HRevolution 2012

Where is the bacon and nearest power outlet? I need to recharge my battery.


It is that time of year for me again. HRevolution 12 will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago THIS Sunday October 7th. It is somewhat of a pre-event this year leading up to the internationally ‘huge-o’ HR Tech Conference. Fitting since so many early adopters in the HRevolution space are on the tech side of HR. This event is always an important grounding point for me professionally because it has inspired much of what I do in the social media space around HR.

But, there is something different about this year.

I’m trying to put my finger on it. Yeah, as in every year, some of the major players cannot attend. (Group awww.) HRevolution moves on as a well-oiled machine of the best un-conference, bar-camp format. Attendees must be ready to flex with the conversations, ignite ideas, inspire and break ground with honest talk about the Human Resources industry.  Gloves are off. Be ready. Be a sponge. Share. Give back. But, this year feels more like comfortable shoes rather than running barefoot in reckless abandon. Many thought leaders are the same. Speaking in a formats that suit their style, it is a wonderful up-close real conversation with you and 50 to 100 of your HR friends. I expect to be experimented on. To be poked and prodded. To be provided insight and outlandish ideas. But, will there be tension? Yelling? Pumping of fists? I feel this year is more cheerleading than radical revolution. Pom Poms not pitch forks and torches. Yay HR.


This will be my 3rd HRevolution. I’m an original alum. Bacon in hand. I missed the last Chicago event. Arrived the following week of ASTG. Felt the creativity still in the air a week later on the roof of the Whitt Hotel. Also missed the LasVegas tour which made 2011 a double shot and the first piggy back on HR Tech. Must have worked out. Here we are again catching the first HR Tech waves of 2012. Atlanta in 2011 seemed to be the event about action and traction. But, as I recap I can’t help but recall the very first HRevolution with pumping of fists, yelling and the Mark Stelzner exit. Leaving us all with this tension of “what now” like no HR meeting I had ever attended. It was profoundly odd, yet liberating. That liberation, that revolution in the depths of recession was a game changer for many. It was a time where possibly half the room of 50 attendees was jobless, or were soon to be jobless. The rest of us were burned out, had something to sell or really wanted an out of the box experience to inspire a change of direction. Actually some just really wanted a BBQ party. But that is another story.

Did HRevolution inspire the ability for HR thought leaders to weather change? Absolutely. And the magic continues. But in a different form with new characters. Always a catalyst for unique voices and opinions. Welcome newbies! Expect to leave with questions as well as answers.

Revolution Births Business

At the time of the first HRev my company was struggling to find footing in the recession. And I saw a way to reach my customer on social media. With much experimenting, blogging, networking and watching HR masters (especially recruiters) work the social media space, the HRevolution influence grew to viral, industry changing proportions. Eventually impacting SHRM. (Was this not a goal at the first HREv?) The success of my company feels in smaller step relative to other HRev alums who have seen phenomenal success leveraging the social media/tech space and educating others in the process. I’m so excited for my online HR pals like Jessica Miller-Merrell. Blogging for Jobs has become the online go-to HR sensation. And that content and success does not stop there. So many influencers have seen their market share grow. Or in the case of Acquire, (Hi Lois) sold and expanded, making their mark in the HR data world. HRevolution has been an opportunity to plant seeds, grow ideas and realize dreams for many. Sorry if I left/edited out some other all-stars. Please comment roll below!

This does not stop in the entrepreneurial space. HR Generalists have seen their influence grow and the SHRM connection was where my charge was established as social media chair at my local chapter after a challenge was made to join and influence. If HR technology, social media and HR marketing was going to catch on in business we had to bring it local to our SHRM chapters. Social media evangelism is alive and well. I know it is making a difference when I am asked by a SHRM member to sit with an HR VP of a major healthcare company and explain to him how social media can reach his employees via mobile or online. It is real. It is in the C suite. It is a tool the rest of the world now wants to know about. Did HRevolution contribute to that awareness and adoption? I think … yes!

Why is this gathering different?

I feel we are moving on to the next steps. Like any type of pioneer work there seems to be a blanket adoption. Then the tool morphs to fit different segments. I think that is what we are seeing now. The ability for HR to utilize online communication channels to gather data, push information and market their product has now branched out to touch all pieces of business. It is just that, a tool. Tools need training and education. I have certainly seen many HRevolution alum become experts in the HR field around social media. This is still a growing need within training and policy making. I get asked to do it and that is not what I do. I need to refer one of you! I also see the move of the tool to the background. This year’s HRevolution continues the HR conversations that are timeless. Diversity and an international world, acquiring and retaining the best talent, keeping employees engaged… no matter how ‘tech’ HR gets or how ‘social’ we spread our ideas, these basic pieces will still need to be addressed when we get back to the office. People are not machines. They live, breath, need to be engaged and inspired to feel they contribute. Maybe this year’s Hrevolution is different because we know where the social media tool fits now. We have measured outcomes to quote and we have moved into education action mode because people are listening.

Where do we go from here?

I will be asking everyone what are your next steps? Where have you been? Reflect. Where are you going? Strategize.  What is the next big thing? What I hope to gain is inspiration on HR trends, SHRM social media strategy and feedback on my business. The sessions look great. I continue to find it humorous we clamor for this type of intellectual engagement without any HR certification credits. HA. What would the engagement gurus say about that?

New people in my space? Yep. I look forward to Craig Fisher’s LinkedIn pimp out session. I under utilize LinkedIn. And I will also openly admit I am a Craig Fisher Instagram stalker. As a designer/art director I recognize he has an amazing eye, color senses and composition ability. Quite talented at photographer. Love his posts!

My blog here has lost some air. But, I hope to see a better fit with my thoughts and will not give it up. Hoping for a super charge from my Project Social partner Dave Ryan along with some chapter SoMe advice. But, I do admit my time blogging has been taken up by my SHRM chapter, my off-line business needs and overall growth in other directions which include growing kids, a chicken coop hobby and management of employees and vendors vs doing the work myself.

So I hope to listen this Sunday. Share my ideas as a business owner in the trench. Find out about services, ideas and leadership direction. I want to bring back good conference planning direction for my SHRM chapter as we ramp up hosting our state SHRM conference in 2013. And in the end I want valuable networking that cements online relationships in person. Because that connection with real people is the unwavering, unchanging result at HRevolution. There is no better opportunity to mix with the best and brightest in the HR profession. But, what will the next manifestation become? Son of HRevolution?

Agenda link here!

For the complete overview, check out founder Steve Boese’s website for the latest deets.

For those attending, I look forward to sharing with you a little bacon surprise. You know we could not meet without bacon.

Thanks to Acquire, Pinstripe, Ceridian and Silkroad for your sponsorship. And the always appreciated dedication of @SteveBoese @TrishMcFarlane @beneubanks & @akaBruno


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