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Optimus Sourcing

Optimus Sourcing

Marketing Executive

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HRD 2013 Exhibition Review



This year’s HRD exhibition at Olympia was run over the 24-25th April and we sent along Paul and Hannah to experience all that it had to offer.  A key theme at the exhibition was that Leadership and Development was high on the agenda and the variety of suppliers that were exhibiting did reflect this. Both Paul and Hannah took in some of the seminars and we have featured some of the stand out ones below. They also met a number of suppliers to see what new offerings were out there and to say hello to some suppliers that we are already working with.

Speed Networking

Paul also got involved with the Speed Networking  that was happening which was very interesting as you only had 3 minutes to talk before moving on. Paul met a number of people from different backgrounds including L&D managers, Executive coaches, HR students, trainers and software providers. The process was an excellent way to find out exactly what you wanted to know as there was no time for any real pleasantries!

Learning Technologies

A noticeable area of discussion in the seminars on the second day of the exhibition was how employers need to engage with employees’ evolving expectations in learning technology.  With the rise of apps and mobile devices, employees are more at ease than ever with using technology in almost all areas of life (as one of reports we have summarised found).  The ability to utilise apps to support learning and the development of an interactive learning experience was a key point in many discussions.  Whether it be through classroom training, virtual instruction or eLearning, employees are becoming increasingly open to and even expectant of an engaging learning experience that takes full advantage of the latest innovations.

Stand out seminars

‘Self-awareness – the secret ingredient to cultural change’ – Jo Cowlin & Lou Banks, Bolt from the You

Jo and Lou from Bolt from the You (try and say that out loud!) delivered a seminar exploring the concept of raising individual self-awareness levels to support successful culture change within organisations. Self-awareness is about exposure, repetition and application to create permanent change but what is ‘real’ self-awareness? They looked at how being really self-aware involved self-management and having an awareness of others which created the management of the relationship.

All of us have internal dialogue or internal ‘chatter’ and this destructive self-talk can lead to fear and resistance and can stop us doing the things we need to. If we can bring about more positivity in ourselves and we understand this internal chatter then we can go towards switching it to positive chatter and we can tell ourselves we can do this. This management of our internal dialogue is the key to shifting mind-set.

The seminar was very well attended with many people having to stand at the back. Jo and Lou were very enthusiastic and the topic was very well delivered and very engaging for the audience and not a hint of a sales pitch which was refreshing to see.


‘Developing next generation social leaders: bridging the skills gap’ – Mike Collins, PDG plc

Mike’s seminar focused on how being a successful leader has changed and how important it is for leaders now to utilise the social tools available to them to be an effective leader in the 21st century. It was all about bridging the gap for leaders and using the social tools to help drive this.

Since 2000 there have been massive changes in the technology available to us and it is important for leaders to develop their skill set so they know how to use these tools to their advantage and so that they can communicate effectively with the people they need to. Mike asked the question – Are our leaders responding to the changing way in which we all communicate now?

Leadership is about being more open, about belief and being more transparent and visible. Do our leaders have the ability, behaviour and competency – are leaders changing?

Mike shared the details of the DPG online community which is a social platform which encourages others to share information and engage with other learning professionals and links in with other external social tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and the use of blogs as a great example of how companies can embrace technology and the social tools available to them to get people connecting and engaging and communicating with each other.


‘Developing an L&D Business Case’ – Kieran King, Skillsoft

Kieran’s seminar examined the way in which HR professionals can build persuasive business cases for L&D to address new budgetary constraints and exploit the best training options available.  The seminar drew attention to the fact that companies of all sizes were changing the amount of money and time they were able to allocate to training employees, and the key differences in how these challenges have been addressed in the UK and the US.  Using recent research by Bersin by Deloitte, Kieran showed the degree to which employers in the UK are ultimately spending significantly more per training hour than their US counterparts.  In the current economic climate, the ability of HR professionals to present a clear and persuasive case for the L&D programmes they use is essential.

Kieran provided an informative and useful guide as to how to research, plan and execute an effective presentation to finance and other key areas of the business.  A key point in this is the need to provide concrete evidence to support the case for particular L&D strategies. ROI and payback periods are crucial in this, and Kieran’s explanation of how these could be calculated simply and easy made this seem usable to even the most maths-phobic amongst the audience.

The seminar was well attended and did not fall into the trap of presenting an overt sales pitch, instead providing helpful hints and a clear methodology that could be applied across industries and in a variety of L&D environments.  Kieran’s explanations of the way that Skillsoft’s clients had used business cases to bring greater efficiency into their training programmes were clear and well delivered.  She made a good case for how a well prepared business case can help UK companies maintain their commitment to support employee development in a post-Credit Crunch world.

Stand out suppliers

DPG plc.

DPG plc. is one of the UK’s leading providers of CIPD qualifications to HR and L&D professionals. In 2012, DPG won two Training Journal awards for their unique approach to development programmes for aspiring and existing managers and leaders. Blake studied and passed the CIPD Certificate in Learning & Development Practice with DPG last year and Paul is also coming to the end of the same qualification and will be complete in June and both have been very impressed with the support from DPG and the format of the course so would highly recommend.

Grow the People

Grow the People deliver workshops that play with potential. They grow people by developing them through storytelling and creative practice, sometimes in the workplace, or on open events that they run.

Their workshops are focused on the experience and on how the learner can apply what they learn to their life and work. They work with stories and creativity to help bring about a positive change.

They focus on behaviours and actions and love creating really memorable, useful and effective events, designed with one thing in mind: to help the learner and their people grow.

Bolt from the You

Bolt from the You is a People Development business focused on transforming organisations.

They believe that your people are the most powerful asset you have and run bespoke development programmes that nurture talent and help them to grow both personally and professionally. Their coaching approach enables the people they work with to tap in to their personal strengths and utilise them in the workplace. It provides firm foundations on which an organisation can grow.

Bolt from the You work with blue chip organisations to empower, inspire and engage their people by being brave, being authentic and eliminating frustration.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and found it to be well organised and informative. We learnt a lot, especially about learning technologies and also used the opportunity to liaise with plenty of potential new suppliers so we would highly recommend it to anyone for next year.

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Optimus Sourcing

Marketing Executive

Read more from Optimus Sourcing

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