The picture above was taken at a previous Connecting HR Unconference. I found it on Flora Marriott’s blog.


I am involved with helping to organise the fifth Connecting HR Unconference¬†on 21 June in London. The theme of this year’s Unconference is ‘Brave HR’. I am writing my thoughts on Brave HR – if you agree or disagree with me please feel free to comment!

My perspective on HR is formed through 16 years working in learning and development, both in a corporate environment and two spells of being a self-employed L&D professional. Of course, the learning and development profession is very much part of HR, and shares a professional body, so I know my opinion will be seen as valid by many people!

First of all, I think ‘Brave HR’ from a L&D perspective means carrying out learning needs analysis across an organisation at all levels, not just designing and delivering training to keep senior people happy. So many companies see their L&D function (or their external suppliers) as a way to ‘sheep dip’ everyone through certain types of training every so often. For example, you might hear it said that ‘we haven’t done customer service training for three years so we should do something this year’. Or the same might be said about sales training, performance management training and many other ‘soft skills’. A Brave HR professional will ensure that learning needs analysis takes place throughout the business on an ongoing basis, and that the training is designed to fit the people, not the other way around.

Another way that L&D could be more ‘Brave HR’ is by insisting that everyone who joins a company attends induction on Day One, and that the induction is thorough and bears a resemblance to what really goes on in the company. New employees should feel welcomed and valued during and after induction and should not just be sent on induction to tick a box. I was chatting to someone on a train recently who was on her way back from an induction course in London. I asked her if it was her first day with the company. ‘No’ she said ‘I have been there for six months’. I asked her how useful she had found the day. ‘It was a load of rubbish really’ she said. ‘The trainer talked about a load of stuff like visions and values, but it didn’t mean anything to me because I hadn’t seen any evidence of it in the office I work in’.

Perhaps the HR/L&D team in that organisation needed to be more ‘Brave HR’. What do you think?

If you would like to be part of this debate, you might like to join us at the 2013 Connecting HR Unconference!