This is how I spent my first day embracing the new world of work at my first CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition.
A little different? Most definitely. But as Peter Cheese quoted “may you live in interesting times”.
There are major events and trends occurring all over the world which impact the businesses in which we work today and yet, consider what was occurring 70 years ago when the CIPD first formed. In 1947, the CIPD had 2,500 members, today 145,000. Those members are dealing with constant change, a shift in the dynamics of which we live and work; the gig economy, AI, flex-working, access to data, how we perform, how we are managed. The one constant, we all (mostly) want to help develop better work. We all strive for a better working life.
So, what did I learn today?
I learned that we are still talking about, and monitoring, time and attendance. Where is the trust?
I heard and saw language used during speaker sessions and exhibitors such as Human Capital Management, Workforce, Resources, Asset, Talent and “Pale, Male and Stale”. Eurgh. We are people, people. And many are not blokes, either.
Thankfully, these were the only two aspects of my first day at ACE which made me cringe. Surely, it’s time we did something about this? In fact, scrap that. It is definitely time to move that stuff from 1947 to 2017.
Really exceptional stuff today. Welcomed by Peter Cheese, CEO of CIPD who shared with us the overview for the next two days; 32 conference sessions, 5 live streams and more people attending this one event than were members 70 years ago. 4000 people from over 30 countries. This is the biggy. Peter invites us to be a part of the transformation of our profession and the best way to predict the future is to help create it.
But, how do we create a safe environment from which to develop our future? Peter suggests that we should “give people voice, offer skills, develop, provide a safe place where people can be themselves and understand where you (org) are going”.
How do we see our profession in the future though?
We heard from Peter today that we need to be:
What does that mean in practice? The profession needs confidence to challenge and engage, build skills for the future (when we know what that is), understand how technology affects our workplaces.
How will that look? Same as today but with a new shiny label? Will we have evolved, learned, applied, developed, stayed relevant? There will always be a need for people people. As good as AI is, and is becoming, it will never have heart. How are we creating good work? Shape the future for people and create jobs, culture and leadership.
The opening keynote by Martha Lane Fox was inspiring. Martha set up lastminute.com at a time when the internet wasn’t a thing. Who thought it would last? A detailed blog on Martha’s keynote can be found here, thanks to Ian Pettigrew and his wizardry blogging skills.
Martha told us to stay on top of change, continually, be in sales mode, make stuff accessible for your customers and be bold. Take a punt when people aren’t clear on what the future will look like.
In addition, do not recruit your own shadow. Fill your organisation with people who are a bit more spikey, some you’ll like, some you won’t, and build your high-performing team, your high-performing board. This is never about one superstar who will make your organisation successful.
Martha had top tips for us:
- Inclusion – are we building tech to include most people? Forget the bots coming for your jobs, if we used all of the tech available to us today, we could do 50% more stuff, and better than bots.
- Data – take it back. Who has heard of the search engine Duck Duck Go? Exactly. They have no data on you. They do not track you!
- A rally cry regarding the gender balance in tech. There are more women in the House of Lords than in tech and with 600,000 jobs in tech across the globe, it’s time to change and help it grow in a more inclusive way.
- Even if you don’t work in tech, you will be affected by it. Do more to get more skilled. This will be the slowest point of the future. It will only get fast. Think about that.
The sessions which followed were ace, and you can catch up on them here.
A final quote which resonated with me from Siobhan Sheridan who was part of the panel talking about moral and ethical approach to HR (my standout session from today, btw)
“We do what we know until we know better. When we know better, we must do better”
I’ve met brilliant exhibitors, tweeps IRL and had an unexpected Retrak re-union. Awesome Craig, who flew in from Dubai, saved Kate, Katrina and I when we got stranded on the way to Uganda last year. I say stranded, Craig and Amanda opened their home to us and we drank Gin in his pool. Adjacent are the perfect humans Amy Cammidge and Ian Pettigrew (fellow blogsquadder) who were part of Team #ConnectingHRAfrica in Uganda last year.
Thank you, everyone, for making my first ACE very special X