Embrace at CIPD ACE

I’m thrilled to have been asked to be part of the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition Blogsquad for the third year running, and am really looking forward to attending it in November. Here’s why.

The annual conference and exhibition, this year known simply as #cipdACE17, has for a long while been the highlight of my professional year. I make every effort to get there and haven’t missed one since 2003. For me, no other event comes close in terms of the potential learning opportunities for an HR professional, nor the networking and connecting activities.

Once again it’s being held in Manchester, and the city and the event have really grown into each other in recent years. The event now makes much more use of Manchester as a venue than it ever did, as witnessed by the growing number of fringe events and social activities on the mornings and evenings around the event itself. This is a good thing and makes it feel quite special.

For the third year running I’ll be part of the Blogsquad, which is great, along with other more talented bloggers. I’d be going anyway and I’d also be blogging anyway as that’s a key way for me to learn and get my thoughts together, so for CIPD to recognise this and ask me to do it from within the tent is awesome.

I’ll be sharing content from the conference and exhibition on social media, and capturing my thoughts in more detail in my blog. Both of these I’d do anyway, and many many people do and will here too. Social media is a great way to engage with an event and really feel a part of it, so I encourage you to follow and use the hashtag #cipdACE17

The days, for blogsquadders, tend to be quite long and, to many peoples surprise, tiring but it is an effort to try to manage ones own learning as well as sharing relevant content for others and trying to be in several places at once. It’s a great opportunity for me, and almost every attendee, to catch up with people we’ve not seen for ages, connect with potential new suppliers and customers, make new contacts, and hear from the very pinnacle of the profession about what they are doing.

And this year is no exception. The theme this year is Embracing the New World of Work, and I fully expect to hear Peter Cheese tell us when he opens the event that there really is no better time to work in HR. The conference had a similar theme last year, only last year it was future focused and the implication this year is that what was once tomorrow’s world, is now here.

Last year I talked a lot about the need to personalise the world of work, and the rise in technology and AI is helping us to think this through and look at new possibilities but I don’t think we’ve done more than scratch the surface so far, so it will be interesting to hear from practitioners and academics who have done more.

A running theme in my writing is about asking employees how we can structure work, and structure contracts, to get the best from them. I know how employers can get the best from me, but how often do we in HR ask others? I’m hoping to hear from some who have at the conference.

The conference and exhibition normally get the balance about right with practitioners who’ve pioneered something new, academics who are researching what’s coming, and exhibitors who are offering a new solution, sometimes to a problem you didn’t know you had.

I’m expecting more of the same.

Check out the full programme HERE, and I’d be interested to hear what you are particularly interested in or any specific thing you’d like me to try to find out and share.

If you’re an exhibitor, then I’d repeat my advice from last year and encourage you to engage with the Blogsquad on the various media and in person, and use the platform that social media at conferences gives you to reach out to delegates.

If you’re an attendee at the event, please hunt me down and say hello, there’s plenty of breaks and networking opportunities and it would be great to chat.

Above all though, enjoy yourselves!

Till next time…


PS a difficult time recently as one of my two 17 year old cats, Gizmo, became ill quite quickly and passed away. Having been with me since a 5 week old kitten I have found this hard to deal with. She had been with me through a lot and I miss her loads. 17 years is a good age for a cat and she had had a good life, but you kind of never think this final day will come and it’s a shock when it does. Her sister is lonely now and it’s weird just to have the one cat and not both. RIP.

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