An Eye on the Agenda

This article accompanies 'Digital Disruption'.

Monday, July 21, 2014
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The focus of this year's HR Technology® Conference continues where past ones have left off -- examining the ways in which leading organizations are applying the latest HR-technology solutions to some of their most pressing business problems in order to solve them. Whether the challenges are to find and attract the best talent to more effectively manage large and diverse workforces, to meet the growing challenges of global business in general or to apply concepts and principles of social networking to the workplace, HR and HRIT leaders will gain insights -- through presentations and panel discussions -- into how HR technology is enabling business transformation. Here are just some of the highlights:

For many organizations, success often means growth and expansion -- which is often accompanied by challenges in maintaining the "small company" feel and unique cultural elements that were critical to organizational success in the first place. New Belgium Brewery, a Denver-based brewing company, has been facing these challenges as the popularity of its products (most famously Fat Tire Amber Ale) has grown and has driven the organization's ambitious expansion plans, including the opening of a second brewery in Asheville, N.C.

But, as Jenny Briggs, director of HR for New Belgium, was facing this challenge of scaling up an organization while maintaining and emphasizing New Belgium's reputation as a "company with a soul," she knew the right HR-technology solutions had to be in place so the best talent could be found to meet these dual and sometimes contradictory objectives. In her presentation, Briggs will share how growth, talent and culture can actually be reinforcing concepts and how HR technology plays a role in maintaining this balance.

Providing opportunities for attendees to learn from their peers and the leaders of the human resource profession is also one of the primary goals of the conference. This year's program features a number of sessions designed with that in mind, featuring several CHROs and HR leaders from across numerous industries. Of particular note is the panel of CHROs from the HR technology industry itself, which will provide a look into the current challenges facing today's CHROs as well as a critical look at the technology industry overall. HR leaders from Workday, Paychex, Equifax and Ceridian will all share their experiences and provide conference-goers with insights into the most important HR, business and technology issues of the day. Additionally, HR leaders from companies such as MasterCard, Twitter, Deere and Co., Hootsuite, Bloomin' Brands and more will be on hand to share their experiences and expertise.

Also at this year's conference, the first-ever "Behind the Curtain" technical track will be hosted and co-developed with HR technology industry legend Naomi Lee Bloom. This track will feature a series of expert panel discussions on the important design, development and deployment challenges that must be understood and overcome for organizations to succeed in their HR technology initiatives.

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In addition to the launch of "Behind the Curtain," the conference will also debut a new "Innovation" track, showcasing HR-tech thought leaders and focusing on the new ways technology is changing work and workplaces. Highlights of this track include the introduction of a new concept called "Computational HR," a re-imagined concept of human resources in which talent and people decisions are based on a combination of human capital, operational and environmental sets of data. Also, HR tech industry thought leader Jason Averbook will present his view on the end of the traditional "job," and what that predicts for the future of work and for HR. And, Yvette Cameron of Gartner will discuss how increased automation, intelligent machines and increasingly sophisticated robotics will change how we think about and practice HR.

How leading organizations are leveraging social technologies and concepts in areas such as employee learning and development, onboarding, candidate sourcing and more will also be featured. From large global brands such as Hewlett-Packard and Marriott to smaller, more nimble organizations such as Hitachi Consulting and Glassdoor, the impact and benefits of social tools, technologies, and approaches to HR and talent-management issues will be explored.

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