Alastair Campbell, Texthelp

Takeaways from HRD Summit 2018

In February, we attended the HRD Summit 2018 conference in Birmingham, England.  Having successfully presented on neurodiversity, we used our stand and other sessions to learn and share ideas with HR representatives from other organisations. We’ve gathered together our key takeaways.


Do you put people in your ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups without thinking? This was a question asked by Candice Cross, Group Head of Diversity from BT. Unconscious bias is a common thing, but it can navigate itself into the workplace. Advertising and digital targeting is a very good example of this - and this judgement can have negative consequences. 

Organisations must be much more diverse. Inclusivity can drive business results.

Paula Coughlan, Chief People Strategy Officer from McDonalds reiterates the importance of inclusivity and the need for it to be authentic. To empower their customers, they need to empower their employees - to create ‘feel good moments’ for everyone. 

With all the news coverage of the gender pay gap at the moment, it's important to not forget about other fundamental groups - including disabled consumers and employees. Do you have the support in place to support and encourage all of these groups. 


Inclusivity can be achieved, if organisations can empower and encourage independence. Consider this for a moment - if someone with a literacy disability cannot understand the content on your website, would they consider applying for a job? If they are not provided with the right support tools at this stage, do you think they will feel empowered if they were an employee? 

Organisations are decades behind in implementing a successful Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy - according to Alex Tullet from Capita and Paul Vallance from Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

By educating and creating awareness through their ongoing strategies, they want to ensure they treat ‘people with respect’ and indeed, improve productivity within the organisation. 

Now is the time to consider processes inside and out. Create a whole organisation approach - and empower people from consumers and potential recruitment talent and provide that inclusive support from within. 

From our experience, you may find that productivity will increase and sickness absence can be reduced. 


Digital within organisations is key. Inclusion and empowerment can be achieved through the right technology. 

Technology can train staff before being placed in front of real time customers, they can update schedules and control how they do things - giving them the confidence and freedom to grow and develop. McDonalds are using Snapchat to give applicants a chance to share their personality before an interview. 

A key phrase that they shared - that resonated with us is, ‘create feel good moments for customers via digital tools for staff’. 

Overall, the HRD Summit enabled us as an organisation, and other attendees to share knowledge and learn about some best practice HR strategies. And we hope we have shared some of these in this blog. 

If you would like any further information from our neurodiversity lightning talk or any other topic touched on in this blog, feel free to contact us. Send us a quick email via


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