On My Way Back Home -> HR Tech, 2011

The 2010 HR Technology Conference in Chicago was, for me, nothing short of life changing.  And I don’t mean that in the hyperbolic “that was the best latte ever!” way.  I’m using “life changing” in the literal sense.  How?  Gosh, I’m glad you asked.  As we get closer to the 2011 HR Technology Conference (in Las Vegas, no less), here are the ways you can expect this year’s show to impact you:


The networking opportunities at this thing are ridiculously good.  There may be an initial thought that the show is populated with all the HRIS geeks from across the country.  Not so, my friends!  The way the space has evolved, you get a much larger cross section of attendees.  You’ll see those geeks, yes, plus vendors, pundits and celebrity impersonators.  But there are a few other groups you may not have thought about.

  • HR Executives, trying to understand what is out there and how far behind they really are.
  • Trench HR, trying to improve their own skill set.
  • Social media junkies and voices that will be sharing what they see and what it means.  Get to know them now, so that you can get highlights of the sessions you aren’t able to attend.
  • HR tech celebrities.  OK, that may sound silly.  But once you spend a little time in the space, you will quickly realize that the title rests easily on the heads of those like keynoters Jason Averbook, Naomi Lee Bloom, Jim Holincheck, John Boudreau and Bill Kutik.  Best yet, they are actual people who are more than happy to share what they know, be it in session or in the hallway.  Add to that the Q&A sessions with Lisa Rowan, Josh Bersin and Paul Hamerman, and you have an unparallelled opportunity to ask questions to the people who know the answers.

Thought Process

Seeing the new technology that was either delivered or close to being delivered last year was an eye opening experience.  Too often, we develop technology myopia, limiting our sight to the tools in front of us.  We forget how many smart people are working to build really cool applications to make HR, and therefor your business, run smoother.

I’ve spoken at times about the two key roles of HR, as I see them, being talent management and keeping people out of jail.  I think most HR professionals would agree, though, that we get distracted with paperwork, filing, administrative tasks and a host of other time stealing minutiae.    Seeing the inroads new technology has made in eliminating those demands will both lift your spirits and give you hope for the future.  OK, that may be a bit strong, but that’s what it did for me.  Seriously.

World View

It is easy as an HR professional to forget about the reach of our community.  Attending HR Tech 2010 opened up a whole world outside of my office walls.  I’m not an attendee of the SHRM national conference, so this was the first time I had the chance to spend a couple of days trading stories and ideas with other like minded professionals.

As I mentioned in a recent video post, none of us are breaking new ground on a regular basis.  There is always someone to learn from, someone’s experience to leverage, so crumb of wisdom we can distill from others, if only we take the time to seek it out.  Those people will be in Las Vegas in October.  I can’t tell you how many questions I was able to answer just by asking the people I met last year.  It made a huge, tangible impact on my work this year.  I can’t wait to see what I learn this time around.

Finally, there is the issue of inspiration.  I get geeked up being around passionate people seeing and doing things that they love.  And I’ve yet to find a better collection for those positive vibes than this conference.  Just as a point of reference, here is my wrap up post from last year.  I’m proud to say I worked on all of these targets and made significant progress, thanks in large part to the people I met in Chicago.

One last thing…

My gift to you.  Well, OK, Bill Kutik’s gift to me to give to you.

Getting development dollars in your budget can be tough.  Once you have them, you want to make them go as far as you can.  So while HR Tech is, in my humble opinion, worth every penny, you don’t have to pay all of them.

As a friend of the show, you can help yourself to a pretty significant discount.  Just use the Promotion Code LEAN11 (all caps) when you register online to get $500 off the rack rate of $1,795. The discount expires September 19, so don’t dally, OK?

There is a great brochure you can download if you want to know more about the show.  Or just take my word for it and go resister with that shiny new discount.  I hope to see you there!


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