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People Development Summit

People Development Summit - Speakers

The Strategy Group programme is made up of 7 discussion-based seminars and facilitated by leading HR and Learning & Development experts. The sessions are an opportunity for delegates to catch up on some of the latest thinking and exchange ideas and best practice with their counterparts in other major organisations.

Two weeks before the event, delegates are asked to choose the groups which interest them most; it will normally be possible to attend 3 groups during the course of the Summit. The 2018 programme is currently in development and will be finalised by early autumn.

See below the speakers and sessions from our most recent Summit which took place March 2017 in Barcelona. Please contact for more information about speaking opportunities and topic suggestions.

2017 PD Summit speakers 

John Bird

PD Summit 2017 opening keynote

I am 70. I was brought up in an orphanage and served time in a young offenders’ institution. During turbulent and difficult times, I slept rough as one of London’s homeless. On reflection, I was very much a part of the problems of society.

Eventually, I realised that the only way to get out of the destructive circle into which I had grown up was to give myself a hand up, rather than wait for others to give me a hand out.

Settling down in my 20’s, I began to hold down regular jobs in factories and, eventually, as a skilled printer. I never forgot the hardship and problems of my youth - and the ways in which similar deprivation afflicts thousands of others in similar positions at the bottom rung of society.

Twenty-five years ago this year, using my experience of the print industry, I co-founded (the now world-famous) The Big Issue. The weekly magazine achieves its mass circulation by being sold on the streets of the UK by vendors who are homeless and vulnerably accommodated. The deal is simple, and proceeds of each copy sold are split equally between vendors and the publisher.

Thus, reflecting my own philosophy, the deprived and under-privileged are given a hand up through earning their money, rather than waiting for the hand out which may do little more than trap them in the poverty from which many crave escape.

The Big Issue, and similar magazines, is now published in 35 countries around the world; and always with the same aim of helping those struggling for a break in society.

Although strictly non-political, I have been consulted by Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers about how best to lift people out of poverty through harnessing their own energies. And a new created, independent Crossbench Peer, I’ll continue to do this in the UK Parliament.

John Bird - PD Summit 2017 opening keynote

Adam Hodgkinson

Blended Learning in our new digital world

There are many interpretations of what blended learning should look like. One approach is that there should be a little bit an e-session, followed by some social learning. Then maybe a training course followed by some pre-course work commencing with video and more social media!

What if we looked at this a little differently? What if the e-lesson is delivered within the face-to-face session via virtual reality?

What if the online gamification is happening whilst you sit in a classroom?

Then we would have true blended learning in our new digital world.

Come along and have some fun, share your ideas and learn how very complicated learning is made very simple for the end-user.

Adam Hodgkinson - HR People Development Partner, Nations & North, BBC

Joe Richardson

Converting a passion for your brand to a passion for learning:

When you work for one of the most fun, successful brands in an industry the expectations from customers, shoppers, consumers and learners are high. They want something new, exciting, impactful, efficient, effective but also authentic to the loyalty they feel to the brand. Embedding behaviours that deliver this balance across large organisations is a huge challenge, but the brands that connect everyone are also one of the most fundamental tools we have to shape our learning strategy and should be central to the L&D agenda…but how?

In this session we will look at how the connection between learning and a brand becomes a driving force for change in an organisation. We can challenge what we think we might know about our brands impact on our learning culture and use this with simplicity, fun, relevance and flexibility to connect the dots between people and tap into behaviour change and benefits we may not know exist from the start. To demonstrate this we may need to have some fun, so please come with your building hands ready!

Joe Richardson - Senior Manager, LEGO Commercial Academies, LEGO Group

Sonia Satsangi

Is technology disrupting how people learn?

We are constantly hearing about the latest trends in learning technology - mobile apps, micro learning, bite sized learning, virtual reality. The list is endless. But has it truly changed the neuroscience of the way people learn? What impact does this have on how we as professionals should be designing corporate learning experiences? How do we need adapt our skill set to reflect this shift? Let's think about how children learn: through experiencing and play; copying a reaction to an action; observing others; being shown by older children, asking their friends, reading a book or looking at a picture. But with a short attention span! Now it may be made quicker by perhaps by watching YouTube or "asking Siri or google” but the way the brain assimilates and processes the information is the same. I would like to discuss an observation that the fundamental way we learn has not changed. All that's shifted is people's expectation of how they may access that information. Have we as L&D professionals got so caught up in technology that at times lost sight of development needing to deliver a business return?

This session will be interactive and mainly discussion based. Come along a join the debate.

Sonia Satsangi - Global Learning Director

Katharine Strain

A Targeted Talent Management Strategy – setting your employees up to win!

Aligning a Talent Management strategy with overall business strategy and values can motivate and inspire an organisation’s employees to develop the skills that really matter for the achievement of their objectives, making them perform and feel like winners and positively impacting business results.

How often have you been asked to supply a list of training courses to employees to enable them to select one to complete without them fully understanding where this fits with the achievement of business goals, their personal career development and succession planning within the organisation.

Join this session to learn about the Moy Park journey towards directing talent management to where it makes the greatest impact.

Katharine Strain -  Head of Talent & Organisational Development, Moy Park

Mike Thompson

The Apprenticeship Levy – Turning a tax into an investment

The Government’s announcement of an Apprenticeship Levy has been seen by many as simply another tax on big business, raising as it does nearly £1.6 billion for the Exchequer. It will have a profound impact on how organisations recruit and develop their workforces and on how Learning and Development is delivered within companies To understand the impacts better we will look at a case study of how Barclays Bank has responded to the Levy through its award winning Early Careers Programme and how it plans to develop its offering further to invest in key skills across its business.

We will look at how it has forged long term partnerships to deliver the skills it needs for the future as well as building a highly diverse pipeline of talent for the future. The session will look at how Barclays has developed its learning and development practices and embedded a culture of continuous development of talent through its programmes.

Mike Thompson, Director Early Careers, Barclays Bank

James Turner

Specsavers Platinum Employer - delivering a great employment experience

The Specsavers Platinum employer accreditation idea grew initially from the annual planning cycle. It was set up as a way of ensuring that we deliver a consistently positive experience to all employees throughout their employment. The aim of this is to become famous as a great place to work, thereby ensuring we are able to recruit and retain the best people available to support the growth of the business.

Five standards were created:

1. Recruitment and induction

2. Performance management and reward

3. Talent management

4. Learning and development

5. Employee communication and engagement

They cover everything from an employee’s initial exposure to the business at interview, through their first 3 months and then onto their ongoing development. It covers their career opportunities, communication, engagement with management and the teams they work with.

As a UK & ROI business with 780 stores run on a joint Venture Partnership basis, with Directors all owning their own businesses, getting engagement with this project was never going to be easy. And without a regionally based HR support team to deliver it, you may be intrigued to find out, how we’ve got it going!

James Turner - Head of HR – UK Projects, Specsavers

Angie Wiseman and Ian Turner

Driving a Learning for Performance Culture

We all know that digital revolution is driving change at an extraordinary rate, so if everyone’s world is changing so fast then surely the need to learn has never been so important?

And if learning becomes recognised as more of a “need to do” not a “nice to do” that means that the role of the L&D function is also increasingly important to ensure that we enable learning to drive future performance and continuous improvement.

In this session we’ll be talking about how we drive that learning for performance culture through the use of digital and collaborative platforms, maximising development opportunities in the everyday, supporting Continuous Professional Development and listening to our learners.

Angie Wiseman - People Development Director, TalkTalk

Ian Turner - Head of Learning Shared Services, TalkTalk

Richard Gregory

Learning as a service

For Richard Gregory, demonstrating the value of his L&D department is not a ‘nice-to-have’. It’s a daily operational necessity. Rentokil Initial provides training for 65,000 employees internationally – at cost to the local business. As a result, everything his training team does centrally involves showing how they can provide cost competitive solutions which improve the performance of the people locally. In particular, identifying the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that the L&D team will affect and putting a clear monetary value on them.

Defining clear training benefits – and setting a value on them

• The key to success: the consultative approach

• A primer on the ‘language of business’

• Providing value beyond delivery with extra services

• Providing a global technology infrastructure to multiple local businesses

Richard Gregory - Head of U+, Rentokil Initial

Gil Mulders

Back to basics: simplifying learning so it works for you

The world of learning is becoming more and more complex. Advances in technology, globalisation, and progress in human science require the L&D professional to master an infinite number of competencies. Overwhelmed? We all are.

This is the story of a journey of simplification. When Gil Mulders started on this path he was faced with an extraordinarily complex organisation. He needed to impact the behaviours of more than 350,000 colleagues in over 40 languages spread over close to 5000 hotels around the world.

Complexity and abundance of choices bears the risk that the learning profession loses its purpose and focuses internally on tools and processes instead of looking at impacting business performance through employee behaviours.

In this session Gil will take attendees along on his journey, to get to the core of learning and make it fit for their business. He will focus on 3 areas:

• Learning, education or training, what does your business need?

• How to drive a culture of learning in line with your company's DNA

• Case study - How to change employee behaviours on a global scale, simply.

We are all likely to be faced with numerous re-organisations, economic downturns and changes in business models and goals. Throughout these challenges Gil will share how he kept his eyes on his objective to give colleagues the desire and the ability to win.

Gil Mulders - Head of Learning Europe, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)

Donald Taylor

Three shifts that will change learning and development for ever

Things are changing dramatically in learning and development – are you ready to change too?

The ground underneath learning and development (L&D) is shifting, and we have to shift with it or face irrelevance. We’ve already had the first substantial change. Information, once scarce and costly, is now abundant and virtually free. If the primary function of L&D was ever to capture and distribute information, it isn’t any more.

The second and third shifts are upon us. Technology is driving both the speed of business and an increased demand for skills, knowledge and information. The business needs all this faster than the traditional structures of L&D can provide it. Coupled with this, globalization adds another dimension of complexity to both the demands on business, and the ways those demands can be met.

For Donald Taylor, the impact on L&D of these three trends is clear: either we adjust radically to the new world they represent, or we will be sidelined and become irrelevant.

In this session, Don will examine the sources of these three trends, explore how L&D must adjust if it wishes to have a role in the future, and suggest a way forward:

• Three things L&D needs to do to secure its future

• What ‘business alignment’ really means today

• How technology threatens and supports L&D

• Why ‘the course’ is no longer viable

• The skills and attitudes L&D needs to thrive

Change will be neither painless nor easy, says Don, but it is unavoidable.

Donald H Taylor - Chairman, Learning and Performance Institute

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