Coming back from a duo-conference in Las Vegas (HRevolution and The HR Technology Conference) requires a few days to decompress. When you take the amount of business and technological information available, add in demos, friends, numerous parties and the call of the Vegas casinos and other distractions, it makes for five days of exhaustive participation.
I’ll write more about HRevolution in future posts but today, I’d like to share my thoughts and observations about the HR Technology Conference. Since 1998, this is the premier conference for technology advances in the HR space. And, as a practitioner for many years, it never occurred to me to attend until three years ago. Even then, I did not fully understand the positive impact that learning more about HR technology would have on my career. Taking time to learn about the technological advances in the profession along with the opportunity to network with industry insiders is priceless. If you’ve never been to The HR Technology Conference, I’d like to share my perspective on the value you can gain.
The Sessions and Speakers
This is one of the few conferences in the human resources industry to adapt the sessions to the specific needs of different types of participants. They offer traditional presentation style sessions on a wide array of topics, debates among leaders in the space, panels to allow the participants to ask questions of experts and even a new HRevolution unconference-style experience so that participants are fully engaged in discussion and participation.
The topics offered cover workforce planning, talent intelligence, understanding and incorporating social technologies and HCM analytics, to name a few. And each year, you’ll hear vendors and clients sharing stories of how real, day-to-day workplace issues were solved using technology.
The Expo Hall and Vendors
A trip through the expo hall can be one where great value and insight is gained. It can also be an intimidating place where a practitioner can feel completely overwhelmed. Even worse, many HR conferences fill in the gaps with vendors who are there to sell purses, jewelry or other non-business related items. You won’t find that here.
The expo hall at The HR Technology Conference provides the opportunity to see live demos of solutions. Almost every vendor will take time to get to know what your business needs are, then show you how their product can help fill the gap. You’ll see familiar names like Monster, Aquire and ADP. You’ll also find smaller start ups who are taking social to a whole new level. So, whether you work for a large, global employer or a small business, you’ll find solutions you need.
The Networking Events
Sure, this year the conference was in Las Vegas and I know that alone can give the impression of never-ending parties. For some who seek it out, that can be the reality. However, for most practitioners, you can find a good number of events that are fun and provide the ultimate networking experience. This year, I was fortunate to attend several events where I met CEOs, CHROs, consultants, analysts and other practitioners. They included events hosted by The Starr Conspiracy, Monster, Knowledge Infusion and several industry leaders. These events are one of the best reasons to attend. I have learned more and made lasting professional relationships here that is worth the cost of the ticket year after year.
The Cost/ Benefit Analysis
The price of a ticket is small considering all the benefits of attending. Typically starting several months before the event, you can find discount codes with hundreds off the registration fee. And, if you start planning for 2012 now, you can find great travel deals for your accommodations. The HR Technology Conference will be back in Chicago on October 8th, 2012. Be sure to mark your calendar for February 2012 when registration opens. The conference will also offer scholarships to help qualifying individuals attend.
Thank you to Bill Kutik, David Schadovitz, Claude Werder and LRP Publiciations for hosting one of the top HR events each year!