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People, London, Bridge, Tate


It’s one of the most rewarding things I do.

Having spent three years leading the HR team and people agenda for Macmillan Cancer Support I followed my dream and set up my coaching, facilitation & consulting business in August 2013.

I am so pleased to be able to say that I continue to work with Macmillan in a couple of different ways: I coach people there and I collaborate with their brilliant Work & Cancer team. The latter includes my leading/facilitating training sessions on the topic with employers, HR teams, CIPD groups and Trades Unions. I meet a wide range of interesting people – in organisations including some with which I probably would not otherwise have the chance to work.

I am quite sure that there is little more important for employers to be grappling with right now – and the reaction to the sessions I/we run confirm how relevant the work is.

So firstly all power and success to the Work & Cancer team at Macmillan. They are great people doing a first class job.

And I’d like to share a few headlines which hopefully will make you sit up and take note:

*One in two of us in the UK are likely to have a personal cancer diagnosis at some point in our life
*By 2030 there will be roughly 4 million people in the UK living with cancer
*A rising number of people are surviving and living beyond cancer – many of them with on-going side effects
*This will include people in your workforce – or who will join your workforce
*They have the full protection of UK employment law for life – that is for life – and therefore you are obliged to consider and make reasonable adjustments to help them return to and succeed in the workplace
*Unlike many other long-term conditions most cancers are not exacerbated by a return to work – and that return can in fact be beneficial for the person concerned in many different ways
*There is also a huge and increasing number of people who are carers – who also have rights. Do you even know how many carers there are in your workforce?

So if you want to do the right thing for your employees for moral reasons – because it is the right thing to do – then what’s stopping you focusing on this agenda?

If you won’t or can’t do it for moral reasons then I would argue there is a business case for so doing – in terms of employee retention, employee engagement, morale etc. And if that isn’t a good enough reason – well it’s time to make sure you are fully aware of the relevant employment laws.

If you haven’t managed a situation with a work colleague who is living with or beyond cancer, or who is caring for someone who is, then I guarantee you will if you manage people or are an HR professional.

So what thought are you giving to this? How adept is your and your organisation’s response? Is it on your Board’s agenda? If not, why not?

In employee relations terms what is more important?

(For more information have a look at http://www.macmillan.org.uk/atwork or follow the team on Twitter @workandcancer )