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Sarita Godber

  • Programme: Human Resources Strategy for Transforming Organisations
  • Nationality: British
  • Job Post-programme: Director of HR and Organisational Development at St George's, University of London

The future of work

One of my primary motivations for enrolling on Human Resources Strategy for Transforming Organisations (HRST) was to get a fresh perspective on current HR thinking. I had recently returned to work following a period of maternity leave and I wanted to try and get a new understanding of the challenges that affect businesses in people terms. What people want from their work and career is changing faster than ever, so determining the right strategy to manage this whilst still supporting core business drivers is key.

HRST provided me with a depth of insight into the key forces shaping the future of work. It was also the perfect opportunity to reflect on the challenges we are facing at the Southbank Centre. For example, our workforce demographic has changed considerably over recent years, particularly with the ascendance of Generation Y. Yet, we have not previously given sufficient consideration to how this is impacting expectations in the workplace, the leadership challenges of multigenerational workforces and what we need to do to get the best from our people. The quality of teaching in this area was exceptional thought leaders like Lynda Gratton provided extensive research into demography and its business impact. I also took away practical insights to implement back at work, such as thinking about a new meaning of ‘career progression’ that would appeal to Gen Ys.

Understanding our workforce

Social media has also played a big part in changing our employee awareness and social participation, reshaping expectations around organisational transparency. Our people are increasingly searching for greater meaning through their work. HRST helped me realise how important it is that we better understand our workforce – as we do our customers - in terms of what they want from, and can give to, work. We must also articulate our employer value proposition and then remain true to it. Since completing the programme I’ve written a new HR strategy that takes this on board, and sets out how we can harness the talents and strengths within our workforce to develop a high performing culture.

Cross-cultural learning

HRST completely re-energised my passion for learning. The opportunity to network with such talented and curious people was invaluable, expanding my crosscultural learning and providing a rich arena for debate and discussion. Participants also represented a wide range of professional sectors, all of which helped shape my wider thinking about HR. People are our organisation’s greatest resource, and taking time out to reflect on strategic HR issues and solutions is so important. I left the programme with a clear vision about how the world of work is changing, the business and leadership challenges this creates and the role HR needs to play within this setting. All of this has fed into my new people strategy, and I am better placed than ever to meet the Southbank Centre’s challenges, now and in the future.