UHR Conference 2010: Fit for Purpose, Fit for the Future

Earlier this month, jobs.ac.uk had the pleasure of being one of the official sponsors of the UHR (Universities Human Resources) Annual Conference which was held in Leicester on 11th-14th May.

On the theme of ‘Fit for Purpose, Fit for the Future’, some 200 delegates attended the conference which addressed some of the key challenges facing HR departments in universities in the coming year.

The main focus of the conference (and challenge for the year ahead) was the need for HR to help their institutions successfully lead and manage staff through a very difficult public sector funding environment.

Quality speakers from within and outside the sector such as Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK and Phil Roberts, Global HR Director for Proctor and Gamble discussed a range of issues including funding challenges, psychological well being and its effect on organisational performance, leadership and sustainability.

Some of the key ideas that were explored in the conference include:

  • Universities are in a changing landscape as a result of reduced public spending affecting HE, increased expectation from students and increased competition from International providers
  • The uncertain political environment could affects the Higher Education budget and connected government departments
  • Current uncertainty in HE will persist for some time (i.e 5 more years)
  • HR needs to effectively manage the trade union relationship
  • Decision-makers need to drive things through rather than going to committee
  • HR professionals are operating in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) – role of HR leadership is more essential than ever
  • HR is catalyst for change and can make biggest impact – shape strategic direction of business
  • To make sustainable change you need to successfully transform mindsets and behaviours – ensure “everyone is on the bus”
  • HR needs to work back from end state to define what work needs to be done
  • Workforce planning is necessary in these times to keep the best staff

Overall, the key message that came from the conference is for HR departments in universities to have the entrepreneurial skills and agility to lead successful change and take advantage of potential sources for new income to reduce dependency on government funding.

jobs.ac.uk exhibited in the networking area of the conference and were on hand to talk to delegates about how to reduce their time and cost of recruitment using Enhanced Advertising on jobs.ac.uk.

As the only national event for university HR departments, the conference was once again a great opportunity to meet with our customers, share experiences and talk about the challenges individual institutions are facing.

We look forward to the next UHR Conference in 2011.


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