On the 11th October I’ve attended a DisruptHR event in Manchester. It was in an interesting format as there were 12 speakers who had only 5 minutes each (and they stuck to it!). I think that it actually worked well and we could take something out of this. The next one is confirmed for March 2018- check the details here!

The below is my subjective write- up on the event, that could be summarised as: 

Ways of working– create good habits, make everyday efforts to practice, think about your “why”- the purpose,  and bring value in whatever you do; cover the basics; things progress in daily efforts and practice.

Interaction– the future of work is…human! Support each others, be inclusive, people are our branding and it happens through the way we interact with them, let’s create communities and collaborate, let’s break the silos!

Learn and develop– I am a little bit obsessed with Carol Dweck’ s  growth mindset… and so for me it was good to see her work being referenced to in different presentations. The key messages for me in the learning and development context were: neuroplasticity and ability of our brain to be re-wired, the importance of growing our talents, being curious, aiming for the best, being reflective and purposeful;

Over to the presenters (and my notes):

Ben Gledhill

·         You don’t own the employer brand, your people do!

·         Job ads should be telling your story, don’t copy and paste job descriptions.

·         Social media should shout the EVP.

·         Everyone has an employer branding… it is what your employees are saying about you.

Caroline Dakin

·         I really liked this one: “ My brain has too many taps open…”.

·         You can train your brain- neuroplasticity that talks about ability to re-wire our brain.

·         We need to have good sleep! Yes, we do!

·         Be open to change!

·         Taking care of the protection factors:

1)      Psychological

2)      Physical: habits and practice

Good to think how we design our interaction around these two elements – it is about mentoring, wellness, educating people.

Stuart Blythe

·         Using sport analogy, the conclusion was to recruit the best talent and train them, which will automatically grow succession.

·         The only job of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola is to find talent and to train them.

·         Clients often say that they would like an easier life and stop fire-fighting; the solution is to have:

1)      Clear vision

2)      Motivated people

3)      Best talent

 The common challenges with this are: fog vision, demotivated people and not the best talent.

Ian PettigrewIan’s presentation was resonating particularly well with me, as he was talking about different concepts, researches and findings in the field of HR and the possible disagreements it may be causing in the HR debate. For example, do we encourage success or celebrate failure; are we driven to help people or “When helping hurts”? Should we listen to our gut feelings or look for evidence based HR? etc.

 The answer is: It Depends! It is all in the context and it is often both.

Sandy Wilkie

·         HR is often found working in silos and not working with other departments, HR included.

·         HR spends too much effort on saying what people can’t do rather than what they can.

·         Quoting after Lucy Adams “stop making the irrelevant more efficient”, let’s create real value.

·         Focus more on enabling rather than creating rules.

·         Quoting after Urlich- we should adapt a more holistic approach to our work.

·         Treat workplace and think about it as of communities.

·         “HR should be beautifully messy”!

And interestingly, it takes the “DisruptHR” to come to a conclusion, that the future of work is …human!

Kate Vokes

·         Let’s talk what success means to us, more than the job title.

·         Simon Sinek and his “Start with why”.

·         Quoting Albert Einstein “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value”.

·         And a quote I particularly liked… a little bit of a reassurance in our daily struggles… “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do”.

·         Examples of Zappos and their self- managing teams.

·         We should get comfortable in leaving in the shades of grey.

·         Daniel Pink and his autonomy, purpose and mastery.

·         We should think about hierarchy versus network more.

My take on this is to encourage thinking what is our why and what value do we want to bring.


Gary Cookson·         Interesting take on the work- life balance and how those two can interchange through our lives giving spaces for hobby and work, clearing the mind and moving things forward.

·         My take: similar concept to the “Seven day weekend” and to this podcast:

Stephen Russel

·          Stephen talked about “deliberate practice”; used example from the sport day: for business everyday is the match day, we feel like we don’t have time to practice and we loose time, but we should find time to practice and getting better. Long term it pays off. It is like rugby players in training for peripheral vision so they can spot the ball quicker.

·         We should have permission to talk about basics.

·         Check out the Feynman technique.

·         “Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned” – Tony Dungry- Super bowl winning coach.

Mark Gilroy

·         Pay attention to the words we choose – i.e. talent pool- which sets a limitation.

·         Talent isn’t fixed, can be leveraged and grown.

·         Carol Dweck and the importance of the growth mindset.

·         Danger of using grids and boxes.

·         Huge importance of the context and talent will flex.

·         Talent isn’t about you versus company, it is about us; it is contagious.

·         Importance of inclusion, curiosity.


NAthan Quriach

·         Tech versus candidate experience- research outcomes.

·         62% graduates candidates would like to have more feedback from employers.

·         Graduate recruiters lack resources, staff and access to an audience to help them achieve their targets and exist in a hugely competitive market.

·         Organisations lack budget and time to build a positive candidate experience.

·         For grads learning through practice is pivotal.

·         Pick up the phone…- experience on a CV might not convey what you are hoping to see but an honest chat with a candidate could do.


Chris Haynes

·         Key is in the control of attention- what is happening now and not what could have happened.

·         Control circles: what you can control versus what you can’t, what you can influence.

·         Predictable source of pressure: Expectations, Scrutiny, consequences.

·         Predictable responses to pressure: Aggressive, Passive, Escape.

·         Importance of the growth mindset.

Laura Taylor

·         First impressions are permanent and they are accurate at 70%, which happens within first 4 seconds!

·         Smile is a reward!

The night concluded with  an encouraging  video on How to start a movement  

I am looking forward to the March Edition of DisruptHR Manchester!




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