The CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition opened its virtual doors today for two-days of unmissable content, networking and unrivalled learning.

Thousands of people professionals across the world tuned in to meet peers digitally as well as tackle the big questions facing the profession at the end of an unprecedented year.

Take a look through day one's highlights and catch-up with some of the day's best moments.

In the conference

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Author of ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race’ and Director of Creative Diversity at the BBC, June Sarpong OBE kicked off today’s conference with an opening keynote on the people profession’s responsibility to step up and make racial equality in the workplace a reality. Organisational cultures, values, processes and strategies all now need to be reflective of ethnic minority inclusivity. 

Reni emphasised it’s up to you to be brave and take a stance against racism:

“Leaders need to be brave enough to [say] ‘we think that this is the right thing to do and we’re not going to bend ourselves into the shape of a pretzel to please everyone because the truth is, up until very recently, anti-racism was not popular.'”

You can catch the full session on-demand via the ‘Conference’ or ‘Free learning’ section in the event platform until 23:59 (GMT) on 9 December.

Next up was Peter Cheese (Chief Executive, CIPD) and fellow panellists Farrah Storr (Editor-in-Chief, Elle) Gina Miller, (Campaigner, Co-Founder, SCM Direct) and June Sarpong OBE (Director of Creative Diversity, BBC) as they discussed what opportunities HR professionals have to influence organisation’s strategy to embed principled decision-making into daily practice. 

“HR hasn’t been taken seriously enough, HR should be embedded at all levels of organisations. Use this opportunity to change the language of HR and change its place in the corporate structure.” Gina Miller

Conference delegates can access this session via the on-demand tab in the ‘Conference’ section of the event platform until 23:59 (GMT) on 9 December.

Mo Gawdat (Former Chief Business Officer, Google X and Author of ‘Solve for Happy’ closed the morning conversation surrounding emotional intelligence and vulnerability. Suggesting we should challenge the conception that ‘there is no room for emotion in the workplace’ and perhaps the way to become more influential and trusted at work is by harnessing our human qualities.

“Real leaders don’t tell people what to do, they do! They want to help and support you on the frontlines.” Mo Gawdat

Conference delegates can access this session via the on-demand tab in the ‘Conference’ section of the event platform until 23:59 (GMT) on 9 December.

Most popular in the free learning showcases was CIPD session, ‘Working remotely in an inclusive way.’  Abdul Wahab (Diversity and Inclusion Adviser, CIPD) hosted a Q&A which focused on ensuring we are aware of, and meeting the needs of colleagues who adjustment to remote working could be more challenging through a disability or other health needs. 

You can catch-up on all free learning sessions via the on-demand tab in the ‘Free learning’ section of the event platform until 23:59 (GMT) on 9 December.

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