£0 – £420

IES Annual Conference 2017: Smaller function, bigger issues: Where next for...

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Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel

12 Upper Woburn Place



United Kingdom

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Event description



The HR function finds itself in turbulent times with much to contend with. Shifting forms of work, frequently static or low pay growth affecting morale, longer working lives, constrained career options, and all delivered by a smaller, post-Ulrich function. Our conference this year looks at this mix through the views of academics who have observed the traumas of HR over many years and HR practitioners who are in the thick of it.

Some examples of the current challenges facing the function that this event will explore:

  • HR function post-Ulrich – There has been a resurgence in debate around the right structure for HR as more and more organisations have experienced the downside of trying to find good HR Business Partners, of outsourcing proving not to be the expected cost-cutting panacea, and of years of being the face of the business leaving employees cold.
  • Changing forms of work – The Taylor review has highlighted the myriad forms of non-standard work which make up the modern labour market and which meet both the needs of organisations and individuals. Whilst the emphasis in the press has been on the most exploitative arrangements, HR has had to make this buffet of options work.
  • Working lives – The ending of the default retirement age in 2011 has supported a trend for longer working lives and raised the profile of issues around an ageing workforce. At the other end of the age continuum, lack of progression is frustrating younger workers.
  • HR as the moral compass of business – The concept of 'stewardship' has always been implicit in the role of HR professionals, but what role has HR played in challenging and moderating some of the more contentious behaviours of corporate leaders (and in picking up the pieces).
  • Intergenerational HR – meanwhile a new generation of HR professionals is making their mark on the function – do they see the world of HR differently to their more experienced peers?

Event programme

Conference programme: Download (.pdf)

Lunch will be provided.

Who should attend?

This year's conference is aimed at all HR, OD and L&D practitioners.

How will you/your organisation benefit from this event?

This event will stimulate debate within and across organisations through access to the contribution of those who have observed and commented on the HR Function over many years, those who are at the leading edge of delivery and some fascinating case studies of HR excellence amongst leading employers.


Sandy Begbie, Global Head of People, Organisation & Culture Integration, Standard Life Aberdeen plc

Sandy's session will offer an HRD's perspective on putting talent management at the heart of the people strategy.

Helen Fairfoul, Chief Executive, Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA)

Helen will offer her perspective as a CEO on the changing landscape of the HR function.

Professor Sian Moore, Employment Relations & HR Management; Director, Work and Employment Research Unit, University of Greenwich Business School

Sian will offer academic insights on research for the Low Pay Commission and how we can raise the bar on empoloyment standards and people management.

Steve Othen, Head of HR & Projects, Recruitment & Employment Confederation

Steve will offer the conference an HRD's perspective on the changing face of HR, the power of partnerships and getting recognition for what the profession has delivered.

Professor Paul Sparrow, Emeritus Professor of International HRM, Lancaster University

Paul's session will consider the death of strategic HRM and business partnering. He will offer an academic's insights on HR's role in addressing the big questions being raised in today's labour markets.

Chair: Professor Stephen Bevan, Head of HR Research Development, Institute for Employment Studies

Stephen has conducted research and consultancy on high-performance work practices, employee reward strategy, performance management, staff engagement and retention, and 'good work'. He is a Board Member of the European HR Director’s Circle and a member of the Britain’s Healthiest Company expert advisory group. Stephen regularly appears in HR Magazine's list of Most Influential HR Thinkerss. He has been an Honorary Professor at Lancaster University Management School since 2010.

Facilitator: Dr Duncan Brown, Head of HR Consultancy, Institute for Employment Studies

Duncan leads the HR consultancy work at IES. He has more than 25 years' experience in HR consulting and research, with firms including Aon Hewitt, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Towers Perrin. He also spent 5 years as Assistant Director General at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Related reading

Darkening skies? IES Perspectives on HR 2017The topics for this year's conference are covered extensively in several of the articles from the IES Perspectives on HR 2017 series.

Ticket prices

HR Network member tickets (find out more):

Full member: Free
Associate member: Free
Flex member: £280.00 (+VAT)

Non-member tickets:

Non-member: £350.00 (+VAT)

Disclaimer: Please note that photography and videos may be taken at this event and these images may be used in promotional material by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES). By attending, you are giving your consent for your image to be used on IES promotional materials. Please contact Gwen Leeming if you would prefer IES not to use your image for promotional materials.

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Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel

12 Upper Woburn Place



United Kingdom

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