The CIPD, working with the University of Bristol, has launched a new podcast and thought piece series focused on responsible business and what that means in today’s world.

This new series, “Leading the way,” explores the key themes from the CIPD Responsible business through crisis 2022: Has COVID-19 changed leadership forever? in more depth, with influential leaders from across the UK.

The report concluded that the full impact of living and working through a pandemic – on individuals, society and businesses – remains ambiguous and that there is still “everything to play for” in building responsible businesses and a more equitable society.

We’ve worked with Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Dean of the University of Bristol Business School, to produce the series. Each month until November, we’ll release a podcast and thought piece that asks:

  • What does it mean to be a responsible business in a post-pandemic world?
  • Who owes what to whom? The evolution of the psychological contract
  • Beyond hybrid working: What does responsible HR look like?
  • What leading through the pandemic has taught us about trust.
  • Still everything to play for: Leading responsibly through crises to come. 

Each podcast and thought piece will feature an influential leader from organisations including Bank of England, BAE Systems, Severn Trent, Tate and Lyle and the University of Bristol.

To launch the series, Katie Jacobs, Senior Stakeholder Lead at the CIPD, and Veronica Hope Hailey spoke to Andrea Winfield, General Manager for HR, Western Europe at Microsoft about what it means for them to be a responsible business in a post-pandemic world.

“With all the challenges we face, responsible business is needed more than ever, and responsible leadership is needed more than ever”.

Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, University of Bristol

For Microsoft, the future of responsible business is about creating an integrated ecosystem for the good of humanity

Some ways they are doing this include:

  • A continued commitment to transparency. During the pandemic, transparency became one of the essential leadership principles. And now, post-pandemic it is even more important that this continues as employees have high expectations that their organisation plays a vital role in solving some of the world's toughest challenges.
  • Partnerships are key, particularly in the moments that really matter. At the height of the pandemic,  they partnered with organisations in education and government to strengthen digital infrastructure for key workers and provided skills training to people on furlough.  Being a responsible business means building digital skills in communities in a sustainable way, partnering for the long-term and not just throwing money at the problem in times of crisis.
  • Taking a balanced approach to leadership. This is particularly important with the current speed of AI development and how organisations assess the risk and opportunities that new technology brings. Organisations are responsible for designing and deploying technology that serves the long-term resilience of their organisation and its people. 

“Transparency became one of the key leadership principles that were essential for surviving the pandemic era. And you can't take back that transparency once you've led with it.” 

Andrea Winfield, Microsoft

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About the CIPD

At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.