‘Resilience and Diversity’- Some key takeaways from the 2023 PPMA Conference

The McLean Public team recently attended the fantastic 3-day Annual PPMA conference in Birmingham consisting of a mixture of keynote talks, breakout sessions and networking with old and new colleagues.

As well as being sponsors of the conference itself, we also had the honour of sponsoring two categories for the PPMA Excellence in People Management Awards – the ‘Service Superstars Team’ award and the ‘Service Superstar Individual’ award. Congratulations to the winners: Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and David Ratchford from Salford Council. Fantastic news!

Our reflections on some of the key takeaways from this year’s conference:

1.      The future of HR is changing given our hybrid working world  The demand now for organisations is to be more creative and innovative in their approach to motivate and keep employees engaged, depending on their place of work. What would have been seen as part of an innovative benefits package 10 years ago, for example a cycle to work scheme, may no longer be relevant for all employees. Alternative packages such as takeaway vouchers or contributions to energy bills may be more beneficial. The need to ‘check in’ with employees and understand the motivating factors for employees will constantly be evolving in our new hybrid world to drive productivity and maintain employee commitment.

2.      The need to give up being perfect, but to be authentic to ourselves was addressed by Ian Thomas, Chief Executive and Town Clerk at City of London Corporation in his keynote session ‘Perfect – Imperfection’. He stressed the importance of making staff comfortable enough to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work and offered some suggestions on what both employees and employers can do to facilitate this. Being honest and learning from each other are key elements that can influence employees to behave as their authentic selves and, in doing so, drive change within an organisation.

3.      The ongoing challenge for EDI in the public sector – the need for organisations to speak through actions; and as commented by Ian Thomas, the need to remove “the glass ceiling and develop and encourage change as leaders”.

4.      It’s about people– as Perry Timms reminded us “all roads lead back to people”. In his session ‘Organisational Resilience and Regenerative Culture’, Perry spoke of ‘Theory Q – The Quantum Manager ‘who is focussed on systems and people, inclusive and trusted, but also fallible’.

5.      The Importance of diversity for thriving through disruptionJuliette Alban-Metcalfe reminded us in a session called ‘Leading Well in a Hybrid World’ that the ability of an organisation to be able to thrive through challenging times depends on the organisation’s ability to be adaptable, agile and to use the experience as an opportunity to improve and innovate. Research has found that the greater the diversity of the individuals from whom to illicit these ideas, the greater the possibility of generating real and impactful innovation.

Roll on PPMA Conference 2024!

Jonathan Swain

Managing Director & Founder



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