HR Symposium 2022: Getting the Workplace Balance Right

HR Symposium 2022: Getting the Workplace Balance Right

HR Symposium 2022: Getting the Workplace Balance Right

It's been a torrid couple of years for HR professionals, as it has been for almost everyone else. As we approach the second anniversary of lockdown in Ireland and the UK, we consider the key issues facing workplaces in 2022. It doesn't really matter whether, like the majority of organisations, you've plumped for hybrid working as your model or you have gone for full-time office/workplace-based working or you have decided remote working is the way forward for your organisation - it's all about balance.

None of us works in a vacuum. We are all competing for a mobile, tech-savvy workforce. THEY will decide whether your working methods and conditions are right for them and will vote with their feet. In fact, they are already doing it – have any of us not experienced higher than usual staff turnover in the last few months?

  • If employees want to attend the workplace more often and that's what you offer, you'll be in balance.
  • If they want the freedom to work wherever they want and that's what you offer, then you'll be in balance.
  • If employees want to attend work sometimes but work remotely some/most of the time, then you'll be in balance.

But be warned - these three basic options mean you'll be competing with every other employer in relation to the working arrangements preferred by existing and potential staff. And there are myriad variations of hybrid working - not only a recipe for D&I heaven where it works but workplace dispute hell where it doesn't.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to all of the above options. In this symposium we bring you experts to discuss and explain those advantages and disadvantages, so that you can work out the best balance of options for your organisation and even for you as an individual HR professional.

Delegates can choose between:

Eversheds Sutherland’s Annual Review of Employment Law Refresher Session – Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland Updates

When & Where

This event will take place online on the Hopin platform between 9.15am and 4.00pm on the 31 March 2022.


Standard Rate: €195
Early Bird Rate: €145 (deadline 5pm on Friday 4 March 2022)

More about our online events platform Hopin

This event will be hosted on a browser based platform named Hopin.  We have provided some information below to assist you when accessing the event:-

  • If you are using a Laptop. PC or Apple Mac please use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers
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We understand that some IT policies may restrict the downloading of new browsers, please check and if this is the case you may have to use your own personal device to access the event.

If you would like further information regarding the above, please contact us at and we will be happy to discuss with you further.



Get to Know Us: Familiarise yourself with the functions of our online event platform to ensure you maximise return on your investment. Scott Alexander, Head of Learning & Development, Legal Island.


Meet the Chairs and Partners - Becky Jones, In-House Global Employment Counsel at Citco; and Julie Galbraith, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland.


Morning Panel Discussion

Caroline Hughes, Global Leadership & Talent Executive, and co-writer of today’s programme discusses how inclusion is a pre-cursor to wellbeing at work and, in the context of hybrid working, progressing your D&I is NOT optional. Your organisation is NOT balanced unless it considers equality, diversity and inclusion. On the panel are:

  • Sharmla Chetty, Chief Executive Officer, Duke CE, who ispassionate about achieving sustainable outcomes in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Gillian Harford, a senior HR Executive, former Head of HR Strategy & Planning with AIB, and also the Country Executive of the 30% Club Ireland, a global campaign supported by Board Chairs and CEOs of medium and large organisations, committed to achieving better gender balance at leadership levels and throughout their organisation, for better business outcomes.
  • Simon Fanshawe OBE is co-founder of Diversity by Design and works with clients to achieve significant change in diversity as a talent strategy to meet their business challenges; author of The Power of Difference; and one time co-founder of Stonewall. 


Time to Choose: Delegates now have a choice of employment law updates from our partners at Eversheds Sutherland. Stream one features a round-up of recent employment law changes affecting employers based in the Republic of Ireland. Stream two features a round-up of recent employment law changes affecting employers based in Northern Ireland


In Brief: Eversheds Sutherland’s Annual Review of Employment Law Refresher Session: Republic of Ireland Developments with Partner Julie Galbraith.

In this session, Julie will discuss recent employment law developments, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting contracts of employment in Ireland.

Takeaway: Key changes and top tips document on the big employment law developments you need to know for employers in the Republic of Ireland. NOTE: Delegates may choose their preferred jurisdiction live on the day and will receive a link to videos for both sessions after the event.



In Brief: Eversheds Sutherland’s Annual Review of Employment Law Refresher Session: Northern Ireland Developments with Partner Lisa Bryson.

In this session, Lisa will discuss recent employment law developments, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting contracts of employment in Northern Ireland and GB.

Takeaway: Key changes and top tips document on the big employment law developments you need to know for employers in the Northern Ireland and GB. NOTE: Delegates may choose their preferred jurisdiction live on the day and will receive a link to videos for both sessions after the event.





What’s coming up after the break

What’s coming up after the break


Break and Networking


A Choice of Topics: We welcome delegates back for a choice of two streams. Stream One focuses on how the post-lockdown world of work requires leaders and HR professionals to change psychologically if they wish to prosper in the new reality. Stream Two considers the impact of new technologies and how they are increasingly impacting on working and learning. Delegates will receive a link to videos for both streams after the event, so you will not miss out on any of the presentations, regardless of which you choose to watch live on the day.


Stream One: Our Need to Change in the New Working Environments

Stream Two: Beyond Hybrid - how Flexible Working can tackle current business challenges and comes with clear commercial benefits.


Evolving Leadership for the New Reality.

Orla Scott, coach and founder of Inner Compass, believes (like almost all of us?) that times have changed as a result of covid-19 and lockdown. Many of us are reassessing what we want for and from our lives and what's important to us. We don't want to go back to the old ways. We won't go back to the old ways. Orla believes that great leadership now more than ever needs to become more caring, more understanding, more human. Whether you are a senior executive, an HR professional or new employee, we all have a shared experience as a result of the pandemic. Leaders need to acknowledge that. Leaders need to show their own vulnerabilities. Leaders need to show they care, show they listen, show they want to listen. Otherwise, they won't have many people left to lead. HR professionals have to show the same qualities and help their organisation's leaders become more human. By showing their vulnerabilities, leaders show they care, show they listen, show they want to listen. Otherwise, they won't have many people left to lead. In her talk, Orla shares some practical tips and suggestions for increasing openness, trust and changing the leadership paradigm.




Flexibility, Trust and Culture.

Frustrated by a lack of senior-level part-time roles, Emma Stewart set up what is now the well recognised flexible working consultancy and jobsboard Timewise, helping employers design innovative solutions that attract talented, loyal people and create fair workplaces.

From the very beginnings, Timewise has been driven by a clear social mission; to ensure that everyone can find the flexibility they need in their careers, without reducing their value in the workplace. Over the past 16 years, Timewise have worked with policymakers and employers from large FTSE 100s to SMEs to help drive the debate about quality flexible jobs and action change. In this session, Co-Founder & Development Director Emma Stewart explains how encouraging more people who need to work flexibly into your workplace, will shape the labour markets of the future, develop a loyal and more equitable and diverse workforce and raise family living standards. But first, in order to attract, you need to have the right workplace framework and capabilities in place.





Comfort Break

Comfort Break


Psychological Safety and Proximity Bias - Why Hybrid Working Has Benefits and Drawbacks.

Most organisations will have to have some office location where employees can meet, share ideas and build a culture. Many new and younger employees recognise the benefits of learning alongside more experienced colleagues. It's much easier to find something out just by shouting across the office. You build friendships and better understanding when you go through things together. Working remotely full time will work for some organisations, but it won't work for most - at least, not for now. Therefore, some, perhaps many, employees will go back to the office at least some of the time. Most of the senior team will be back in the office. So, what will that mean for those other employees who might not be in so often? Proximity bias is the idea that employees with close physical proximity to their team and company leaders will be perceived as better workers and ultimately find more success in the workplace than their remote counterparts. Does that resonate with any women out there? Do any part-timers with caring responsibilities in the audience feel angry? Alan Lyons, Managing Partner at KinchLyons, explains why proximity bias happens, why it's unwise and discriminatory and, given that it will now impact on so many more employees than before in almost every organisation, how managers can counter its (largely negative) effects.

The Future and Changing Role of Learning and Development.

According to EdCast and the CIPD's survey of 2020, mobile learning has emerged as the top tech L&D trend, with 65% of the organisations already implementing it and 17% planning to implement it within the following year. We'll also see a massive increase in social learning, gamification, personalised learning experiences, and the use of AI. PwC estimates “VR training will contribute $294 billion to the global economy by 2030”. So, where will L&D be in, say, five years? What will you have to invest in now to stay ahead of the game? What is likely to give you the best return on investment? David Howell, freelance writer, journalist, content creator at Nexus Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of Silicon UK sets out your options and shows you some of the amazing advances that are already out there. And we hear from one of them…

David McCullough, co-founder of VRPark, shows you how an avatar and a virtual reality office can help maintain organisational culture and boost productivity and creativity.





Lunch and Networking


Digital Resilience in an Always-On World

Digital demands have increased dramatically since March 2020, leading to work productivity and employee turnover challenges.  We know that technology itself, if used mindfully, has extraordinary benefits.  Behaviour change consultancy UnPlug run evidence-based programmes to empower staff to develop Digital Resilience and support organisational change through Digital Culture.  These programmes help create work design for hybrid models which encourage higher-performing and happier staff leading to lower employee turnover and higher productivity.  In this engaging and interactive keynote, Chris Flack, Co-founder of UnPlug, guides you through key research, tools and techniques, providing simple, practical takeaways so that you and your employees may learn to boost the benefits and reduce the stress associated with workplace technology.




Break and Networking


The Great Resignation - How Your Organisation Can Turn the Big Attrition into the Big Attraction.

Derek Thompson, author and writer at The Atlantic has argued that a lasting effect of this pandemic will be a revolution in worker expectations. Almost every month in many western countries’ records are being broken for the number of workers who quit their job in a single month. The next month another record will be broken. And the next, or the one after that. A Randstad poll in Ireland published in November 2021 estimated that 24% of employees in Ireland expected to change their job in the following 6 months. This is described in the US as 'The Great Resignation'. The number of vacancies in the economy in recent months have also reached record levels in the UK and Ireland. Clearly, the pandemic, lockdown and WFH have re-set the economy and many people's outlook on what they really value in life. No organisation is immune to this massive turnover in staff. But can one person's poison be another person's meat? Trayc Keevans, Global FDI Director, Morgan McKinley analyses the reasons why people are moving employers and what it is they are seeking. In this way, Trayc argues, you can attract the best of this massive outwardly mobile talent pool.




Comfort Break


How to Build a Healthy Hybrid Working Culture: Top Tips on Fostering Employee Engagement, Collaboration and Happiness in the New Digital Hybrid Era.

As many organisations embrace a long-term hybrid working model, there is a danger that company culture – so often built through informal human interaction (across desks, in corridors, or by the tea station) – could be eroded. Building on discussions earlier in the day, our chair, Becky Jones sets out top tips for maintaining and building company culture. Becky is joined by Will Cronin, Head of Culture and Future of Work Programme at AIB, whose organisation has grappled with many of these issues since the first lockdown. Will sets out how AIB’s journey has evolved from the digital transformation required to enable remote workforce in response to the initial lockdown, into three key work streams – People, Property, Technology – enabled by a high engagement model to marry employee and business requirements.   Will shares lessons learned along the way, the importance of employee engagement and how their culture is evolving as they embrace a hybrid working model.


Q&A, Takeaways and Closing Remarks





"Platform for virtual event was super, speakers great and loved the home, informal, element!"
Hazel Dunne, HR Business Partner, Dublin Port

"Loved the content and the format. Would have attended all sessions if possible. Good to have the legal presentations focused on Northern Ireland and Republic."
Jean Murray, Head of Human Resources, Property Registration Authority

"Exceptionally well organised, the platform that was used was very user friendly."
Angela Smiddy, Owner, Insightful Works

"The event was managed impeccably. The key speakers were engaging and had such valuable information and insight. The questions were all answered so felt very personal even with it being virtual and the opportunity to network was invaluable."
Joan Gover, HR Manager, Sinomine Specialty Fluids

"Excellent content and presenters, very engaging. Liked that plenty of comfort breaks were included which helps in full day online events."
Liz Bromley, Head of HR & Quality, Cheshire Ireland


  • Scott Alexander
    Scott Alexander Head of Learning and Development
    Legal Island

    Scott Alexander joined the CIPD in 1987 and is a certified member of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland and a member of the Association for Coaching Ireland. Scott was appointed as a member of the Governing Body of Southern Regional College from 1 August 2015. Scott is also a mentor under the CO3 Mentoring Programme for chief officers in the 3rd sector and an HR Committee member for the Bruiser Touring Theatre Company. Scott has over 30 years’ experience in employment relations and employment law. He worked for the Labour Relations Agency in Northern Ireland for 14 years in a variety of roles, including collective and individual conciliation and enquiry point manager, before joining Legal Island as its Head of Learning and Development in January 2006.

  • Becky Jones
    Becky Jones In-House Global Employment Counsel

    Becky is In-House Global Employment Counsel at Citco. Becky’s primary objective in Citco to provide counsel to senior leaders on employment related legal issues, policies and procedures influenced by domestic and international employment legislation. As part of the CITCO’s HR team Becky has a global consultancy role, with responsibility for designing, coordinating and communicating the implementation of best in class employee relations practices across Citco offices.  She is also responsible for driving Diversity & Inclusion and best employment practices across the company.

    Previously Becky worked in FMCG as Legal Director, Compliance Officer and a member of senior management teams for Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland and also Regional Legal Counsel for Diageo Ireland providing practical commercial legal solutions for the entire business as well as pioneering new technological solutions and creating diversity and inclusion networks.  She is passionate about personal development and is a coach and mentor to a number of people.  She regularly speaks about D&I matters including mental health and resilience as well as providing training on a variety of legal topics.

  • Caroline Hughes
    Caroline Hughes CEO
    Conscious Leaders

    Caroline Hughes is a highly accomplished global talent and leadership executive and strong advocate of people development. She has specific capability in building and curating well-chosen professional development experiences and programmes to enable talent to progress within an organisation. Caroline is an experienced leader of global functions, having led both Global Leadership Development (teams in Dublin, Amsterdam, Atlanta) and global Inclusion and Diversity in CRH, Ireland’s largest PLC, a global building materials company with €27.7bn assets and 89,000 staff worldwide.

    Caroline has also held senior leadership roles and lead large-scale organisation transformation in Banking, Central Banking, and within the committee structure of the European Central Bank (ECB). She is well versed in organisation behaviour, people politics and how to navigate the variety of stakeholders needed to coalesce on a desired outcome.

  • Gillian Harford
    Gillian Harford Country Executive
    30% Club Ireland

    Gillian Harford is a senior HR Executive who works directly with client organisations focusing on diversity and workplace change.  Sponsored by EY she also operates as the Country Executive Ireland for the 30% Club, a global campaign supported by Chairs and CEOs driving gender balance on Boards and at cSuite.  Gillian is the former Head of HR Strategy & Planning with AIB where, with a career spanning almost 40 years, she was responsible for significant people change with particular focus on Culture, Career, Diversity and Agile Work. 

    Gillian holds a BA, an MBA from Michael Smurfit Business School UCD, and the Professional Diploma in Corporate Governance, UCD.   She is a member of the Institute of Directors, fellow of CIPD, and a fellow of the Institute of Bankers.  Gillian is also a member of the Board for the Central Remedial Clinic. 

  • Simon Fanshawe OBE
    Simon Fanshawe OBE Author of "The Power of Difference- where the complexities of diversity and inclusion meet practical solutions" (Published Dec 2021 by Kogan Page)
    Co-Founder Diversity by Design

    Simon Fanshawe OBE - co-founder of Diversity by Design and works with clients to achieve significant change in diversity as a talent strategy to meet their business challenges; author of The Power of Difference; one time co-founder of Stonewall. 

    He was awarded the OBE in 2013 for services to higher education. In the same year he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sussex for services to the University and equality and social justice.

  • Julie Galbraith
    Julie Galbraith Partner
    Eversheds Sutherland

    Julie is a Partner at Eversheds Sutherland who regularly advises clients on all aspects of the employment relationship from recruitment to termination. She works with public and private sector clients to draft employment contracts, service agreements and confidentiality agreements to best suit the needs of the organisation. 

  • Lisa Bryson
    Lisa Bryson Partner
    Eversheds Sutherland

    Lisa is a partner in the employment and immigration team of Eversheds Sutherland.  Lisa trained and qualified with Eversheds LLP (as was then) in Nottingham and London before moving back ‘home’ in 2009.  She has led the employment and immigration practice in Northern Ireland since re-joining the firm in 2017.

    Lisa has considerable experience of providing contentious and non-contentious employment law advice to private and public sector clients.   She specialises in restructuring and TUPE work, major change programmes, executive matters and severances and Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunal litigation.  Lisa is an experienced Tribunal advocate and has appeared in numerous hearings both in Northern Ireland and England.  Lisa advises clients across a broad range of sectors with a particular interest in the financial and professional services, retail, media and telecommunications, transport and logistics and manufacturing sectors.

  • Orla Scott
    Orla Scott Director
    Inner Compass

    Orla is an experienced Coach with over 18 years experience in Leadership Development, Team Dynamics, Resilience, Culture Transformation and Communication since 2013. Her specialist knowledge in Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP enhances her ability to support leaders and individuals in achieving excellent personal outcomes by understanding deeply held beliefs and behaviour patterns which are no longer serving them well. She is also a faculty member on the Organisational Change and Transformation Programme with Xenergie Consulting (accredited through Assoc of Coaching). One of her core specialist coaching areas over the last 5 years is centred on female leadership and she is involved in several female leadership focussed coaching programmes at present.

    Her most recent assignments are Team, Leadership and Performance programmes for client companies Health Services Executive, Boston Scientific, The Wheel, Google, NREC, Bord Gais, Failte Ireland, Central Bank of Ireland, Link Asset Services, DCU, Microsoft, Rehabcare,  Amazon, Royal College of Surgeons, St Vincent’s Hospital, Kerrygroup, Ornua, Amundi Asset Management and UCD. Orla specialises in facilitating a resilient mindset for leaders and managers across all sectors. As part of her work, she supports many one to one coaching client assignments across all business sectors.

  • Emma Stewart
    Emma Stewart Co-Founder & Development Director

    Emma is co-founder, previous CEO and now Development Director at Timewise, the UK’s flexible working experts. She works with businesses, thought leaders, policy makers and social reformers to stimulate a fairer flexible future of work. Her experience includes conducting research and creating innovative programmes for change, to delivering training and consultancy, spanning both the private and public sector.

    Emma is well known as a key opinion former, advisor and speaker on flexible work. She has contributed to numerous government taskforces, reports and initiatives. Emma has won numerous awards including ones for social enterprise and innovation from the Observer, Nesta and the Institute of Directors, amongst others.

    Prior to co-founding Timewise and before that, Women Like Us, Emma worked in a range of development roles across the private, civic society and social enterprise sectors and within documentary television.

  • Alan Lyons
    Alan Lyons Managing Partner

    Alan is a managing partner in KinchLyons – where psychology means business! He is a business psychologist and bestselling author who works internationally as a leadership coach, psychometrician, facilitator and keynote speaker. Alan is passionate about helping people to perform at their optimal level through leveraging emotional intelligence, clarifying purpose, disciplined execution and mental toughness. Building on the best positive psychology he created the acclaimed Solution Turbine™, a compelling framework that enables individual optimal functioning and unleashes leaders and their teams towards high performance. This is imperative as academic studies have shown that a positive mindset results in 31% higher levels of productivity. Alan is a chartered coaching psychologist and a founding member of the Society for Coaching Psychology.

  • David McCullough
    David McCullough Co-Founder

    David is an experienced business owner with an outstanding track record of success in sales management. A real passion for building teams, a disciplined sales professional, with a clear focus on business outcomes. Passionate leader with energy and drive to deliver success, and who ensures that fun, respect and an engaging culture are at the core of team values.

    In March 2021 David co-founded VRPark.  VRPark builds immersive 3D worlds for work, learning, and virtual events, enabling workforces to truly solve the challenges of remote collaboration through an immersive virtual reality-from virtually anywhere!

  • David Howell
    David Howell Editor-in-Chief
    Silicon UK

    David Howell is the Editor-in-Chief of Silicon UK. He is also a freelance writer, journalist, broadcaster and content creator helping enterprises communicate. His work over the past 30 years has appeared in the national press and a diverse range of business and technology publications.

  • Chris Flack
    Chris Flack Co-founder | Instructor at the Digital Wellness Institute

    UnPlug Co-Founder Chris Flack has over fifteen years in tech and organisational behaviour consulting. He has experienced many of the negative impacts of information overload and witnessed how information overload and an ‘always on’ culture have changed many people's lives.

    Chris also brings a wealth of international experience to UnPlug. Several career breaks in his corporate life allowed him to spend four years travelling and working in senior strategy roles for international aid organisations across four continents.

    Chris is accredited as an All-Stars Thought Leader, a lead teacher at the Digital Wellness Institute, and regularly speaks throughout Europe.

  • Trayc Keevans
    Trayc Keevans Global FDI Director
    Morgan McKinley

    Following an initial career in banking and finance - working in Bank of Ireland and Statestreet amongst others, Trayc has worked in recruitment for Morgan McKinley since 2006.


  • Will Cronin
    Will Cronin Director of Customer Experience

    As Director of Customer Experience Will is accountable for the development of a holistic customer experience strategy for AIB Group and leads the measurement of AIB’s customers’ experiences through a best in class Voice of Customer programme; developing strategies and interventions to remediate poor experiences’.

Early Bird Offer

Save up to €50

Event details


9.45am - 3.45pm


31 March 2022


Online - Hopin


Standard Rate: €195
Early Bird Rate: €145 (deadline 5pm on Friday 4 March 2022)