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Primer On What The HR Capitalist Will Be Talking About at HR Tech in Chicago...

As I mentioned last month, I'm going to be presenting at the 12th Annual HR Technology Conference in Chicago, September 30 – October 2.
I like this show a lot, and I'm really happy to be presenting.  More than 2,000 HR people from 16 countries attended last year. I've attended, and it was well worth it - something I don't say about a lot of shows.  The best way I can describe the show to you is that it's really a talent conference, with the conversations about talent centered around how technology enables you to maximize the talent in your organization.  Pretty cool stuff.  Among many things that make the conference special is it’s created by experts and delivered by executives: 48 of the 57 presenters this year are VPs or higher, including 21 CEOs.

HR Executive Magazine did an interview with me as a lead up to the show.  Here's a couple of highlights (see the whole interview at HR Executive here):

Maybe you could take a minute to briefly summarize what you're going to be talking about at the HR Technology® Conference.

I'm going to be talking about a low-cost way that HR pros, regardless of the size of their organizations, can create their own social networks for employees. I'll be going through a business case for why people should want to do that and talking a little bit about the technologies that are out there.

Then I'm going to quickly shift the focus to how easy it is to set up a network on Ning, which is basically a platform that allows anyone to create their own social network. You don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have a product that's compelling from a social-networking perspective. It's easy to set it up. The burden becomes what you do with it once it's there.

I'll also talk about how you can get a lot of employee engagement and a lot of visibility for your culture through a social network that enables employees to communicate with each other and also allows your HR team ... to take the materials they have and push them out [so there's greater] awareness of what's going on in the company.

What are some of the primary barriers that stand in the way of HR embracing social networking?

Two big barriers come to mind. The biggest is simply a cultural barrier; command and control. If you're going to do [social networking] well, it's got to be transparent enough so people have freedom. There's a trust element to that. You've got to set the stage with some expectations -- I don't even want to call them policies -- for what's OK and what might be stretching the barriers a little bit. But you've also got to be open enough to let people experiment.

The other key for HR [leaders] is to not create all the content [themselves], but really to be advocates for people using the network on a week-to-week basis, trying to push those people to provide that, and then making sure they get a lot of good feedback so it grows over time. "

With the economy hurting, the organizers of HR Tech know that it may be a stretch for some to attend, so they've given me a special discount – $470 off – to offer you, which is larger than any advertised discount and is good until the day the conference opens. Your cost would be $1,175 for two-and-a-half days.   That's a lot of money, but I'm a believer in this conference and don't mind pitching you on the value of this one.  It's worth it, if you like to think about talent issues and find yourself thinking about how technology can help you on the talent front.
You can take a look at the agenda at Or download the PDF of the brochure, if you haven’t already gotten one in the mail, at Then if you want to attend, click on Register and enter the case sensitive SPKR in the Promotional Code field in the online form to save $470. 

Let me know if you have any questions - if you are in Chicago, let's connect!


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