The CIPD hosted its 70th annual conference and exhibition last week in Manchester. The CIPD conference is the largest HR event in the UK and attracts over 4000 attendees each year. The theme this year was all about embracing the new world of work and focussed on the major shifts that are currently affecting organisations, the HR profession and the world of work.

It was a busy two days packed full of inspiring and thought-provoking speeches from an array of experienced professionals. We learned a lot but here are our 4 main takeaway points from the CIPD Conference:

The edges between Marketing and HR are blurring

HR and recruitment professionals need to be marketers in order to attract the right talent. Jane Graham, Resource Manager at Wiltshire Council, explained that in order for her team to source relevant candidates they needed to learn new skills and develop a recruitment strategy which included:

  • Rethinking their Employer Value Proposition
  • Developing an integrated advertising campaign which focussed more on social media and less on traditional media
  • Creating new brand collateral which had clear brand messaging
  • Analysing their efforts in order to understand what is working and what isn’t
  • Engaging with candidates and employees and gaining their insight

A quote which really resonated with us was, ‘it’s all about the brand, it’s not all about HR.’

HR all about the brand - by Simon Heath
HR all about the brand – illustrated by Simon Heath
The difference between Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion is being talked about a lot at the moment, and in a slightly different way than we’re used to. But how would you describe the difference between the two? It’s a trickier question than it originally sounds but Huma Qazi, international HR & culture consultant said it well:

Diversity & Inclusivity

“If you don’t have the right collaborative spirit, and are not using it to your competitive advantage, you are going to lose out,” she said.

Digital is not a choice!

Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of lastminute.com and board member at Twitter, stated in her opening keynote that digital is happening to us and businesses have to adapt.

Checklist for a successful digital future
Martha’s checklist for a successful digital future
  • Be inclusive. Are you reaching the widest possible talent and including the most people with the tech available today?
  • Take control of your data and how you can use tech to harness your data and make informed decisions.
  • Challenge perceptions on who could be included. Diversify your workforce by reaching more.
We need to be offering flexible working

Flexible working doesn’t just refer to working from home, it’s allowing flexibility for childcare and adultcare commitments. The main barrier to flexible working is line manager’s perceptions, which links directly to diversity. By not offering flexible working you are essentially excluding people with commitments that prevent them from working a traditional 9-5. Some employers are cottoning on to the benefit of being more flexible with staff, focussing on the quantity of work that is produced, rather than the hours that it is done between. Obviously, there are limitations to how companies can facilitate this flexibility, but it’s notable that companies who offer this have better retention rates and have access to a larger talent pool.

We thoroughly enjoyed the conference and the opportunity to learn more about industry trends. We’ll definitely be putting everything we heard to great use in future.