Just a few weeks to go until the CIPD’s Festival of Work (12-13 June, Olympia) and I’m looking at the programme and planning which sessions to attend.

The event is an amalgamation of the previous L&D, HR Software and Recruitment shows, in recognition of the way technology is now affecting all aspects of our working lives.

If you’re planning on going to the main conference, you’ll be able to take your pick from a line-up of over 160 speakers, ranging from former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov to RSA CEO Matthew Taylor.

I’ll be spending most of my time in the exhibition hall, where there are no less than 75 free learning sessions across four themed stages, as well as 300 plus exhibitors (including of course Cezanne HR, on stand D68).

These are some of the sessions that have grabbed my attention:


Risks and Benefits of AI in the workplace
As an HR journalist, I’m increasingly finding myself writing about how Artificial Intelligence will impact the future workforce, so I’ll be heading over to this session being run by the University of Leicester. They’ll be looking at the pros and cons and highlighting some of the applications and tools now being used to support decision-making within HR (11.45am, L&D stage).

How to develop leaders to become truly collaborative
Getting people to collaborate is never as easy as it sounds. Organisations say that connectedness and knowledge-sharing is what they want, but leadership behaviour often gets in the way and can even undermine collaborative efforts. This session from Roffey Park looks at the barriers and what is needed to change the dynamic. (12.45pm, Talent, Skills and Capabilities stage).

The Smartphone: A source of workplace distraction or development?
I do love a listicle – so am drawn to this session which promises to tell me ’10 ways your mobile phone can facilitate professional development’. The folks at CIPD will explain how phones can transform lives by giving us connectivity and access to a wealth of knowledge and information. (2.45pm, L&D stage).


Memorable learning for LEGOLAND Windsor’s people
Ah LEGOLAND, scene of many school holiday trips and tantrums – and also the subject of a case study on day two of the festival. The company’s L&D manager will look at the strategies the business employs to improve retention of seasonal staff and will explain how collaborative working with the wider organisation has helped to combat what is a costly and time-consuming issue. (10am, L&D stage)

How game-based learning can help you develop your future talent
This session by Thinking Focus promises to unveil the secret to creating successfully game-based learning. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get hands-on, but they will be demonstrating a practical gameplay session, based on an everyday business scenario. (10.30, Talent, Skills and Capabilities stage)

How well is your well-being?
Well-being is a hot topic right now, so I’m planning to head to this session being run by Myers Briggs. Based on the results of a global research project, they’ll be looking at how to measure well-being, what affects it, the role of personality and how to improve it in individuals and organisations. (2.15pm, Future of Work stage).

If that’s not enough, you can also swing by the CIPD stand (D80) where there will be a series of 20 minute presentations on topics ranging from team engagement and flexible working to the menopause and Brexit. You never know, you might also bump into me at one of the speed networking sessions.

And of course, don’t forget to drop by the Cezanne HR stand (D68), where you can book a demo, see the system in action and find out how it can take the cost and complexity out of your people processes. Should you need any further persuasion to come and say hello, I’ll just mention that there will be free Italian ice cream.

Erika Lucas author image

Erika Lucas

Writer and Communications Consultant

Erika Lucas is a writer and communications consultant with a special interest in HR, leadership, management and personal development. Her career has spanned journalism and PR, with previous roles in regional press, BBC Radio, PR consultancy, charities and business schools.