DisruptHR London: Interview With Kate Griffiths-Lambeth

KateGriffiths-LambethKate Griffiths-Lambeth is an experienced Group HR Director, who enjoys leading, inspiring and ensuring results within international, multi-site, commercially-orientated businesses. Kate is the Director of Human Resources at Charles Stanley & Co. Limited.

As a lawyer by initial training, Kate progressed into HR via various client-facing roles. She likes to be involved in day-to-day issues, whilst ensuring that strategic global and local objectives are reached. With her extensive HR knowledge and capabilities, she can successfully support and develop an organization and its individuals.

Some of Kate’s key areas of expertise include talent management, recruitment, engagement, motivation and retention, employer branding, compensation & benefits, industrial and employee relations, TUPE, leadership, and management development.

As Kate will be speaking at the DisruptHR event in London at the end of the month, we explore her views on HR and what she will be speaking about at the event. For more information about the event, go to DisruptHR London’s page.

HR Gazette: Why did you decide to be a speaker at DisruptHR London?

Kate: I was familiar with the DisruptHR movement in the USA and elsewhere globally and like the concept of challenging people’s thinking and inspiring others to make our profession, our workplaces and the people within them better.

HR Gazette: What will you be speaking about at DisruptHR London?

Kate: I will be talking about change – the new constant for most of us in our working lives.

HR Gazette: What separates DisruptHR from other HR and Talent events which happen in London? 

Kate: The pace and speed of learning, as well as a diverse range of high-impact presentations, given by recognised experts (myself excluded). It will be fun and energising – a great opportunity to meet and connect as well as to develop new knowledge and contacts.

HR Gazette: Why is your topic important to HR and Talent pros? 

Kate: As stated above, almost every organisation is experiencing change – new technologies, new competitors, different expectations from clients, customers, employees, challengers, and regulators to name but a few. To survive and thrive a business and the people working with/within it need to be able to cope with change. In this VUCA environment, it is important to remain aware of our being human and social. Change isn’t something to be feared but HR and talent professionals will need to help businesses and individuals through periods of change to ensure survival and success.

HR Gazette: The DisruptHR format means you only get 5 minutes to speak to the audience. What unique challenges and opportunities does such a condensed speaking slot offer?

Kate: So much to say, so little time. In my opinion, it is important not to make the presentation over-complicated. I am trying for simple points and ideas that people can remember and potentially find useful after the event.

HR Gazette: How does DisruptHR provide you with a platform to talk about Talent, Tech, and HR in new ways?

Kate: A bit like an un-conference or a tweet-up – there is a degree of spontaneity and fun to the DisruptHR format. Also, the fact that each presentation is so short means that there is an opportunity for a diversity of subjects to be covered in a single evening and hence there is bound to be at least one presentation that is of interest to each attendee.

HR Gazette: You’re a big name in the HR space. Please share 2 or 3 other ‘influencers’ in the space who you follow and tell us why. 

Kate: I am only a small name, but I stand on the shoulders of giants and have learned much from many – Neil Morrison is a name I suspect that a number of us may cite (myself included), because he is always prepared to speak out and challenge out-dated thinking; he also has the track record to prove that his approaches work. I have learned huge amounts from Linda Holbeche – she (along with Ed Griffin, who is now Head of HR at the British Council) helped show me what HR could and should do whilst they were both working at Roffey Park and designing the now globally acclaimed training for strategically focussed and aligned HR professionals. Linda Gratton at the London Business School has made many reconsider the work environment and the way in which it is changing/needs to change. Steve Toft is always reliable for economic outlooks and analytics that impact on the workplace and Neil Usher makes me think. All of these people are prepared to stand out from the crowd and have knowledge and examples to support their ideas and opinions.

HR Gazette: The HR Gazette is a big believer in the shift from traditional thoughts of HR to embracing modern HR as part of ‘people and culture‘. What does ‘people and culture’ mean to you? 

Kate: If asked this question my teenage son would say “We are tribal” – it is his get-out answer to questions of this nature. We are sentient beings and we are responsible for the environments in which we operate. We follow leaders, respond to peers, tend to group with like-minded individuals and need to feel valued and able to grow. Most of us want to have a degree of control over our own destinies. The modern workplace should encourage this, instead of trying to force each person to conform within a confined box.

HR Gazette: What do you think will be the major developments in the UK Talent and Recruitment space to watch out for in the next 12 months and why? For example, how does the growing numbers of Millennials in the workplace shape traditional talent acquisition and people management approaches?

Kate: I suspect that there will continue to be changes in the way performance management is approached, with managers embracing a more fluid, personal and agile methods, even within traditional large corporates. I suspect that stress will remain an issue (partially due to the pace of change and the impact that technology is having on businesses) and hence the focus on the need for resilience will continue. Going forward I think HR will need to be more mindful of the broader workplace/working environment, as well as the people in it – light, air, space, the impact of the workplace on mental health will become areas where employees will expect their employer to be mindful and proactively responsible.

HR Gazette: Finally.. if you could be a superhero, which superhero would you be and why? 

Kate: I am an urban beekeeper and concerned for the environment  – it would be fun to be Storm as I could control the weather (bees don’t like to go out in the rain) and I could fly, which would enhance my daily commute and make me less likely to be late for meetings.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
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