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Square One Law held its inaugural “What Will Your Future Workforce Look Like?” conference on Thursday 10 October 2019. Two core themes were explored throughout the course of the day – “How will we structure work in the future, using technology as an enabler” and “Diversity and Inclusion”.

In the morning, delegates heard from keynote speaker, Matthew Taylor, CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and author of The Taylor Review report Good Work. Matthew discussed what good work looks like and highlighted the importance of creating a positive working environment for everyone.

Our morning panel discussion, with panellists Matthew Taylor, Brenda McLeish, CEO of Learning Curve Group, Jim Mawdsley, CEO of Generator and Digital Union, Chris Baty, Finance Director of Northern Gas and Power, Susan Bell, CEO of Waterstons and Amanda Williams, Head of HR at Quorn Foods, explored The Future of Work, looking at how the workplace has changed in recent years and what employers need to do to support the evolving needs of the workforce and economy.

Attendees then participated in one of three breakout sessions:

The Employer Branding Strategy session was led by Louise Clough and Neil Whittaker of Learning Curve Group and examined the importance of building your internal brand and culture to align with the external brand. It explored how HR and Marketing teams working together add value to a business as their combined skills improve communication, team working and can help attract and retain talent.

Dr Nicola Patterson and Dr Amy Stabler of Newcastle University Business School led an interactive session looking at Deconstructing Privilege and Power in the Workplace, giving participants a greater understanding of their own privilege, and where and how power may emerge within that, as well as a number of practical tools to enhance their leadership practices.

Karen Parry, Chief Executive of Inclusion North, led the Inclusive Recruitment and Retention session and discussed how businesses can support people with a learning disability or autism to overcome the significant barriers to entering the workforce. The session explored reasons why people find it hard to get a job and why people with a learning disability or autism make some of the best employees you will find, as well as practical ways of making their recruitment and retention practice inclusive.

Jean-Pierre van Zyl, head of our employment team, sat down with Emily Cox, MBE, Group Head of Colleague Relations at Lloyds Banking Group, to discuss Emily’s experiences of leading on people strategies, including equality and digitalisation in the financial sector.

Emily then joined our afternoon panel discussion, alongside Rob Melling, Chief Executive of Curtins, Joscelin Lawson, People and Development Director of Northumbria Police, Peter Grist, Team Manager at Tesco Bank, Maggie Pavlou, Founder of People Gauge and Yasmin Khan, Founder of Halo Project. The panel discussed Diversity and Inclusion, with a focus on the promotion of diversity in senior management positions, how to close the gender and ethnic pay gaps and removing the stigma associated with “invisible” impairments.

The day was a great success with overwhelmingly positive feedback from all who attended and participated, and we look forward to hearing about changes that have been implemented as a result of the advice and practical tools that were shared on the day.


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