CPHR Conference 2019 and Environmental Responsibility
I recently attended the CPHR Conference in Vancouver for the first time. Although I’ve been a member for more than 10 years, I’ve been waiting for a selection of speakers that truly sparked my interests - a schedule worth the investment of attendance.
It was lovely to visit with friends and colleagues, catching up on personal and professional growth. Beautifully familiar faces included classmates, colleagues, mentors/proteges and CPHR staff. It was amazing to learn how my colleagues had crossed paths over the years. It felt as if photos of friends/colleagues were mapped onto a wall with red cotton string, intersecting face after face. Some college classmates had worked with previous coworkers, some were connected through formal mentoring programs while others volunteered in related roles. I’ve never had that experience with the same magnitude. It felt like a passive networking game, seeing how my network has grown and evolved through shared experiences.
It was inspiring to hear Mel Robbins describe 5 Second Changes. She spoke about Taylor Swift and how she supports fans through recognition on social media. During a performance, Taylor Swift will share the stage with someone she respects and admires like Ellen DeGeneres. By sharing the spotlight and acknowledging that person online, the artist engages her social media audience while expanding that person's network as well. It's a reciprocal act of recognition that Mel Robbins brought that to light. Positive recognition doesn't require money; creativity and intention are more valuable to make a positive impression in the workplace.
I endeavor to carry Duncan Wardle’s creative energy wherever I go. He personifies Walt Disney’s statement that “it’s kinda fun to do the impossible.” Engaging the entire conference room through a small group exercise, we experienced the concept of replacing “no, but” statements with “yes, and” in a whimsical way. He expressed the need to use this kind of language during ideation sessions in particular to manage barriers to creativity. “Innovation is awkward; it needs to feel awkward” which includes the way we spend our time at work. “I know what your Friday calendars look like. They look like a barcode on a packet of cigarettes,” he said, acknowledging that staff are likely working hard. But if your business craves innovation, foster an environment of openness rather than a stifle creativity at the onset.
During the Discipline, Performance Management and Privacy in the Age of AI and Electronic Monitoring presentation led by Suzanne Kennedy, Ryan Berger and Tamara L. Hunter, the concept of reasonable judgement and the trajectory of decisions from arbitrators was laid on the table for discussion. A participant asked, “given the increasing presence of Millennials in the workplace, do you anticipate that decisions from arbitrators will become increasingly stringent or relaxed?” The principle of reasonable judgement is based on what a reasonable person would say at that time. Given that understanding, the increasing presence of Millennials in the workplace and their values of digital privacy in the workplace, the panel agreed that it would be reasonable to expect that decisions may become more relaxed over time.
I was caught into a really great discussion at the CPHR Booth with a fellow member who shared my disappointment with the use of paper flyers at the conference. They decorated the lobby and filled our gift bags. As a small business owner, I appreciate the challenge of cost-effective marketing. But this member explained that her mid-size company doesn’t distribute paper business cards (only digital ones) identifying an appreciation for greener options while limiting her ability to participate in sponsored draws.
It’s time to demand innovation from the professional organizations we fund through membership fees. I recycled the majority of the paper pamphlets provided in my conference bag later that day; there’s no reason to keep something that doesn’t add value. Earth Day was celebrated this week. It’s a collective opportunity to recognize the value of our natural resources. The impact of Millennials in the workplace was a common theme during the CPHR Conference. They’re known to demand that corporations follow through on their advertised values, including respect for the environment. If I decide to attend next year’s CPHR conference, the list of sponsors and their use of marketing materials will be a contributing factor to that investment. I urge long-term CPHR members to continue this discussion, calling for environmental responsibility from CPHR.