6 Must-Attend Events At HR Tech Conference And Expo

Oh my! There are going to be so many awesome sessions and speakers at this month’s Tech Conference that the challenge becomes how to maximise the best learnings while in Vegas.

Here are my six must-attend events to attend while at the industry’s biggest show of the year.

1. Opening Night Reception in Expo

Get going in style. This will be your first opportunity to enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres while you connect with other 2015 attendees, browse the exhibits and talk with vendors. This is always a super opportunity to get a jump start on your visits to the almost 300 vendors in the Expo Hall before the first full day of sessions even begins!

2. Opening Keynote With Marcus Buckingham: Centering on Team Leaders: Data-Driven Strategies for Revitalizing Engagement and Performance Management

Marcus Buckingham, Founder of The Marcus Buckingham Company, and New York Times best-selling author will walk attendees through new and proven data-driven strategies for revitalizing engagement and performance. Marcus will discuss a radically new approach to equipping team leaders with what they need to breathe new life into their engagement and performance-management systems. Beginning with why team leaders are more crucial than ever in organizations today, he will go on to share a proven blueprint that leverages reliable and frequent data (targeted to those areas where organizations need the data most) to create a far more powerful and integrated approach.

3. The Monday Night After-Hours Party Sponsored by: Cornerstone

Happening at the amazing House of Blues Concert Hall. This fun evening will feature a DJ, live performance from The Wallflowers, dancing, cocktails and more! RSVP at

4. The All New HR Tech Hackathon

The first-ever HR Tech Hackathon, held on Tuesday afternoon, promises to be a fascinating new addition to the conference this year and I can’t wait!

This exciting development competition will feature teams of engineers and designers from many of the leading HR technology solution providers, as well as some emerging HR tech providers eager to make their mark. Starting Sunday, the teams will have less than 48 hours to design, build and then demonstrate live on stage brand-new solutions that address real HR and business challenges.

Then you’ll help choose the winning innovation. It’s a great way to see the latest HR technology thinking in action, giving you an exclusive window into the process, culture and capabilities of leading vendors — invaluable insights to have for your next HR technology investment.

The Cool New Session Will Feature:

  • Boris Kozak, Director of Engineering, Jibe
  • Hunter Powers, Manager of Software Engineering, Jibe
  • John Hatcher, Software Engineering Manager, Jibe
  • Shamir Saddler, Software Engineer, Jibe
  • Vish Viswanathan – Enterprise Architect, Salesforce
  • Alisa DiStaso, Lead – HR & Employee Engagement PMO, Salesforce
  • Shane McLaughlin, Principal Solution Engineer, Salesforce

5. Closing Day Keynote: Unleashing the Power of Openness with James “Jim” Whitehurst, President and CEO of Red Hat, and author of The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance

In a constantly accelerating landscape, how can companies stay competitive with limited resources? Could a cultural transformation hold the keys to enhancing business performance? From his years leading vertical organizations and managing tech companies, Jim Whitehurst has experienced the full spectrum of corporate structures.

Jim will share candid advice about configuring and leading an open organization in today’s fast-paced, highly connected environment. He’ll also explore how such an open model can be incorporated into organizations of any size to help you fuel greater levels of passion, engagement and performance.

6. Special #TChat Show – Live From HR Tech

Don’t forget to take an hour away from all of those awesome Speakers and seminars to tune in for the special #TChat show live from the event at 1pm ET on Wednesday 21st October.

With guests Susan Vitale, Chief Marketing Officer at iCIMS; Lori Sylvia, Chief Marketing Officer at SmashFly; and Michele Ellner, Director of Marketing at Montage joining Meghan and Kevin, the special on-site show promises to be amazing!

Looking forward to meeting you at the Conference and Expo. Until then fellow tech enthusiasts..

Stronger! #TChat Preview #SHRM13 Edition

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full review of this week’s events and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: The Class of 2013 Goes To Work.”)

Hello Chicago: #TChat Is In The House!

Buzz is everywhere in Chicago and on social media channels, as nearly 20,000 human resources professionals descend upon the city for the annual SHRM Conference & Exposition.

And, as Kevin W. Grossman noted in his recent SHRM “save-the-dates” post, he and his TalentCulture co-founder, Meghan M. Biro will be working the aisles, leading live events and posting updates on the  #SHRM13 Twitter backchannel throughout the week.

As promised, below are details of #TChat events that talent-minded professionals don’t want to miss. So join us! Whether you’re live on the floor, or half-a-world away — the lights are always on, and you’re always welcome to contribute to our “world of work” conversation!

Bolder. Better. Stronger.


Visit the SHRM conference community site

These three words capture the aspirations of #SHRM13 organizers. Nice choice. To those of us at TalentCulture, they represent the promise of a workforce that is empowered to redefine organizational culture and performance. It’s a fearless approach to the future. But talent-minded professionals don’t have to go it alone. Instead, we can leverage the power of a broader professional community — sharing ideas and experiences that can move us all forward, faster.

But what do these three words mean for the next wave — those who are graduating from school, and looking at the world of work from a fresh perspective? It’s estimated that by 2025, Gen Y “millennials” will represent more than 75% of the workforce. That’s a huge generational shift. No wonder Meghan Biro says in that it’s smart for leaders to engage tomorrow’s workforce.

Building Bench Strength: It’s A Process

It’s one thing to recognize the importance of connecting with next-generation workers. But that begs another question: What can organizations do to drive engagement? It’s time to share some credible insights. And that’s the focus of our special “Class of 2013” #TChat events this week:

Achievers Promo

Learn more about the #SHRM13 Meetup

MONDAY JUNE 17 — 3:15-4:00pm Central Time (4:15pmET/1:15pmPT)
Margarita Meet-up at Achievers Booth #2455
“Class of 2013” Panel Discussion

Not to be missed. Meghan and Kevin will multi-task — mixing margaritas while moderating a live panel of HR executives! This should be a fun and fascinating discussion. We’ll highlight key results from a recent workplace expectations survey of 10,000+ graduating students, conducted by our partners at Achievers, in association with ConnectEDU.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 19 — 6:00-7:00pm Central Time (7-8pmET/4-5pmPT)
#TChat Twitter — with Moderator, Katie Paterson, Community Manager, Achievers
“Looking Forward: The Graduating Class of 2013

Let’s talk in more depth about why and how the next generation of leaders is influencing change across all HR functions — from recruiting, onboarding and development, to peformance management, recognition and retention. More importantly, what do these changes imply about the future of work, and the nature of employer/employee relationships?

Q1: What digital “social” tools are job seekers using today to leverage their networks and find jobs. Why?

Q2: How do orgs improve onboarding for new grads with little or no work experience? For seasoned veterans?

Q3: If performance drives business, how often should employees be evaluated and why? What about PT and contract?

Q4: Why is it important to recognize the individual in the workplace regardless of age or experience?

Q5: What can HR leaders do to improve retention for hired new grads and all talent ecosystems?

What are your thoughts? Whether you’re onsite or not, we hope you’ll weigh-in with your ideas, questions and opinions.

We’ll see you here in Chicago — and on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

SocialHRCamp: Warming Up & Packing Light

I’ll Bring the Marshmallows!

Seriously, there’s a not-to-be-missed professional event happening right here in my hometown next week. It’s the Boston leg in a series of “un-conferences” for HR professionals. That means it’s not your typical, static “lecture” conference. Instead, it’s a dynamic, flexible, collaborative knowledge-sharing environment. And it’s designed specifically for HR professionals who want to leverage social media in their workplace environments and in their careers. Pretty cool stuff.

So, what’s the “camp” connection? That concept seems odd – especially during a cold New England winter. But stay with me on this one – it’s the SocialHRCamp! And it’s coming next Wednesday, Dec 5th, to the Cambridge, MA campus of my awesome former client, Google. I’m looking forward to huddling with some of the best and brightest talent strategy and career-oriented minds, as we explore how to integrate social media with in-real-life interactions to create business value. Sounds like a magic bullet, doesn’t it? It is! We invite all kinds of smart, innovative people to join us – college students, HR practitioners and leaders alike.

Let’s Gather Around the Campfire

I’ll be there talking about recruiting, of course – Recruiting 3.0 – along with my long-time friend Jeff Moore, Director of Global Talent at TripAdvisor. We are co-presenting the discussion “Recruiting 3.0: From Online to IRL-Qualifying, Deepening Social Relationships.” We look forward sharing a lot of laughs with you along the way. After all, when Jeff and I get together, it’s how we roll.

But between the stories and chuckles, we want to delve into a discussion about how to choose and apply the right HR technology, how to be better recruiting leaders, and how to grow stronger relationships in these social-media-driven times. Social channels have become an essential part of the recruiter’s bag of tricks, but it’s critical to remember it’s just one kind of tool. The key to success is in understanding where, when and how to use social media to establish, build and strengthen relationships and improve your career.

Not Your Father’s Day Camp

Because SocialHRCamp is an “un-conference,” attendees can customize this event experience to suit their particular interests and needs. So we’ll balance face-to-face chats and presentations with quick breaks to Tweet and post on LinkedIn and Facebook – an in-the-moment live stream of interaction and learning that spreads far beyond the event venue, in real time. It’s an opportunity to put social tools into practice.

This “un-conference” structure promises that SocialHRCamp attendees will walk away with a richer, more enduring connection with the people and practices they encounter at the sessions. I couldn’t agree more. Leaders and practitioners thrive when we’re active and hands-on in social media engagement and strategies. Regardless of your industry, role, or belief system, it’s critical to weave social media connections into the daily workflow. It’s no longer an option – it’s a core competency for brand representatives who must build greater trust with employees, customers and prospects.

That’s the beauty of an “un-conference.” It’s a safe, supportive environment that helps us all find better ways to share and apply leading-edge social HR skills, tools and techniques.

So let’s pitch the SocialHRCamp flag together! Join Jeff Waldman SocialHR Camp founder, Salima Nathoo of GLOW Consulting, your HR and recruiting colleagues, and me, as we connect, listen, learn and interact. Sign up below and make sure to say hi to me when you get to the conference – we’ll all be multitasking, talking and expanding our horizons. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

See you there IRL! Smiles.

Get a Special Friend Discount!

It’s on me! Please use the code “MeghanMBiro” when you register. Hope to see you there. Around this campfire, the more the merrier!

TalentCulture Goes to Washington: #TChat Preview

I was recently talking to a friend who’s been in the workforce a lot longer than I have. He’s a baby boomer who remembers the terrifying lack of jobs when he graduated in 1975. He remembers 1987’s Black Monday. He lived through the dotcom boom and bust. He reminds me that everything runs in cycles, including employment, but says he’s more pessimistic today than he’s ever been.

Perhaps it’s a consequence of age, or perhaps it’s a reaction to the culture of uncertainty we’re living in. Either way I feel his pain, and in talking with other Leaders and HR pros I know I’m not alone in having friends like this, and hearing stories like his from every generation. The future of the world of work is a scary thing to think about right now.

Employers no longer have the upper hand in what happens with employees; at best they do some navigating. Public policy on everything from healthcare to retirement to taxes is changing the world of work. People across the board need an advocate — all the families out there juggling multiple jobs to squeak by, recent graduates still living at home because they can’t find a full-time job, seniors approaching retirement and stumped as to how to protect, let alone add to, their retirement savings.

I believe that HR can step up and fill the gap. It’s time for HR leaders to stretch out of the role of risk manager and into the role of employee advocate and brand ambassador. How can we do that? We can understand public policy and its effect on the business climate. We can study regulations. And we can work with policymakers through organizations such as The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which this week will send HR leaders to Washington to address Congress on the topics of retirement security and employer-subsidized education.

Normally #TChat World of Work stays away from the third rail of politics, but this week we’ll step a bit closer (while minding the gap) with a discussion of how public policy is re-shaping the world of work. Mr. Smith went to Washington, yes, and so will TalentCulture. Following are our questions for the week:

Q1: In what ways is public policy shaping the future of the workplace – for better or worse?

Q2: Why and how can HR and leaders stay ahead of regulations — to benefit organizational stakeholders?

Q3: What role can tech play in forging more constructive ties between business and policy makers?

Q4: To what degree is public policy helping or hindering innovation in talent strategy? What should HR do?

Q5: Should some aspects of the workplace remain separate from public policy oversight? Why and how?

The TalentCulture community is a powerful group of thinkers. Let’s put our virtual heads together this week and get serious about what we can do, as leaders, to help employers and employees chart a course through the next months and years. Join #TChat on Twitter this Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are). Moderating live, from Washington, D.C., will be SHRM’s very own Donna Rogers (@DonnaRogersHR), founder of Rogers Human Resources Consulting. We’ll steer clear of personal politics, but we’ll be looking for your opinions on the intersection of HR and public policy. Join the conversation, and remember: no complaining unless you take action.

Image credit: Washington, D.C. – The White House, by Stefan Fussan

TLNT Transform! Join the TalentCulture Crew There

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on

Maybe you missed it in the end-of-the-year rush, but late last month, I was a guest on TotalPicture Radio With Peter Clayton, and we talked about a lot of different things concerning HR, talent management, the news trends of 2011, and of course, TLNT.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear the interview, you can access the radio podcast here.

We also talked quite a bit about the TLNT Transform conference that’s coming up next month in Austin, Texas, and I thought it was worth excerpting that section of the Q&A here, because it gives a lot of information about just why you should attend this forward-thinking, groundbreaking talent management event on Feb. 27-28.

A forward-looking conference

Here’s how the conversation went:

Peter Clayton: I want to talk to you about the TLNT Transform Conference, which will be held February 27 and 28 in lovely Austin, Texas. On the conference website you say “Transform will be an experience unlike any other HR event you have ever attended.” Why so?

John Hollon: Well … you talked about ERE Media being (the) parent company of TLNT. ERE is known for their ERE Expos and their conferences and such.

Peter: Yes, they do a great job – always.

John: It’s simply a logical extension of that for TLNT to have a conference. We launched Transform, which as you said is going to be on February 27-28 in Austin, Texas. I’ve gone to many conferences and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been to every different type. I’ve seen them. I go to a number every year, as I know that you have. I’ve been through the full gamut of conference experiences and what really struck (all of) us about conferences, and particularly the big SHRM conference in June … (is) they’re very much about the here and now. They’re very much about what you need to do today.

What we wanted to do was to make Transform be forward-looking, not just about what you need to do to succeed today – what do you need to do to succeed in the future, what you need to do to get ahead (next) year or (in the) years to come. So that was the focal point. We also looked at having very different types of speakers there. So that’s our goal — to be a very forward-looking, very different conference experience from the other (conferences) that I’m familiar with, and (that) I think most everybody is.

Speakers such as Billy Beane of Moneyball fame

Peter: One of your keynote speakers is Billy Beane, who’s the general manager of the Oakland A’s. Of course he’s played by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball. I have not seen him at a conference, so I’m looking forward to that. Who are some of the other people that you’re bringing in?

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane is played by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball.

John: Billy Beane is a big name and one of the reasons why we got him is that as I think the movie Moneyball shows really well; it’s about a talent management system that’s sort of ahead of its time. He did a really good job there. He’s going to talk about that.

We (also) have people like Jim Knight. Jim is the senior director of training at Hard Rock International. He really goes around the world training (people). He is going to be talking about how to build a team of rock stars.

We have Libby Sartain. (As) a lot of folks know, she was the chairperson of SHRM way back in 2000. Libby’s famous for (being) the chief human resource officer at both Southwest Airlines and Yahoo. Even though the bloom is off the Yahoo rose a little bit, both of those were very forward-looking companies when she was there. She is going to talk about that.

I also got my friend Tim Sackett (on the agenda) as well as a number of others. Some of the people who write for TLNT will be there, people like Tim, Ann Bares (she talks about compensation), and Mel Kleiman, who’s Houston-based and does a lot about hiring. In fact, we run a piece from him every Monday on hiring wisdom. Eric Meyer, who’s a Philadelphia attorney who also writes a lot about legal matters as (they) pertain to employees in the social media space (will be there). That’s gotten to be very hot. He’s going to be leading a panel discussion with a number of HR professionals about that. My friend Ron Thomas, who was the senior vice president at Martha Stewart Living … is the (conference) chairperson who is going to be keeping the trains moving at the conference.

We’re going to have sessions on engagement and health care, and just about all the things that people are dealing with now. I think it’s going to be a great conference, a great event, and I really hope people can find the time and budget to come down and see us in Austin (in February).

An event you need to put on your schedule

Part of the thinking was (that) this conference, because it’s at the end of February, is a little bit ahead of when most of the spring conferences start, so there shouldn’t be any real conflicts with folks. For people in the north, it’s a way that at that point – and I’ve lived up north and you sort of get tired of the winter by the time the middle part of February kicks in – it’s a way to get out of the cold and to get down to some place a little bit warm. We hope that will be a draw too.

Peter: Do you have an Expo component to this event?

John: Yes, we’re going to have an Expo Hall. We’re going to have a number of vendors there. We’ve had really great response from a lot of those people. If you look at the Transform website … you can see a lot of our sponsors who will be there: Pinstripe, HR Marketer,, Employee Screen IQ, People Report, BPI … there’s just a whole bunch of them and we will have more. It’s a little bit tough because we’re at the end of the year right now, so a lot of people aren’t thinking about (conferences), but it’s going to come up real fast, because again, it’s February 27 and 28. That’s really only a couple of months down the road. We certainly have some great discounts in place for people who will sign up now and go.

I think it will be well worth their while. Our hope is to build on this and to make Transform a real annual event that’s really worth going to. A big part of our thinking is, we sort of looked at it and once you get past the big SHRM annual conference that they always have in June – last year it was in Las Vegas, this year it’s going to be in Atlanta… it’s sort of like, what’s the next (big) conference? Once you get away from the niche (conferences) like HR Technology and things of that sort .. we really couldn’t think of a general HR talent management conference that sort of jumped out.

So our feeling is that Transform, if we really do it right, is going to be able to fill that gap. Yes, you need to go to SHRM but there’s also this thing Transform … that is a great forward-looking event that will really help you to get on top of where you need to be, and what you need to be doing, succeed in the future.

How to get an additional $250 off registration

You can hear the entire radio podcast interview here.

And one more important thing: We really want you to join us next month in Austin, so take advantage of this great deal so you can attend Transform. We have a  discount code for #Tchat followers – TF12TCH for $250 discount off Transform

John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of, and the former Editor of Workforce Management. He has written extensively about human resources and talent management. Contact him at, and follow him on Twitter at