I guess I’m an HR Conference junkie. Because here I am at my first EREexpo and I’m lovin’ it! (With apologies to McDonald’s.)
EREexpo is presented by the folks at ERE.net – led by David Manaster. Because he knows I know HR conferences, he asked me if I had any suggestions for him. And you know what? I don’t. He and his team have done a spectacular job. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s the best conference – altogether – that I’ve attended in the last 12 months.
The nearly 500 attendees are here to engage with the content and each other. I’ve been to a lot of HR networking events in my time, and these recruiters and talent acquisition leaders know how to network. At the jam-packed opening reception last night the connections and re-connections being made were a thing of beauty. These folks came to meet their peers, share the latest in “what works” and help each other be more effective. Aggressively open and supportive.
I am absolutely impressed with the quality of the keynotes and breakout sessions. The Keynotes are all practicing recruiting leaders. Leaders of actual recruiting functions inorganizations. Practitioners. Organization leaders. So their content is full of current examples of what their organizations are really doing in the field. These aren’t sales pitches from consultants or “motivational” stories. Actual relevant and actionable content by practitioners in the field.
Breakout sessions – only three at a time – are also nearly all led by practicing recruiting leaders. The consultants who are presenting are true thought leaders.
I am thrilled to see that all the keynotes and one session per breakout time is being live streamed for any interested viewer. Free. As in no cost. How’s that for using the power of social media to strengthen a community and drive stickiness to a brand? During coffee breaks the great Steve Boese from HR Happy Hour is streaming live interviews with speakers and other notable attendees to keep the content flowing between sessions. A truly brilliant move on ERE’s part – and not just because I was one of the interviews.
This really caught my attention. The ERE Recruiting Excellence Awards presentation took a 90 minute keynote slot. There were 8 categories and representatives from the top 2 finalist organizations in each category were on the stage. That’s 16 people sitting on the stage. The winners and 1st runners up were announced live very attractive trophies were presented. So far pretty normal.
Then the magic started. The chair from last year’s conference moderated the winners and the audience in a panel Q&A/discussion session that let the audience look under the hood of the winning organizations’ strategies and tactics from the people who led the innovations. I’ve never seen such engagement between a panel and an audience. There were more questions than than time to answer. (Of significant interest to the audience were the successes with putting wounded warriors to work at some very impressive organizations) It was a very powerful session.
The Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego is a stellar conference property. The conference rooms are set up classroom style with table covers – a very nice touch. Very comfortable and accessible. ERE sprang for complimentary WiFi throughout the venue for attendees – a meaningful differentiator. Other conference organizers should note that feature. The food is pretty good, the staff is extremely accommodating and the sleeping rooms are lovely.
What else can I tell you? This conference is the complete package. Excellent content from current practitioner/leaders, excellent social media approach, excellent execution on the logistics.
The most impressive things about this conference, though, are the attendees.