The first day of the CIPD annual conference did not start well for me. By 6.30am I had already laddered my last pair of tights and was having trouble doing up my suitcase. And have you tried squashing a suitcase and securing a zip while wearing a short suit dress? It's not elegant.
After a pleasant trip to Manchester by train I walked across to the Manchester Central venue, where the conference was held for the first time last year, droping my suitcase-on-wheels several times into potholes along the way (more points for elegance then). It is a great venue and the exhibition space is an old railway station, complete with station clock. It is impressive. By now I had my trademark red heels on and was ready to take on the HR world. I took some twitpics for the Twitter stream around the exhibtion, including this one of Robert Wagner from DPG. They seemed to be having a good day.
Although perhaps not as much fun as the finger puppet people, Computershare vouchers.
The toast of the exhibition has been the CIPD ACE (ACE = Annual Conference and Exhibition) Interactive. There have been some fascinating talks and presentations on social media and various other interactive seminars - I'm hoping to make it to some today.
The big news on day one was that CIPD members are to be consulted on a new code of conduct for human resources professionals - surely this idea comes from the questioning after the banking crisis - and that the CIPD publication, People Management, is going from being a twice-monthly magazine to a once-monthly magazine. Twice monthly is difficult to manage as a publisher (and journalist) and PM, as we've always called it, is a weighty, feature-heavy mag sent out to all the CIPD members. The team plan to focus more on in-depth features and online offering - and you may recall that the leading weekly, Personnel Today, went online only this summer. It seems that the traditional big publications of human resources are rationalising and changes are afoot - especially online.
However, all this journalism gossip doesn't distract from the fact that there are also changes happening within the CIPD itself. Jackie Orme has continued to make a difference to the organisation and the way in which members can be admitted is changing, plus the qualifications have undergone a format makeover, as well a new areas and levels being introduced. They are also introducing a new 'latecomer' qualification next year as well as re-launching the People Management website in February. Jackie claims that the next two years will set the agenda for the next 20.
With the 'Think HR, think again' campaign, the brilliant concept with the dreadful name, the CIPD is looking to support the industry better. Attracting people to the profession is essential if HR is to be the great career choice the CIPD believes it is and if it is to be seriously strategic in business.
Altogether it's an exciting time to be in HR or even just reporting on it: day two will bring more conference and ACE interactive content on our live blog from the conference. I'm also hosting the second #chrchat (ConnectingHR) live twiter chat from 7pm during the official tweet up happening this evening... so stay tuned to our live blog for all the tweets.