The HR Technology Conference & Expo: 5 Observations

1. We’re in an era of refinement. At this year’s HR Technology Conference & Expo, we saw a clear focus on impressive mobile apps, (now mainstream) social media and video-based solutions, and solution integration; but, in the midst of all the “new, new, new” there was very little “big, different, surprising.” Commendably, companies are fine-tuning their products and services to bring greater value to their customers, but we hope they have their sights set on ground-breaking innovation as well.

2. Analytics are the next big thing. At least, they’re all the buzz. The idea is that analytics will give HR professionals the insight and support they need to fully understand their organization and pick at its levers. Key to their value is that analytics go beyond reporting, offering dashboards that provide information in actionable and easily interpretable ways.

3. Companies care about the candidate experience. With the inaugural Candidate Experience Awards kicking off at this year’s conference, The Talent Board can attest that companies realize how important a positive and productive candidate experience is to their recruiting strategies. Recognizing the relationship is symbiotic is the first step.

4. We’re gonna need a bigger block. We loved the Mandalay Bay, so much that we wish we could have stayed there. Next year’s conference will be returning to Chicago, but rumor has it that the event will head back to Vegas following. Whether the draw is steakhouses or sequins, Lake Michigan or Carrot Top, we have two friendly bits of advice for conference management: Block more guest rooms, and please do your best to keep sessions, meeting rooms and the exhibit hall closer together.

5. Good things come to those who wait. While attendees are known to skip out on the final day of any conference, those that hung around (and there are many who did) may have sat in on two of the event’s best sessions, both on social media. A panel discussion, “Social Media Recruiting Technologies: Bubble, Bauble or Boom?” provided real insight to behind-the-scenes implementation challenges, and Jim Holincheck’s Closing Keynote, “Face-Linked 2020: The Social Network Changes Talent Management,” shared an inspiring vision for the future of social networking and HR.

So, a round of applause for the organizers, staff, vendors, press, analysts and practitioners that make the HR Technology Conference so important and successful. Let’s hope that what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, but rather permeates and improves our daily practices.