3 big ideas from Day 1 of HR Tech—and what’s up next

Industry analyst Josh Bersin will kick off Day 2 with his keynote on 'The Big Shift Toward Work Tech.'
By: | September 29, 2021

The 2021 HR Tech Conference & Exposition—which returned to an in-person setting in Las Vegas for the first time since 2019—kicked off Tuesday morning with the Women in HR Tech Summit followed later in the day by soccer star and activist Abby Wambach.

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Amid happy reunions and socially distanced sessions, speakers delved into the pressing topics of the day: the Great Resignation, returning women to the workforce, bringing true diversity of all kinds to workforces and how leaders bringing authenticity and compassion to their roles can transform organizations for the better.

Here are three themes from the first day of HR Tech. Check our continuing coverage for much more.

Related: Here’s how to follow along with the HR Tech Conference.

1. Messages of equality, teamwork and leadership were strong, especially as Wambach described her journey from soccer stardom to speaker and activist for equal pay, diversity in workplaces and other issues close to the hearts of HR leaders. Fix and use technology to make workplaces more inclusive, she implored the crowd. Read more here.

2. Bringing women back to the workforce won’t be easy—and it can’t be done with a single solution, approach or technology. Throughout the Women in HR Tech Summit, speakers returned to the crisis of money, ingenuity, innovation and so much more lost since the pandemic began. That includes 3 million female workers and $800 billion in income, both debilitating to the U.S. economy. Creativity, agility, compassion, leadership, inclusion all will be needed to solve the problem, experts said throughout the day. Read more here.

3. HR technology innovation is alive and thriving. The Expo Hall opened at 5 p.m. and attendees visited booths and participated in a Pub Crawl while reuniting with friends and colleagues. On one side of the hall, 50 companies filled the start-up pavilion, with solutions for everything from DEI analytics and coaching to recruiting and more. Not far away, the first round of Pitchfest saw products for coaching and talent acquisition advance to the next round. (Read more here.)

And after Pitchfest, 13 company representatives received recognition and awards for their 2021 Top HR Products of the Year.

Day 2 promises to bring even more insights, kicking off with global industry analyst and HR Tech favorite Josh Bersin at 8:30 a.m. Later, mega-sessions at 1:15 p.m. on reinventing HR and technology for the future of work, the state of talent acquisition, and using data to reimagine employee experience will provide insights for attendees.

A few other sessions not to miss on Wednesday: “The Amazing Race, Remote Onboarding Edition: HR Tech Tools that Meet Today’s Needs” at 3:30 p.m. and rounds two and three of Pitchfest in the Expo Hall.

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Elizabeth Clarke is executive editor of Human Resource Executive. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Florida and then spent more than 25 years as a reporter and editor in South Florida before joining HRE. Elizabeth lives with her family in Palm Beach County. She can be reached at eclarke@lrp.com.