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Reflection on CIPD Festival of Work

Updated: Jan 13



I’ll admit that when ‘Festival of Work’ was launched, I was excited. A festival celebrating all things work related? The Glastonbury of the workplace. Genius.


Now that the festival has finished for the first year, it seems like a great time to reflect on the event and the learning from the show.


There have been some common themes this year. Many of the people we spoke to were at pivotal stages in their learning journeys. Some concerned that they weren’t giving their people enough around change, lots of people recognising the importance of an outstanding induction experience, and again the challenges faced by first time managers. The other thing that really struck a chord with me – the amount of people new in their roles. It’s great to see so much movement when the outlook is unsettled and uncertain. In fact, Brexit really didn’t factor into our conversations at all – other than an acknowledgement that there are some people challenges that remain unsolved.


All of the conversations had something in common. There was a huge shift in thinking from organisations where e-learning has been used like a blanket. They are now looking at more effective use of a variety of approaches, with a big return to the human connection (great news for us). There is genuine interest in making learning human again, and we had plenty of conversations giving some free advice and exploring how we would approach a client project.



The future of work was billed as being human – so to prove that point, we had dogs! I think everyone from Acceler8 HQ went to visit the dogs to make a new friend. It’s great to see the benefits of bringing your dog to work. We already do, and Bo is very much part of our team, albeit that he manages the office from his bed and his toy box. It was great to see the work they had put in to get their four-legged friends ready for the noisy environment of Olympia too. Thumbs up from us.


So, what else did we look at during our two days? Asides from a very large gin and tonic at the end of each day, we met some first time exhibitors and some long standing names too. What really stuck out for me is just how friendly our sector is. We all appreciate that we do something ever so slightly differently to those around us, and potential clients gravitate towards those that suit their own styles most.



Our ‘Work-Glasto’ kit has all been packed away for another year and we are now starting the hard work in following up the great conversations we had and trying to catch up with those that missed. We offered a free managing change pack to everyone that registered with us at the event – if you missed that do let us know, we would be happy to share that with you.


I’d love to hear your thoughts too! What are your key takeaways from the festival?

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