CIPD 2016 Shaping the Future: looking ahead to the annual conference

This year’s CIPD annual conference and exhibition (November 9-10) coalesces with significant dates and unprecedented times. Ruth Holmes looks at the likely highlights of the sold-out conference ahead of its opening day.

CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition
It is apt the first day of the professional body for HR and people development's annual conference and exhibition in Manchester – Wednesday 9 November – coincides with publication of Sir Philip Hamilton and Dame Helen Alexander’s Women on Boards review.While full details are yet to be confirmed, some reports suggest the independent business-led panel is expected to propose raising the target from a quarter to a third for female representation in the most senior executive jobs at FTSE100 companies. This complements a similar objective for all FTSE350 companies to have women hold a third of board positions in the same timeframe.On the international front, the victor in the increasingly close and divisive US presidential election should also be evident at least by the close of first day, if not before.Domestically, the ongoing negotiation, behind-the-scenes bargaining and democratic discord being played out in parliament about the judiciary’s apparent intervention in the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit, and the implications for the UK's workforce are also front of mind for conference-goers and speakers alike.These are indeed interesting times, and those HR has a role in responding to in a way that upholds and improves the quality of working life and business practices.

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HR’s role in responding to turbulent times

It is to these themes and issues – leadership, diversity and inclusion and how HR can support the creation of good jobs,  fulfilling work and effective organisations – the professional body for HR and people development’s chief executive Peter Cheese will likely speak in his opening address tomorrow in Manchester.Building on the launch last year of its Profession for the Future framework, Best to Good Practice HR: developing the principles, the CIPD this year is again pressing forward with this wider agenda to improve and champion better work and working lives.Alongside its members and other business organisations it is partnering with, such as Engage for Success and The Future of Work is Human, the CIPD is part of what it regards as a wider movement for better business.

CIPD conference opening and keynote speeches

Mr Cheese, whose opening speech is to be streamed live on the CIPD’s website, will be followed by this year's keynote speaker, Margaret Heffernan.Entrepreneur, CEO and author Ms Heffernan is expected to encourage HR to continue to work collegiately, connect and break down barriers by building social capital and adaptive businesses.In this era of uncertainty and the need for new ideas and a change of approach, Ms Heffernan will set out with an exploration of what makes companies successful, and the changes HR and individuals can make to build social capital in organisations.Building on these ideas, attendees over the CIPD's two-day conference and exhibition will hear well over 50 speakers deliver workshops, presentations and seminars on exactly how they can borrow practice that works along five key themes:
  • HR essentials – Expanding the capabilities and value of your HR function
  • Future of work and business insights – how technology and business change are transforming work and working lives
  • Science of human behaviour – Understanding motivations and behaviours to increase performance and productivity
  • Organisation effectiveness and change – how organisations are implementing change successfully and developing individual and organisational change capability
  • Performance and talent management – people and practice in twenty-first-century work – what organisations are doing to create a sustainable, successful business
Apprenticeships, the latest approaches to talent and performance management, and diversity and inclusion will also be under the spotlight.

Global mobility and the CIPD conference

For global mobility and international HR professionals, some of the sessions again this year have specific interest and relevance. Siti Aishah Md Lassim, Talent Corporate Malaysia, will speak on inclusive talent management approaches, Graham Salisbury from the Tony Blair Africa Initiative will talk about the six core competencies of HR business partners in the international context, and global head of HR systems at Aberdeen Asset Management, Nigel Rogers, will address the role of techology in driving performance.
This year’s endnote speech also promises to be a treat for our sector. Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD, Gianpiero Petriglieri, will tie up the key themes from the two-day conference to close proceedings with a look at mobility, success and the role of HR in creating trustworthy leadership.With faith in business and leaders at critical levels – and the impact this has socially and across national borders – Professor Petriglieri’s summation promises to inspire the profession to take up the challenges and opportunities to redress the imbalance.Re:locate’s team will be present across the two days reporting on all the news as it happens, and bringing you insights from the conference platforms, interviews with speakers and wisdom from the exhibition hall. Follow us via @relocatemag, #cipdACE16 and our Facebook page.

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