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The Power in UNLEASH 2019

I recently attended the UNLEASH19 world conference in Paris and found myself in a sea of global participants all discussing their Talent Acquisition problems openly with the providers and each other. This was all in an open effort to identify and find solutions for those problems at hand. It was refreshing to hear the honesty in the requests and the clarity in the discussions. UNLEASH has mastered the art and science in creating a conference that delivers excellent content, conversation and collaboration.

The startup stage and competitions were one of my favorite areas of exploration at the conference. I gravitate to better understanding what could possibly be next in the realm of technology to solve human problems, and there was no shortage of options to choose from. Nestled into the schedule with the startup competition was a panel of analysts, investors and clients discussing the opportunities and risks associated with funding, advising and engaging with a startup solution. As I listened and agreed with much of the advice; everything from know the vision, understand the leadership team and have controls around any pilot or experience to ensure scope doesn’t run away with the plan, I reflected on the realization that we’ve moved to a problem solving economy. The startup solutions, the providers gaining the most amount of funding and interest were all focused on specific client problems and the greater the focus and intent to solve, the greater the interest. It was only a few years ago that the startup competitions and events were labeled as the disruption – innovation – the change your ways solutions. The awakening had me really considering what our next generation of solutions will consist of, how and where do we balance solving the problem, and I know I have with solve the problem I didn’t know I had – before I have it.

I was refreshed to hear so many transparent stories of success, failure, and try again examples from organizations. The framework of tracks and balancing of all the options, ensured that attending any session was geared to giving you insights, ideas and knowledge in short bursts; which was relevant and timely. One of these new insights came in the form of “the challenge of hiring skills, nobody finds it very easy and most find it difficult, this is something that is seen across all research” said Kate Graham. There was also new research from the Fosway Group where they did a group 9-Grid report for Talent Acquisition that I found interesting. Andy Spence stated the “Talent acquisition market becomes overcrowded just as we move to individuals owning and managing their digital identity and work credentials. This will enable direct employer-to-worker matching platforms.”

As always, the highlight was the 19 HR Technology Innovators in UNLEASH World Startup Awards! There is nothing like experiencing stories of where the future of our HR world is taking us. But we also learned from Janina Kugel CHRO of Siemens, that we must step up to create real value for managers, employees, customers and businesses in our data-driven age to realize the real power of digital transformation. Erin Meyer, author of The Culture Map provided a new way forward with vital insights for working effectively and sensitively with one’s counterparts in the new global marketplace. This helps build a more cohesive and successful team of people working together towards the ultimate goal of success. Peter Hinssen, Co-Founder and Partner of Nexxworks, explained to us how companies can rise to the challenge and adapt their processes, strategies, and direction to find success in Industry 4.0. Bob Gledof KBE who is an Irish songwriter and singer, as well as a political campaigner gave the best advice overall “We live in turbulent times, where the only thing we can be sure of is change. However, while it is inevitable, change for the better is in your hands. It’s a choice that all companies and people need to make. “

Photo was taken during Heather McGowan’s session at UNLEASH 2019

In conclusion, UNLEASH 2019 in one word was powerful. There was one vital piece of information I absorbed that I took with me back home. It was the pace of change. Not only was this useful in my company as I watch it continually succeed but also in my daily personal life. We must change our mindset from pace to continuous. Heather McGowan shared this in a session, and it stuck with me. How vital for our future; we have to change the way we perceive things now to make a better tomorrow. If you were not able to attend #UNLEASH19 in Paris, consider attending #UNLEASH20, I do hope to see you there!