Rockley HR Manager, Kat has recently been out on the road at several careers fairs, conducting interviews and getting to attend her first CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition. 

Kat has been busy this year looking after the Rockley staff and course candidates and starting a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) HR qualifcation course. Thousands of words have been written for her coursework but it was a day in Manchester that really opened her eyes to the profession of human resources. 

Those who know me well will know that while I am very good at talking, when it comes to putting pen to paper, it’s not exactly my thing. So when my good friend Cassy (who also happens to be Rockley’s Marketing Manager) suggested I write a blog, I busily thought up sufficient excuses to avoid such a task. Recently however, after having just experienced one of the most enlightening days of my career so far, I felt slightly compelled and decided to jump on the blogging bandwagon which appears to have taken over the Rockley office. Here goes!

If you had said to me eight years ago that I would be sitting on the Metro out of Manchester having just been to my first CIPD HR Annual Conference & Exhibition I would probably have laughed at you -  one for having absolutely no clue what this was, and two, I would have needed to check what the initials HR stood for. 

Human Resources Management for me was something I inadvertently fell into and when I started, I thought all that was involved was writing out P45’s, sifting through a few CV’s and making sure personnel files were up to date. Who knew that there was actually a lot more to the subject! After years of what I considered blagging my way through, this year I decided to bite the bullet and achieve the qualifications that now officially confirms I can actually do what I’m paid to do!  I feel I’m at a stage in my career where I really understand what it means to be a HR professional and more importantly how HR can have a massive impact within an organisation like Rockley.

The CIPD exhibition is an annual event showcasing the best of the best in the world of HR. For those in our industry, think London Boat show for HR Professionals. Everything from employee engagement organisations, learning & development providers, employee benefits agencies and HR software providers were represented. The theme of the event was ‘Embracing the new world of work’ - I will admit I wasn’t 100% sure what this meant. Walking around the various stands for me was a novelty - I am usually on the other side of the fence representing Rockley at trade shows, so to have the opportunity to ask questions and explore what is out there in the world of HR was amazing. I soon began to realise what the new world of work is….. It’s all about people.  Gone are the days where HR is a mere administration function, in today’s modern technological society its all about keeping your staff engaged, providing them with opportunity and showing business the value HR can have in an organisation.

The highlight of my day had to be the industry guest speakers chatting about various
elements of the industry.My favourite speaker talked about something that is so current
and apparent in today’s competitive watersports industry. Chris Tarry ‘s presentation on ‘ How to become an employer of choice for young people’ really did spark something in my mind.

Chris has created a research project called ‘Access Generation’, which aims to encourage Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s) to employ inexperienced young people. The idea is to create opportunities for individuals who are forward-thinking, enthusiastic and eager to learn but do not have the experience and in turn becoming employers of choice for these young and talented individuals. The research is based around what young people look for and want when looking for a job. For Rockley this could not be more current – with such a competitive industry, our priority is to attract the very best the industry has to offer. Now, when recruiting for staff, I really need to consider what appeals to potential employees to ensure they choose us over our closest competitors. We need to be the company of choice for anyone considering a career in the watersports and outdoor industry.

So to sum up, I’ve learnt a lot! It’s great to be inspired and motivated and I have returned to work energised. The event really opened my eyes to what can be achieved and has given me some fantastic ideas, new practices to implement and ways to streamline what we do at Rockley while in the process make life easier for both myself, and the people who work for us. I will certainly be making the journey up north next year!  

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