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Postcard from HRev–

I’m back on this side of the border after a whirlwind tour of St. Louis and a day among friends at HRevolution.

First, I want to thank the organizers (Trish, Ben, Steve and Matt) for putting together a great program that caused “aha” moments and the creation of good lists of things to follow-up on later. Having been HRev #8, I have to imagine that it was difficult to come up with new approaches and material, especially with so many repeat attendees in the audience. It was good to see HRev repeaters Dave, Mike, Tim, Joan, Shauna and Jesse, my discussion partners for the day. The event didn’t disappoint.  (And Dave, I’m still thinking about your advice to me to start expressing myself in bullets)

The truth is though that not everyone has the budget or time to schlep over the border to a conference with a provable agenda. That’s sad to me because it is not only they who lose.  I myself didn’t necessarily have the time to go this year, but I went to St. Louis for two reasons–one I could lump it with something else, and two I had a strong FOMO.  And despite being an event attended by the who’s who of virtuality and the HR blogosphere, it isn’t the type of event to be enjoyed from remote. Even at a place where you have trigger happy tweeters, there are some moments for highly obvious reasons that just don’t make it to the wires.

HRevolution isn’t really a conference anyway. It is notoriously sans Powerpoints or anything you might project on screen. You are in and out of conversations and there’s constantly something going on in the background of every main discussion. You can go wide and deep on the same subject at the same time.  You have to experience that to understand its value, and old school HR folks sometimes get frustrated by the “all-over-the-place” vibe. That format has come to be known as the unconference, but it isn’t like cola, where uncola is almost nothing like cola except for the fizz. Unconferences still have many of the same elements as conferences, and in fact, people still need to connect, still need to gain mutual understanding and still need some level of interdependence to be successful.

This has me thinking that if a barrier to HRevolution is location/time then somehow the event needs to be offered differently. Every year there is a big discussion about next year’s location; and quite frankly I feel like it would grow in more of a franchise framework. Certainly its competition is doing just that. It is an awesome brand.  With a little help from some central players who know how to make the vibe work, I think HRevolution would play beautifully in London, in Sydney, in Rome and selfishly, in Toronto, perhaps all at the same time.

Ultimately that’s my learning this time. HRevolution is infectious and it is time to spread the contagion. Enough said.

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