12 Things Not to Miss at the CIPD Festival of Work 2019

Next month, over 7,000 HR and business professionals will flock to London, Olympia for the CIPD Festival of Work 2019.

The event is an amalgamation of three conferences: the Learning and Development show, the HR Software and Recruitment show and the brand-new Future of Work show. With over 160 speakers from across the globe taking to the nine stages, with five types of talk format, the conference is an unmissable event jam-packed with learning and networking opportunities - but where to start?

There is an extensive programme across six streams depending on the professional focus, but in a bid to avoid disappointment or wandering aimlessly between stages, we have pulled together a suggested agenda of sessions not to be missed across all streams.


Day One - Wednesday 12 June


Opening keynote: ‘The future of work is human – where machine intelligence ends and human creativity begins’

Delivered by Russian chess master and best-selling author, Garry Kasparov.

One of the greatest chess players of all time, Garry Kasparov ranked world No.1 from 1986 until his retirement in 2005. He was the first world champion to be beaten by a machine during the famous 1997 six-game match with the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. Since then he has leveraged his personal experience with AI to become a pioneering thought-leader on the critical partnership between humans and machine intelligence.



Panel discussion: ‘Good work and the future of jobs in a changing economic landscape’

Panellists Garry Kasparov, Director General, CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, Assistant General Secretary, British Trade Union Congress Paul Nowak, Chief Economic Adviser, Centre for Economics and Business Research, Vicky Pryce, CEO Royal Society of Arts, Matthew Taylor and chaired by CIPD CEO Peter Cheese. 

Are we heading to a less secure economic landscape and a more precarious future of work? What’s the role of organisations and governments in ensuring a balance between disappearing jobs, new roles and reskilling? What are the key principles of good work and people empowerment that will enable organisations to thrive? Join this panel of prominent experts to find out how to make the future of work human and successful for all.



Expert masterclass: ‘The future of leadership development – empowering leaders and managers to succeed in an AI world’

Delivered by Global L&D Business Partner at Google, Aimee O’Malley.

As work is increasingly driven by technology, what is required of leaders and managers is also changing. Join this insightful expert masterclass to learn how to:

  • Equip leaders and managers with the skills to thrive in a technology-driven environment
  • Design and implement successful development programmes to support people globally
  • Provide effective resources to encourage adaptability and continuous development



Case study: ‘The implications of flexible and remote working – finding a balance to enhance performance’

Delivered by Head of People and Organisational Development, Scottish Natural Heritage Lynda Thomson and Head of Policy, Product, Wellbeing and Governance, RBS, Helen Honeyman.

Join this session to hear practical examples of creating a flexible and remote working culture. This will include:

  • Understanding the pros and cons of flexible and remote working for people and organisations
  • How flexible working can affect people interaction, performance and engagement at work
  • How flexible and remote working will support future workplaces



Lightning talks: ‘The art of engagement – motivating a multigenerational workforce to enhance productivity’

Speakers: Chief Energy Officer, PTHR, Perry Timms, Head of Employee Engagement, Govia Thameslink Railway, Michelle Clark, People Director, Black Sheep Coffee, Marco Reick and Director Employee Proposition & Experience, John Lewis.

Workplace dynamics are complex to understand and manage – even more so when five different generations are present in the same office. How can we navigate the similarities and differences to engage different demographics? This session will teach you how to:

  • Understand what motivates different demographics to enhance your engagement strategy
  • Increase productivity and performance by tailoring your engagement approach to each demographic
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration for increased engagement and knowledge sharing



Case study: ‘Exploring the future workplace – the application of AI and how it changes the way we work’

Speakers: Head of AI and Machine Learning, M&G Prudential, Priyank Patwa and Chief Executive, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Andrew Grant.

AI is already transforming workplaces where it is being applied. This session will feature practical case-study examples of organisations that are already making headway with AI at work. Join, to explore:

  • Different applications of artificial intelligence in the work environment
  • What the future workplace will look like and how AI will change the way we work
  • How AI will support employees to increase productivity and engagement



Festival on the Roof: the Festival of Work after party is an informal opportunity to come together to enjoy and celebrate the community. Everyone is invited - just show your Festival of Work badge at the door.

Pergola, Level Five Rooftop, Olympia Car Park, Olympia Way, Kensington, W14 8UX


Day Two - Thursday 13 June


Interactive panel: ‘Well-being and mental health in a digital workplace – reducing digital stress to increase productivity’

Speakers: Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, Emma Mamo, Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School, Professor Sir Cary Cooper and Head of Wellbeing and Future-proofing at British Land, Matthew Webster.

Join this panel of experts as they discuss the pains and gains of the “always-connected” culture and provide you with practical tips on how to:

  • Reduce digital stress to foster healthier and more productive work environments
  • Managing the impact of digitalisation on employees’ physical well-being and mental health
  • The steps to reduce digital overload and create healthier organisations



Interactive panel: ‘Solving the productivity conundrum – can the new era of technology solve the UK’s output puzzle?’

Speakers: CEO, NHS Employers, Danny Mortimer, Chief Technologist, Siemens, Alan Norbury, Economics Editor, The FT, Chirs Giles, Chief Exec, Watford Community Housing Trust, Tina Barnard and Director and Founder, Academy of Ideas, Claire Fox

Following the 2008 financial crisis, the UK’s productivity has decreased to become one of the worst-ranking among countries in advanced economies. What does this mean in practice for organisations and business leaders? Join this interactive panel of experts to explore:

  • Counteracting the factors contributing to the decline in productivity growth
  • Investing in skill development and technology to increase organisational productivity
  • The role of business leaders in driving productivity and boosting business outcomes



Lightning talks: ‘Successful onboarding – supporting and engaging new talent to increase retention’

Speakers: HR Director, Heineken, Njabulo Mashigo, Head of Learning Strategy & Development, Santander, Robert Ashcroft, Group Head of Learning at Domestic & General, Melanie Lepine and VP of Talent, Change and D&I, King, Anju Sethi.

Getting onboarding right is critical to ensure long-term engagement, better retention and higher productivity. This series of insightful lightning talks will explore:

  • Enhancing the onboarding experience of new employees to increase engagement and retention
  • Shifting away from traditional inductions to provide useful insights and memorable experiences
  • Leveraging technology and existing talent to increase the quality of the experience



Case study: ‘Standing out in the future job market – enhancing your employer brand in the age of social reviews’

Speakers: Global Recruitment Marketing Manager, Mars, Alex Horner, Head of Talent Acquisition at Ryanair, Mark Duffy and Global Employer Reputation and Recruitment Marketing Director, Mars, Kelly Marek Bartkiewicz.

With the rise of social media and online review platforms, employees can now share their thoughts instantly. Join this session to hear practical case studies on how organisations have reshaped their employer brands and learn how to:

  • Rethink your value proposition to cater to the new needs of the workforce
  • Position yourself as an innovative and attractive employer to attract the best talent
  • Embracing employee feedback and reviews to enhance your people practices



Closing keynote: ‘The renaissance of our species – discovering the integration between humans and machines’. Delivered by Co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation, Neil Harbisson

Neil Harbisson is the world’s first official cyborg, celebrated artist and cyborg activist – who has used cybernetics to overcome his colour blindness. The antenna implanted in his skull not only allows him to perceive colours that other humans can see, but also those that are outside human vision such as infrared and ultraviolet.

The talk will focus on how we can merge with machines to increase our own potential, our creativity and how this will forever transform work.


Don’t forget to take a wander around the exhibition halls between the conference speakers. If you fancy a giggle, make your way over to the People First stand (D54) - we’ll be the ones donning the bright pink t-shirts! - for a go on our giant pin art installation, and walk away with a photo of what work looks like in the shape of you.

You can book your conference pass for CIPD Festival of Work 2019 here. 



Ashleigh Soppet - https://people-first.com/

Ashleigh is the Social Media Specialist at People First and one of the organisers of DisruptHR Nottingham.

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