Friday 8 November 2013

CIPD 2013 Review



The CIPD’s 2013 annual conference has been a great event - well organised and thought provoking.  See my live posts from the conference (links at bottom of post) and I’ll be following up with more on the CIPD’s new framework, HR as data science and external reporting over the next few weeks.

Here are ten, mainly positive, comments on the conference:

  • Peter Cheese is clearly having a big impact on the CIPD.  I tend to believe that a CEO”s impact on an organisation is often overstated, but Peter provides an example of how transformative a good (or bad) new CEO can be.  (I’d be careful not to overdo this though - do Peter and CIPD staff need to introduce each session for example?)
  • A lot of new stuff was being presented, particularly new research from the CIPD - see the above.  I disagree with a lot of it, but am pleased to see it taking place.  (I’d like to see it being formed by rather than imposed on the membership though.)
  • There was a great buzz throughout the conference and exhibition and I thought the reduced number of concurrent sessions probably helped this.
  • The speakers were generally very good and got me thinking (eg about the living wage) which isn’t always the case at conferences.
  • The free exhibition was good and the exhibition sessions added a lot of value to those visiting just this, which is important as this is organised by our professional institute.
  • The changes in work, the workforce and workplace provided a good context for the conference (though I don’t think classifying each session within these three categories worked.  And if we’re going to focus on the workplace, let’s get someone in who knows about workplace design - Nigel Oseland and / or Neil Usher would provide a good point to start.)  I’d like to see the CIPD do more to communicate the extent of change HR is going through at the moment - I still don’t think this is well understood by many members.
  • It was great to see yet more conversation on social media, and more visibility for this too, including on the conference app.  (The back channel screens should have been up throughout the conference though, not just making an appearance for 30 seconds before sessions in the main auditorium.  The tweets on the couple of display screens were too small to read.  And let’s get rid of all the slide print outs and put these on the app as well.)
  • Two days was good - I’ve changed my mind on this.  I do think it’s reduced the conferences sole remaining differentiation (post the community focus in Harrogate) versus other events but this is probably a good trade-off to get the additional buzz.
  • It was great to hear that the CIPD wants to involve the substantial proportion of its members who work as consultants.  (I’ve still not seen much happen to support this yet though - and o think Kenexa / IBM had too big a role in the conference - although…
  • It was great to see no sign what so ever of Bridge!  Has Peter achieved my fifth objective for him too???


Thanks to the press team for having me there to tweet and blog.  I hope you don’t mind that a fair bit of my blogging and tweeting was quite critical - but I stand by position that disagreement is a positive aspect of engagement - apathy is the opposite of engagement, not disagreement.  And I believe my blogging and in particular my tweeting will have helped get the CIPD’s agenda to a much broader group of people than if I hadn’t been there.

And hopefully this post evens things up!  Next for a bit more constructive criticism! (sorry)...


My other posts from the conference:


  • Consulting - Research - Speaking - Training - Writing
  • Strategy - Talent - Engagement - Change and OD
  • Contact me to create more value for your business
  • jon [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


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