It’s only March and already there are a plethora of “must attend” events for 2014. But why should we go to these events? What will we actually get out of attending?
I was lucky enough to speak at a number of events around the world last year, so I can honestly answer that you can get a lot from them, and make some great connections.
When you look through agendas and the list of speakers, you can often just see conferences as “same old, same old”. But get past that and you begin to see some exciting opportunities.
If you take the agenda for the HR Tech Europe Spring Warm Up event, there’s going to be loads to see, with providers showcasing the latest thinking and technology, along with some great keynote speakers. Long gone are the days of HR Professionals keeping to themselves and harbouring their trade secrets. The workplace has changed beyond measure and so has our thinking.
Understanding How Technology Has Changed
Many of us work more flexibly these days. Technology simplifies our lives, freeing us to work when and where we chose, and research shows people aren’t looking for a hard line to be drawn when it comes to work life balance. Increasingly the companies we work with will have employees that are looking to blend that approach. No clear boundaries, just an opportunity to work hard and make sure it fits in with their busy lives.
We are always talking about how changes in social norms, such as the one discussed above, affect what the workplace of the future will look like and how it will operate. Much of the conversation revolves around what companies are currently doing that works, what industry thought leaders believe is the direction of the future and how the latest and greatest technology can impact the workforce. Whilst my magic wand and crystal ball have always been temperamental, one thing I do know is we can never stop change; we’re much better off embracing it, even if we aren’t quite sure what’s around the corner.
That’s why I attend events like HR Tech Europe. I want to understand who and what is out there, keeping my knowledge of the industry up to date, while sharing and collaborating with other attendees and participants to build my network. Change is exciting and events like this take us to as close a gaze into the future as time, speed and technology allow.
Embracing the People Side of HR
Many companies are looking at the latest technology to help deliver their wider HR or People initiatives. As they work through the providers and the often detailed procurement plans, it’s not uncommon that before too long the task of making the technology fit certain criteria, such as IT requirements and budget constraints, becomes the focus and it’s almost forgotten why they wanted to buy the latest technology in the first place.
It is at these moments we must remember that the primary goal of managing the implementation of cloud based technology is making sure it delivers what you set out to achieve. Sounds really simple but when you want to execute plans, there are often so many objectives to try to deliver ROI that the mechanics can get in the way. Take a step back and look at the broader concept: Where are you now, where do you want to go and what’s the best journey to get you there?
In business, we all have our methodologies to execute plans, project manage and deliver change. We need that structure to make sure we all stay on track, but it also has the potential to derail the benefits of cloud technology.
Ultimately we have to remember that in the HR space there are end users, employees, real people that have to interact with all these methodologies, and their voices should be heard. While events help us understand the latest industry solutions and experts trends, perhaps the greater value is interacting with other professionals to validate what systems, processes or new technology people actually want to use. Collaborating with other attendees in this way is key to further understanding the people side of the HR world. Why fall into the same traps, when often you’ll know of someone, who knows someone that’s been there and done that before?
I guess, in a nutshell, that is why I’m a huge fan of events like these. You can meet some great new people and learn so much from one another. We all may have our own agendas, but if you get out there and simply listen to what others have to say, you see that two heads (or more) are often better than one, and makes these “must attend” events just that. They’ve certainly helped me and I hope I’ve helped others too.
Whilst we don’t always know what the future holds, we know it will change. Take advantage of learning the trends and insights that will enable us to support companies, and ultimately the people that work there, in making the future a success.