This year’s conference theme, “Working through Values” will no doubt hit home to HR practitioners. Many of the organisations that we work within publish a set of organisational values and HR attempts to incorporate those themes into the people management and leadership capacity that we develop. It is also just as obvious to HR practitioners that few people within those organisations actually live their working lives according to those values, and this causes cultural clashes between them and those within the organisation who firmly believe in those values.
Why is this? Are the values wrong? Is it wrong to even have a set of values that hundreds of people, all with their own person value sets, should be expected to adopt as their own? Is there a way of finding the “real” values that everyone will buy in to? Does the existence of a set of organisational values mean that individual employees are expected to leave their own values at home when they come to work? Is that even possible? There are numerous questions that every HR practitioner could produce about values. Importantly, these questions are about one of the underlying dichotomies of modern human resource management practice: how do we ensure that employees operate loyally within the firm (i.e. respect the company’s values) whilst simultaneously bringing to their work those special individual attributes for which they were hired (i.e. respecting their own values)? I cannot guarantee that every participant in this year’s conference will go away with all the answers, but I can guarantee that the line up of speakers will cause everyone to question, debate and increase their understanding of this vital area of our work. Participants will go away with many answers that they didn’t arrive with and they will all be better for that experience.
Importantly, the conference programme is once again deliberately designed to be the best networking experience of the year for a New Zealand HR practitioner. There will be practitioners from all over the country, experts in every specialist area of HR, as well as generalists with a wide range of experience. If you need to know someone who knows what you don’t know, they will be at this conference and you can meet them if you network hard. Importantly, HR people traditionally party hard as well, and there will be plenty of chance to have that sort of fun as usual, especially the big dinner and party on the Thursday evening.
So, this is your 2005 chance to participate in some vital learning about an essential aspect of your profession, do some serious networking that will benefit your employer and yourself, and to have some fun. People are the last vestige of real commercial advantage in organisations these days, this will be the best investment in an HR practitioner’s development that will come your way this year.
Geoff Summers AFHRINZ,
Why Values, Why Now?
It seems odd that we can run a whole conference around a theme of ‘Values’ – isn’t values an integral part of everything we do, a ‘given’ and doesn’t everyone already know about values? Apparently not. In a society at a time in history when integrity is just another buzz word in the mission statement on a corporate’s wall, when work comes before family, when being honest can get you fired and when staff retention is akin to finding the holy grail, it seems that the world of work for some has truly gone mad and so why not values?
We’re living in times never before experienced. Looming labour shortages, an ageing population that’s growing faster than ever, half the world distrusting the other half, an economy that’s solid one minute and soft the next – where will it all end? And what does it mean for those poor souls working in people management?
In putting together this year’s conference programme it seemed that many others shared our concerns. We received a record number of applications from experts in their field who wanted to speak out about their experiences and lessons they’d learned when working with (and sometimes without) clearly defined and aligned values. We’ve never attracted this much interest before around a conference theme, nor this much controversy.
This conference will address the four main areas of your working life Social Values, Corporate Values, Personal Values and Developing Values.
Social Values will address such things as how organisations benefit by addressing social and environmental issues in their planning and operations; how diversity is approached in the workplace; the role that corporate social responsibility plays in the attraction and retention of employees.
Corporate Values will deal with the value of human resources as a return on investment; the value that HR adds to an organisation’s competitiveness and sustainability; employer branding; the impact that culture has on the success of an organisation; increased productivity and the HR paradox; integrating people management and performance with strategic goals to lift the game and the bottom line; values-based leadership.
Personal Values will cover why people work and what’s in it for them; the relationship between personal ethics, integrity and career advancement; managing their own work/life balance without being a martyr; remuneration and why HR is often undervalued; developing a culture of trust and knowledge sharing; creating an environment of candour.
Developing Values will look at how a high performance organisation can be created through the development of the right values and vision within its people; growing our own - investing in the learning and development of our future workforce; coaching and mentoring as an investment not a cost.
In response to a growing demand to include learning and development as a conference stream in its own right, this year we’ve teamed up with the New Zealand Association of Training and Development (NZATD) to meet this need. Conference sessions delivered by NZATD members are marked accordingly and we recommend that anyone with an interest in learning and development makes the most of this opportunity.
Held in Wellington on September 14, 15 and 16, we’ll have input from some of the world’s best, including a session with business guru Dave Ulrich. We’ll also have real-life real stories, a panel of international HR experts talking about what’s going on globally, and a couple of ‘hot spot’ slots which examine what’s going on in our pockets.
We’ll also offer New Zealand’s largest HR Expo, networking and a plethora of opportunities to unwind in between.
If you value the contribution that work makes in your life and vice versa, be there…