Roast’s spooky menu set the scene for our Halloween breakfast network yesterday at Borough Market. We were greeted by an extremely creative assortment of carved pumpkins guarding the bar area, not including Sue and her friend!
After introductions, and delicious pumpkin pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, our discussion was opened by thinking about what the biggest impact is on work right now. Connections were made on a number of common themes.
Many of our attendees yesterday face the challenge of change. These included personal job and sector changes, managing staff expectations during periods of re-structure, as well as wider business transformation and expansion.
The theme of technology was widely debated. This led onto the issue of compliance and risk when managing information and data, as well as managing the expectations of users in different sectors. Whilst the academic sector faces the challenge of a 24 hour open access culture, the banking sector is faced with being able to minimise risk to its databases.
The old chestnut of the IT department was widely discussed, how they need to work in partnership with knowledge, information and records departments and develop more of an awareness of what the users actually need from their technology.
The subject of staffing was of course of particular interest to Sue and I. Being Halloween I was most delighted to capture the words ’new BLOOD’ crop up in conversation! How can we attract, train and retain it? As many services are outsourced/off shored how can we co-ordinate consistency in work and minimise differences in culture, as well as bridge skills gaps. For new professionals entering the industry it is essential that they have an excellent commercial focus. In fact some new recruits to the industry, both in research and records and archive roles, have been taken from non traditional information backgrounds.
It was interesting to hear some new phrases used to describe the current challenges of the industry -
‘Not invented here’ syndrome – the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own work and data
‘Next generation staffing’ – new skills needed following the trend for out sourcing/off shoring
· How global we are becoming as an industry and the challenges that this will present in the future.
· The interesting diversity of backgrounds but commonality of issues we face across sectors.
· Our adaptability as professionals to move across sectors, despite an often common resistance from recruiters to be open minded to candidate’s backgrounds.
· Amazement at how on the whole the insurance industry is still based on paper.
Once certainty however is that change is continuous.