweetbeam on the wall behind him, showing the tweets from this session and the others taking place at the same time.  Lots of talking in the room, but not a single post it note or sheet of flip chart paper.  Session blogged about and shared before it even began. Questions from and dialogue with the delegates throughout. A model for how to run a conference session. 

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Spaces In-between 

Julie Drybrough, better known to many as Fuchsia Blue, talks to the delegate of CIPD NAP about the power of workplace conversation.  


A session filled with simple but graceful thoughts and concepts. Including inbuilt challenges to our thinking, and the way we usually do things when we engage in conversations at work. 

Some of those thoughts arising, standing out within the session. 
Before you begin any conversation is a moment of silence in which anything can happen. 

Real dialogue means talking with people, not at people. 

Dialogue, getting people to talk well together, is a slow process. 

Some conversations hold, others are more like a leaky bucket. 

Monologue is safe. 

The spaces in-between, is an opportunity to dialogue. 

The myths of change. If your world shifts around you, it is personal. It is felt. 

Conversations take place in a container.  Who and what is within it? 

Four pillars for powerful conversations. Active listening. Speaking with authentic voice. Suspension of judgement. Respecting. 

Why don’t we let people speak?  What is in it for us to make others silent? 

After you have thought together, what happens next? Sometimes unexpected.

The paradox that going fast can mean working really slowly. 

Stay curious, always. 

Working with emerging futures. This is what we are doing, more and more. We need to refine the plan. 

And finally. Think about joy. There are days when things are tough. Filled with emotions. When in the midst of change, when things feel difficult, find your joy. 

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Opening keynote. Simples. 

Ryan Cheyne, formally of Pets at Home and very shortly of Rental Cars, opened the CIPD NAP conference today. He shared his story about how Pets at Home achieved their multiple awards for being a great place to work. He also shared some cool animal pictures, but you had to be there to see those. 

Here’s the thing. 

What he shared was warm, funny and very very straightforward. 

Short but succinct mission statements. 

Focused and detailed training. 

Handwritten thank you notes. 

Effective recognition. 

Great recruitment focusing on hiring people who align to the mission. 

Very straightforward performance review processes. 

Good internal communication.

These are just some of the examples he talked through. 

All with an inbuilt assumption that if you get the people stuff right then the customer stuff and the financial stuf will follow.  As colleague engagement increased Pets at Home could evidence that so did customer loyalty. 

Nothing Ryan talked about was especially difficult. This is both good and bad. It’s good, because any HR department or professional could try it, at their place. Without huge investment. But there is a another side too – because if this can be done then the question arises. Why haven’t we? What is stopping us?

Pets at Home created an amazing workplace by getting the basic people stuff right. 

 Maybe this session should be seen as a challenge. 

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Driving effective international collaboration

The CIPD’s purpose, Championing better work and better working lives is set against the backdrop of ‘an urgent and critical need to ensure the ways we work, our workforces and workplace cultures are fit for today and drive performance and growth for the future.

Following this, a key characteristic of today’s working world is that individual roles, teams and organisations have become increasingly international, and this ongoing development brings with it a host of challenges, which may affect effectiveness and success in such environments.

Why is international communication and collaboration challenging?

Four key challenges that are intensified when doing business internationally are uncertainty, complexity, conflict and diversity.


When working in international environments, we soon see that the norms we are used to are no longer universal norms and that people, teams, internal business units and even partner companies operate in different ways. This, you might say, is no different to working in domestic settings, though when others are communicating in a different language, or with different cultural norms and expectations, such situations can arise a lot more easily.

International environments are characterized by uncertainty.


In international teams or organisations there are very often paradoxical structures with teams being hierarchical, flat and matrixed at the same time.

Individuals and teams may find it challenging to receive one set of guidelines from the international parent company, on one hand, and apparently observe a different set of behaviours in the execution of tasks and actions at a local or national level.

Additionally, local laws which may affect global processes, may exist or teams may be set up differently due to local infrastructure, time zones and other considerations.

International environments are complex.


As misunderstandings are more likely to occur, so too is conflict. Building trust and relationships can be more challenging, as expectations associated with certain perceived norms can differ wildly, and sensitivities and priorities of others may not be so easily identifiable. This can all be further intensified when the business relationships are purely virtual in nature, as it is often the case that those working internationally will never meet their counterparts face to face.

International environments are prone to conflict


With different people, organisations and cultures come different ways of doing things. These often challenge our own norms and preferences in approaching tasks and activities, especially in international environments.

International environments, by their very nature, have high levels of diversity.

The goal in thinking about these four key areas of challenge is not to eliminate them. We can’t; they will always be there. Instead, we need to learn to accept them, minimize their impact, adapt and even draw from them to turn potential threats into benefits and opportunities, such as driving innovation and enabling new ways of thinking or doing things.

Following this year’s CIPD NAP conference motto, or theme, ‘Creating an Amazing workplace … through well-being and engagement: improving performance and the bottom line,’ I’ll be exploring these challenges in looking at improving engagement and driving performance in my pre-conference talk on Friday 19th at 10:00. Please come along or visit our stand at the event.

Mike Hogan, Director, York Associates International Ltd.

Established in 1980, York Associates is a leading provider of international team and leadership training and coaching (ILM endorsed). It has a training centre in York, UK, and also delivers on-site at a range of client locations worldwide. www.york-associates.co.uk


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