7 takeaways from the CIPD HR Software Show 2017

Jess Fuhl
Last updated on 30th November 2018
3 min read

The Sage People team were out in force, there were goodies galore, and we even spied a few robots. It can only mean one thing: the CIPD’s annual HR Software Show. Here’s our look back at the event and roundup of some of the biggest themes discussed this year.

1. People Science is a thing

That was Sage People EVP Adam Hale’s message during his People Science showcase on Wednesday – and the audience agreed. No longer is it good enough to work from gut feel and spreadsheets; HR and people teams need to use data more effectively to get better insight into their workforces.

Where companies are in their People Science journey, however, differed greatly. Questions from the audience revealed some organizations currently just use spreadsheets and are figuring out how to bring their data together in one place – whilst others use HR and people platforms to garner information, but don’t always know what to do with that data once they have it.

One thing was clear though: everyone knows that using data and insight is vital in understanding, managing and engaging workforces.

2. Everybody’s thinking about GDPR

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in 2018 was another hotly debated topic at this year’s HR Software Show.

HR and people teams are largely aware of the changes, particularly those in larger organizations or companies which hold a lot of consumer data. But as teams which hold sensitive employee information, HR professionals are acutely aware of the role they will play in implementing changes resulting from the new data rules.

Expect this to continue to be one of the biggest themes over the coming year as HR teams continue to gear up for the changes.

3. Employee attitudes to working lives are changing

Fewer employees think it’s likely they will lose their job, according to the CIPD’s most recent Employee Outlook Survey, but work-life balance and wellbeing continues to grow in importance for workforces.

Wellbeing and job satisfaction was one of the main discussion points in the CIPD’s software showcase on employee attitudes to work. Many companies agreed there is a growing demand to place increasing emphasis on the wellbeing of their workforce.

At Sage People, we believe that knowing and valuing your people is vital for the growth of your organization. It’s not simply enough to offer perks and rewards; companies need to deliver meaningful workforce experiences throughout an employee’s lifetime in a business. We call companies which do this ‘People Companies’, and you can read more about this in our latest research report ‘Becoming a People Company.’

4. We need to change how we talk about HR

There was a loud cheer and lots of nodding when our EVP Adam Hale said this during his People Science showcase. HR professionals know that just as Personnel changed in the 80s to become HR, so now is HR transforming into a people function.

HR teams are fed up of admin, and organizations which are getting ahead are automating these processes to free up their time to concentrate on delivering great employee experiences – moving from a HR admin focus, to a people one.

When we spoke to HR teams throughout the two-day event, many agreed that organizations doing this (for example, those appointing Chief People Officers), are getting ahead of these changes – and that others need to join them in how we talk, and think, about HR.

 5. Companies are struggling with engagement

This has been, and continues to be, one of the most frequently talked about topics by HR leaders. Many organizations are struggling to engage their workforces and are looking to technology, like ours, to help with this.

With productivity at an all-time low, HR and people leaders need to address the root cause of poor engagement first and start addressing the employee experience to get ahead. Over in the US, where we had more of our Sage People team at HR Tech World, Josh Bersin focused an entire keynote on it.

We think where technology adds value is by freeing up HR teams’ time through the automation of administrative tasks – so that they can concentrate on delivering great workforce experiences. Because that’s what’s going to improve engagement.

6. There’s an employee revolution coming

In addition to engagement, another theme which reoccurred regularly throughout the event was the notion that employees expect the same experiences at work that they receive outside work as a consumer.

In a world where people can browse, buy and book online, on their mobile, and at the click of a button – so too do they (rightly!) now expect access to their HR system anywhere, any time.

7. Ice creams are always a crowd pleaser

Finally, one of the biggest takeaways for us from this year’s HR Software Show, is that it always pays to check the weather. The woman giving out ice creams all day long, both Wednesday and Thursday, who always had a queue: we salute you!

Find out more about how People Companies are getting ahead. Read our new research report ‘Becoming a People Company’ or try our online profiler to discover how you compare to others.

Want to find out more about delivering great workforce experiences? Request a demo now.


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