Tag Archives: HR Technology Conference

Conference Attendance 101

data point tuesday_500This was originally published on August 31, 2010 — it’s still valid today. Especially if you’re joining me at the HRTech Conference next week. Especially the part about smiling…

So.  You took advice from my last blog post and decided which conference to attend.  Congratulations.  But now you want to be sure that you leverage your investment by making the most of your attendance.  Here are three proven strategies for making sure you get your money’s worth.

Sessions

Conferences generally have 3 types of content sessions:

  1. General Sessions:  these are sessions that are intended for the full complement of attendees.  The speakers are typically big names in the industry who speak on universal topics relevant to the conference theme or they are big celebrity names meant to draw your attendance to the conference.  Here in Orlando where I’m attending the SHRM affiliated HR Florida conference, the opening general session featured Henry Winkler.  (He was terrific, by the way.)
  2. Concurrent Sessions:  these are the main content tracks that are scheduled throughout the conference.  Each time slot will hold multiple options for your consideration.  Designed for smaller subsets of the conference attendees, these tend to be led by practitioners, consultants or academics and are focused content of a practical nature.
  3. Sponsor Highlights:  these are sessions that feature a sponsor or exhibitor’s product or service, are marketing-focused in nature, and come as part of their sponsorship/exhibitor fee.

In a typical two and a half day conference, it’s important to select the sessions you want to attend wisely – and in advance.  But it’s also important not to over-schedule yourself (more on that later). I recommend attending all the General Sessions.  The big names generally have value and the celebrity speakers are generally engaging, entertaining and motivating.  Then attend concurrent sessions in about 75% of the time slots.

Save time for Networking

One of the particular values of attending a conference in person (as opposed to an online conference or a series of webinars) is the opportunity to meet other like minded people.  Look at the list of presenters.  Look at the list of sponsors/exhibitors.  Find out who else will be attending.  Then target 4-8 people that you’d really like to meet and talk with – and find them at the conference.  Leaving time in your session schedule to set short appointments when you find people on your target list will allow you to be thoughtful in creating new relationships.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to learn from industry pros – who, by the way, also want to network and meet people just like you!

You know how to network, right?  You prepare for these opportunities in advance by identifying what you’d like to talk about with each target and prepare 2 or 3 questions to get the conversation rolling.  You can ask everyone the same questions, or you can customize your approach to each person.  Your confidence will be strong as you introduce yourself to these folks and you’ll be surprised how amenable perfect strangers are to meet and talk with you.

Nothing is more attractive than a smile

As you walk the conference halls and expo aisles, make sure your demeanor and body language is open.  And smile.  Intentionally.  You’ll appear open, friendly, not intimidating or intimidated.  Really, there’s nothing more attractive than a smiling face.  And there’s nothing that builds your confidence to approach strangers than acting open and welcoming.

Attending a conference and getting your money’s worth isn’t hard.  But it takes some forethought and planning.  Both you and your organization want to realize the investment it took to get there.  Make sure you get the full value of the experience.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bill Kutik, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Globoforce, HR Technology, HR Technology Conference, LRP Publications, Steve Boese

Voice of the Candidate: Is Anyone Listening?

data-point-tuesday_5002

Vendor survey results, reports and whitepapers are self-serving. We know that, right? But vendor survey results, reports and whitepapers can also be sources of insight for HR professionals – as long as they understand that there’s an agenda behind the publication.

I read a SilkRoad report on some survey results last week that I thought was interesting. I don’t know anyone at SilkRoad but they sent me a link and I clicked on it. And found this:  2013 Employment Marketplace Survey Results: The Candidate’s Perspective. And I found that their results line up well with the work that Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin’s Talent Board is doing with the Candidate Experience Awards* (CandEs).

The “Voice of the Candidate” is getting more and more powerful. And it’s clear from these results – and others – that organizations winning the talent game are listening to that voice. Those that aren’t listening are missing out on some great talent.

The report is a quick read but here are a couple of highlights:

SilkRoad 1c

Companies that invest in the commonly accepted components of “engagement” are more likely to catch the attention of job seekers. Period. The top five selected (this was a “check your top three” questions) characteristics are typically found in definitions of engagement. For good reason, as it turns out.

And this:

SilkRoad 2

The report describes the results of this question as the “halo effect” of web-based recruiting technology. It’s not just about the efficiencies of using the web for recruiting – it’s also about the assumptions candidates make about the use of web-based recruiting technology. According to the results, the majority of survey participants indicated that they believe the use of web-based recruiting technology means that the employer is innovative and progressive.

There certainly are a number of HCM providers with web-based recruiting technology solutions – and more being introduced nearly every day. If an employer has the dual purpose of increasing talent acquisition efficiency as well as improving the candidate experience, then listening to the “Voice of the Candidate” is the right place to start.

*The CandEs will be announced at the HR Technology Conference, October 7-9, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

7 Comments

Filed under CandE Awards, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Elaine Orler, Gerry Crispin, HR Technology Conference, Recruiting, Recruiting Technology, SilkRoad

HR Happy Hour: HR, Early Adoption, and HRevolution 2013

HR Happy Hour #168I had a great time yesterday recording a podcast with my friends Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane, founders and organizers of the groundbreaking HRevolution series of conferences. We talked about HR, the bind in which HR often finds itself when considering the acquisition of new solutions based on new technologies, HRevolution 2013 and the HR Technology Conference.

We talked about HR because Trish is a CHRO; Steve is an HR technology guru; and I’m, well, as a business leader, I’m a huge supporter of the HR profession and HR professionals. We talked about Early Adoption because I’m leading a session at HRevolution: “Is Early Adoption in HR’s DNA?”  HRevolution is a great one-day experience focused on learning, networking and new thinking in the practice of HR. It’s on October 6 in #VegasBaby — in the same venue and the day before the HR Technology Conference. Couldn’t be easier to attend!

And we talked about the HR Technology Conference because Steve is taking over as Co-Chair and is also leading this year’s “Awesome New HR Technology” contest. If you haven’t registered yet, here’s the link. And be sure to use the promo code CHINA13 for a $500 discount!

It was a fun conversation. Take a listen here:  HR Happy Hour 168 – ‘HR, Early Adoption, and HRevolution’ 08/09 by Steve Boese | Business Podcasts.

Leave a comment

Filed under China Gorman, Early Adoption, HR Conferences, HR Happy Hour, HR Technology Conference, HRevolution

2013 HR Tech Conference: Just Around the Corner!

data point tuesday_500

This isn’t a usual Data Point Tuesday. No data to review. Rather, I want to encourage you to consider attending the HR Technology Conference this fall. And not just because it’s in #VegasBaby.

HR Tech Logo 2

HR Tech is one of the top HR conferences in the world  – and gets stronger every year. This is the 16th year of HR Tech, and Bill Kutik – the conference founder and co-chair – says that it’s the best place to learn how to get the business benefits from technology. And I have to agree with him. Here’s what I wrote after attending HR Tech for the first time in 2011,

“One conference treats HR people like they impact the bottom line.  Like they are business leaders capable of making business decisions. … Unlike the nonprofit conferences of all sizes and the smaller unconferences, HRTech is a place where business gets done.”

And it certainly was the same – only better – in 2012. Here’s what I wrote about last year’s conference:

“The HR Technology Conference is the one conference to attend to find out how to make your HCM infrastructure more productive, more efficient, more cost effective and more future oriented. … It’s the one conference to attend to get a glimpse of what will be possible in the future to ensure organization success.”

And knowing Bill, and his recently announced successor, Steve Boese, here’s what I’m looking forward to this year, from the conference agenda:

  • Presentations from senior execs at world-class organizations including Cigna, Cisco, GE, GM, Hilton, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and many more
  • Keynotes from Don Tapscott and Jason Averbook
  • Innovative and entertaining General Sessions including “The HR Tonight Show Starring Bill Kutik” and “Awesome New Technologies for HR” produced by Steve Boese
  • New “HR Tech Talks,” short, rapid-fire presentations by industry leaders about work, technology, management and some surprising topics
  • Provocative panel discussions, including Collaborative Enterprises Get Work Done!, NextGen Influencers and International Recruiting
  • An Expo Hall filled with the most innovative HR technology solutions available – and some that are just being brought to the market
  • Guaranteed face-time with industry luminaries – Naomi Lee Bloom, Josh Bersin, Gartner’s Ron Hanscome, IDC’s Lisa Rowan and more – in intimate, small-group discussions

The last bullet alone is worth the price of admission!

Let’s face it. Technology is part of every HR professional’s job. Whether you’re an entry-level generalist, a manager/director-level functional expert, or the most senior HR leader in your organization:  you have to be smart about HR technology. Short of returning to school to earn another degree, the HR Technology Conference is the place to learn about the intersection of people, business and technology. It’s the place to meet real thought leaders in person. It’s the place to talk with vendors about potential solutions to your productivity issues. It’s the place to learn about cloud-based SaaS solutions to replace your costly and ineffective legacy systems. It’s the place to learn how HR really can solve business problems.

Even though you can’t put a price tag on this kind of learning, readers of Data Point Tuesday can get a $500 discount on their conference registration. That means you pay only $1,395 instead of $1,895! You’re more efficient already! Register here for the conference and use Promo Code CHINA13 to get the discount. And get this:  for readers of Data Point Tuesday, this Promo Code doesn’t expire until the conference ends on October 9!

There are no guarantees in life. But if you join me at the 2013 HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, October 7-9 at the Mandalay Bay, you will be smarter, more connected, more effective and more attractive when you leave.

9 Comments

Filed under Bill Kutik, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Conferences, HR Technology Conference, Steve Boese

Is HR Mad for Social?

What a week!

Monday and Tuesday in the U.K. at TruLondon; Wednesday in Dublin at the Kelly OCG Talent Strategy Summit; and Thursday and Friday in Amsterdam at the HR Tech Europe Conference. Hanging with HR Professionals from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America. Focused on the challenge of increasing the productivity and efficiency of organizations by managing talent better. A global challenge, surely.

The talk at TruLondon was focused on making talent acquisition smarter, more social (because that’s how talent operates today), and more effective. (You can read my take on the conference here.)

The conversation in Dublin was more general, but the use of social technologies was a central thread.

And social was front and center throughout HR Tech Europe – whether it was in keynotes by thought leaders like Thomas Otter, Naomi Bloom, Peter Hinssen  or Josh Bersin, the iHR competition where 6 emerging tech based HR solutions companies vied for the coveted “best new HR tech company,” or as many as 10 (out of 52) breakout sessions that had “social” in their titles.

It made me wonder: is HR mad for social? Every conversation I had in London, Dublin and Amsterdam touched on social – either in discussing conference content or in casual, more personal conversations.  A sample of things overheard:

  • “What a stitch: I just got endorsed for my BBQ skills on LinkedIn.” (not me)
  • “The Twitter stream was rocking during Josh Bersin‘s presentation.”
  • Naomi Bloom said “building/sustaining/deploying social networks to achieve business outcomes, and the business networks of workforce members, are foundational.”
  • Thomas Otter said “mobile devices and social networks are changing the way we work.”
  • “The nexus of Big Data and HR and social will take us to a whole new level of strategic impact.”
  • “Talent Acquisition and Learning and Development are outliers in the world of HR when it comes to early adoption – especially in the social and mobile arenas.”

Frankly, I knew for sure that HR is mad for social at HR Tech Europe when a session leader, a senior HR leader from a French firm, used an image of a kitten with the following caption: “please adopt me.” (HR + kittens = done deal.)

I don’t think that focusing on social technologies to help support HR in making bigger impacts in talent management challenges is a bad thing. We just have to ensure that we are being data-based and  strategic and not just focusing on the next new shiny object. We must ensure that any new solution we introduce into our organizations does 3 things:

  • Strengthens the relationships between employees and their managers, employees and customers, and employees and senior leadership
  • Is based on, collects and produces actionable data
  • Links with the talent strategy – which is rooted in the business strategy

Unless the myriad of solutions coming to the HR/Talent marketplace with social features can do those three things, they may well be just shiny objects mewling like kittens to be adopted.

Unless the myriad of solutions coming to the HR/Talent marketplace with social features can do those three things, they’ll do nothing to increase HR’s ability to lead the necessary strategic  workforce and talent planning actions.

Unless the myriad of solutions coming to the HR/Talent marketplace with social features can do those three things, HR won’t be able to fund them, much less implement them.

The discussions in London, Dublin and Amsterdam were engaging – whether in casual conversation or from behind the podium – and will lead the way for increasing HR’s impact on business performance and growth. And that’s just where HR needs to play:  improving business performance through the greater productivity of talent.  If that isn’t the focus, then social becomes a distraction and a waste of time, energy and money.

Then we won’t be mad for social – we’ll be mad at social. And rightfully so.

1 Comment

Filed under China Gorman, Conferences, Connecting Dots, HR, HR Conferences, HR Technology Conference, Kelly OCG, Social Technology, Talent Management, Technology, Tru Events

Building the HRM Technology Business Case

The highly anticipated CedarCrestone 2012-2013 HR Systems Survey White Paper, 15th Annual Edition was released at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago last week.

If you have any thought of adding HRM technology to your budget next year, the data in this report can be the foundation of your business case for the investment request.  Even if you aren’t going to ask for technology investment money for FY2013 this report will give you important data for managing your technology in new ways.

In analyzing the more than 1200 survey responses to identify key common practices, the CedarCrestone team (led by Lexi Martin) used these four independently validated key financial metrics to identify the highly successful organizations:

  • Revenue per employee:  Top performers is $681,903 vs. $352,576 for all others
  • Profit per employee:  Top performers is $317,508 vs. $131,157 for all others
  • Operating income growth (EBIT):  Top performers is 61% vs. 11% for all others
  • Return on Equity:  Top performers is 23% vs. 10%

Once the pool of top performing organizations was created, the analysis for common practices began and resulted in identifying the following Seven Practices of Top Performing Organizations:

  1. Top Performers have standardized processes and sophisticated change management processes.
  2. Top Performers are more likely to already have, or be planning a move to, a SaaS HRMS.
  3. Top Performers avoid extensive customizations of their HRMS.
  4. Top Performers have higher user adoption of employees, and manager self service, and shared services.
  5. Top Performers are more likely to have an integrated Talent Management system on the same platform as their HRMS solution.
  6. Top Performers have more sophisticated business intelligence solutions in place and more often put these tools in the hands of managers.
  7. Top Performers have more HR technologies in use and spent less on HR technology per employee.

The CedarCrestone 2012-2013 Survey White Paper goes into great detail about each of the seven best practices with quick characteristic overviews as well as deep data dives.  Well written and easily understood, this report is full of really useful information – whether you’re an HR department of one or one hundred.

The best practice that caught my eye was #7:  Top Performers have more HR technologies in use and spend less on HR technology per employee.

Regardless of the application category, Top Performers have more technology in place than the others.  We place each respondent in a technology application adoption quartile:  62% of Top Performers are in the top quarter of application adoption vs. 35% of the other publicly traded organizations; the categories of BI (Business Intelligence) and social applications both had 20%+ differences in adoption  between Top Performers and non-top performers.  And all of that technology still comes at a 12% lower cost per employee! 

It may seem  counter-intuitive that more technology means less cost, or that more technology means less humane-ness.  But what’s more humane than the organizational stability that comes with success?  What’s more humane than a highly profitable business that’s able to invest in talent?  What’s more humane than the organizational growth and longevity that higher levels of productivity produce?

Download the CedarCrestone report here, get a cup of coffee and spend an hour on the data and conclusions.  You won’t be sorry because these dots connect.

It’s budget season. You need the business case to invest in HRM technology and this report will give you most of the firepower you’ll need.  You could be a hero at this time next year!

1 Comment

Filed under Business Case, CedarCrestone, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, EBIT, HR Analytics, HR Data, HR Technology, HR Technology Conference, HRM Technology

A Whole Lotta Business Going On!

Last year I wrote about the HR Technology Conference and titled my post “HR people doing business. Wait.  What?”  I attended this event for the first time last year and was struck by the business activity going on at the conference.  It wasn’t about swag; it wasn’t about recertification credits; it wasn’t about getting autographed books.  Some of it was attendees really having buying conversations with vendors; some of it was vendors doing business with other vendors; and some of it was organizations having hiring discussions with candidates who happened to be attendees, vendor employees, speakers, etc.  And all that was happening this year as well.  You just can’t escape the feeling that business is going on when you walk the halls and floor of this conference.

There was an added dimension to the floor this year.  And maybe it was there previously and I just wasn’t aware.  But there was lots of money at this conference looking for investment opportunities.  I talked with a number of VC and other investors who came to see what was new and to make relationships for investment purposes!

There’s a lot of money flowing into the HCM space these days – untold numbers of VC outfits; strategic buyers like IBM, Oracle, Salesforce; the public markets with IPO offerings like Workday.  With talent issues being top of mind for every business leader with a Chief in their title, it’s no wonder that money is seeking opportunity in this field.

And you could absolutely feel it at HR Tech which concluded in Chicago yesterday.  Investments were being poised to happen in start-ups as angel investments, start-up investments, series A, B and C investments as well as outright purchases.  The talent management issues of organizations all over the world are creating opportunities for innovative solutions that will help us get better talent more efficiently with a great likelihood of longevity.  That’s what we want as business leaders.  And money was there looking for opportunities to make that happen.

As Mark Hurd, President of Oracle, told the conference attendees, “I want the best people at the lowest cost that I can get them.”  Exactly.  As an organization leader who “gets” HCM’s value, Hurd is no longer in the minority of C-suite leaders.  And that means greater emphasis on productivity and efficiency and cost.  And that opens the door wide to innovation and investment.

The HR Technology Conference is the one conference to attend to find out how to make your HCM infrastructure more productive, more efficient, more cost effective and more future oriented.  It’s the one conference to attend to meet senior business leaders who are focused on winning through talent and systems to manage that talent.  It’s the one conference to attend to get a glimpse of what will be possible in the future to ensure organization success.  If it isn’t on your agenda for next year, it should be.

3 Comments

Filed under C-suite, Conferences, HR Conferences, HR Executive Magazine, HR Technology Conference, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, Talent Management, Workday