We were very pleased to welcome Geoff Glover for our November Lunchtime Seminar. Geoff is a HR leader with 32 years experience and has held senior positions in both Ford and Volvo automotive. Currently Geoff lectures in Human Resource Management at Southampton Solent University.

Geoff’s presentation kicked off referring to various forces that are currently conspiring to leave HR/L&D functions “in a state of flux”.

Organisations in the global economy are feeling like they must push for double-digit productivity to stay competitive. To achieve this they seek to develop high performing teams, both by bringing on board real talent, but also developing that talent as extensively as they can. In turn this means organisations face competition not only for business, but also for talent from around the globe. In certain competences a global labour market is emerging with real talent having more opportunities than ever before.
In addition, contemporary employees are looking for different employment experiences and different types of reward, including flexible working hours, potential to work from home, increased development opportunities, being part of enterprises which offer social purpose and meaning at work.
The contemporary employee has also abandoned ideas of employment security preferring to build their personal brand and create value in themselves as assets. Geoff refers to the task of smart employers in this situation to accept that an employee may well only stay for three years. The smart employer will ensure they benefit from the three years, with a cycle of ‘student-teacher-sharer’ to ensure the tacit knowledge is captured during the period, and bid farewell to an alumni/ambassador for the firm when they do leave.
The picture is not made any more stable by the current change in demographics, the baby-boomer generation are just hitting retirement age, taking their knowledge with them and this is leaving talent shortages. In terms of bringing this in to focus Geoff shared the statistic that 75% of engineers in the nuclear sector are likely to retire in the next decade, against a backdrop (in Europe and the US) of declining birth rate. Geoff further demonstrated the development through the story of the increase need for engineers the Volvo Car Corporation had, when he worked there. With only 50,000 engineers a year entering the Swedish labour market and many times this leaving the market due to retirement, it was clear that Volvo would have to look outside of the traditional recruitment pool from Universities in the West of Sweden.Looking outside of Sweden they found competition not only from other companies but also from countries like Germany, the UK, Hungary etc for that engineering talent.

Globalisation also brings with it the need to deal with constant and rapid change, an aspect that has all to clear an implication for HR and L&D. To achieve this Geoff refers to the need to create “Work Societies” where there is collaboration and the ability to look without and within for solutions. This is an area where tapping in to social media and big data can assist in providing solutions. The idea being that the company migrates from a scenario of Transactional Learning Responses to an organisation of transformation and change that has values embedded in it and shared throughout the organisation.
In a functional organisation of transformation and change the values are supported by recognition and validation assessment more than by counting or summative assessment, these activities are supported by the organisation through activities such as providing enabling infrastructure and encouraging collaboration through partnerships.

Returning to collaboration brings Geoff on to his proposal in relation to investment efficiency in lifelong and lifewide learning. Geoff believes that with some joined up thinking between Schools, Industry and the Government (with regards to the training of the unemployed) training and education could be tailored to provide talent pools for regions that are not just trained for employment but exemplars of the talents required. This approach avoids inefficient spend and overlap among institutions and supports a region in it`s economic and social development.

Geoff is most definitely a HR professional with a social conscience and we were very pleased to have him speak at what we hope is just the beginning of his collaboration with the Learnovate Centre.