29 May 2018

HR professionals hear how responsible business is high priority for best employees

Business South HR Conference focuses on attracting and retaining talent

Human resources specialists from across the South discussed how a positive and supportive work environment and an ethical approach to management are key to maintaining the best workforce.

‘Attracting and Nuturing Talent’ conference, organised by social enterprise, Business South, invited HR professionals to discuss issues facing their businesses.

Delegates to the event at Chilworth Manor Hotel on Thursday 17 May discussed a broad range of issues including management and leadership, tapping into underutilised talent pipelines and supporting employees at work.

Shirley Anderson, HR Director at Red Funnel and chair of the Business South HR Action Group, “There is so much social and legislative change going on for HR professionals at the moment that it can be difficult to find the time to share thoughts and practical solutions with others. This conference gave businesses the space to discuss the topics that matter most right now and offered crucial insight and strategies to aid them with tackling these for the future.”

The importance of responsible leadership and management was tackled directly by Alexander Peach, Chartered Manager Assessor at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), and Mark Smith, CEO of Southern Coop representing Business In the Community.

Alexander Peach underlined the value in leading with integrity, empowering staff members and learning from mistakes. Mark Smith built on this by demonstrating the value of responsible business both to the organisation and wider society and illustrating how this can make them more attractive as an employer. He quoted research by management consultants PwC which indicated that 56% of recent graduates would leave a company which did not live up to the values they had expected.

Other speakers addressed specific issues faced by employers and employees.


Drawing on her experience in the higher education sector, Alison Golden, Deputy Head of Student Support at Solent University, discussed student mental health and its impact on employers. She explained how Mental Health First Aid training can be helpful for businesses looking to better support their students.

Tackling the topic of attracting talent, David Allison, Co-Founder and CEO of Get My First Job, explored the challenges of recruiting young people and Emma Lincoln, Age Friendly Island Team Leader at Age UK, discussed how businesses can encourage older people back to the workplace.


Emma Lincoln highlighted the anxiety and lack of confidence that affect older people returning to work and outlined a pilot mentoring programme, with Red Funnel, which will give older people support as they return to the workplace.

Conference attendee, Omar Lakhssassi, Business Development Executive at University of Portsmouth said, it was a “Really informative event in a beautiful setting; a great opportunity to learn from other HR and recruitment professionals.”

Share this news article