HPC Client Director, Fiona Claridge shares some views in advance of HPC’s sponsorship of the Irish Institute of Training & Development (IITD) Masterclass, // Leading Learning in a Changed World – Wednesday 1st December 2021.


New York Times best-selling author Daniel Pink and Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic – author, entrepreneur and Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and Columbia University will lead the IITD Masterclass with two keynote presentations. Fiona Claridge will join Elaine McGleenan (Director, Learning and Organisational Development at KPMG) and Aidan Lawrence (Learning and Organisation Development Director at Hewlett-Packard) to discuss the main themes of the masterclass.


In preparation for some of these themes, we caught up with Fiona for her views on the following three questions:


How has the last 20 months impacted the world of work?


This is a big question with such a broad response. We have experienced a level of change in a space of months that otherwise may have taken years, propelling us forward in terms of new concepts and approaches. I think of the phrase “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen” – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.


We digitalised overnight and changed our ways of working without lengthy discussions. Everything just happened and we all got on with it. Does that mean it was all done correctly? Probably not. In many instances we reacted to the situation we were in: remote working. We didn’t change how we organised work or what we expected from employees; it was an invasion of people’s homes!


We now have a huge opportunity as HR and L&D Professionals, and we must become much more deliberate in our approach. The last 20 months has earned us a seat at the ‘top table’ like never before and we need to take opportunity of the gains we’ve made to lead our organisations and answer fundamental questions such as: Where is our organisation going?; What capabilities are needed to get there?; “How do we push our boundaries?” and “Why are doing what we are doing?”


What do these changes mean for leaders and leadership?


Thankfully core fundamentals around leadership were already high on many agendas pre-Covid. There was a focus on terms like vulnerability, agility, stamina, human-centric, coaching and purpose-led. What the last 20 months has meant for leaders is that they need to live the ‘case study’ and learn how to implement the behaviours identified as successful within their organisation, in the real world. There was no practice run it had to be done in the here and now. The values and mission of the organisation were no longer just words on the wall; leaders had to demonstrate them in a genuine way.


How do we encourage leaders to prioritise new behaviours and new ways of working?


I attended a very interesting client event recently where senior stakeholders encouraged leaders to rollout their own team’s flexible hybrid working approach. Autonomy at its best. These leaders approached the task with an amazing amount of agility and openness as they explored a number of angles to create their new approach. Our role was to help these leaders to fully explore every other angle possible to get their hybrid working approach completely right – creative thinking to push boundaries and explore all possibilities that they may not have considered for their teams.


I firmly believe that all leaders need to be given a facilitated forum to learn from each other (successes and mistakes), share knowledge, explore new ways of thinking and continue to instil the levels of trust they’ve built up in their teams. As well as this, they need to keep reiterating the importance of focusing on collective team results and keep clearly communicating purpose.



Fiona Claridge’s role as Client Director within HPC is to partner with organisations to shape bespoke solutions that achieve impactful results. 


She works in partnership with clients across a diverse range of industry sectors and offers a deep understanding of how ever-changing business needs impact how HPC’s work adds value at a strategic level.


Before joining HPC, Fiona gained consulting experience across many aspects of Talent Development Assessment in global Tech, Pharma and Professional Services organisations including Manpower and Aon as well as niche start-ups such as Own The Room and cut-e.

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