The HR transitions

Shelley Poole from Wellington HR

S: My name is Shelley Poole, I am the managing director of a HR consultancy called Wellington HR. We are based in Wellington, in south Somerset, and we do HR. So clearly spent a long thinking about the name. And our specialism is looking after other HR consultants, so if we’ve got a stand-alone HR consultant, one of my clients for example at the moment is on maternity leave, she didn’t want her clients to be let down while she was on maternity leave so I look after her clients. We also look after other HR consultants who want to take some holiday or who have got a really big project on, that again, they want to look after their client, but they don’t have the capacity to do so. So that’s what we do.

H: Brilliant, that’s different to what we’ve had before. A different perspective.

S: Slightly smaller than your other interviewees.

H: Lets pick an icebreaker before we go to the grown-up questions.

J: We did the pizza one last week, shall we do the Henry VIII one?

H: The Henry VIII one would be good.

J: Which one of Henry VIII’s wives would you be?

H: And why?

S: Oh god, so, it was Catherine that was the first wife was it? God it’s like a history test isn’t it Divorced, beheaded, died. So, she was the first wife and what I like about her, is that Henry was pretty awful to her, because she was a loyal wife, but because she couldn’t have children she had to go. And yet she didn’t really stab him in the back particularly.

J: And she was alright in the end. Died at a good age.

S: Yeah, I think that I’m someone who sticks around in the tough times, so I’m going to say I’m Catherine.

J: A good answer.

H: That is a good answer, haven’t got your head lopped of just yet.

J: On with the real interview, I think.

S: Thank god, no more history questions

H: That’s a really difficult icebreaker.

J: Yes, I thought that after I said it.

H: Maybe we should stop doing that one

J: So, if we start with, what drove you to start Wellington HR?

S: So, this is going to sound quite self-promotional, but it was that recognition that there are those HR consultants out there who are working near to, or full capacity, who kind of need a little bit of a helping hand. Before I started Wellington HR, I was a HR consultant working directly with small businesses and in that situation, we didn’t want to necessarily give extra work to our competitors. Because there’s always that little bit of a trust element, and so I thought, if I can help out other HR consultants as Wellington HR and make that my whole market and people will trust me and so I’m then supporting the HR community. But another part of my motivation is that… I just like HR work particularly, and I think this might make people think that there is something wrong with me, but particularly I do like things like disciplinary and grievance. Not because I like the misery that sometimes comes with that but being able to unpick the legal aspects of the case and then being able to find a solution which is going to be best for the employer. I find that very rewarding albeit it can be quite challenging and emotionally draining from time to time.

J: Have you seen, in a kind of more, smaller scale, have you seen the disciplinary and grievance process change from when you’ve started your career to now, and have you seen wider aspects of HR change?

S: Yes, so within disciplinary and grievance, the big change was the move away from the following statutory procedures to the requirement to follow the ACAS code. I think that there are pros and cons to it, I’m not going to say it’s a perfect system, but I think generally its created a fairer system, in terms of, just giving employers a chance to follow a reasonable process rather than tripping them up on dots and commas as it were. So, I have seen some changes there… sorry what was the second part of the question?

J: It is like the kind of... the wider aspect of HR, have you see them change dramatically?

S: I think within my career I've seen a reduction in the adversarial approach, it used to be that if you think about negotiations with trade unions or something like that, that often came from the assumption that the employer was on one side and the employees were on the other side and their interests are almost mutually exclusive. I think now particularly as we start to see talent shortages sort of within the workplace, in sorry within the marketplace, employers are starting to realize that that employee interests can be their interests as well there's more of a shared interest agenda.

H: Just backing up just a little bit, just for anyone here who doesn't know who's listening who doesn't know what HR consultant actually is and what their role entails, would you be able to just sort of like explain that and then in relation to companies HR managers?

S: Yes so HR consultants come in different shapes and sizes not literally but, but do different areas that we focus on HR consultants like myself tend to work with organizations that don't have their own HR department so smaller employers who know they need to do things like issue written statements or terms and conditions to their employees and they know that they've got to follow procedures if a bit of a problem comes up but they don't know what these things are they're not comfortable doing it themselves they want someone to help them but if they've only got ten employees they're not going to have any in-house HR manager so we've got a human resources consultant who helps out with that kind of thing. We've also got HR consultants who work with larger organisations who might have an in-house HR team and quite often they will bring a specialist perspective so for example, one HR consultant I know is an equality and diversity specialist all of us HR people have to know the Equality Act well, but this person really knows it and is able to provide advice for quite specific cases and not just the reactive stuff but the proactive things as well, like saying how can we make the workforce more inclusive, how can we attract the talent that we need etcetera.

H: How has technology influenced this within HR consultancy?

S: Yeah okay so, today HR, up at the CIPD which is our professional body the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has a profession map which sets out what we as HR people should be driven by and working towards and one of the changes that's really developed since my time in HR is a drive to produce evidence and be data-driven and the actions that we're doing so we're not just doing things because they feel nice or or fluffy, which is sometimes the perception of HR people. We're doing things because the evidence is that this is benefiting the employee experience and hopefully then benefiting the employers of experience as well'.

H: So have you seen that there's when it comes to HR consultancy they're is sort of a split between consultants that deal with a lot of grievances etc and then you'd always have consultancy firms that are just simply there to fixate on which technology can be best implemented within a company?

S: Yes, yeah, I'm not one of the technology experts, sorry but I have seen, again I've encountered some of these consultants who they're specialism would be data analytics and they will have a good grasp of what's going to be a good technological fit for an organization. And it's about what the technology can do but it's also about budgets as well. It's about understanding the organizational culture because some organizations are used as part of their culture to be in quite data-driven and so the introduction of self-service system for example, for employees it will seem quite comfortable to those employees. But there are a number of workforces in different sectors where employees don't use the computer as part of their normal job and actually what's going to be a good technology fit for them is quite different.

H: So if you are, just out of interest, you don't have to name any names or anything, have you come across any that you deal with like grievance and stuff like that, is it quite common for you to come across grievance being borne of misuse of technology?

S: I can't think I might cycle back to that question but I can't think of an example of grievance relating to it. The key technology theme in disciplinary is social media. People who... employees posting things about their employer. And often people aren't silly enough to go I work for company XYZ and they're a right bunch of idiots. People often are silly enough to write things like that. But quite often it'll be somewhere in their social media profile who they work for and then they'll just say: 'oh what an unreasonable day at work I've had to work however many hours', and that can lead to a reputational issue.

S: Do you have sort of a solution that you suggest to companies that come to you with these issues?

H: Well quite often the solution that companies one is to ban all social media, also phones in a locker you know we are we're going old school here. However that is not, in many cases advise against that. Sometimes it's appropriate because of the nature of the work that people are doing you know if your waiting tables you don't you don't want to be wandering around with your phone in one hand. But for some people in office related jobs or office based jobs they're on their phone as a productivity tool, they're using it in lots of other ways and so you're not going to take the phone away. And so I would advise that it's about conversations and a sensible framework rather than you know just an outright we're going to ban everything and put it in a handbook and then the problem solved. With regards to social media you can write policies and generally policies will be written to protect the employer against damage to reputation but again it's about conversations and it's about education because I can't believe that anyone when I've been in a disciplinary situation with them who's put something silly on Facebook, I don't know why it's often Facebook, I guess their is so many people are over there, but when people have done that I don't think they've deliberately gone out to flaunt the company's rules and get themselves into trouble because most people don't want to go do that. I think it's more that people are expressing their frustrations about something and they haven't thought, they haven't thought about their privacy settings and they haven't thought about how something can be read by other people and so short training sessions and I'm talking like half an hour stuff not not let's take you away for the whole day training sessions, can be a really good way of raising the awareness so the issue doesn't escalate.

H: So this is something that you sort of get, you go into an office, you sit down as well as the managers and get them to draft up the sort of policy that they want and also you'd sit down with the employees and be like this is what you need to do to basically avoid creating these issues within the office. So what would you suggest to the employees?

S: So a workshop where you're working with examples of types of social media posts and having a conversation about what might've caused someone to post that, how it could be read by different parties and different options that we might take for example. It can really get people to think before they post. And of course you know some people are going to be angry, some people are gonna be upset, some people might have had a drink after work or something and so you can never completely guarantee that a training session is going to stop someone doing something on social media but you can you can help and also it means that there's an awareness of the policy. Because it makes me really sad when I go into a place of work and they've got a hundred page handbook and they downloaded it from the internet probably about five years ago and it's in a special folder in the office and that's the only place that is, how can any employee know, understand and apply the comments of that hand back in that situation and so I think you know good awareness-raising exercises are important to.

H: Are you a believer in trying to basically differentiate social media from from the office social space in a sense that getting employees to change their names and change their privacy settings or do you believe that sort of people will inevitably find your social media so you should just overall just sort of keep a check on it?

S: I mean I'm inclined to think there is a degree of inevitability about who you're going to end up negative.And particularly you know even the definition of what is social media is is quite blurred in terms of you know LinkedIn, I imagine you use LinkedIn to some extent I certainly do you know, that has become more social in recent years and so you might encourage employees to use LinkedIn as part of their CPD you want them to be well networked and connected for those CPD reasons but if you're then saying to them oh you can only be anonymized name on there I'm really gonna use it effectively yeah and so I think we, we are all findable online to a lesser or greater extent and so if you're going to use social media you need to use it responsibly.

J: With the kind of social media and the point that it is becoming an issue in HR, are there any other kind of like aspects of HR I which have grown out of kind of the evolution of humans, so like remote works and how have you dealt that with as a consultant?

S: I think flex... flexibility is a key theme because again it comes back to that that shift that I was talking about away from the adversarial approach of employee versus employer, the old-school mentality was very much clocking in we've paid for your time the expectation is that you will be there and you will be seemed to be busy for the periods that you're contracted to be at work and if you're really keen you'll work some overtime as well. Some employers still thinking that way and expect that so I'm not gonna I can't sit here and say oh culture has entirely changing, but I think as I said before there's a growing awareness that what's good for the employee is not necessarily bad for the employer. And I'm seeing more employers focus on output than what the employees achieving and employee motivation rather than are they in at nine, they going at five and with that we've seen a growth in more flexible working and so as an HR consultant quite often I am advising employers how to respond to requests from employees, but quite often if it's managed well it doesn't get to the stage where an employee's putting in a formal request because actually we're chatting to people because we know our staff and we understand what's going on with them and so there's a recognition of how they might work differently that would work better for them and the company. And as we look at the labor market at the moment if employers want to retain talent they need to be thinking about what their employees need, rather than a one-size-fits-all it's a full-time job we're not considering anything else.

H: So what do you think this is borne out of, a generational change?

S: There has been a shift in legislation, it used to be that you had to have a child of a certain age or with certain care needs if you were going to to have the statutory right to apply for flexible working. Now everyone with a certain length of service has a statutory right to apply for flexible working so there and that is something that's happened in the last few years and awareness has grown. But I think it's also going back to that topic from earlier technology. You know I remember when blackberries were the most exciting thing in the world you are an important person if you have the red flashing light on your blackberry but now that seems so antiquated, I mean when was the last time you saw something.

J: As well as didn't even like it, wasn't even just in the professional landscape, at school as well everyone had a blackberry so it's was a weird of explosion for two years and then...

S: I mean if you presented someone with a phone with a keyboard on it now you know...

H: Aren't there celebrities still promoting it? Isn't like Kim Kardashian still sort of like, hasn't there been a comeback for balackberries in the last couple of years?

S: I didn't even know, they still but yeah... but yeah I'm gonna make myself sound old now but within my lifetime I have seen the introduction of mobile phones having, a mobile phone was... you called and you texted and when you texted you had to keep your character count down because if you went over a certain number of characters you've got charged for two texts you know. That's that's within my adult lifetime that was a thing you know, and now you know, so much of my business is run off of my phone and that means that the the barriers to flexible working, working remotely, working from home but not all of the time, you know when we think of working from home we often think of someone who never comes to the office but actually flexible working is about coming here different times just working in different places and so on as well and so I think technology's been a big factor but I also do think that people's expectations of work have changed. I don't know that I'd label it is a generational thing because I am definitely a different generation to graduates coming through now, but actually my expectations of how I work have changed in my life as much.

J: I'd say not so much a generational... but a shifting of like economy's, a service economy to like a more experience economy, where like everyone in that kind of perks, from what they just paid and holidays, to like what they're getting out of work and what kind of what different works just not for them as well as the material benefits.

S: Because I I think we've kind of the introduction of technology wonderful as it is, does also mean they're getting away from work as harder yeah the days where you would put your out of office on before you went on a week's holiday and your emails were not read during that week those are gone pretty much. I would say those are gone and so we, we've all kind of or maybe not all of us but there I think there is a growing appreciation that work is always there to a certain extent. So I want work to work for me. I want it to be rewarding, I want something out of it and what that will be will vary person-to-person but that's a key challenge that employers face, to understand what people want from their work rather than just going here's a contract you come in at 9, you go home at 5, you can have an hour for lunch but don't take too long.

J: So looking towards the future, what do you see is kind of the future ,as you know quite a big question, what do you the future of HR?

S: Oh my goodness, I think there's still work to be done on equality. I mean one of my first jobs was working in a bank years ago and I remember an older gentleman absolutely refusing to accept something that I was telling him because I was very junior and I went off and got an older male colleague whose job title on the name badge was exactly the same as mine and he took it from him I think I guess he said exactly the same thing, he said exactly the same thing as me but the customer was just thank you so much for explaining it to him you know when he'd been saying exactly the same thing as me. And now I'm a little older I don't, touch wood, to see things like that happening so much, it might be that society's changed, it might just be that I've got a bit older and scarier and so people, people don't dare and say things like that to me anymore I don't know. However when you look at the way there's the recent requirement for larger organizations to do their gender pay reporting some organizations are doing very well but when you look at the general general trends there there's some way to go. The latest estimates that I've seen at that uptake of shared parental leaves, so where the the person who is the father not excluding the fact that people can be in same-sex relationships job take on that is only about 2% for the last set of figures that I saw. Wwhich is pretty low. I'd say the idea that they can take some of what would have been the maternity leave previously and so I think there's some way to go there's been changes but I don't think we can go look we've sorted equality.

J: That is surprisingly low, I have a friendly he recent had a child and his wife he got like four months maternity they like went off together having to care for the baby, that's why I assumed there was a slight shift in towards that kind of share responsibility.

S: I think it's moving and I mean I'm not saying that the fact that that figure is low is the fault of workplaces in because it's going to be down to individual couples making decisions about what works in their life and so I'm not criticizing anyone for not taking shared parental leave but it's an overall trend I think that's quite interesting and when we go back to that question of flexibility and flexible working requests you know I think sometimes I see employers with an expectation that if women have babies they're not going to be coming back to work full-time, 'oh dear what are we going to do because this person is only wanting to come back part time'. Whereas if men are putting in flexible working requests I have heard, no names, but I have heard employers like why isn't his wife looking after the child. I think there are some other cause part of my job as an HR consultant is to kind of you know educate in these areas but I think there are some old-school views out there still and of course the quality isn't just about men and women, I hasten to add as well and I think the conversations around how people identify their gender is is an area where I think we've all got more to learn.

H: Do you find some more archaic views present in within corporate industries and the corporate companies in comparison sort like a small-scale starter?

S: I mean when it comes to the small-scale startups it totally depends on the business owner and if they've been running their business for some time they won't have had the access to the training and awareness programs that the larger corporates will have by and large as as part of them their standard offering for their staff.

H: If we are just thinking.... have you seen changing in how in goal-setting procedures, to bring it back to the modern day have you seen a change in goal-setting procedures?

S: Yes yeah, I mean again technology has come in here. I'm not saying this was ever right but an appraisal used to be something that was done to you it was once a year, you were called into an office and you almost didn't know what was happening. I've seen 360 feedback come into vogue and then go out of vogue again and I think now the expectation is much more on the employee to be explaining what their performance looks like and how they've been effective and to provide the evidence for that rather than the employer to tell the employee what they're doing and technology can be key to that because where I've seen this work really well is when the systems are in place for people to be uploading evidence on an ongoing basis rather than going: 'oh my appraisals next week what have you done that's good in the last year'. So I I think I've seen yeah a shift in that direction I've also seen organizations go 'actually we don't like the idea of an annual appraisal', and and just rely constantly on that kind of continuous evidence and feedback cycle rather going 'well everything depends on this big end-of-year process'. Bbecause I'm yet to meet a lie manager who was enthusiastic about doing end-of-year appraisals but it's not just because of that is because if you say you did a great job yesterday that means so much more than you did a great job last June.

H: So is that continuous feedback sort of... continuous feedback culture that sort of... are you understanding that more and more people are implementing technology to and harness that feature. So, a movement towards continuous feedback rather than just the annual review or appraisal would you say that that's something that your... that's when that technology could enhance or you've seen that people have got technology in place for that?

S: Quite commonly I think it's something technology can definitely enhance, because I think I've still seen lots of please fill in the word document and send it back I don't know that that necessarily captures things. I think the technology I've seen that works really well has got a degree of fluidity so rather than being here's five boxes and you must fill them in actually it's more of a free-form tell us what's going on. Because it's not just about going oh here's everything great I've done it's better you capture your challenges and things as well, for example I've seen a CPD recording system yeah, so yes so CPD recording systems for example I've seen them where you've got to record several different things related to what you... what did you hope to gain, what did you actually gain, what will you do in the future, how will you cascade it to your colleagues and those boxes are really well-intentioned, but actually they can be quite discouraging to people recording their CPD if you've just been on I don't know a statutory update or something like that it's a bit well everyone else went on is so I'm not going to cascade it to them because they were sat next to me. And so I think flexibility in the systems that kind of allow people to reflect a bit more rather than being under pressure to fill in boxes is a key component a key element.

J: To talk about more generalistic HR I'm currently writing a few articles on onboarding just like... in your experience which kind of methods you think work best is it, kind of, organic, procedural? Or is it a mixture of both?

S: I think it's a mixture, I know it's sort of a very old-fashioned thing to say you know the, give it give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach him to fish feed him for life thing. But I think the best onboarding systems introduce you to the right people show you where you can find your information and then steer you in the direction of what you need to go and find for yourself and so on day one especially if someone's I don't know a new graduate or something like that yes they need a structured induction they need to be told this is who you're talking to at ten past ten or whatever it might be. But after that I'd I don't I I think it's it's useful to do some things as a group training session but a lot of other things it's about giving people access to the tools within the organisation so they can build their own relationships from there.

H: What it seems likes I know it's all the way that HR is going is it a lot of the outside technology comes kind of sort of flexibility with with the way we're working is there anything that you've come across that you sort of weren't expecting when it comes to flexibility or any sort of policies and any companies that you've worked with that are quite sort of outlandish?

S: I think something that I've read about is the notion of unlimited holidays, I was actually reading the article about another HR company um that kind of went with that approach and one of the challenges that they came across was that actually some people were taking less holiday, because they felt a little bit I don't know guilty that it only seemed to be taking the mickey in some way and so actually they ended up taking less holiday than they would have done if they were just given even a statutory entitlement because they didn't want to be seen to be shirking and and I think that kind of challenge applies overall to flexibility you know if someone's working from home are they working even harder to try and prove themselves whereas when you're in the office people know that you're there they can see you. And so I think that that's sort of an interesting concept that I have seen none of my clients have got that implemented at this current time thing.

H: So when it comes to work, what is the most common sure falling on pitfall for their HR processes that they have in place?

S: It's those handbooks that I mentioned earlier because because a lot of my end clients, so my direct clients are the HR consultants but their clients are then small businesses, quite often what's happened is that they downloaded as I said this massive handbook from the internet absolutely years ago and it's this behemoth of the thing that most people don't even know exists within the organization. And for me coming in I'd almost rather they didn't have that at all yeah because then you have conversations with people yeah yes you've got a legal framework there are statutory provisions for all sorts of things that we need to rely on but if you don't have an epic handbook you can just have conversations with people a lot easier whereas sometimes the handbooks can create really over-engineered processes which when people feel like they're going through a process that generates a degree of stress which actually a well-structured conversation in the first place could have avoided and when I look at the skills that small business leaders and you know anyone in management or leadership positions within larger organizations needs it's that ability to have conversations to not be scared to not be sort of like oh well there's a policy for it so I shouldn't have to talk about it because it's a policy actually it's it's being braver around conversations.

J: Does the issue still persist as you go from a small company to a medium?

S: Well it does but in a slightly different way because we then come into the world of intranets and share points and things like that and sometimes you can see some very well-intentioned recent policies that have been uploaded but no one's taken down the previous three iterations of the same policy which first staff can cause a great deal of confusion you know let's say I've just found out I'm going to have a baby I want to go online and find out kind of what the organization's policy is on that before I go and start you know talking to my line manager or whatever. If there's three policies up on the intranet and we're not sure which is the current one that can cause quite a bit of confusion and if I think I've found the right one and it says something that I like and then I found a later version so some think I don't like that can then lead to grievances and so larger organizations I really do think it's important that they manage their intranets or whatever logical equivalent they use well and make sure they're keeping things up to date and when we think about self-service technologies, HR technologies III really like to see linkage between requests and things that people are submitting and access to the policies so it's not all I've got to go on the self-service to report that I was off sick last week for example and then I've got to go onto the intranet to find out whether or not I'm gonna get paid for that actually I think if those things link well then is more efficient for HR departments and managers because if employees can find out the answer for themselves then great!

H: So we're talking about the technology one way, so when it, when it comes to this, have you come across anything specific, any specific technology which proved promising in this area?

S: One thing that I have had a couple of clients tell me about just because they find it very user friendly as a breed of HR they found that to be useful for managing holidays particularly and holidays is an interesting topic because again when we go back to that flexibility the way that we're working these days the notion of you work 9:00 to 5:00 Monday to Friday, you have 28 days holiday in the year, actually contracts are becoming much more complex than that because people are working more flexibly so their holiday entitlement changes with that and there have been various pieces of case law that have come down from the European courts on how we interpret the holiday legislation which means that we've always got to be making sure that people are accruing at the right rates.

H: So I know you always hear we are firing on tech technology questions and that you don't focus on tech...

S: I still use technology as part of my role as an HR, I just wouldn't profess that's my area of expertise.

H: So what technology do you actually so it depends on what the client uses I don't have a: 'this is my technology that I recommend and this is my client I'm going to come in and bring it to you'. So it depends on what my client uses.

J: What do you use when you're working with your team ?

S: Just me at the moment...although it's a bit sad but sometimes I do send myself emails to remind of things.

H: Is it gif or GIF?

J: You know there was a big hoo-ha about five years ago with the guy who created it. He was like, he's going mental at the it's GIF not gif.

H: So when it comes to communicating with the clients that you work with how are you doing that?

S: Okay so email this is very exciting, on my emails a key one particularly for me as an independent consultant actually if I'm given advice I want a record of that advice right yeah that's quite an important thing to do things however um I do definitely see a value in making sure that the face-to-face communication is there as well the regular telephone communication and so on all very old-fashioned. One thing I would say that as you know I was probably a late adopter on and didn't really see the point of and now it's really quite important in my life is Whatsapp. I think the simplicity of it the factor that you very much know who is and isn't in a groupr and it's basically it's like sending a text message but with an enhanced functionality. That's one of the things that say originally I was like what's the point of that I can send a text message and no actually I communicate quite a lot of you work through whatsapp which I didn't ever expect to so.

H: Would you say that's more the the informal side of your communications um and sometimes it's the more instantaneous?

S: Yes.. side of things as well because um... you know people might not have that, they might get their email on their phone but only when they check it but what's that you know you get the notification and sometimes we're working on quite sort of time-sensitive work so if we're talking to ACAS about I'm negotiating a settlement for example yeah what after that comes with deadlines and I'm the person talking to ACAS and my clients the person who needs to make the decisions, and so and so being able to communicate really instantaneously it's quite important.

H: That's quite a common theme actually, is something like this was instantaneous it's just so useful especially if it's informal...

S: But you just wouldn't think it.

H: It's this you just chat rather than like sort of an email.

J: It's such a cliche like everyone talked about the importance of communication before like this is like my first professional role before I was like I didn't think was that important but like you realize we use slack, it's like, makes everything so much easier

H: So I mean ifyou could build a piece of HR technology what would it be and what would it is, what are the features?

S: It kind of feels like anything I say now is going to be obsolete by the time of build, that's not a reflection on the speed of the build but I think when you look at the information that we as HR people want to be able to access that is going to change depending on the business what the business needs at any one time and so the days of here's your HR software and here's your suite of reports that you can run and that's it and by the way you've got to pay the developer however many hundred pounds if you want a different report. I don't see that as useful anymore I think it's about being able to come up with your own functionality so for example as well as running Wellington HR I teach, I teach the CIPD courses and one of my students was saying to me the other day that a big exercise they've just done is they've worked out who in their staff from their HR reporting is a non UK, European citizen because they need to talk to them about whether or not they have settled status whether or not they're going through the right application processes so they meet their requirements to ensure that they have the right to work in the UK post Brexit. Now if they bought their HR technology five years ago looking forward and going we're going to need to know who's European but not British so we can find out whether or not they've got the right to work in the UK, that that wasn't a thing but now that's actually a key compliance exercise that they're going through. So I think the organisation being able to control what data goes in how it's presented again we talked about people who don't necessarily identify as male or female it used to be that when you got when you collected information about your employees there were two boxes male or female and now even just going male-female, other is a little insulting to how some people choose to identify them and so I want my HR technology to allow me to be able to reflect what people are saying to me...

J: It kind of feeds back into what you talked about earlier about the future of HR being kind more Equality driven not just like men-female anymore kind of like what do you identify as...

S: You know Sam Smith has just asked for their pronoun to be 'they' rather than 'he' or 'she' and I'm sure Sam Smith is not the only person who wants to be addressed in that way and so HR technology needs to be able to record things like that in a way that in the past that wasn't necessarily a concern and so I think I am answering your question in a long-winded way... um if we can have that kind of agility to be able to adapt the functionality I think that makes a really strong piece of software and linking it in as I said earlier with the policies and any relevant supporting documents which could even include online training modules so that it's not 'we've got the HR data in one place but you've got to go looking somewhere else to find out the information you need'.

H: Flexibility and experience-based.

S: That's very precise, that's very good. I wish I'd said that.

S: Wow you kept me on my toes this morning.

J&H: Thank you very much Shelley.

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