As usual, the Unleash conference series (formerly HR Tech World) got attendees’ workplace technology juices flowing. Unleash America, held at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas from May 14-16th (the second of its kind held on US soil), saw a clear theme emerge of “innovation by everyone, from anywhere.”
The value of the conference can be broken down into 3 categories:
The expo hall generated a lot of great traffic and conversations, and our booth was no exception. From existing and prospective clients looking for advice to vendors looking for partnerships, a positive ROI was quickly realized.
Well-positioned near the Start-up area, we were able to watch the Start-up competition between 5 vendors, eventually won by ClickBoarding.
Another interesting company in the competition with whom we had follow-up discussions was Boston-based Avrio. They believe that the hiring process is broken (yeah, who doesn’t), and have built intelligent automation (via their chatbot, “Rio”) to quickly remove bias and increase talent sources to attract, engage and hire diverse talent.
Other vendor highlights:
Content both inside and out of the expo hall, as usual, was spot on. Here are a few sessions worth highlighting.
— Jeremy Ames 👔🎼⚾ (@JeremyAllynAmes) May 16, 2018
— Jeremy Ames (@JeremyAllynAmes) May 16, 2018
There was an amazing gathering of people at Unleash. Such a robust collection of buyers, vendors, influencers and analysts led to random collisions with great industry people like Kevin Grossman, Stacey Harris and Meghan Biro, and vendor CEO’s like Mark Barlow (AppLearn). We were also able to bring along a cadre of current and former clients such as White Castle, Winston & Strawn and WisdomTree (quite an alliteration). It was great to spend time with each of them.
Sticking with the “W” theme, WCN, a leading company in Talent Acquisition hosted an entertaining happy hour at the Aria. What a collection of colleagues, from Robin Schooling to the aforementioned William Tincup to Maren Hogan and others – we all had a great time catching up with each other.
The team at WCN told us about their mission of helping clients remove bias and unleashing recruiting potential by breaking the sources of talent wide open. The theme of innovation carried over when they talked about “breaking the rules, shaking off tired assumptions and ignoring ‘the way we’ve always done it.'” They too will be at NACE next week where they’ll be hosting a party related to a “major announcement.”
CultureAmp also threw an social event at Brooklyn Bowl full of food, drinks and, of course, bowling. I personally horrified my clients by bowling a turkey (3 strikes) in the first 3 throws. The night wrapped up at OMNIA dance club in Caesar’s Palace, where we danced into the wee hours.
In sum, the attendees we spoke to left with a lot of great ideas for instilling more innovation in their respective organizations. We become the benefactors of that energy with both clients we’re working with and with the industry overall wanting to push the needle even further. My colleague Stu and I were even able to get some great ideas to bring back to our fellow employees as well.
In keeping with the theme, the biggest observation was that, FINALLY, we’re seeing somewhat stale buzzwords like “Engagement” truly embedded in solutions, and fresher ones like “AI and bots” creeping into product as well. That innovation could be found not just in the point solutions (those that cover one specific piece of the People Management spectrum) but in full suite vendors as well.
Also, an unexpected bonus was being convinced to attend NACE, where we’ll be revisiting the exciting connection between colleges and employers. That fire was lit back at the eHRM conference in New York when Lexy Martin presented a statistical analysis of the Sierra-Cedar survey results alongside a member of academia, Dr. Janet Marler. We expect that it may become Hive Tech’s our own version of continued learning, and ability to impact continued learning itself. So, keep an eye out for our observations from New Orleans!