Celebrating the Human in the Workplace: PPMA HR Conference Highlights

22nd May 2018
by Sara Peake

By Tanya Corsie

A true highlight of any public sector calendar is the annual Public Services People Managers Association (PPMA) HR event. We had a brilliant time in Gateshead from 18-20 April, with talks on everything from the future of work to artificial intelligence. The vibrancy and positivity in the room was almost tangible, making it an absolute joy to attend.

Karen Grave, the new president of the PPMA, gave a stirring opening address on our first morning, declaring the event a celebration of public service. She encouraged the room to make the most of their time at the conference with her words, “let’s make memories we’re proud of”.

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE of Karma Nirvana, delivered an incredibly compelling and moving keynote regarding her work at Karma Nirvana, a British human rights charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. The organisation provides training to the Police, NHS and Social Services to highlight awareness of this type of crime including the warning signs and behavioural changes to look out for.

With such an emphasis in HR on people, Jasvinder was able not just to move the audience through highlighting tragic cases of forced marriage but she was able to better inform the industry to enable HR professionals in the public sector to help others and potentially save lives.

The presence of a robot at the conference on Friday morning may have surprised many, but actually a key focus for the conference’s discussions was the future of work. Local government has changed so much over the past few years, so many speakers touched on the impact of new technologies on the public sector and on how people approach their work. Are human beings leading AI or are we being led by AI? How will automation affect tomorrow’s talent? And what motivates younger, more tech-savvy generations in the workplace?

The Masquerade Ball and Awards ceremony was certainly one of the most spectacular moments of the conference. It was a beautiful setting and a great chance to network, celebrate and see organisations including Cumbria County Council, Bristol City Council and the HM Land Registry rewarded for their hard work. Here is an awards highlights video from the ceremony if you missed it.

Iken thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many interested parties at our stand, and offering guidance around boosting productivity in case management and the future of technology in HR. It was a fantastic event and we feel lucky to have met so many wonderful people there.

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