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2011 HR Technology Conference & Expo (Day 1): What Happens in Vegas Shouldn’t Have to Stay in Vegas

Written By: Sherry Fox
Published On: October 4 2011

Hundreds of industry experts have descended on Las Vegas for the 2011 HR Technology Conference & Expo (and for other things, such as networking and maybe just a wee bit of gambling), which has been billed as “the world’s best conference on HR Technology.”

It’s my second time attending this conference, which is the largest North American gathering of HR professionals, experts, and technology vendors of its kind. Everyone who’s anyone in the field of HR is here: HR bloggers, CEOs, industry thought leaders, leading software vendors, consultants, and more.

Here’s a brief behind-the-scenes look at day one of the event:

The event kicked off yesterday with a General Session where Dr. John Boudreau, professor and research director of the Center for Effective Organizations at USC’s Marshall School of Business, and author of several books including Retooling HR, talked about his research and five principles for bringing about evidence-based change (logic-driven analytics, segmentation, risk leverage, integration and synergy, and optimization)—using real-world scenarios that end-user organizations could easily grasp.

Increasing interest in social media and mobile adoption was a common theme and point of discussion throughout the day, both on the Expo floor and during the various learning sessions.

What was evident to me from listening to the speakers and talking with the many software vendors on this topic was that many of today’s companies are still reluctant to fully embrace social media because they don’t yet fully see its benefits.

By the same token, many organizations that do adopt social media are often overwhelmed by the massive amount of information they are capturing (often through disconnected tools), and cannot properly analyze the data, which results in failure to really add value to the business.

One thing was clear: successful social media adoption has to start with the right company culture. Employees need to feel that they can use the platform to say what think—without the worry of hefty repercussions. If employees can’t say what they really think and feel about a particular topic, then social media won’t work.

Another recurring topic that’s also gaining a lot of attention these days was "gamification"—the use of game design technique and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. With respect to HR, gamification is being seen most predominantly in the area of learning. The enhanced experience of gamification makes learning seem less like work and more like fun.

All this to say... Phew! What a day! What a night! I have one HR Tech conference day under my belt and the other one’s slated to begin in just a few hours... The evening was topped off by an after-hours get-together (sponsored by SilkRoad), where I mingled with analysts, consultants, and software vendors, and worked off some of the day’s tension.

Stay tuned for more of my highlights from the HR Technology Conference and Expo later this week!
 
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