CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition preview

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Annual Conference and Exhibition will take place in Harrogate from 16-18 September.

The usual variety of high-calibre speakers, combined with a range of new seminar formats, including smaller interactive discussion groups and industry insights, will provide views and solutions on the issues affecting people management professionals globally. Next door will be Europe’s biggest HR exhibition, with almost 300 organisations on hand to offer practical advice and solutions.

Keynote speeches

Four high-profile HR directors from national and global organisations will deliver a keynote address at this year’s show. David Smith from Asda, Liane Hornsey from Google, Alex Wilson from BT and Satish Pradhan from Tata & Sons will be interviewed by Jon Snow from Channel 4 News on the strategies that enable HR to sit at the heart of business.

The decline in the UK’s economic growth and the impact on business is a central theme of the keynote address: ‘Surviving and Thriving Through Turbulence: Views on the 17 September’. Carolyn McCall, chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, and David Robinson, chairman from Richer Sounds, will share their experiences of building and sustaining success in challenging times.


Several masterclasses will also offer practical guidance on how to survive the economic downturn. In ‘Leading Through Turbulence: The power of courageous leaders’, author and entrepreneur Octavius Black will talk about the seven key mindsets needed to build resilience across the top tiers of your organisation.

In ‘How to Get Engaged at Work: Developing successful leaders and cultures’, Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe, professor of leadership from the University of Bradford School of Management, will explain how to develop leadership and cultures that enhance employee output.

In addition, Fru Hazlitt, chief executive of GCap Media, will explore how HR practitioners can identify and embrace future opportunities for their organisation.

Case studies

A line-up of industry gurus and thought leaders will be delivering presentations, workshops and interactive Q&A sessions where delegates can get under the skin of the major HR issues facing businesses today. Case studies include: Coca-Cola Company, Prudential, Virgin Mobile, the BBC, Cancer Research UK, and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Case study presentations include:

  • Performance management – Stephen Sidebottom, head of HR Europe at finance giant Nomura International, and Stephen Moir, director of people and policy at Cambridgeshire County Council, reveal their performance management strategies.
  • Employer branding: delivering a sustainable proposition – Richard Roberts, head of peopleteam at Virgin Mobile, and Stephen Kelly, director of people at the BBC, will offer tips on providing a competitive edge through creating a winning culture.
  • Strategic talent management – Scott Hobbs, head of talent at construction firm Amey, and Matthew Guthridge and Emily Lawson, from consultancy McKinsey and Company, discuss the challenges of putting talent at the top of the business agenda.

Panel discussions

These discussions will see experts exchanging views and allow delegates to share their own thoughts on key topics. The CIPD’s chief economist John Philpott and employment minister Stephen Timms will take part in a discussion on the state of the global economy and its impact on the UK’s labour market.

In a separate seminar, former politician Michael Portillo will facilitate a discussion on the concept of ‘smart working’, which is increasingly being used to build autonomy and self-control among individuals, teams and organisations.

Interactive seminars

This year’s conference also introduces two new seminar formats: interactive seminars and industry insights. These are designed to give delegates a more interactive experience and cover topics ranging from engaging and retaining your people, harnessing the potential of new technologies, and building effective partnerships with unions.

CIPD chief executive Jackie Orme says the CIPD Annual Conference is the biggest and best opportunity for HR professionals, consultants and line managers to share the latest innovative ideas and thinking.

“We’ve got a great selection of speakers, from thought leaders to HR professionals from some of the world’s best known and most successful organisations,” she said.

“Anyone involved in the management and development of people can be sure of coming away with fresh insights and practical solutions for their own workplace.”

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