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HR Tech Conference 2021: Looking ahead to ‘finally getting back to our lives’

Steve Boese, HR Tech Conference chair
Steve Boese
Steve Boese is HRE's Inside HR Tech columnist and chair of HRE’s HR Technology Conference®. He also writes a blog and hosts the HR Happy Hour Show, a radio program and podcast.

By now I hope you have heard the news that the HR Technology Conference and Exposition® is returning to a live, in-person format this fall, Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Las Vegas. For many of us, this will be our first in-person business event since at least March 2020. I recall vividly the last industry event I attended in person: the Ultimate Software Connections event in Las Vegas that month.

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It seems so long ago, a point that gets hammered home when I consider that there really isn’t an Ultimate Software anymore. The company’s merger with Kronos and subsequent re-brand to UKG seem like they happened ages ago. The fact that the last event I attended was organized by a company/brand that has transformed so profoundly reminds me that, in many ways, almost nothing in the world of work and in HR technology is the same as just 15 months ago.

With all the disruption and change over this past year-plus, we have been thinking hard about how to evolve the HR Tech Conference for an in-person return. On the one hand, it was tempting to consider creating something wholly different from what has been so successful over the last 20 or so years. On the other hand, after all that we have all been through, with in-person  events just now starting to return, the idea of designing the event to be familiar and consistent with our history feels comforting and even reassuring: a signpost that we are finally getting back to our lives, back to “normal.”

So much has been forced, by an external force no less, to change that the idea that our HR and HR tech community can once again congregate, in-person, as we have in the past just feels right to me. Largely, that is what we are planning. I have had 100+ video calls this year during planning for HR Tech, and the number one sentiment I heard was that people just can’t wait to be at HR Tech again and to see and meet people and to talk and have a drink with friends new and old. And also to see the very latest in HR tech!

In the coming weeks in this space, I plan to feature some of the highlights of the upcoming conference—the speakers and sessions I am most excited about, the events in the expo that you don’t want to miss and some of the most exciting new HR technology solutions that you want to be sure to see live and in-person.

All of us at HR Tech are incredibly excited to be able to gather our community together very soon, and I can’t wait to go on stage at HR Tech and welcome you all back.

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Related: Learn more about the HR Tech Conference agenda here.