May 2, 2017 in My thoughts

Looking forward to #socialHRmcr – CIPD Manchester Unconference & AGM 2017

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On 3rd May 2017, a load of us will be gathering together to spend the day together for the CIPD Manchester Unconference & AGM and I wanted to share some thoughts on what I’m excited about and what worries me.


I’m excited about the 5-minute Ignite talks that kick off the day. I’ll be doing one, but I’m really looking forward to hearing Vanessa Jackson (who heads up the HR division of Adam Recruitment) speak as she shares a fascinating perspective on the world of HR. And, if you heard Gary Cookson‘s now-infamous Ignite talk at the CIPD NAP conference then you missed the best Ignite talk I’ve ever seen in my life; Gary will be premiering his new Ignite talk about work-life balance. My expectations of Gary’s Ignite talk are stratospheric and I know I won’t be disappointed!


I’m excited about spending a day learning with/from others. My default position is that I work really hard and, a bit hypocritically, I’m not always good at carving out time to think. But I do my best thinking with others, so the opportunity to identify the topics we want to talk about and then spend time working together on them (that’s what an Unconference is!) really appeals to me.


I’m excited about spending time taking about things that matter to me; In particular, I’m hoping that some people want to talk about social action. I really enjoyed the CIPD Conference on Taking Social Action and I’d love to spend some time working with people on practical ideas for how we further this.


I’m excited about (lightly) facilitating the day; it only requires some very gentle facilitation for the day to be  really valuable for people, as the video feedback from the first Social HR Manchester (that focused a bit more on social media) shows:



However, I’m worried that Unconferences only appeal to a subset of the HR population as they are perceived to be a bit of a ‘hippy’ thing. And I worry that we miss the dissenting voices as they don’t attend Unconfernces. So, if you’re a grumpy and dissenting voice, I’ll be welcoming you with open arms! The biggest challenge (and advantage!) of an Unconference is that the quality of the learning depends on the attendees, so  we need a broad range of views to make events like this work.


So, that’s what I’m looking forward to at the CIPD Manchester Unconference & AGM (and what I’m worried about!).

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