Top 5 Business Trends: CIPD Annual Conference

business trends CIPD annual conference

We attended the CIPD Annual Conference in March this year. It was a fantastic event that focused on offering effective and important business trends to move the people profession forward for a better tomorrow. CIPD touched on the current uncertain financial climate and how we need to find appropriate solutions to navigate our way through this to maintain healthy and inclusive cultures in the workplace.


The main discussions were around the ever changing working environment and the importance of training and up-skilling employees to help you and your team adapt and succeed during this time of change. The experts presenting on the day also touched on the increasing demand on flexible working, UK net zero target, and the rapid development of technology such as artificial intelligence.


One thing that we’ve all learned over the last 3 years with the cost of living crisis, the pandemic, and the current shortage in candidates is that the business environment is always evolving. With this in mind, staff will be watching us more than ever and will be judging the decisions we make over the next two years. How we respond during this time of change will set the scene for the next decade.


To help you make the right decisions, here’s the main business trends from the CIPD annual conference.


The future is flexible

One of the main topics discussed during the conference was the increased demand for flexible working. The COVID-19 pandemic upended the traditional work environment, leading to a massive shift towards remote work and flexible work arrangements. Companies that were once reluctant to offer remote work have now been forced to adapt to the changing circumstances, and many have found that employees can be just as productive – if not more so – while working from home. This has led to a new understanding of the benefits of flexible work, including increased productivity, better work-life balance, and reduced overhead costs. In addition, when it comes to business trends, this should be at the top of your list.


The pandemic gave people the opportunity to have a better work/life balance, slow down, and reflect on their priorities and make positive changes. This has meant that a lot less people were willing to compromise on their wants and needs when it was time to return to the office. Therefore, a lot of employees have left their job to find an employer that offers flexible working. As a result, it’s never been more important for companies to offer flexible working options to their employees to remain competitive and attract and retain top talent.


A lot of businesses have embraced business trends such as 4-day working week and hybrid working. However, there’s still businesses that are uncomfortable to transition in to this new way of working. The demand for a better work/life balance will only increase over the next 2 years and to ensure the success of your business, it’s time to get on-board. If not, you’re going to lose talented employees and possible candidates.


Training & Development

The modern workplace is in a constant state of flux, with rapid technological advancements and evolving business practices. As a result, it’s more important than ever for companies to develop effective managers who can navigate this ever-changing landscape. Managers who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to adapt to new challenges and opportunities can help businesses stay competitive and succeed in the long term. Developing managers is not just about providing training and development opportunities, but also about empowering them to lead by example, foster a culture of innovation and creativity, and build high-performing teams.


In addition to keeping up with business trends and the changes in the workplace, developing effective managers is also crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. In today’s job market, employees are looking for more than just a job – they want to work for companies that offer opportunities for growth and development. By investing in the development of managers, companies can demonstrate their commitment to supporting employee development and creating a positive work environment. This can help to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, which in turn can lead to higher retention rates and a more productive workforce. Ultimately, developing managers is an investment in the future success of a company, and one that cannot be overlooked in today’s rapidly changing business environment. In addition, management training is one of the business trends that needs to be actioned as soon as possible.


Inclusion and Diversity

Inclusion and diversity is not a trend but something that businesses must take seriously. This is also a critical components of a thriving and successful workplace. When organisations embrace diversity and foster an inclusive environment, they can harness the unique perspectives and experiences of employees from a range of backgrounds and create a more innovative and productive workforce. Inclusive workplaces value the contributions of all employees, regardless of their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, or any other characteristic. They provide equal opportunities for career advancement, fair pay, and access to resources and support. They also cultivate a culture of respect, where individuals feel safe to express their opinions and are free from discrimination, harassment, or bias.


In addition to being the right thing to do, fostering inclusion and diversity can also have tangible benefits for businesses. It can help to attract and retain top talent, improve customer satisfaction, and drive innovation and creativity.


Artificial Intelligence

AI is one of the business trends that has landed at the top of the pile all of a sudden. Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the way businesses operate, from automating routine tasks to providing insights that can inform strategic decision-making. By embracing AI, businesses can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and gain a competitive edge. AI-powered tools can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, freeing up employees to focus on higher-value work that requires creativity, critical thinking, and human interaction. In addition, AI can analyse vast amounts of data and provide valuable insights that can inform everything from product development to marketing strategies.


AI is a powerful tool that can help businesses transform the way they operate, innovate, and grow. While there are certainly challenges associated with integrating AI into existing workflows and ensuring ethical and responsible use, the potential benefits are too significant to ignore. In addition, this is one of the business trends that we encourage you to try out.


UK Net Zero Target

It’s important to understand your business’ sustainability journey and look at up-skilling you and your team to ensure you can adapt to a net zero working environment. You can do this by introducing benefits such as electric company vehicles, flexible working, and electric charge points at the office.


Businesses have a critical role to play in driving the transition to a low-carbon economy. By reducing your own emissions, businesses can not only help to mitigate climate change, but also position the business for long-term success in a rapidly evolving market.


Furthermore, contributing to the UK net zero target can offer numerous benefits for businesses. It can help reduce energy costs, improve brand reputation, and attract environmentally conscious customers and investors. It’s predicted that this is one of the business trends that will catch-up with us as quick as AI did. In addition, it’s time to look at ways to up-skill your team to have a successful business of the future.


Supporting employees through economic uncertainty

During periods of economic uncertainty, it’s important for businesses to support their employees in a variety of ways. This includes clear communication about the state of the company and the steps being taken to navigate the situation, as well as providing resources and support for employees who may be facing financial or personal challenges. It’s also important for businesses to maintain a positive and supportive culture, where employees feel valued, motivated, and engaged, even during difficult times. Business trends and suggestions from the CIPD Annual Conference panelists included:


  • A hardship fund to provide emergency financial assistance to employees who are experiencing financial difficulties.
  • A weekly bulletin on helpful resources and tips
  • Invest in discount platforms (we use Caboodle)
  • Employee assistance programme



By taking these steps, businesses can help their employees weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side.


Contact Us

Overall, the CIPD Annual Conference in Edinburgh was a fantastic event. It offered important insight and business trends for the next two years and beyond. If you need support with any of the topics we discussed above, feel free to contact us.

Privacy Preference Center