I’m on the final countdown to Friday and Saturday’s CIPD Northern Area Partnership (NAP) Conference 2016 in York (#CIPDNAP16 for the Twitterers) and there’s one question that seems to be on everyone’s mind, whether they’re attending the conference or not: what’s in it for me?
The big issue of the day (the Ten O’clock News is on in the background as I type) is undoubtedly whether or not the UK will leave the European Union, which I have to admit has become known by a term I initially thought was so ridiculous that it would never catch on: “Brexit”. Whether Brexit becomes a footnote to the year, chuckled about in the same way the Millennium Bug became instantly risible early on 01.01.2000, or a pivotal moment in 21st century UK politics will be decided on 23 June. But the key question that seems likely to influence how most of us vote is “what’s in it for me?”
The same is true (somewhat tenuous link alert) of what makes an amazing workplace, one of the themes that we will be discussing at the NAP Conference. The deciding factor as to whether or not you find a workplace amazing is really “what’s in it for me?” Without giving away too much of what I’m intending to say in my 10 minute Ignite slot, different people value different things, er, differently – just like in the Brexit debate.
I somewhat cynically re-tweeted this story from Personnel Today about the alleged demise of email earlier this week:
It was particularly ironic as – like most people I know – my inbox has been overflowing for weeks on end. I seem to read about quite a few issues that are allegedly going to revolutionise the world of work which leave me scratching my head thinking “I’m not seeing that – is it just me?” Well apparently not. A bit like the whole “Coffice” concept – OK, I may have sent the odd work email from a station coffee shop when travelling, but that’s about it. And I work for a pretty liberal, flexible employer. I’ll lay good money that there’s more chance of me being able to work out of a Costa all day than the vast majority of the UK’s workers. But I don’t. So all this chatter about revolutionising the world of work – I’m pretty sure most people who read this stuff wonder what’s in it for them.
Another question where I’m asking “what’s in it for me?” is on the subject of conferences itself. I’ve heard a number of people say that NAP is their favourite conference of the year. I’m not sure I go to enough to have a favourite but I’m looking forward to it all the same. I’m hoping to come away with some new thinking or at least a challenge to my existing thinking.
I’m definitely looking forward to delivering my third Ignite. I’ve done one “proper” one (5 minutes, 20 slides) and one of the longer format (10 minutes, 20 slides), which my co-Igniter at NAP Gary Cookson calls Ignite-Max. I find speaking at conferences does change my perception of them – I’ve always liked to feel involved rather than just present at things: I like to have a purpose. I’m looking forward to hearing what my co-Igniters say and debating the concept of the amazing workplace. I’m hoping to have a beer or two in the evening with some friends and make some new ones along the way. I’m also looking forward to sharing some of the stuff that happens during the conference because I enjoy doing that and I find it enhances my own learning when I have to try to pick out the nuggets that I think others might want to hear through the backchannel. So that’s what’s in it for me (potentially).
But I’d like to turn the question round and end this blog on the reverse – what’s in it for you. Or rather, how can I help you find out what’s in it for you? I’ve live blogged, live tweeted and Periscoped conferences in the past. I’ve seen a few people suggesting they are frankly a wee bit jaded with the “photo of the Powerpoint and a brief comment” style of Twitter conference sharing – although I think that will remain the staple for live tweeting simply because of the way the medium lends itself to it. But what can I do to help those of you not going to CIPD NAP to engage or get the most out of it? Answers on a – no, not a postcard, this is 2016 – tweet please.