Reflections on #cipdACE16

I’ve spent the last two days at the CIPD annual conference as part of the blogsquad.  The theme this year was ‘Shaping the Future of Work’.

Future was the word of the event.  The future of learning, of technology, of jobs and skills.  The future of work.  Of leadership. The responses and the preparations we need to make.  Making meaning of the trends and the possibilities.

My reflections from the event……

As I’ve already said in an earlier post, and indeed was echoed by some of the speakers, the future isn’t all that easy to predict.  We can try, but as Margaret Heffernan noted in the opening keynote, the lifetime of a business plan now is around two years now.  There is stuff that can be said to be known, and far too much that is unknown to make planning any further out unreliable.

Predictions we can make? There will be more technology.  Much more.  Still increased computing power.  AI.  Automation. Robots. More self employment / gig economy type stuff. Social media will continue to rise and rise.  The consumer experience, the working experience, the way we live our daily lives will continue to change.

And stay the same.

For the technology will be adopted at different paces, for both individuals and organisations alike. You know the curve.  And even with all the technology that we will have available to us, for all the changes we may see in the labour market, work is essentially, and will remain, a human endeavour.  It is people stuff.  It is also, as noted by the closing keynote speaker Gianpiero Petriglieri, it is how we define ourselves.

During the event I was asked by the folks at DPG what HR can do to help shape the future of work.

My answer? Whilst we can and should embrace the technology that is both available right now and will come along in due course, we must remember that first and foremost we are about people. A key role for HR, today and tomorrow, is helping our organisations and people navigate the future, whatever it looks like.  Learn the skills, adapt and respond.  Because we all know what happens to those that cannot.

It is important for us as HR professionals to think about and prepare for the future of work.  This is how we make ourselves and our organisations capable of surviving and thriving, today and tomorrow. But it goes without saying we need to pay attention to the now too.  Because there is much that needs to be done today in the world of work.

One of the sessions I attended during the conference was around the principles that the CIPD are developing for our profession.  During the session we talked about how work should be a force for good – but often it is not.

Our challenge in HR is the future, but it is also the now.

Better work, better working lives.  Today and tomorrow.

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