By Frank Zupan, Director of Talent Management at Associated Materials
I hate that feeling…I was hungry. I was REALLY hungry. One of those times when I didn’t even realize how long it’s been since I’d eaten and I’m thinking, “Holy Crap, I’m so hungry, I’m dying here”. Come to find out I wasn’t really hungry for food, I was hungry for learning.
My Q4-Q1 work schedule as a corporate Director of Talent Management had been a bit brutal. A new boss, several enterprise-wide and functional initiatives on both recruiting and development sides of my “shop” with lots of heavy lifting, travel and deliverables. All leaving very little time to feed my learning needs. I was REALLY, REALLY hungry when I saw Bill Boorman’s Facebook post at the end of February about how the fast-approaching March #trulondon was shaping up. It appeared to be shaping up very nicely indeed. Over 100 registered, a very strong group of track leaders with solid topics, an “interesting” location, so of course I, randomly and without any clear strategy, clicked and registered to attend an unconference in London which was now less than three weeks away.
Of course two minutes after I’d registered Bill messaged me asking if I’d like to be a track leader. The great thing about the tru track format is that it’s part knowledge, part experience, part improv and ALL about the discussion. Suffice to say I’m now able to add “tru Track Leader” to my LinkedIn profile!
What a great decision! <patting myself on the back>. Add to the reasons listed above, I could also plan visits with friends and colleagues that I hadn’t seen since working in UK in 2006, jump on an opportunity to attend #HRTechWorld being held in London the following two days, and connect with some HR leadership pals that I hadn’t seen in some time, hence the #AmericansInLondon hashtag. #winning
Ultimately, and fortunately, I responded to an internal need that I hadn’t yet recognized or acknowledged…I was REALLY hungry for learning! And I was able to satisfy that incredible hunger with a fantastic learning experience at #trulondon and was lucky enough to connect that to extra learning at #HRTechWorld. Fantastic experiences at both events, connecting with old and new friends during a few days of serious learning and networking…WOW, did I ever need that! Add to all of this several great discussions with current technology partners to my business, and I would return to the States quite happy.
If you’re REALLY hungry for learning, you’re not alone. Whether through random circumstances from your “world of work”, or if you haven’t taken time to develop a learning strategy, my suggestion is to <continue to> connect online with the people driving the creation and development of professional and social communities. Find them, connect with them, talk to them, read their stuff, meet with them, learn from them, let them learn from you, and every once in a while, say YES to investing in your own development…or just stay HUNGRY.
Wake Up Kids! We’ve Got the Dreamers Disease
By Trish McFarlane, CEO of H3 HR Advisors
If you’re like me, you’re someone who dreams about the future of HR. You think about doing things differently and shaking things up in the industry. One of the best ways I’ve found of feeding this addiction of mine is to network and learn from other dreamers in the industry. As someone who is fortunate enough to call this crazy HCM space my home, I go to my fair share of events. Each time I leave, I assess whether the time I spent was worth it or not, aka was my “inner dreamer” satisfied. Most recently, I attended TRULondon and HR Tech World. So, what makes these two fall in the “worth it” category?
As a destination, I can’t think of a single downside of attending an event in London. The only thing to keep in mind is giving yourself a little extra time to see a few of the best things London has to offer. If you’ve never been, the city is easy to navigate thanks to the Tube and trains. You can get almost anywhere in the city in a short time and wont’ need to rent a car. Add to that the numerous museums, eclectic restaurants, clubs, shopping and the ever-popular tourist attractions and it’s a great place to visit. From the dreamer perspective, there is a sense of wonderment and history that you can’t achieve anywhere in the U.S.
I’ve been attending the recruiting unconference for six years. It’s changed quite a bit over the years and as it’s developed, it is now one of the best places in the world (yes, in the whole world) to meet with recruiters, sourcers, talent acquisition leaders, marketing pros, solution providers and practitioners. The secret sauce for this event is that you walk in and immediately feel part of a community and a movement.
People who attend are tired of the status quo. They don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. They are there to challenge their own perceptions… and yours. They have the dreamer’s disease and they are going to make sure you have it too. It’s a deliciously, wonderful mix of learning, networking and chaos. With Bill Boorman at the helm and the partnership of Noel Cocca and Matt Charney of RecruitingBlogs and Recruiting Daily, this is not only a great use of your time, but your money.
Track leaders managed to challenge us by thinking about how to apply the way auto dealers market to the way we market our businesses to candidates. They threw out the notion that we’ll all be out of work because the robots are taking over, well, at least the idea is that most of the recruiting function will be handled by automated systems that “learn” as they are used. Track leaders also cursed and laughed as they shared hacks for creating content. There were Tech Labs and product Show & Tell labs. It was a mash-up of all things great in the recruiting industry and the future to come.
HR Tech World
Attending my first HR Tech World was an experience. It’s a more intimate experience that provides all the learning and vendor interaction you’d expect from an event like this. From a forward-facing, dreamer lens, their solid focus on the numerous startups in the HR tech space is what drew me in. Not only were the startups available to learn about, there were specific disruptive sessions focused on the direction of the industry. Add to that a fun, informative “pitch” session by five of the startups and it made for an interesting day.
If you have the dreamer’s disease like me, check out both of these events and follow them online. They will point you to learning all year long and really help you challenge your approach.
By Michael Heller, CEO & Founder of iRevu
I have been practicing human resources for years – practicing being the operative word. The more I learn about people, the less I feel I truly know. Therefore, I don’t expect to necessarily master the discipline as much as continue to become better at it. But along my way, I have picked up a few things: Most problems can be solved by listening sincerely and being empathetic. Throwing money at something might correct an issue short term, but rarely long term. My favorite? Never EVER judge a book by its cover. Never.
In 2015 I attended my very first TRU event. I ‘knew’ Bill Boorman from his online presence and met him for the first time in Las Vegas at a conference. He didn’t strike me as the typical HR professional, but had knowledge spewing out the brim of his trademark hat. He mentioned that he hosts an event – The Recruiting Un-conference – designed to get people talking.
“Get people talking?”
“That’s right, mate. People talking.”
What struck me was his emphasis on the ‘people’. Color me intrigued. The conferences / meetups / seminars I’d been to definitely had people talking. At the front of a room. With a slide deck and a quick wit. Don’t get me wrong, these people talking were great. They were armed with data and knowledge and technology and eloquence. But these people talking were talking TO me. Maybe at me? I don’t know, I tweeted a ton, got some great nuggets and if I stood in line I might be able to say a quick hello and introduce myself. This was my typical experience at a typical conference.
Bill told me that the TRU events are different. I realized instantly that he wasn’t joking. When I arrived to the venue this year, The King’s Head, it looked like a proper English pub. A pub?? For an HR Conference?? Walking inside, there were drinks and taxidermy. In every room, from the armed chimpanzee in the basement to the giraffes and tigers in the boudoir. I have to admit the butterfly room freaked me out a little. But, remember, don’t judge a book by its cover and: “People talking”.
So when he kicked off the event, there were a few takeaways. No name badges ensures that everyone is on a level playing field. No inflated titles, no fancy companies. If someone said something interesting and you want to meet them, by all means introduce yourself! The sessions are super topical and led by international HR A-Listers. People like William Tincup, Matt Charney, Trish McFarlane, Noel Cocca, and Stephen O’Donnell.
But the sessions (called tracks) are also different – the good session leaders are NOT there to show you how smart they are. They show you how smart and innovative YOU are. They are roundtable-esque discussions where everyone is encouraged to participate and share their experiences and thoughts. Anyone can participate, everyone learns. Everyone wins.
TRU events are extremely valuable. There’s a warmth and affability about them that draws you in, even when the discussion gets heated. In one session, ‘The Day in the Life of a Recruiter – how we spend our time?’ the leader asked as much and then stepped back while the track attendees discussed everything from sourcing to relationship building to extinguishing the fire du jour. In this session, the what wasn’t as valuable as the how. The attendees were so diverse and their approach so varied, I saw so many nodding their head and saying ‘wow, I never thought about that.’ I plan on attending TRU events for a long time to come.
This year TRU London helped me lower my associative barriers even further and I am better for it. Sure, I got to lead a track session and show and tell a software product. I got to meet people IRL I’ve only followed on twitter. But, I learned from everyone there – from the A-Listers to the regular people like me. If you want to wear a name badge and talk about what’s already happened, this is not your conference. However, if you want to be immersed in real discussion about what’s happening and will likely happen, you owe it to yourself to attend at least one TRU. Just be ready for the venue to spark as much conversation as the topics.