As HR and tech leaders work to keep up with the trends rapidly reshaping the world of work, many have likely encountered a daunting truth: The only constant in the last few years has been change. And—from the ongoing pandemic to an uncertain economy—the pace of change is likely not slowing any time soon.
To meet the challenges that come with change, leaders are going to need to focus on their own learning, says Jeanne Achille, chair of the HR Technology Conference Virtual, a free, online event being held Feb. 28-March 2. The conference will offer plenty of actionable lessons for change-rattled leaders, including through the six keynote addresses.
Achille says this year’s agenda was crafted with three Cs in mind: connection, communication, community—as the interactive program encourages HR and tech leaders from around the world to share experiences and best practices, and learn together how to leverage technology to manage HR’s most pressing needs. While the keynoters will explore functional topics such as people analytics, there will also be significant conversation about HR’s responsibility for fostering resiliency, agility and cultures of caring amid today’s new ways of working.
“There’s a lot of change going on,” Achille says about the context of this year’s keynotes. “And people don’t like change; it’s frightening. But [at the conference], we’ll be looking at the idea that change is constant, we shouldn’t be afraid of change; there are uncomfortable aspects of change, but there are also good aspects of change.”
Among them, Achille says, is the opportunity for organizations to advance on their technology journey, which will be a key theme throughout many of the HR Tech Virtual addresses.
“When you see something is changing, it’s also a signal that you need to shore up your infrastructure and make sure you have the right technology in place, maybe get rid of tech that is no longer working for you,” she says.
The keynotes are designed to give attendees insight into the tech that could work better, Achille says.
Industry analyst Josh Bersin, for instance, will highlight market trends, including the fastest-growing corners, in his opening keynote on Feb. 28, “HR Technology 2023: The Disruption Continues.” The next day, WorkTech’s George LaRocque and Manulife’s Travis Windling will team up for a session on the power of people analytics, with a particular focus on recruiting and retention. And on March 2, author and former HR leader Larry McAlister will guide participants through building human-centered cultures that make the most of technology.
Several of this year’s keynoters are new voices at HR Tech Virtual and HR Tech (returning to Las Vegas Oct. 10-13) whose work and ideas deserved a platform, Achille says, pointing to the conference goal of community-building.
That the event is virtual, she adds, also allows for wider, and potentially new, pools of professionals to join the conversation.
“The conference was invented during COVID but we discovered a really happy upside to virtual events: We’re able to include global audiences,” she says. “As we look at how we build community, it has to be inclusive—and that involves being cognizant that not every HR professional has the same opportunities, the same budgets available to them [to travel to in-person events], so this is a great way to include everyone.”