Holding HR in High Regard Around the Globe

There are moments in life that you anticipate with great joy and fear: graduation, marriage, the birth of a child, a big promotion or a trip to a foreign country.  Last week, I had the opportunity to experience traveling to China for the first time, and it certainly turned out to be one of those great moments of a lifetime.

Madeline and Trish ChinaI was invited to speak at the first HR Technology China conference presented by LRP Publications and China Star.  The anxious feeling I had in anticipation of the trip and during the 22 hours of travel led to a great release of adrenaline when I finally landed in Hong Kong.  With friendly, welcoming faces of industry leaders Madeline Laurano and Steve Boese to greet me, I was ready to experience all that China had to offer.

This was the first event put on by LRP and China Star ,and the results were nothing short of amazing.  Held in mainland China in the city of Zhuhai, the trip from Hong Kong via ferry boat was invigorating.  As I looked out at the Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge (HZMB) being constructed in the waters of Lingdingyang of Pearl River Estuary, I began to appreciate the development of the region.  As far as the conference goes, with nearly 6,000 registrants mostly comprised of HR practitioners and leaders, the energy was palpable.

As I, along with a handful of speakers from the US, settled in to meeting the China Star team, we were amazed at the level of interest they had in our being at the event.  We quickly learned that the formality of the relationship between the HR vendor, the event and the Zhuhai government officials was a close knit one.  Several of us were invited to a special meeting with Liu Jiawen (Vice Mayor of Zhuhai), Wang Qingli (Vice Mayor of Zhuhai), Hua Fuzhou (President of China Association for Labor Studies), and many other important dignitaries of the Zhuhai municipal government.  It was an honor to be welcomed and the experience was filmed and photographed for their local news.  Quite exciting!

From there, it was a whirlwind of dinners, presentations, then then the main conference.  Steve Boese welcomed everyone on behalf of LRP and kicked off the new event.  The keynotes, including one by our industry expert Jason Averbook, were nothing short of inspired.  The other keynote presentations, including one by former US Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, were filled with passion for HR, data, and the importance of technology.  The realization that the Chinese hold HR in high regard, as many of us do here in the US, was a revelation.  Some of the commonalities were the focus on:

  • Talent Acquisition- Finding the best hires for an emerging market that is becoming more services dominated is a key priority.
  • Branding– Employer branding that goes hand-in-hand with the extensive branding of the cities themselves is a focus.  The combination made for an interesting juxtaposition.  I believe that US organizations who embrace this approach may find an easier time with recruiting for either hard to fill positions or for staffing in cities that may have had a less desirable past.
  • Engagement- Engaging employees is important globally.  As I learned in the Middle East at the end of 2015, and in Europe and China in 2016, this remains one of the top concerns for business leaders, not just HR leaders.  This tells me there is still a great opportunity for HR leaders, vendors, consultants and analysts when it comes to finding solutions to this age-old problem.

I shared with you the innovative, hard-working and proud side of the people I met in China in my earlier post about coaching.  From the way this event incorporated students to the way they embraced all of us from the US, HR Technology Conference China gave the impression that it will be around for years to come.

As an added bonus, I was able to spend a few days in Hong Kong visiting local markets, restaurants, and stores.  I was even lucky enough to spend a day at Disneyland Hong Kong!  For anyone who knows me, Disney is one of my favorite places, so being able to see the Chinese version was just amazing!  13012784_10156876605550523_1407773878852074846_n

I encourage you to follow the HR Technology Conference here in the US for more information about China next year.  It is worth making a business case for, or for investing in your own career and making the trip.

Thanks again to LRP Publications, Rebecca McKenna, Steve Boese and the whole LRP team.  Thank you also to China Star for the gracious hosting.  Lastly, thank you to my US based HCM colleagues for making my first trip to China a memorable one.

7 Key Steps to Take After Attending a Conference

12140182_10156221886095523_2086492483217665690_oThe 18th Annual HR Technology Conference wrapped last Wednesday and I’m already missing all the people I connected with.  I’m taking lots of steps to keep those relationships going and how I can help others.  Regardless if you attend a conference as part of a group, or if you’re there on your own, the importance is what you do with the information you learned and how you apply it all when you get back to the day-to-day grind.

7 Key Steps to Take When You Return from a Conference

  1. Go through all the business cards you collected and send out connection requests via LinkedIn.  Networking and making connections is one of the largest benefits of conference attendance.  I know we sometimes think business cards are an out-of-date item, but I personally came back with a huge handful and I make sure to follow up with each person in some way.  Definitely worth your time to reinforce those in-person connections and build relationships.
  2. Send a thank you note to any speaker you saw that made a difference in the way you think.  As a speaker at HR Tech and other conferences, I can tell you that people prepare for weeks or months to present.  Acknowledging their hard work is a nice way to make them feel appreciated for the time they spent with you.  Whether it’s a tweet, email or LinkedIn note, it means so much to the speaker.  Also, if you have any direct feedback for that person, share it.  We don’t always get the evaluations so hearing what we did well or what you’d like to see more/ less of is helpful for their next presentation.
  3. Write a summary for your boss on the value of attending.  Many employers do not understand the value of learning at a conference.  Make sure to spell it out.  This is key whether you are in a corporate position, you work for a solution provider or you’re there on your own.  I work for myself now, but I made sure to write a summary of the value so that I can compare it year-over-year as I decide which events to keep attending.
  4. Follow people who tweeted using the #HRTechConf hashtag.  Having a list of people in the HR space at your finger tips is invaluable. Be sure to solidify those connections on Twitter.
  5. Give feedback to HR Tech (LRP).  Hopefully you filled out session surveys or other conference surveys.  If not, tweet them or go to The HR Technology Conference group on LinkedIn and leave feedback.  They work hard each year to pull this together, so share what really worked well and any suggestions for improvement.
  6. Send thank you notes to any vendor or HR pro you met that you want to keep in touch with.  This is an extra step.  A personal note is certainly a way to stand out and make yourself memorable to that person.
  7. Share pictures.  Who know that HR pros could be so fun?  Use social networks to share your pictures.  Speakers love to have pictures of themselves presenting, share the fun ones from charitable events and of course, the real “social” nightlife.

So there you have it- ways to wrap up an event and continue the value.  What do you do when you return home from a conference?  Share your story in the comments.

Top 10 Takeaways from The HR Technology Conference 2015

17th+Annual+HR+Technology+ConferenceThe 2015 HR Technology Conference just wrapped and it is time to collect my thoughts and reflect on the event.  First, thank you to Steve Boese and David Shadovitz for the work you do creating the event.  Thank you also to the team at LRP for selecting me as a speaker this year and for all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing an event of this caliber.  Even though I don’t work for LRP, although some think I do, it is an honor to be part of such a stellar event.

I attended as a speaker and an analyst this year.  I tried to make the most of my analyst time by visiting with as many solution providers as possible, mostly in the Expo Hall, which enables me to have advisory discussions with HR leaders throughout the rest of the year.  I also attended some great sessions like the Awesome New Technologies session and the Awesome New Startups session.  Both showcase the best of what we can expect from the world of HCM technology and it’s exciting to watch the transformation of our industry.  That said, I have ten things I am taking away from this year’s event.

Top 10 Takeaways

  1. Compliance reigns-  If you listen to some of the sessions and some of the leaders of various solution providers, you may believe that compliance is dead, or at least being killed off.  But much like your favorite character from a soap opera, compliance is not only not dead, it’s stronger than ever.  As a former HR leader, ensuring the compliance was being handled properly was what helped me sleep at night.  Knowing that risk was mitigated and that we had all the regulations met let me focus time on more of the “fun HR” strategies.  After talking to numerous vendors who strive to help keep your business in compliance so that you are freed up to work on other things, I’m excited to see that this is truly achievable for today’s HR pros.  Hat tip to Equifax Workforce Solutions and Talentwise for what you all have going on this year as well as what you’re doing in 2016!
  2. Move to Human-  It’s interesting to hear who is more concerned with the bits and bytes and who is focused on people. I know it’s a HR technology conference, however, those companies and speakers who focused more on the people….the human side of HR….were the winners in my eyes.  As I walked through the Expo Hall, I tried to pay special attention to the providers who talked more about the actual people and the benefit of the tools for the people than those who talked about features.  Several providers stood out in this area for me:  Ultimate Software, Silkroad and Globoforce.  Kudos for keeping the people front-and-center as you enter 2016!
  3. Marketplaces are the Future- This was the first year that one of the main buzzwords I heard was “marketplace”.  Giving employees and leaders the opportunities to make choices easier when it comes to a variety of solutions was refreshing.  Two standouts here were ADP and the ADP Marketplace showcased during Awesome New Technologies.  The second was PlanSource and their benefits marketplace.  I can’t wait to see how organizations embrace all the offerings.
  4. Opportunities for the Cloud-  For several years, talk has made it seem like everyone had already moved to the cloud.  As analysts, we know that this is not the case….YET.  The movement is certainly picking up and for me, the take away is that solution providers need to keep reminding themselves that NOT EVERYONE is there yet.  Give these organizational leaders time.
  5. Some Buzzwords are Overly Ambitious-  If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrases “machine learning” or “predictive analytics”, I’d have left Las Vegas richer than if I’d played Craps.  I’m all for talking about the workplace of 2020 or 2025, however, don’t forget that many HR leaders and teams are still trying to find solutions to bring all their people data together.  Others are a step farther and can actually run reports on that data and make some recommendations.  Thinking that HR pros have all the tools needed to embrace prediction is overly ambitious.  The same goes for machine learning.  We are taking baby steps as organizations.
  6. Startups push the Established Vendors- One of the most exciting things for me during this event was the opportunity to connect with some very exciting startups.  From having the opportunity to answer questions for the startup community at HR Tech Tank on Sunday to spending time talking to entrepreneurs in the Startup Pavillion, I was energized.  Two standouts for me were Bridge US and Elevated Careers by eHarmony.  These two are doing great things and should be on your watch list for 2016.  It will be interesting to see how the more established providers react to some of the new ideas startups are pursuing.
  7. Not everyone in HR wants to do it all-  One topic that came up in a session I led was the disagreement on just how much a HR leader wants to do or has time to do.  For example, I think it is a great idea to have technology implementation that is faster and easier.  However, providers need to keep in mind that you have HR leaders who may not have time to implement this technology and that they want to pay you to do it.  They also need options for customized service from you because they may not fully understand how to purchase and implement a technology.  This is by no means a knock on HR pros….this is just a gentle reminder that sometimes, we all need to have a helping hand or be taken care of….even HR pros.
  8. Education = Comfort-  Whether it’s buying a technology, implementing a technology or just learning how to be a better HR leader, attendees want education.  The job HR leaders face is a challenging one and whether it’s through sessions at the event, discussions at a booth, or once they return back to their offices, they need ongoing education and support in order to be comfortable with technology.  An organization that is making strides on providing education for HR leaders is Peoplefluent.  I am glad to see their focus not only on the tools to help HR, but in making them comfortable.
  9. HR needs help with Internal Communications-  The primary way that HR teams communicate with employees and leaders is via email.  This is changing.  As HCM solutions begin to offer new avenues for communication in organizations, they should also offer more in the way of templates or service offerings on the communications to be shared.  Several providers are now offering solid resources.  A couple I liked were from Oracle and Successfactors.
  10. Approachability trumps formality- My final takeaway is around the way not only the event works, but how business works.  I am hearing feedback that people value the ability to be approachable far more than being formal.  Whether you’re a speaker or a provider, spend time planning how to make yourself and your organization more approachable.  Those of us in the HCM technology space are far more comfortable than the average HR buyer.  Let’s make them feel welcome.

So, those were my top takeaways.  If you attended, what were yours?  Be sure to share them in the comments section.

HR Happy Hour: #HRevolution and #HRTechConf Recap

hrhappyrhourIt’s time for the HR Happy Hour recap of HRevolution and The HR Technology Conference.  Both were a huge success.  HRevolution was sold out several weeks before our event.  There were some great new sessions and about half of the 120 attendees were new to the event.  This made for some exciting learning and discussions!  All this brought to us by our generous sponsors.  Thanks to FisherVista (for your HR marketing & media needs) and RolePoint (for all your employee referral needs)  for hosting our tweetup at Mix Lounge.  Special thanks to our HRevolution event sponsor Sum Total .  Great partners!!

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The HR Technology Conference didn’t disappoint either.  Vendors stepped up their game as did the speakers.  The attendees were networking like crazy.

Be sure to check out the HR Happy Hour show replay for the full details.  Steve Boese and I had a great time being “live” again after a couple months away while planning these events.  We’re excited to be back and you’ll hear more live from us again soon.  For show details, check out the HR Happy Hour site.

5 Ways Executives Can Increase Success

One thing executives and up-and-coming practitioners think about is how to be more successful in their career. There are no shortage of books to tell you what steps to take.  There are countless bloggers, like me, who want to share our tips to get you to the best possible position.

As we have all heard, hands on learning and research still tends to be the best and most effective way to improve our skills.  This holds true as we move up the corporate ladder.  The issue becomes that the more responsibility you have as you take on larger roles, the less time you believe you have to develop yourself.  

PROMOTING CONTINUOUS LEARNING & SUCCESS

  • Learn more about  technology-  Face it, you’re living in a fast-paced world.  Technology changes moment to moment so it’s a real challenge to stay current on not just the latest bright, shiny toy, but on key technologies to help run your business better.
  • Negotiate more- Many people land in high level roles and have not had much in the way of negotiation skills.   Sure, they may have bought a few things, but have they learned how to have conversations with multiple vendors, be able to get prices down, and make an informed decision?  Probably not.
  • Spend more time networking-  I’ve heard many leaders say they do not have time to network.  You may have a good circle to fall back on, but it’s always important to keep networking.  Your network can help you garner business, answer complex questions, help you land that next big job, and more!
  • Learn how to use social media for business, then DO it-  Still not big on social platforms?  Today is the day to change all that.  You just need to find a place to get that information in an easy to use format.
  • Communicate more effectively-  This is something we can all continue to work on.  Hearing how others communicate with employees or clients, as well as how they capture ROI, is a good way to keep your own skills, and style, fresh.

RECOMMENDATIONS

How have I continued my learning?  By attending the HR Technology® conference each year.  It brings all these opportunities to you in one place.

  • It’s a conference where you WILL learn how to be a better business leader.
  • It is a conference that gives you great opportunities to talk to vendors and LEARN how to negotiate with them.
  • It’s a conference where you meet other execs and practitioners who will expand your network.
Here’s the best deal….you can save $500 off the rack rate of $1,795. Just use the Promotion Code RINGLEADER (all caps) when you register onlinewww.HRTechConference.com .  It’s that easy!
Not familiar with the conference and need more info?  Check out the YouTube video http://bcove.me/ic18c0ee  or download the brochure http://bit.ly/Lbay7s .  Or, visit the website to see all the great options available.

www.HRTechConference.com.

Join me at HRevolution on Sunday, October 7th and follow it up by staying in Chicago for The HR Technology Conference.  Hope to see you there!

Drive Thru HR Radio Show: Trish McFarlane

I had the opportunity to be a guest this week on the Drive Thru HR radio show hosted by William Tincup and Bryan Wempen.

In this episode, we chat about HRevolution, the HR Technology Conference and what is going on in the world of business.  Please click through to take a listen…

Trish McFarlane on Drive Thru HR Radio

Teamwork and Sticks In a Bundle

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.  The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives.  It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” ~Dale Carnegie

“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” ~Kenyan proverb

Crimson Studios 2007Today, I am thankful for all the sticks in my bundles and teamwork is on my mind.  There are a couple things in my life right now that are reinforcing the importance of a strong team.  One is work, the other is personal.  From a work standpoint, it is my position at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.  The teamwork my colleagues demonstrate inspires me every day.   Never before have I felt such a strong pull of a team.  Sure, we all hear the lip service about being on a team, but have you ever REALLY experienced it?  I’m not sure I have.

Until now.

What are the elements I view as critical to being a team?

  • Mission– Working with a group of people who have clear mission and who actively keep each other on track by ensuring we provide service that clearly links to the mission
  • Communication–  Open lines of communication and knowing your opinion will be heard
  • Respect–  Acknowledging the experiences of individual members and embracing them

The other team I am on is personal….my HRevolution team.  Working with Steve Boese, Matt Stollak and Ben Eubanks is wonderful.  Each of us volunteers our time to work together toward the common mission of pulling together an event for you~ the HR and recruiting professionals we want to interact with.  If you’re reading this blog, HRevolution is for YOU.

And, much like a work team or athletic team, the HRevolution team is focused.  We’ve got our goal, we communicate every day, and we have the utmost respect for each other and the strengths and abilities each individual brings to the table.  It’s a great feeling to be part of that.  And, we want YOU to be part of that.  Be sure to check out the HRevolution registration site and register for the event on October 2, 2011 in Las Vegas.  Tickets are going fast and who can pass up a conference for $150?   And this year you have two options.  Come one day for HRevolution OR stay on for the HR Technology Conference.  We’re partnering with them to bring you a great discount for both events.  

Registrants for HRevolution – Las Vegas will receive the largest discount code good for $600 off the onsite registration rate of $1,795 that can be applied to the HR Technology Conference registration. That’s the biggest discount available, so register for HRevolution today and we’ll send you your discount code for the HR Technology Conference!

HRevolution: Register For Vegas This Fall!

The HRevolution is coming to Las Vegas on October 2, 2011 and you’re invited.  Join us at Mandalay Bay as we partner with the HR Technology Conference to provide the best conference experience yet!

HRevolution is an industry-changing conference in the US for human resources.  It began as a single tweet on Twitter as a way to bring HR professionals, recruiters, CEOs, and other industry leaders together to discuss the current state of human resources and where the industry is headed.  HRevolution has produced three highly successful events and we’re excited to create the 4th event as part of the HR Technology Conference. We are refining the focus of the event and expanding the reach to increasingly more diverse and high-level HR professionals.

What is the ingredient that makes HRevolution different from all other events? It’s YOU.

You will bring your knowledge, your questions, your fears, your ambition, ideas, and all those things that make you unique.  Then, instead of just sitting quietly in your chair as speakers feed information to you, YOU become part of the sessions.  We pull in some of the most talented thought leaders in the space to guide and challenge us.  You take an active role in each session.  It’s all about the dialogue and networking.  If you go home having made some life-changing contacts, we’ll view the event as a success!

HR thought leaders and practitioners from around the globe will be converging for 24 hours+ of mind-bending, trend-setting discussions, yet space is limited, so sign up today HERE!!  Then, stay on for the HR Technology Conference.  When you register for HRevolution, you’ll receive a large discount on your HR Tech ticket.

Now….. go buy that ticket!

*Special thanks to Bill Kutik and Claude Werder for partnering with us.  The planning committee thanks you!  And, a welcome to newest planner, Matt Stollak who is helping shape the next generation of HRevolution!