Title of Keynote: The Relationship between Research and Practice – A Practitioner Perspective
Aidan has provided the following preview of his address:
“In my presentation I will explore the opportunity and need for academic research to inform and contribute to strategic HR practice from a HR practitioners perspective. The speed of business change and the constant drive to improve competitiveness through innovating new customer products and solutions, aligning operating costs, engaging employees, and delivering shareholder value is placing the HR Function centre stage in terms of its charter to drive strategic capability development and deliver positive organizational change.
It is becoming commonplace to have the HR Function drive key organizational competitive strategies, and as a result senior HR Leaders now have all HR programs, policies and practices under constant review to ensure that they are directly enabling the overall business strategy. As a result HR practice is going through rapid development and change, and practitioners need to learn faster, innovate new practices, and importantly leverage the use of new IT tools and data analytics to accelerate strategic human resource decision making.
In particular the charter for the Learning and Development Function is being transformed, with increased senior stakeholder engagement in the definition of strategic capabilities required to enable business growth strategies. For HR leaders, the investment in employee development is one of their strategic contributions to the success of the business. The focus is now on investing in the “critical few” strategies that will deliver positive organizational change. We are fast moving to an environment where the investment in L&D is no longer viewed as being good for the organization, but is viewed as the lever to create new competitive capabilities, and if that lever does not deliver, then the investment needs to be moved to other competitive investment strategies that will deliver impact and financial return.
The rapid rate of change and the need for higher ROI is presenting a huge opportunity, if not a requirement that HR Practitioners and Academia collaborate and engage more closely. Academic research has the potential to directly inform strategic intervention selection, accelerate implementation, create faster learning cycles, and reduce failure rates. It can provide proof points from research outcomes, and predictive business impact models to engage senior stakeholder investment and commitment. The longer-term benefit from a stronger collaboration will be to increase the value and relevance of future research for both Academia and HRD practitioners.”
Aidan is World-wide Learning and Organization Development Director for the Hewlett-Packard Personal Systems and Printing Business. Managing a global team of L&D professionals, he has direct responsibility for; management development, graduate programs, and strategic capability development for global Product Development and Operations business units. He also manages the WW L&D Operations function. Prior to HP, Aidan’s career has been in the high technology sector, including roles in Training and Development management, Productions Operations Management, Senior Production Planning and two years working as a Senior Management Consultant. A graduate of University of Limerick and University of Sheffield, he received the ASTD Excellence in Practice Award in both 2009 and 2011, and the Brandon Hall Gold Award in 2014.