A day in the life of: Brad Taylor, Director of People at CIPD
We're always curious to hear how our members and contributors tackle the challenges that the ever-changing world of L&D throws at them. We've got a wealth of experience and knowledge across the site, and what better way to showcase the diversity of our community than to get them to walk us through an average day?
Want to tell us about your way of working? Email us at [email protected], or let us know in the comments below.
Brad Taylor is the Director of People at CIPD, leading the HR and people development function within the organisation. We're curious to find out what a typical day looks like in his busy working life!
So, Brad, walk us through your day...
07:00 – On my way to work either listening to Radio 4, listening to a podcast or just listening to some relaxing music! I tend to arrive at the office between 7:30am to 8:00am as the travel time is less and I can get a head start on the day. That often includes making sure I’m on top of emails and have prepared for meetings ahead in my day.
09:00 – A meeting with one of my HR business partners to review some changes being developed as part of our performance and reward reviews. We’re making changes that open up career progression for our people and empower our people managers to have greater autonomy in salary decisions. This is an opportunity for exploring ideas and challenging assumptions.
11:00 – In a senior leadership team meeting where we are reviewing our performance and the activities that are driving our strategic aspirations.
13:00 – Lunch with a director from another professional body. It’s always great to exchange thoughts, and ideas on how we’re delivering a valued membership experience.
15:00 – Chairing a meeting on reviewing the latest employee pulse survey results. We conduct these every two months looking at 16 factors that we ask our people about, including leadership, opportunity, environment, involvement and fulfilment. In particular I’m keen to learn whether there are any trends emerging that will help us to focus on making the work experience as good as we can get it for our people. Where there are concerns, they become topics that we will explore with our staff consultation group, Soundingboard, to obtain deeper insight into how our people think about these factors and what is on their minds.
17:00 – Heading home. I usually miss seeing our young children first thing in the morning when I leave for work so it’s important to me that I get home whenever I can in time to say goodnight to them and listen to them talk about their day.
19:00 – Dinner with my wife followed by relaxing and watching TV. We often enjoy watching series on Netflix, such as Suits and House of Cards.
21:00 – Quick catch up on any outstanding emails.
22:00 – Reading before lights-out. I’ve enjoyed reading authors including Nancy Kline, Garret Kramer, and Edwin Friedman. I read my books on my iPad and often supplement what I’m learning by exploring TED Talks or YouTube videos on the subject I’m reading about.
Now, tell us…
What would you say are your main passions or things you champion at work?
I care a lot about how we create work environments that enable people to be at their best. In particular, leadership that has raised awareness of human behaviour and with a focus on developing and maintaining healthy working relationships. I’m also keen to explore how we help people to be open to new ideas and ways of working; in particular about the breaking down of historic silos and embracing a much more collaborative culture.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Exploring new ideas with my HR team and colleagues across the CIPD. I love it when I observe someone challenging the way something is being done because they see the possibility of doing things in a new way that will benefit our members, society or colleagues. I also really enjoy getting out every now and then to work with teams on exploring how to help them work together more effectively. Seeing people take on new ideas and developing as a result is extremely rewarding.
What keeps you up at night?
If anything does, it would be when emails build up because I’ve been focused on other projects and activities.
One tip you’d pass on to your peers?
Always welcome challenge. Even in the most difficult times, listening to someone explain why you might be wrong, or allowing them to share their concerns without them feeling vulnerable, fosters trust and opens the door for better work and working lives.
Assume you couldn't do your current career, even if you love it. What would be your ideal job? Why?
I think it would be something involving the film or music industry. Something where I could be creative and be part of creating something that people enjoy watching or listening to.
Who's your hero and why?
Sir Jony Ive. His focus on simplicity is something I believe more of us could aspire to. I see so many people clutter their daily lives, their business plans, to-do lists etc with so much unnecessary stuff and they end up over-complicating things. What Jony Ive demonstrates so well is that by subtracting the non-essential we are left with a pure and perfect solution. His attention to detail and the inevitable and logical functionality of his products is something that I challenge myself to achieve in the delivery of the solutions that I develop within my role. I have a long way to go, but I enjoy the challenge of simplicity and design.
You can have five people from history at your dinner party. Who would you invite and why?
Okay, so I’m not convinced everyone would get on… but the people from history I think I would find fascinating at a dinner party would be:
Steve Jobs – his ability to focus unrelentingly in the pursuit of perfection and how he saved Apple are both inspirational.
Hannibal – ‘The father of strategy’. It is said that he taught strategic thinking to the Romans after he defeated them so decisively at the battle of Cannae.
Marcus Aurelius – a leader and philosopher – I believe good leaders have great capacity to think reflectively and are always learning.
Queen Elizabeth II – Okay, the Queen would probably decline my invitation but it would be fascinating to hear about the advice she has given to the numerous Prime Ministers over the years she has reigned!
Nelson Mandela – there’s so much that he endured in such an inspirational way.
Brad is the CIPD’s Director of People. He leads the CIPD’s own HR and people development function, ensuring that the organisation is able to achieve its strategic aspirations through attracting, developing and retaining great people. He is interested in people strategy, culture and organisational development. In particular, he is enthusiastic...