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CIPD conference delegates

Insights from our joint event with CIPD Sussex

On Tuesday 19 September, we hosted an event in collaboration with the Sussex branch of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The event in Elm House was attended by more than 30 local CIPD members, Julie Fryatt – Director of people at the University of Brighton, colleagues from the university’s HR department, School of Business and Law HR academics and some of our students on courses with a HR pathway.

The keynote talks were given by two of our lecturers, Dr Charlotte Meierdirk and Gillian Keenan, who used their HR expertise and experience to address challenges faced by HR professionals.

CIPD delegates

Dr Charlotte Meierdirk: The impact of the pandemic on management

Dr Charlotte Meierdirk, Principal Lecturer and the School of Business and Law’s Apprenticeship Lead, kicked off the evening by sharing her research about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on management. This research was carried out with the 2020 cohort of MBA students, who were working in management roles across a range of industries in the public sector and private organisations.

Charlotte used Deloitte’s crisis management model of response, recovery and readiness to analyse the research. She shared her research insights with the conference audience, made up predominantly of HR managers and those working in personnel.

  1. The speed of changes and decision making increased, along with the use of technology, and the increase in organisation communications and meetings.
  2. The pandemic brought teams closer together with more cohesion, and people noted it had a positive impact on their management skills.
  3. Most companies have not yet reflected fully on what went well and what could be improved on, this is likely because we have gone from one ‘crisis’ to the next, and the impacts of the pandemic are still with us.

Charlotte said: “Managers were proud of their teams during the pandemic and there was lots of caring during covid. They protected each other and looked after each other.

“People worked less in silo than pre-covid as they needed to communicate and support each other.

“Many managers believed the extra work they did during COVID was never recognised by their organisation.”

Delegates at the CIPD event

Gillian Keenan: Is bad behaviour rewarded?

Following Charlotte’s session, it was time for law lecturer and employment law specialist – Gillian Keenan – to deliver her guest talk, titled ‘Is bad behaviour rewarded?’.

Gillian, who started her career in Human Resources before then completing a masters degree that specialised in employment law, led an interactive session that looked at the dismissal of Alison Rose, Chief Executive of NatWest.

After explaining the case, Gillian then spoke about the relevant laws and regulations around resignations and dismissals. She then asked tables to compare the case of Alison Rose to a fictional but similar example and determine whether delegates thought either of the cases were unfair.

This sparked some interesting conversations among groups about whether there were legal grounds for appeal, as well as some comments about the morals and ethics involved in each of the cases.

CIPD Level 7 Senior People Professional Apprenticeship

Towards the end of the event, Dr Surbhi Sehgal shared university’s commitment to continuously expand its apprenticeships portfolio and provided a brief overview of a new apprenticeship programme – CIPD Level 7 Senior People Professional Apprenticeship.

HR experts from across the industry unanimously advocated the need for this specialised course and shared their expert feedback.

More collaboration in the future

The night ended with a round-up from the Chair of the CIPD Sussex Branch, Janet Webb, who thanked everyone for attending and colleagues from the School of Business and Law for hosting the evening. 

Charlotte, Steve, Surbhi, Gillian

 From left to right: Charlotte, Steve, Surbhi, Gillian

The organising team was made up of Dr Surbhi Sehgal, Dr Charlotte Meierdirk, Gillian Keenan and Steve Sefton (Business Development Advisor, Apprenticeships). We hope this is the start of more events and collaboration with CIPD Sussex.

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Zoe Cassell • September 21, 2023

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