WOF morning coffee talks

By Vicky Holdsworth, Founding Partner of WOF and Marketing Director at ProFinda.

As the second in our series of WOF morning coffee talks, this morning we sat down with WOF influencer - Garry Turner to discuss all things future of work and what he expects from the workforce of the future network.  


1. Tell us a bit about yourself?

Having worked in international sales and product management roles since 2004, firstly for a start-up independent chemical distribution company and then with a now, global €2bn corporation, I have become deeply passionate about the current and future state of work. In my role leading teams and ensuring cross functional knowledge sharing, I had always been passionate about coaching, people development and continuous improvement.

4 years ago, I was given the opportunity with a ‘blank sheet’ to introduce a range of interventions that I felt would add value to our business. Over the years I’d seen too many organisations, across sectors and markets, operate a fear-based 19th/ 20th Century command and control structure. This inspired me to make some changes.

I took to studying first my level 5 certificate in L&D and then my level 7 award in Organisation Design & Development before rolling out our company’s in-house L&D programme covering 16 modules, fully led, tailored and delivered by internal colleagues. Over the last 3 years, the programme has embedded annual staff surveys, improved performance development processes and a range of other high performance work initiatives. 

2. Tell me about your general view on networks?

I feel networks, when used effectively and with a clear desired outcome, are immensely powerful.

If I look at where I obtain 70% + of my personal development, it comes via my networks. Whether that be a virtual Personal Learning Network #PLN such as Twitter, LinkedIn and more recently the WOF network or whether that networking comes from attending events such as FDM Groups Hackathon, CIPD branch events and others, networks offer one of the richest and most diverse learning opportunities that exist.

I also feel that networks exist to help challenge our way of thinking, build new contacts and connections and provide a platform for experimentation and innovation.

3. What is the WOF network?

The Workforce of the Future (WOF) network is focused on bringing together people from a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds and experience, predominantly on a referral basis, to challenge current ways of working, collaborating and developing improved alternatives for the future. By new network members being referred, the likelihood of regular, insightful, value adding contributions is much improved when compared with a lot of the generic LinkedIn groups for example where the noise and traffic can become overbearing at times.

On 26th September 2017, I attended our first WOF network virtual event 'Make Meaningful Work'. It was such a bonus to see, discuss and debate with other WOF champions face to face - after a couple of months of forum based conversations in the WOF virtual network platform (ProFinda). Since the meeting I have met with a number of the other event attendees, one of which introduced me to a trust who will be working with me on a project I'm running around #breakingbias (a crowd-sourcing project to help educate and balance newborn and adolescent bias).

These intros and help on my project, for me, represent why the WOF is such an awesome, truly powerful and collaborative network.  

4. How do you envisage the WOF network will impact your work/ your business?

The WOF network will be helpful in terms of sense-checking ideas and innovations. A place for the cross pollination of ideas and discussion, I am confident, will offer a deeper and richer context of thought which will add weight to strategy CREATION/promotion.  Finally I truly believe and hope that the network will open itself up to support and reinforce WOF messaging at any organisation that requires such support, especially via virtual means i.e. if I needed thought leadership support around a topic such as diversity & inclusion, someone from the network would be willing to support WOF discussions around this.

5. What impact do you expect it’ll have on other members?

I fully expect and have seen this already, to:

  • have my views and ideas challenged (constructively)
  • to share openly sources of learning and interest
  • participate in impactful conversations that lead to actionable insight
  • to offer event organisation opportunities