People management in the modern workplace
  • 6th Floor, Rolle Building

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As businesses and organisations seek to boost productivity and improve the services they provide, the effective management of people has become increasingly important. 

The challenge of engaging employees at a time of intense competition and rapid change places a significant emphasis on the capacity of managers to build trust and commitment. 

This half day seminar showcased cutting-edge research which seeks to explore how organisations can address these problems and develop approaches that improve working lives. The session featured researchers from the HR and Leadership Research Group based in the Plymouth Graduate School of Management along with contributions from leading practitioners and policy makers and examined a number of themes:

  • Managing difficult and complex issues
  • The future of the HR function
  • The changing role of the line manager.

The session culminated with a panel discussion which will seek to identify key priorities for the management of people.

Speakers included:

  • Tony Cooper, Regional Director, Acas South West: ‘Good employment relations – solving the productivity puzzle?’
  • Dr Sue Kinsey, University of Plymouth: ‘Has Business Partnering had its day? Re-evaluating the role of HR practitioners’
  • Professor Richard Saundry, University of Plymouth: ‘Resolution and resentment – HR, line managers and the management of conflict’
  • Georgie Mills, HR Business Partner, The Dartington Hall Trust: 'Dartington - a case study in employee engagement'

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Biography: Tony Cooper, Acas South West

Tony became Director of Acas South West in 2011, having previously held a number of senior positions within the organisation including senior adviser for the South West, and national helpline training manager. 

Tony has over 20 years’ experience in employment relations, working with multinational companies, SMEs, voluntary and public sector organisations at a strategic level - managing change, improving manager capability and increasing staff engagement - and on a practical level such as through facilitating the introduction of new policies and procedures and delivering in-company skills training. 

His remit is to improve organisations and working life in the South West through better employment relations, whether that's through averting large scale industrial action, helping parties resolve individual disputes before reaching an employment tribunal, or through providing training and business solutions to organisations in the region.

Biography: Dr Sue Kinsey, University of Plymouth

Sue is Associate Professor on HR and Leadership Studies at the University of Plymouth and Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning) at Plymouth Business School. Before becoming an academic, Sue held a number of HR roles in financial services and was also an HR/HRD consultant. Her research examines the role and identity of HR practitioners in the UK.

Biography: Dr Richard Saundry, University of Plymouth

Richard is Associate Professor (Reader) in Human Resource and Leadership Studies. He teaches employee relations and employment law at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. Richard previously worked at the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Leeds.

His main research interests revolve around the management of workplace conflict. He has conducted a number of research projects in this area, funded by Acas and the Department of Trade and Industry (now BIS). He was recently the principal organiser of an ESRC Seminar Series - Reframing Resolution - Managing Conflict and Resolving Individual Employment Disputes in the Contemporary Workplace - which brought together leading academics and practitioners in a series of six seminars held across the UK.

He has also conducted research into trade union revitalisation and union learning receiving funding from the ESRC, TUC and UNISON. Richard has published a wide range of peer reviewed journal articles and policy reports and is currently a member of the editorial board of Work, Employment and Society.

Biography: Georgie Mills, The Dartington Hall Trust

Georgie is HR Business Partner at The Dartington Hall Trust where she has worked for over seven years. She is also the Joint Chair of Devon and Cornwall Engage for Success.


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