CIPD15 – Reflections on day one

I’m a great believer in that meme that says “outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens“. So for that reason I found myself approaching my blogsquad duties in a very different way today and also combining blogging with speaking…

I opted not to do the usual live blogging but to leave that in the extremely capable hands of my Blogsquad colleagues. I decided instead to record experiences of the conference through other people’s eyes and to experiment with a live broadcasting app, Periscope. I knew I could save the content from the app (which disappears after 24 hours) and upload it to YouTube, which is what I have done at the end of day 1. You can see all of my videos on my CIPD15 homepage here.

I’ve now had a bit of time to reflect on the first day – so here’s a “proper” blog too!

I was really pleased to have been involved with the Students’ Conference the day before and it as interesting to see that a lot of similar themes have come up at both. Firstly, I’m glad that we seem to have moved on from “VUCA” as a catch-all description of the environment at the moment. I always felt that was a rather lazy way of absolving ourselves of any responsibility for what was happening: “Yeah, but it’s all VUCA mate, what can you do?”.

It was great to hear it confirmed once again that people are at the forefront of everyone’s thinking – as they should be. It was even better to hear that we are being relieved of the false god of best practice. And one of my major bugbears about the modern working world which I call the “tyranny of email”, also got a namecheck in the keynote from Professor Sir Cary Cooper. We are undoubtedly in a really complex period with major issues highlighted today in whichever aspect of the classic business PESTLE analysis that you care to consider. But, as Peter Cheese mentioned in his opening remarks, we are still, to some extent at least, the authors of our own destiny. We create the environment. The robots will only take over our jobs if we let them.

I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the conference and recording my Periscope videos. There was undoubtedly a mix of optimism and pessimism on display from people I spoke to about HR, where we are heading and how successful we will be – as you’d expect if you took a cross-section of any conference I’m sure. Overall though, there was lots of good humour on display as usual.

My speaking session was at the end of the day and we had a lively debate using a format based on the Ignite concept – although we had 10 minutes and 10 slides which automatically advanced every 1 minute. Again, this was very much out of my comfort zone as I’ve never done anything like that before. I think the session went well. Various people complimented me on the energy and the different “vibe” to many of the other sessions. That was something we consciously wanted to create, so it was great feedback. The content seemed to generate plenty of discussions that were still ongoing as I left the exhibition hall to check in at home.

As always, a day at the CIPD conference has been tiring but equally inspiring. This year I’ve focused more on the people than the content but I still take away a great pride in HR and HR people. We’re not a bad bunch you know –  despite the hard time we – and others – give ourselves. Hope to see you on day 2.

Image stolen from Martyn Dicker (@MartynDicker)