#HRTech Conference – Bigger and Badder Than Hurricane Matthew

SEO link bait aside, the headline still stands. I’m in Chicago this week for HRTech. I’m one of the designated “bloggers” for the event which means I get a pass to the event and … well… that’s about it. I say that up front just to be clear there is not pay to play or other exchange. Transparency achieved.

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The conference continues to get bigger. Every year there are more companies on the floor exhibit. Every year the organizers create new things to capture the attention of HR professionals. From my perspective the things I think are interesting are:

The Startup Pavilion

I love this idea. It started a few years back but to me it houses some of the more interesting ideas on the floor. It is just what you would think it is – a play for small startup companies to demo/engage/sell their ideas. The pavilion hosts about 40 companies in the space one of the big companies might occupy. It’s the real world analog to the digital “bite sized” media world we now live in. No huge investment for the companies – just a small stand-up table with graphics. But a great way to showcase new ideas. I haven’t taken the time to track it but I wonder if there is a way to follow the evolution of companies who started in the pavilion and then ended up at the grown up table with bigger booths and more expensive swag. Or maybe – just maybe – the real right way to do the show is in a 6-foot square space with computer, an idea and passion. If you want to find me I’m probably hanging around there!

HackLabs

While some of you bleeding-edgers may think the idea of a “HackLab” or a hack-a-thon are old hat – and they are for most techies – the idea isn’t a well distributed in the HR space. But HRTech is bringing the boom once again. Started in 2015 the HackLab pits teams of designers and developers against each other to create a new and innovative HR solution in 48 hours. Nothing like watching HR tech sausage being made on fast-forward. This is great to witness where the thinking about HR and its role in the enterprise is going.

And lastly ….

International

In the first hour I was here at HRTech I had conversations with HR professionals from Canada, Utah and Moscow. The international trifecta. And yeah – you read that right – Russia. You know HRTech is mission critical when the Russian contingent shows up. That alone should make this show required for future-looking HR pros. #Pro-Tip – HR problems are the same in Russia as they are here – just colder.

 

So – that’s my first day at HRTech. I’ll be walking the floor… the final frontier. My five-day mission: to explore strange new booths, to seek out new ideas and new technology and business ecosystems, to boldly go where no one has gone before (except maybe @SteveBoese – after all – he is the conference Chair.)

Wish me luck!

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