This will be a long post and possibly only of interest to those who attended or follow the HRevolution happenings. If you think this will not be interesting or applicable to you, I’d read some before you bail. :-) And this certainly won’t be the last thing I share, either. As with past years, the concepts, ideas, and questions raised at HRevolution have a way of percolating to the surface on a regular basis. Some of what I write might be obviously tied in, but other pieces will not be. I definitely want to make time to further explore some of the sessions I sat in on, from HR Improv and Half Baked HR Ideas to Creativity/Innovation and the Reality-Based Live HR Case Study and more.
When we get together for HRevolution, it’s a funny paradox. The combined social media following of the room numbers in the hundreds of thousands, and yet we don’t share nearly as much at HRev as we might at other events. Why? Because the engagement and dialogue are just that good. It’s the only explanation I can think of after seeing this phenomenon repeat itself over and over again. We’re more interested in learning, sharing ideas, and hearing the other participants share than we are in kicking out sound bytes via Twitter, Facebook, or insert-the-latest-social-media-tool-here.
So, what do we talk about? Here’s the briefest of snippets:
- HR is broken.
- No, it’s not.
- We need to disrupt it.
- Things can’t keep going the way they have.
- Why aren’t other functions broken? Finance doesn’t have these discussions.
- We are killing the future competitiveness of our workforce by training the creativity out of them.
- And on and on. Some things funny, some things enlightening, and some things just plain amazing.
Those were a few of the comments that filtered through the event throughout the day, and those were just the ones that I actually heard–I know there were additional conversations going on about similar topics during the event.
When I get to the end of this event each year I have to stop and take a breath. This is not a lecture. This is not a seminar. This is a high energy, participatory event that makes you think. It challenges you to stop thinking “we can’t change that” and start thinking, “What if I stop/start/change that? What would happen?”
And, as usual, I heard this more than once:
This is my favorite event all year.
This event is different. It always has been and always will be. One person I was particularly excited about meeting for the first time is a long time reader of this blog: Kellee Webb. Kellee is an in-the-trenches HR pro, but she doesn’t let that stop her from innovating, growing her knowledge, and taking business challenges head on. It was an honor to meet her, and I hope to meet more of you in the future at this and other events. It is one of the highlights of getting to do this kind of work! It also shows that this isn’t some closed group or clique–this is wide open and available to anyone willing to put in a few hours to make it happen.
One of the other great things about this specific event was having some of my fellow Brandon Hall Group folks in attendance. Madeline Laurano and Rachel Cooke were able to see firsthand the great discussions, networking, and value that comes from a relatively small event like HRevolution. Trish and I have talked about the event’s nuances in the past, but it’s not quite the same as living it!
An observation about HRevolution
Other than people asking me how soon the baby is due (within a few weeks), :-) the second most discussed topic is the return to the HRevolution roots of crowdsourcing the location, the non-conference space, and the small group feel.
One of the ideas that kept fluttering around throughout the event was this: we wanted this fifth anniversary of HRevolution to be special. We wanted it to feel like a homecoming. A reunion. A celebration.
And that it did.
But it also helped me to see how far many of us have come since that first year. Many of us are in more senior roles or have stepped out of HR to run companies, be industry analysts, etc. My conclusion as to why that is the case: people who are drawn to HRevolution are not interested in the status quo. They don’t want to show up to work a year from now doing the same thing they are doing now. We still have plenty of practitioners (I’m still helping out my old company and advising others on an occasional basis just to keep me grounded, so I get a percentage of that at least!), and that makes me very excited about the future of this industry. This definitely bears more analysis, but that will have to wait for another time.
A brief synopsis of HRevolution 2014
Below you will find an incomplete, but hopefully helpful, timeline of tweets, pictures, and other memorable moments from HRevolution 2014. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it follows my journey through the event and I’ve noted some of my observations where appropriate.
Symbolist headquarters = amazing venue
Steve Boese kicking off HRevolution 2014
Franny Oxford doing a live HR case study
Great advice on taking a new role
Bonni says she’s with cool people–I think all attendees deserve that label!
Tim Gardner discussing HR processes and problem solving
Want real results to problems? Come up with deep, solid solutions
Lois Melbourne leading a session on creativity and innovation
Why creativity matters
Small group discussion on creative ways to solve HR problems
Ravi Mikkelsen talking about the use of assessments
Broc Edwards discussing the need for boldness in HR
William Tincup/Matt Stollak forcing some brainstorming with half baked HR ideas
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who sponsored, attended, or observed remotely during the event. We are humbled and appreciative of the support.
Matt, Steve, and Trish–I couldn’t ask for a better team of people to work with. I appreciate each of you greatly, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to work alongside you.
To the rest of you out there that have attended or supported the event in the past, thanks for helping us get to five years (and beyond)!