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Holding out for a HeRo!

15 February 2017

Looking back on a yet another year of change in the further education (FE) sector, did anyone find time to reflect on the events? Or take a few minutes to scan the still stormy skyline to see what might be coming our way next? HR professionals in FE spent so much of their time ‘doing the doing’ of change - even renaming it ‘transformational’ just to give it a fresher feel - that we may have missed the unexpected. But let’s take a couple of minutes to reflect, and look forward to what’s next on the change agenda. Firstly, how can we avoid change fatigue? How can we effect stability and lasting change and encourage greater innovation? One thing’s for sure, it’s not repeatedly changing the changes we made to the changes we made two years before… I don’t think anyone in the profession would disagree that a good, well-delivered HR strategy is central to achieving an organisation’s key objectives. But there is more to it than that. Many innovative colleges have taken a different approach with teaching and learning and now perhaps it’s the right time to look at the very nature and design of the jobs we have and the way we do them. There has never been a better time HR departments to really take the lead on organisational transformation. I don’t mean just the processes – if you are in any doubt at all let me assure you, the real key to lasting change is culture and organisational culture can’t be changed by a process. Any FE HR professional worth their salt will know their college or business area inside out. They will know where its power houses are, where to effect changes for quick, sustainable and tangible results and how to kick-start a stuck culture into action. Perhaps top of the change agenda this year is for HR to stand up and be acknowledged not only a business partner critical to organisational success but as a leader and innovator in tomorrow’s employment. Its time for a new HeRo (sorry for the pun). Time to saddle up your pony and lead the charge for change! Karen Sanders is the Association of College's Director for Employment Policy and Services. We will be discussing how to tackle organisational transformation head on at this year’s AoC HR Conference and Exhibition on 8 March.