Lesley Richards – Head of CIPD Wales.
2020 ushered in a new era for the HR department and nowhere else in Wales. In a country with a clear vision to spread inclusive growth, the Welsh economy needs to be driven by personal practices that can meet the needs of employers and workers in a variety of industries – from Sunrise companies in Fintech, Insurtech,
Medtech and the wider SME community, larger private sector companies, as well as public and third sector organizations that still make up so much of the principality's employers.
A new era poses new questions that need new answers. How does the HR department in Wales face this “challenge for people” in a time of great uncertainty? How do HR teams cope with rapid change, structure accelerated digitalization – and shape the inevitable cultural change?
Steve McNally, HR & People Editor at Business News Wales, spoke to Lesley Richards, Head of CIPD Wales, and asked, "What does this new HR department look like?"
"What is the future of work itself?"
“The most obvious challenge is to understand the future of work for yourself,” Lesley confirms. "How does it look? Many work environments have simply changed forever, and it is clear that for many people, we are moving to stronger remote work that requires far greater collaboration and a dedicated workforce that understands both the daily tasks
Role and also the strategic purpose where the organization is heading. This places great emphasis on empathetic leadership, a supportive leadership style – and a culture that is based on more productive working relationships. HR is there to facilitate and develop all this, not only through L&D, but also as a support mechanism, as an adhesive inside
"HR is the glue for a new way of working"
What innovations has Lesley implemented in the past four months? “Lessons were drawn and innovations made very quickly. Sometimes this meant a major makeover, such as PerkinsElmer in Pontyclun, who, in collaboration with Public Health Wales, created a COVID-19 test lab from scratch in just a few weeks. Elsewhere, a number of small changes were made very quickly to get a much larger picture, for example at Rototherm in Port Talbot, where an entire factory and workforce were redesigned to become PSA's leading UK manufacturer. For many companies, bringing this kind of agility and creativity means the difference between wealth and struggle. It is a degree of change that requires a new approach, from the board to the apprentice. and HR is at the core of developing these new skills and mindsets. "
"In many ways our time has come"
What role does Lesley see for HR in this new world? "In many ways, our time has come," says the head of the CIPD in Wales. “Managing employees can be difficult, and companies have never relied on their human resources and organization more than in the past few months. The HR department is now tasked with redefining and redefining itself
The transformative business partner trusts to be innovative and to take the lead. We play a central role in the hearing strategy and ensure that the employee's voice is heard. We focus on helping businesses manage five generations at work – and make sure everyone is involved. We're facing a decade of big change, not just at Covid, but also at The BlackLivesMatter Movement, the coming of AI, and how to deal with the effects
of climate change. HR plays a role in everyone. "
"Share best practice – and share our humanity"
For Lesley, "good human resources" still means putting people at the heart of the policies and practices. "As we accelerate through this incredible phase of change, we should remember that ultimately it is only about people. If there was a right time to redirect our attention to the" people "who make up our workforce , then now, this is a wake-up call for businesses
across the country to bring health, wellbeing, families and people's financial security to the fore. “The CIPD in Wales can make a valuable contribution to driving this change. Companies of all sizes and in all sectors benefit from the exchange of experience and best practices, so that companies in similar sectors and sectors can learn from each other. We have
For this purpose, a series of industry-specific roundtables was developed that enable HR professionals to work together to create a safe return to work for everyone – and to build sustainable organizations for the future. Let us continue to work together, share what works best – and share our humanity. "