As we complete preparations for the 2022 HR Technology Conference & Exposition®, I’m convinced that not only will this HR Tech be our “best” event, it will likely be the most important one in a very long time—perhaps ever. Is that a little bit hyperbolic? Maybe. But just like now in politics, when every election is the “most important” ever, the unique confluence of social events, the current job market and the workplace issues facing all organizations make preparing for and meeting these challenges more urgent than ever.
Technology presents a key to unlocking both individual potential and organizational success, and there’s no better opportunity than HR Tech for HR leaders to learn, connect and develop strategies for future success using technology. Here are five reasons this year’s HR Technology Conference is more significant than ever:
- The macroeconomic and labor market environments
People who know me know my affinity for armchair labor market and economic analysis. But you don’t have to be a professional economist to know that there has been a prolonged tightening in market conditions in the U.S. labor market, and in many others around the world, making it extremely difficult for HR to hire and retain talent. This year has been replete with story after story of businesses of all sizes that are unable to staff to their desired levels and that have been forced to reduce operating models, turn away business and even, in some cases, close operations entirely, due to a lack of staff.
These are not only small, anecdotal examples. Have you tried to take a flight lately? How long did it take to clear security? Did your bag arrive at your destination? Did the flight even take off? These issues are not limited to the airline industry, and they are directly related to “people” problems at all levels of the organization. The need for HR leaders to respond to these conditions with innovative strategies and new technologies has never been more urgent.
- The ‘Great Reset’ leading to new workplace expectations
For many employees, the pandemic and the associated personal and health challenges have led them to consider their lives more holistically, and often, to reassess the primacy that work has had or should have in their lives. This translates into both challenges and opportunities for HR leaders. Now, HR must better understand employees, their desires and the things that will make them more likely to continue to invest in their careers and in the organization’s success. There are so many new and emerging HR technologies specifically designed to help HR in this area, and it’s important to identify and select them carefully and intentionally. You can learn much more about this at HR Tech.
- The need for agility and new ways of working
How did the pandemic impact your workplace? Did the rapid changes you and the organization were forced to make fundamentally alter how the business thinks about how it’s organized and how it engages with employees, customers and the community?
Many organizations are still wrestling with how work should be undertaken and performed, and how to use new and existing technology to strengthen connections with employees and customers. Most of us had some exposure to remote work prior to the pandemic, but we hadn’t really considered the idea of “hybrid” work, and certainly had not developed well-reasoned and comprehensive strategies, using associated technologies, to make hybrid—and those responsible for it—successful. But now this is a primary objective for so many HR leaders and organizations, and this topic, and the supporting technology to enable success, will be at the forefront of the conference this year.
- The expansion of new capabilities in HR technology
Throughout the now almost three years of the pandemic era, I, along with the team at Human Resource Executive, have continued to manage the Top HR Products of the Year awards. From these experiences, reviewing approximately 400 new HR product submissions, and participating in about 150 software demonstrations, I can say for certain that innovation in HR technology has not been slowed by the pandemic at all. Now, you would be forgiven if you have not had the opportunity to stay well-informed on the latest developments in HR technology over the last few years; after all, you and your organization had many more urgent needs to address. But with most organizations transitioning to this “new normal” of working, the time to get re-acquainted with the latest in HR technology is now. Between our record-breaking Expo hall, dozens of solution provider sessions and case studies, and our growing and exciting start-up contest Pitchfest, all of the innovation in the HR tech space will be in one place in September at HR Tech. The research and learning opportunities are unsurpassed.
- Your own personal development
This is a great transition to my last item: your own growth. If you are like most HR leaders I know, you have put the needs of and care for your employees and your organization first over the last few years. So many HR professionals have faced significant stress, pressure and their own set of pandemic-driven challenges, but most put them on the back burner and continued to advocate for their teams. That is why HR is such a profession to be admired.
So now, in the second half of 2022, I do think it is time, for a few days anyway, to do something for your own growth and development. At HR Tech, you will see all the latest innovations in HR technology, learn from experts in the modern workplace and network with thousands of like-minded HR professionals. It is a wonderful chance to give back to yourself, after spending almost three years thinking about everyone else first. You deserve it!
I hope that I have made a compelling argument for you to make your plans to attend the upcoming HR Technology Conference, as the time is now to take advantage of the tremendous innovation in technology for HR and for the workplace. You will see and learn more in four days at HR Tech than in months of doing your own, independent research. And if you had already planned to attend, then I am sure you will have a fantastic experience, and leave the event better prepared to help your organization navigate into the next few, likely turbulent and challenging years. I hope to see all of you in Las Vegas in September—if you see me, come and say hello!
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