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Progress – CRF Blog
Brexit – A Trade Negotiator Explains
By Steve Toft 16th October 2020
Brexit was blown off the news headlines by the Covid pandemic but it has returned to the front pages in recent weeks. Despite the prime minister’s pledge to Get Brexit Done, the detail of it still isn’t.
Humans have always been purpose-led - a clear purpose in a demanding world provides an anchor to motivate and guide us. However, in recent years, Boards and organisations have become increasingly interested in the intrinsic value clear organisational purpose can offer the business and wider society. For many organisations this is now an important strategic objective.
The big question facing many businesses right now is when to return to the physical workplace. How do you balance the health risk of re-opening with the economic risk of not doing so? What is it reasonable for a company to do, given its duties to its employees and its shareholders? The management and mitigation of risk is therefore at the forefront of much discussion in businesses in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The title is deliberately provocative and misleading. HR and Learning and Development people are hailing a new world of virtual learning driven by lockdown and the number of people who are working from home. The first thing to say is this is nothing new. Perhaps it has become more ubiquitous, but virtual learning has a long history. In 1728 Caleb Phillips offered lessons on shorthand sent weekly so they would ‘be as perfectly instructed as those that live in Boston.’ The term ‘distance learning’ was first used by the University of Wisconsin in 1892. In 1953 the University of Houston offered the first televised classes. IBM developed 'Coursewriter' in 1965 that included most of the functionality seen in present day learning management systems. The first web-based course was taught at Penn State University in 1995. It isn't new.
Trust has always been critical in HR, but never more so than today. Our people need to trust us to take decisions, sometime tough, that are in their best interests. If they do, they will stick with us when we need them, not just now but when we come out of the crisis. Our managers need to trust us to provide them with the right balance of support and challenge to help them do their jobs in stressful times. If they do, they will do a great job of engaging our people. Our leaders need to trust us to balance the needs of the business and our employees and short-term survival and thriving in the long-term.