Working in marketing often involves trade shows and I have to say we have been very fortunate this year to have our assistant Abbie Williams helping the HR News and Activ Absence teams with our event planning.

Having Abbie’s extra pair of hands has been invaluable, freeing up much of my time to concentrate on HR News and she has dutifully kept me appraised of key dates and times for doing all that one has to do before such a major event, as well as undertaking many of the tasks herself.  We didn’t have a junior before the Summer and now I’m left wondering how we managed without one.

Conferences and events are a real test of teamwork and strength.  Whilst our software development team is well established, our commercial team has lots of new members who have pulled together, delivered on time, within budget and exceeded targets this year – it’s a successful and happy Activ Absence crew heading to the Annual Conference.

The CIPD is the UK’s leading body for HR professionals and the Annual Conference, which takes place in Manchester, offers HR people a chance to network with fellow professionals, attend seminars and get valuable CPD training and for whatever reason, it works.  70% of delegates don’t attend any other event, and 96% of delegates would recommend the event to a colleague.

The conference also hosts a large exhibition hall which is even larger than normal this year, so it’s also a good opportunity to meet new suppliers, forge new friendships, and make new contacts.

We do other events too, but the CIPD Annual Conference is always a special event for Activ Absence, not least because our Commercial Director Adrian often gets asked to speak!  (For those interested, he is speaking this year about HR in the Cloud for the Candy Crush Generation on 4th November at 9.45 – he’s always interesting and often entertaining!)

Like most exhibitors, you will only see a handful of our team members at the event but the people who make these events so successful for the HR world are often those who, like our Abbie, work tirelessly in the background and keep our teams functioning.

Its often the same in the HR Department – the most junior people in the HR department are peddling away furiously in the background to help the most senior to maintain the illusion of a swan gliding effortlessly across a lake, maintaining the respect of employees and managers alike as they appear to effortlessly deal with staff crisis and avert disaster on an often daily basis.

Only other HR professionals will really understand how hard the people in their teams work and you won’t see anyone at a junior level in most other events.

The Annual Conference is different to any other event because people across all levels of the profession attend – and that’s why we go, because whilst other events focus purely on sales, conference is all about meeting, learning and networking in the HR world.  Sales at conference are incidental rather than the motivation behind attending.

Its great to meet the high flying budget holders and decision makers, certainly, but it is as important to us to talk to those whom we also indirectly  serve, the ‘Abbies’ of the HR world who use our software day to day, to make sure we never lose touch with their needs.  We always come away with new contacts, a better understanding of our HR audience and a determination to keep improving our products.

Conference comes at almost the end of what has been a fantastic year for the Activ Absence team… and whilst we take two days out of our busy week to literally stand and chat with people from the HR profession, its a chance for us to reflect, to relax and to refine our ambitious plans for a brand new release in 2016.

We look forward to lots of coffee and great conversation – come and see us on Stand D104.