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Mind the gap – building bridges between Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials


Mind the gap

The British workplace is undergoing radical changes but is your organisation at the forefront of the revolution or in danger of being left behind?

For the first time in history, we are seeing five generations of employees working together under the same roof. But traditionalists are leaving, and Baby Boomers are looking towards retirement, taking years of experience with them.

Generation X is gradually replacing them, slowly moving up the hierarchy, while the bulk of the people on the ground are Millennials. But is the generation born between 1980 and 1995 a lazy, fickle and entitled bunch as sometimes portrayed by the media? Or do they represent a new era of talent, an army of creative, tech-savvy optimists who are redefining the workplace as we know it?

Millennials graphic

At HQN's 'Mind the Gap' conference in January, we'll be exploring what the changing demographic in the workplace means for a social housing sector that is already undergoing unprecedented change as it seeks to adapt to a more commercial and digital environment.

Part of this challenge is attracting and retaining new talent by ensuring housing organisations are attractive places to work for the next generation. But equally important is getting the correct mix of knowledge and experience within different teams.

'Mind the Gap' will bring together Millennials, Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers along with business people, researchers and housing leaders to provide some valuable insight into different attitudes towards work (and life) and investigate how to achieve a perfectly blended workplace fit for the future.

Key sessions and speakers include:

  • Business fit for the future: Taking advantage of intergenerational differences, Mark Essex, Director for Public Policy, KPMG
  • Take me to your leader, Barbara Spicer CBE,  Chief Executive, Plus Dane Housing Group
  • Future Workplace – releasing the potential of our people, Gareth Hexter (and colleagues), United Welsh
  • How and why – A Millennial at work, Molly Bishop, 24housing/NHF Young Leader of the Year and Charity Support Officer at Stockport Homes
  • From graduate to director – routes to success for future housing leaders, Nicole Seymour, Director of Corporate Services, and Donna Williams, Director of Sales and Marketing, Sanctuary Group
  • Capping aspiration: The Millennial housing challenge, Dr Stephen Green, Research Fellow, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University
  • The workplace of the future – from mere productivity to max velocity, David McLeman, Chief Executive, Ancoris/Google Cloud Solutions.

About the speakers:

Barbara Spicer CBE

Barbara Spicer CBE is Chief Executive of Plus Dane a housing association working across Merseyside and Cheshire which owns 13,500 homes.

Barbara worked previously in Westminster as interim Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency from November 2013 to July 2014 and, before that, Chief Executive of Salford City Council for eight years. At Salford Council she led key developments in the city, including the bid to relocate the BBC to Salford Quays at MediaCity UK, creating a development of international significance.

She also holds the position of Mayoral Advisor for Social Housing Growth at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and sits as a panel member on the Sustainability Committee at British Land.

Nicole Seymour              

As Group Director - Corporate Services for Sanctuary Group, Nicole Seymour is responsible for human resources, learning and development, public relations and communications, customer services, health and safety, governance, and legal services.

Nicole initially joined Sanctuary through its graduate scheme. After completing the scheme Nicole worked in project management roles across the organisation, before setting up a new customer service function, listening to resident feedback and identifying areas for service improvement.

Prior to joining Sanctuary, Nicole had not previously considered a career in social housing but soon developed a passion for the sector and the importance of providing safe and secure housing for those who need it most.

Molly Bishop

Molly manages charitable development at Stockport Homes Group with a focus on re-housing and homelessness. She was named ‘Young Leader of the Year’ by the National Housing Federation and 24Housing Magazine in 2017 after just a year and a half in the social housing sector. Molly previously studied at the University of Bristol where she was also employed as Student Enterprise Consultant and worked within the highly innovative Research and Enterprise Department, home to the UK’s top tech-accelerator Engine Shed. 

What she says: "I was born in 1992, a bona fide Gen-Y Millennial, and entered the professional workplace in 2014. Whilst I recognise some of the stereotypical traits of my generation in herself, I challenge their negative  connotations and believe that Millennials are equipped to deliver what the world needs tomorrow (even if they seem slightly odd to their older colleagues today)."

Donna Williams

Donna is a marketing and sales professional with over seven years' experience in the housing sector as part of Sanctuary Group.  Donna is driven by the desire to make a tangible impact on Sanctuary and focused on building a strong foundation of skills, knowledge and experience from which to build her career. Having joined Sanctuary via its graduate programme and worked throughout the organisation into her current leadership position, Donna is passionate about what housing has to offer the next generation and raising the profile of the not-for-profit sector as a career path.

What she says: "I am a Millennial, this label is not something that I’ve ever particularly thought about or identified with but is a neat way of summing up many of the experiences and outlooks I share with people of a similar age."

Dr Stephen Green

Dr Stephen Green is a Research Fellow in Housing Studies at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University. Over the past fifteen years, he has carried out research focusing on poverty and housing, including various studies of younger people’s housing pathways.  Most recently this included research into youth homelessness initiatives, the promotion of shared housing models for younger people, and the affordability, accessibility and security of housing options for younger people across tenures. Stephen is also a Trustee of Nomad Opening Doors in Sheffield – a charity that provides housing and support for younger people who are facing homelessness and are in ‘non-priority’ need.

What he says: "I was born in 1971, which I think makes me very early Generation X or a very late baby boomer.  I’m not sure that I’ve properly enjoyed the benefits of either state, but at any rate – in housing terms at least – I’m witness to the difficulties that Millennials face, and the inequality with their predecessors."

Mark Essex

Mark is a generation X-er, born in October 1976, making him part of the smallest UK birth cohort in the last one hundred years and one of only two years in which deaths exceeded births.

His career began in aerospace supply chains but he has spent ten years in strategy at KPMG working in almost all sectors helping clients understand the impact of their decisions. He now applies that experience to understanding public policy and the opportunities it provides for business and government clients. Mark uses critical thinking, an analytical approach and a focus on the customer to come at questions from a different angle. He has published thoughts on a broad range of topics, the common theme being how public policy challenges can be addressed by applying disruptive thinking.

His output includes: “Brexit: How would business vote”, “Reimagine Care”, “The Future of the Grocer”, “A strategy for feeding families”, and “Reimagine Home Ownership” in which Mark shares his take on one of the most important issues of intergenerational fairness.

David McLeman

David McLeman is CEO and founder of Ancoris. David has an extensive background in enterprise IT infrastructure and internet services having held senior management positions with pioneering companies across the last three generations of IT; the open systems era with Sequent Computer Systems (now IBM) and the internet era with Netstore plc, the first British Software-as-a-Service company to be quoted on the London Stock Exchange in 2004 and now at Ancoris, an award-winning cloud services provider and one of the leading Google Cloud Premier Partners in the UK.

What he says: “As a Baby Boomer, born in 1961, I recognise that my generation is now passing the baton onto the next generations. 50% of our employees are now Millennials; they bring dramatically different expectations of the workplace and a fundamentally different approach to teamwork and collaboration. Harnessing and supporting the energy and creativity of this generation has been key to our ability to help our clients with their own transformation into agile and digitally aware organisations fit for the challenges ahead.”

Gareth Hexter

Gareth is Group Director Resources at United Welsh. He has a background in finance and is a qualified coach with a passion for employee engagement and consultation. He is a former Board member of the Involvement and Participation Association, which seeks to raise performance through workforce engagement. He will be joined by several members of the project team. 

United Welsh recently carried out a project to modernise its working practices. It led to a number of innovative outcomes but perhaps more importantly it released the potential of its people at all levels throughout the organisation.

Who should attend?

  • All Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers and Millennials
  • Chief executives
  • Senior managers/executives
  • HR teams
  • Strategy/business transformation teams
  • Graduates
  • Training and development teams.
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Further information

Delegate fees:

Full price: £339.00 *
Members of any HQN network: £209.00 *
Member organisations can send their graduates and apprentices for only £150.00*
Early Bird: £289.00 *

* Please note that all prices are subject to standard VAT. Please call 0845 4747 004 for more information. Early bird ends Friday 22 December 2017. 

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