HRD Learning and Development Conference 2012: quick-fire links

HRD, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) annual learning and development (L&D) conference and exhibition, took place last week at London’s Olympia.

The conference was split into four streams: learning and talent development; coaching and organisation development (OD); technology for learning; and leadership development. It included a range of session formats, from masterclasses to panel discussions.

Many speakers and a number of great topics meant a lot of content. We provide links to some of the big issues discussed at the event.

If you are on Twitter, it is worth continuing to follow the #HRD12 hashtag to keep up with latest from the event.


Martin Couzins

The CIPD launched its 2012 learning and talent development survey (free registration required for non-members) at the conference. It reports on how L&D is coping with current organisational challenges as well as how delivery methods are changing.

Personnel Today reported on the survey and interviewed the CIPD’s L&D adviser John McGurk on the survey findings.

The impact of technology on learning was a core theme at the conference, and there was a range of case studies on implementation, including the BBC’s approach to being a provider of training content externally as well as providing it internally.

For technology giant Google, the focus is on employees working things out for themselves and how the company enables them to do so. This accounts for 90% of L&D activity at the organisation.

L&D manager Sukh Pabial was guest blogger for the event and provided some useful insight and reflection on how to deploy social media learning and how to integrate technology and learning into organisations.


Asda shared how it is “keeping leadership alive” through a range of workshops for senior executives and all line managers across its 542 UK stores. Asda says that the approach has helped to engage managers in leadership and provided them with support to help them become better mentors.

In a separate session, Tesco and the Army cited empathy as a key leadership quality.

Organisation development and coaching

Two articles emerged from the “Making OD happen” case study session. Marks and Spencer shared its thinking around common, organisation-wide competencies and on how embedding these was critical to performance management and talent development.

Northern Rock shared its successes around buying OD principles – especially Burke and Litwin’s model for OD – to help bring the organisation back from the brink in 2007.

And, from a session on coaching, Sukh Pabial reviewed how Fujitsu developed its own internal coaching capability. This included training for internal coaches and the development of a community of practice.

Science of learning

Dr Itiel Dror’s session on how to make learning more efficient provided delegates with a look at how the brain works and how we can develop learning materials that are better suited to how people process information. This video outlines some of the thinking he shared at the conference.

The future for learning and development

In this interview, the CIPD’s L&D advisor John McGurk says that the future for L&D professionals could look quite different. He sees L&D taking on the role of what he calls the “super-collaborator”, fusing coaching, OD and performance management to help organisations better engage and develop their talent.

As a part of this new focus, McGurk urges L&D professionals to embrace new thinking about learning from cognitive science. Judging by the comments at the end of this article, it would seem there is quite a divergence of opinion.

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