#CIPD13 – Celebrations and frustrations

So.

A long time ago my HR dept used to do ‘celebrations and frustrations’ each week. Everyone would send in an email listing their work/experiences and then this would be circulated to keep people updated.

What tended to happen, all too often, is that the busiest people didn’t find time to fill it in, felt they didn’t get appropriate recognition and got progressively grumpier. That is why HR is tough. Designing systems around people is complicated.

Anyway, I’m stealing the format to do a quick overview of #CIPD13. Most of the bloggers have written beautifully reflective pieces. Welcome to my bullet points

Celebrations

  • As a networking opportunity it was incredible. I went to Facebook today and I’m off to Innocent Drinks soon. These opportunities came as a direct result of the event.
  • My love of Dan Pink is well documented. I was lucky enough to see him twice during the conference and to take part in a Q+A with him. That was an exceptional opportunity and he genuinely engaged
  • I got to see an overview of the Crossrail project that really helped me reflect on how much work can mean to people
  • I dropped into plenty of the sessions in the main hall and enjoyed the variety and content. Great, short sessions
  • I got an hour with the CIPD CEO and then another hour with the Deputy CEO. They were open to challenge (which was good because I challenged) and the debate felt worthwhile. They listened. I realise this contact time was atypical of most delegates experience, so it feels important to note the time they gave to random people like me
  • The CIPD were very gracious in supporting the book – still available to buy.

I met some great people and shared in their energy and enthusiasm. That’s always the standout isn’t it…

Frustrations

  • The opening keynote was flat. It really disappointed me and felt slightly shallow and by the the book (and very ‘buy the book’). I’ve seen the speakers before and they were ten times better when I did. I would have far preferred to hear more from Peter on his thoughts about the profession
  • More CEOs or people who are ‘not HR’ would have been great. HR is business, more people from the broader business would have been useful.’My HR team did this and this is what it did’.
  • I agree with Sukh Pabial about the lack of diversity in the speakers
  • The hack update was great in terms of content from the hackers, but the whole process feels a bit slow and not action focused enough. The hack model is about design – real life is about implementation and momentum. A lot of people signed up for the Hack – I’m not sure how many have been retained
  • I heard some really closed thinking from people, including a horrible description of how different generations learn (‘older people just want to be talked at in classrooms’)
  • I heard some really risk averse responses to ideas. It’s seemed unless an idea comes gift wrapped people won’t run with it. How would that work in your organisation? Well, that is something you are paid to work out. I get that we need to manage risk, but we also are in the business of growth and that involves encouraging risk.
  • It would have been great for the main sessions to be more interactive. If we are updating on the hack then… let’s hack. Send people away to discuss Dan Pink – do things to involve the audience. One person speaking to several hundred has less benefit than hundreds exploring a concept. If a group of HR people designed an internal event it would never be this formulaic. More on the fringe, more interaction, more involvement, more commitment, more exploration = better results

A few notes to give context on the above.

  • As I tweeted and blogged for the CIPD I didn’t pay to enter the event. I’m probably biased and they did provide me with biscuits which increases the probability of this further
  • I’m not a member of the CIPD, I never have been. If I’ve been positive about them it’s due to them deserving it
  • I attended a range of events across the 2 days and thoroughly enjoyed the evenings
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2 thoughts on “#CIPD13 – Celebrations and frustrations

  1. Interesting blog. Really agree and had same reaction to comment heard (from another delegate) about how older people learn. Also wish many sessions had been more interactive and that attendance from CEOs, FDs, other people we work with had been greater. My CEO would have loved it.
    I am a CIPD member at my first conference, and made mistake of booking in too many sessions to get what I thought was VFM. Sounds like you were able to be much freer and spontaneous, which in turn gave you such great opportunities. Enjoy your trip to Innocent.

  2. Great blog. Many of us still processing and reflecting on what we heard, saw and did.
    I too was horrified by comment made by one delegate in how older people learn (I am touching ‘older’ and that’s definitely not me!)
    My mistake, as CIPD member, was to cram in too many sessions. Had a great experience too, but would have preferred more interaction and gaps in which to grab opportunities as you did. Next year!
    Enjoy trip to Innocent.

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