What we learnt at the Festival of Work

Wednesday 12th June was a big day for Appraisd. It felt a little like our coming of age, moving from the status of promising newcomer to established player. For the first time we exhibited at a major event - the CIPD’s new Festival of Work - alongside some of the best-known and biggest names in HR innovation.

We weren’t sure what to expect from the two-day conference and it’s fair to say there were a few nerves the day before as we put together the final touches to the stand and dealt with the inevitable minor snags. However, we needn’t have worried. It proved to be a thoroughly positive experience and we learned a huge amount. Here are a just a few things that stood out for us.

Everyone’s journey is different

Talking to visitors at the stand really brought home that every business has its own unique challenges and is at a very different stage in building its performance culture. While there are some reoccurring themes – lack of time, shortage of resources and difficulties in stakeholder management to name but a few, it was clear that every organisation needs a solution that fits their specific needs. What they are looking for is something flexible, intuitive and simple to install, that fits with where they are now and will grow with them as their culture evolves.

Be clear about your proposition

Before the show began, we were a little worried about getting people to speak to us. Thankfully, these fears were unfounded, and we had a stream of visitors coming to the stand throughout both days. What made many people stop was the fact that they knew exactly what we did through our clear signage and that they could try Appraisd for themselves. We discussed a whole host of ideas about how to attract attention, but in the end having the confidence and faith in our proposition to let people try the software was exactly what they wanted.

A great team building experience

The beauty of small organisations is that you can involve everyone in what’s going on. Our whole team had been involved in preparing for the event, so we decided to invite everyone to come along and take a turn on the stand. This meant the whole business felt invested in the conference and we were all excited by the prospect. This enthusiasm really came across to the visitors who came to the stand. It was brilliant to spend time together away from the office, building relationships with people who you don’t work with on a day to day basis. It has really brought everyone together and provided a fresh energy and desire to help drive the business forward.

Our tech team can talk

Most developers spend all their time in an office. It is very rare for them to have the opportunity to actually meet the end users of the systems they spend their days creating. Our tech team jumped at the chance to attend the Festival of Work and meet HR professionals face to face. Knowing all the ins and outs of the platform meant they were amazing at explaining how it worked and demonstrating all the benefits. Talking to visitors really helped them to really understand their audience and has given them an invaluable perspective on how people use the platform.

The future looks bright

The news is filled with stories of doom and gloom, but the people we spoke to were very positive about the future and creating a better performance culture for their organisations. While there is no doubt that the uncertainty around Brexit is casting a dark shadow over some areas of business, it is not preventing companies from investing in developing their workforce and seeing the benefits that new technology can bring. There is a sense that waiting and seeing is not an option anymore, as the pace of change is so rapid, those that stand still risk being left behind.