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It’s been an exciting year here at Symposium towers. We booked over 1000 delegates onto our conferences and training events, while expanding our staff at the same time. I’m actually one of the new guys, so as a Christmas gift to you I’ve put together the top seven blogs of the year, as voted by you with your faithful clicks. Let’s see what made you go “hmmm, interesting” this year.

1. How can the physical working environment impact employees’ morale, health and wellbeing?

In this explorative piece, Symposium blogging regular Marion Beauregard asks whether the physical environment around you can affect your performance and wellbeing at work. In my last office we had yellow prints of space invaders on the walls, which I suppose made me feel techie-r? Marion sets out two environments – one good, one bad – and asks which one sounds the more pleasant to work in. Question is, which one does your office represent? Read the full piece to find out.

2. Don’t blame the Ulrich model

This one was penned by Symposium consultant and trainer Jon Ingham in the run-up to our Successful HR Business Partnering Summit in November. He discusses the “(in)famous three legged stool” of Ulrich’s HR business partner model and how organisations struggle to implement it.

“It’s completely nuts! The idea that you can just take any organisational model and just apply it to a particular organisation,” he says. 

3. Happy, healthy and here!

Sporting probably the most boundingly optimistic article title of the year, this one sees Ann McCracken pick apart a survey on employee absenteeism – something that all HR managers want to convert to ‘presenteeism’. 

4. How do you know if you are a business partner?

Jon Ingham strikes again with this informative piece. He gives three tips for the challenging process of business partnering.

5. The ageing global workforce

Number five in the list comes from Stewart Allanson, UK distribution manager for Zurich’s International Corporate Savings Plans. Closely linked to improved mortality is the growing trend for people to remain in employment beyond retirement age. Stewart discusses the resultant demographic changes and their likely impact on companies and the benefits they provide for their employees.

6. The importance of active line management

It’s quite a claim to make, but Kate Russell in this blog says how “there is no more important managerial relationship at a workplace than that of an employee and line manager.” Today’s managers are overworked and overstretched though, so how can this all-important relationship be maintained in the face of mounting external pressure? 

7. Best practices in the workplace for new parents

Last, but by no means least, in this list is a blog from Catherine Muirden, HR Director for Early Careers in the Retail Bank at Barclays. She outlines Barclays’ HR approach towards new parents.

We hope you enjoy the blogs and have a very pleasant festive period.