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Wrapping Up the 2013 Conference

Monday, December 9, 2013
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Going by the recently concluded 16th Annual HR Technology® Conference, the largest and best-attended in event history, it's safe to say there's a thriving HR-tech industry out there that continues to expand and innovate, leading to exciting opportunities for HR leaders to drive organizational success, supported by new technology.

It's also safe to say that -- for HR leaders -- the options, opportunities and potential to improve HR and business outcomes enabled and supported by technology has never been greater.

Here are just a few of the highlights of HR Tech 2013, from my perspective as the incoming co-chair and a longtime participant in the HR technology industry:

The "Awesome New Technologies for HR." As co-chair, I had the privilege of evaluating and ultimately selecting the six participants in the annual "Awesome New Technologies for HR" general session. This year's selections -- JIBE, Hunite, Entelo, Causecast, Jobvite and cfactor Works -- all demonstrate that rare combination of technology innovation, fantastic end-user experience and applicability to help solve important business challenges.

The conference sessions. This year's sessions were once again full of the kind of in-depth information sharing and knowledge transfer that are essential resources for HR leaders in their quests to make the best technology decisions for their organizations. From case studies presented by HR executives from such companies as PepsiCo, Hilton and Goldman Sachs, to market-segment overviews from the likes of Josh Bersin and Elaine Orler, to thought-provoking keynotes from Don Tapscott and Jason Averbook, the program was packed with useful and actionable insights for HR leaders.

The social-networking buzz. For the conference's four days, the updates, conversations and images tagged with the "official" hashtag of #HRTechConf took over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Over its span, there were almost 20,000 tweets from more than 4,000 different users! But the larger point is that Twitter (and LinkedIn) remain wonderful resources for HR leaders beyond the event itself.

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The networking. A fantastic source of both fun and networking opportunities are the seemingly endless array of happy hours, dinners, and large and flashy evening parties that are typically hosted by either the conference or by exhibiting solution providers. But the parties serve a real business purpose too, as conference speaker and HR leader Trish McFarlane recently wrote: "Seriously, the generous vendors host dinners and parties so that you can meet their teams and get to know them as people. It's a great way to not only assess a vendor by the product offering, but by the type of people they hire who will ultimately work with you."

Final thoughts. I know I am not exactly unbiased, but I believe the very best way to effectively and efficiently arm yourself and your organization with the tools, information, contacts and resources you need to become an HR tech expert, advocate and innovator are all on display at HR Technology®. Hope to see you there in 2014.

Steve Boese is a co-chair of HRE's HR Technology® Conference ( and a technology editor for HRE. He can be emailed at

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