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The future of OD and research at Roffey Park Institute

We have a tendency to try and predict the future of OD but we can never be certain of what that looks like. What we do know is that people belong at the heart of the process but this has been dramatically challenged during the post-Covid world. Supply chains have been disrupted and the energy and cost of living crises are creating havoc on organisations’ bottom lines and insecurity amongst their people. Furthermore, priorities have shifted and remote and hybrid working has become the norm. People are demanding more freedom over the way they work and are becoming less afraid of moving on. Consequently, retaining and attracting talent is becoming more and more difficult.

What does this mean for the future of the workplace? Organisations need to find an answer to the seemingly never-ending cycle of change in order to generate growth and foster a positive working culture which is profitable and sustainable. We must accept that the future of OD will be uncertain, ambiguous and sometimes even messy, but there is no better time than the now to begin the rethink.

That is why Roffey Park Institute has decided to lead and facilitate the latest conversations in OD, what it means to you and what it means to your organisations. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Roffey Park Institute’s Masters in People and Organisational Development, Roffey Park will be running a highly anticipated OD Conference on 26-27th October 2023, with all profits to be invested into the Val Hammond Fund.

Reigniting The Val Hammond Fund

As an educational charity, our research aims to challenge perspectives and practices to enable people and organisations to realise their potential. Dedicated to embodying this charitable purpose, the Val Hammond Fund was established by its namesake and former Roffey Park CEO and Chair. It was agreed that a percentage of Roffey Park Institute’s annual surplus will go into the fund, and it could only be used for extraordinary projects. Historically, it has been used to fund research projects, both internal and external.

Perhaps the fund’s greatest known legacy is Roffey Park Institute’s Research Competition. Participants would send in research papers on a topic of their choosing and a team of judges selected a winner who would receive a cash prize from the Val Hammond Fund and the chance for their paper to be published by Roffey Park Institute and wider media. Gervase Bush was a previous winner of the competition with his paper ‘Where OD Thrives’ and is to be a keynote speaker at our upcoming OD Conference. The Val Hammond Fund cements Roffey Park’s commitment to applied management research by expanding the diversity and reach of thinking aimed at improving the world of work.

Anyone can apply for use of the fund, but the work must contribute to Roffey Park’s reputation as a research institution, it must be in service of Roffey Park’s charitable objectives, and it must generate new knowledge or insights. The work is encouraged to be separate from Roffey Park Institute’s own research efforts. Significantly, the Val Hammond Fund has lay dormant during the harsh years of covid. However, Roffey Park aims to re-establish it as a significant research initiative with all profits made from the conference to be invested back into the fund, for the sustainable future of invaluable research.

Current Roffey Park Institute CEO, Dr Arlene Egan, explained how delighted she was to see the fund reinstated. “The Val Hammond Fund is a real and lived example of Roffey Park’s purpose and values. Looking back to when the research and training institute was founded in 1946, with the charitable objective to conduct research on the world of work and share it back to society. It is a credit to everyone involved that we are still able to dedicate resources to research over 75 years later. As well as appreciating the history and heritage of Roffey Park Institute, it is important to look to the now and the future and the OD conference acts as an excellent opportunity to sustain the efforts of research by donating all profits to the Val Hammond Fund.”

Find out more about Roffey Park Institute’s OD Conference.

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