After a packed day at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition (Day 1), DP thought we’d do a quick round-up for any of you who couldn’t make it this year. Let’s just say, you missed out…

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Top 5 Themes

1.       Leadership issues are a key deterrent to retention

In the CIPD’s presentation of their recent Employee Outlook Survey (Autumn 2015), a worrying trend was revealed: scores have dropped across the board for attitudes to senior and line managers. The biggest issues were clarity of vision, lack of consultation, and micromanagement. In other words, managers are in desperate need of leadership training to avoid losing valuable employees.

 2.       Diversity of thought

As the Discovery blogs recently discussed, diversity of thought is a key element of any successful 21st century business; something which was strongly echoed in the Women on Boards talk. We need to move past surface-level diversity and change the systems and processes which prevent a diverse workplace. (Also met CIPD’s Dianah Worman, bit of a nerdy fangirl moment!)

 3.        Neuroscience confusion

The use of neuroscience continues to be a hot topic in HR (and rightly so!), but there seems to be a lot of confusion about exactly how it is used. More explanation for us non-scientists is definitely needed as these techniques become ever-more important.

 4.       Humanising the workplace should be a top priority

No more best practice – recruitment, performance management, and everything in between should be founded on people. After all, without people, there would be no business. This is an issue Discovery has believed in for a long time, so it was fantastic to see it as the topic of CIPD CEO Peter Cheese’s opening address.

 5.       Wellbeing is a key ingredient for success

Working too long hours leads to lower productivity long term, and people who have good psychological wellbeing are significantly more productive. It’s something all businesses know in theory, but how is it implemented in reality? According to Professor Cary Cooper, badly! We may be living in the 21st century, but there’s clearly still a long way to go when it comes to workplace wellbeing.

Top 5 Stats

  1. Only 2 in 5 UK employees are working at peak performance.
  2. 20% of UK employees are actively looking for a new job.
  3. 46% of employees feel they receive limited information from line managers on what is happening in the wider company.
  4. In 2010, at the start of the Davies Review, there were only 5 female CEOs of FTSE 100 companies; in 2015, this number has not changed.
  5. 26% of 18-24 year olds are dissatisfied with their jobs.

A few favourites

Best talk: A tie between the insightful Women on Boards talk (but of course) and Tree of Knowledge’s memorable and active session on positive performance.


Best stand: For sheer eye-catching sparkliness and an eye-boggling stress ball gift, it has to be Omnio, but there was a definite soft spot for the CIPD stand, with its great design and huge amounts of complimentary research papers. What can we say – glitter and free research is clearly the way to our heart…

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Best gift: Acacia Learning’s mini plant pots with acacia seeds and soil pellets inside – spot-on marketing (and currently decorating several desks in the Discovery office).


Quote of the day: “Be a sponge – and encourage others to be a sponge too”- Sir Clive Woodward, discussing the importance of constant learning and development.

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That’s all for 2015, but come along next year, and you might just see Discovery up there presenting!

Written by Florence Sturt-Hammond