Annual HR Directors Retreat: Swimming against the tide

Past HR Network Event

27 & 28 April 2016

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The desire to conform is deeply rooted. There is a considerable literature that highlights how that desire can twist our perceptions, test our courage and ethics and lead us to behave in ways that are detrimental to individual, organisational and national wellbeing. Culture and tradition also shape the way we perceive and act such that conformity is not just the easier choice but the unconscious one too. But we often laud those who stand out from the crowd and find new ways to do something or challenge the status quo.

However, the reverse can be true with people who suggest different ways of doing things being blocked or ridiculed. There is often a tendency to think more favourably of people who swim against the tide if their approach or views coincide with our own.  Also, our heroic swimmers against the tide are the ones we applaud – we don’t really want to know about those who sink without trace after years of trying. It’s not straightforward!

Swimming against the tide has different facets as do the people and organisations that do it. The 2016 Retreat explored the stories of those who have sought to do things differently or who have gone against the grain and in doing so. We highlighted what motivates people and what helps and hinders them on their journey. The event was held on Brighton’s seafront, a city long-known for its nonconformity.

Topics we covered included:

  • What has take-up been?
  • How well has it bedded in?
  • Who is enhancing pay?
  • What approaches to leave patterns and pay are working well for organisations?
  • What does excellence look like?

Tackling hunger in the UK by fighting food waste: How can a small charity change the culture in a whole industry?
Lindsay Boswell

Turning Tides: A look at changing culture
Louise Redmond

Tackling chances, saving lives
Graham Bartlett

Case study: A John Lewis Golden Jubilee Trust secondment
Phil Archer

Swimming against the tide: getting whistleblowers on board - IES Perspectives on HR 2016
Peter Reilly