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HR summer school: grasping the nettle

Who should attend

This course is aimed at ambitious HR and OD professionals who want to be more effective in their role. Each speaker will help you think about how your organisation uses people, now and in future.


‘Can-kicking’ is a typical, understandable human tendency, but in the employment context it is rarely the right thing to do. Avoiding dealing with behavioural or cultural issues often leads to larger problems, sometimes years down the road. HR professionals need to know what is really going on. They must judge when to intervene and how. They need to make sure they are heard by leaders and line managers and ensure that the right actions are followed through.

Using case-study examples, this summer school explores the consequences for organisations and individuals of delay in addressing people issues. We look at barriers to timely action, the role of leaders and culture, and the use of supervision and training.

Speakers include

Chair, Wendy Hirsh
Principal Associate, Institute for Employment Studies

Catherine Barker
Senior Director, Head of Global Employee Advocacy, PayPal

Nelarine Cornelius
Professor of Organisation Studies and Associate Dean, Queen Mary University London

Tom Crawford
The Brain Miner

Sian Elliott
Women’s Equality Policy Officer, TUC

Sally Hemming
University of Loughborough

Penny Lawrence
Former Deputy Chief Executive and Programmes Director, Oxfam GB

Rowena Russell
Associate Director of Business, The Old Vic

Jo Tanner
MD, InHouse Communications

Rob Vondy
Head of Stress Policy, HSE



10.00 registration and coffee; 10.30 start

Business, society and public expectations
Nelarine Cornelius

  • impatience with exclusion well-being and quality of life
  • fair and respectful treatment
  • is HR falling short?

Oxfam: lessons learnt from the safeguarding crisis
Penny Lawrence

Penny resigned in 2018 when Oxfam was accused of mishandling safeguarding in the 2011 Haiti earthquake response during her time Programmes Director. Penny will share her personal views on lessons learned, the impact and the actions taken since.

Case-study from PayPal
Catherine Barker

Honesty when things go wrong
Jo Tanner

  • avoiding spin
  • reaching internal and external audiences
  • story-telling strategies

High performance through music
Ruth Sladden



10.00 start

The Guardians Programme
Rowena Russell

Around 50 organisations have joined the Guardians Network which enshrines workplace values and culture. Rowena will explain its creation, and the OK / Not OK sessions which informed The Old Vic’s Cultural Statement.

Unwanted attention: underestimated and widespread
Sian Elliott

  • young people and insecure workers most at risk
  • colleagues, customers, clients and third parties
  • meaningful action

Encouraging open dialogue at work
Tom Crawford

  • the influence of culture and the challenge for leaders
  • the future of D&I
  • the power of bringing true selves to work

Stress enforcement update
Rob Vondy

  • the stress management standards approach
  • criteria for investigating work-related stress
  • the concerns procedure

The right/wrong people in the right/wrong roles?
Case-study scenarios

19.00 drinks on the terrace followed by dinner Approximately 15.00 close and farewell

Download the full HR Summer School training course programme.


Full speaker biographies can be found in the above flyer.

Cost: £875

All prices are exclusive of VAT

Group discount:

10% discount for delegate 2 and subsequent delegates.

Online payment discount: 10%

Select a date

07/07/2020 - 08/07/2020
Henley Business School
10:30 - 15:00 (Local time)
Book this course

Annual training course brochure

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