Here are the top speakers coming to virtual HR Tech

Major industry shifts dictating changes in HR systems. Huge disruptions remaking the HR tech market. Vital work combating systemic workplace racism.

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Those are just a few of the monumental topics on the agenda for the first-ever virtual HR Technology Conference & Exposition®, which will take place from Oct. 27-30.

Eight keynote speakers, two each day, will highlight the event, starting with global analyst and HRE partner Josh Bersin, dean of the Josh Bersin Academy. Bersin will kick off nearly 55 hours of content on the latest HR trends, case studies and best practices beginning at 11 a.m. Oct. 27.

Related: HR Tech Conference goes virtual

Josh Bersin

Always a favorite at the live event, Bersin will deliver high-level insights into the rapidly changing HR tech market and predictions for what 2020 will mean to HR leaders heading into the next year. His virtual session is titled Dealing with Disruption: How the New Normal Is Shaking Up the HR Technology Market.

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“I am excited to be able to contribute to the HR Technology Conference this year,” Bersin said this week. “In our new ‘mostly digital world,’ the new format will be exciting and I hope we can reach an even bigger audience. We will also make time to answer questions and hear from you online!”

Indeed, attendees of the free, interactive event will be able to watch and listen from a desktop or mobile device from anywhere in the world and can interact with speakers and other presenters through live question-and-answer sessions, among other features of the sophisticated virtual platform powering the event. Those include:

  • AI-powered peer-to-peer matchmaking that will help attendees connect with those facing similar challenges;
  • in-depth and interactive product demonstrations from top industry software providers that allow for live chat;
  • a networking lounge for informal mingling;
  • a relaxation lounge for a shot of wellbeing;
  • roundtable discussions; and
  • virtual locations to stock up on the requisite conference swag and enter to win prizes.

Stacey Harris

Also speaking Oct. 27 will be Stacey Harris, chief research officer of Sapient Insights Group, delivering the public debut of the Sierra-Cedar/Sapient Insights 2020 HR Systems Survey findings.

“Over the last two decades this research has provided an opportunity for our HR technology community to share their successes, challenges, and hopes for a better future—and in 2020 the need to share is more important than ever,” Harris said. “This year’s open conference format is exactly what our community needs, allowing everyone access to data and information that could help them make better decisions as we head into 2021 for both their organizations and employees.

Results from the 23rd annual survey will provide insights from more than 20,000 organizations around the world to help HR leaders determine what skills and leadership qualities they’ll need in the new era of HR, along with ideas and data about the business case for designing a flexible HR tech environment. She will speak at 4:45 p.m., wrapping up the first day of the conference.

“We’ll also be sharing exciting new Voice of the Customer charts; with validated customer feedback in payroll, HR service delivery, learning, recruiting, and business intelligence applications,” Harris said. “More than ever it is important to understand how effective our HR technology and services are at meeting the needs of our community.”

Another highlight will be insights on HR tech’s role in workplace health and safety now that the world has changed from John Sumser, founder and principal analyst of HRExaminer. His keynote, titled How HR (and Technology) Can Address Workplace Health and Safety–Without Knowing All the Answers, will address how the pandemic and the advancement of intelligent tools are changing HR’s role and its technology.

“I am excited to be a part of the incredible lineup for this year’s HR Technology Conference,” Sumser said. “You may know that I routinely gave the ‘Introduction to HR Technology’ session at HR Tech. That talk focused on the 75 or so basic elements of an HR technology stack. In those days, HR’s priorities were clear and included competent administration of the fundamentals and a strategic focus on talent acquisition and management.

“(But) 2020 changed a lot of things. While the fundamental elements are similar, HR’s focus is shifting in new and exciting ways. We are in a land with more questions than answers, a time with different problems that have uncertain definitions. While the basic work of HR remains the same, the change in emphasis is astonishing.”

Sumser will examine the meaning and consequences of related changes within HR departments during his Oct. 30 keynote.

Other keynote speakers are:

  • Stacia Garr, co-founder and principal analyst at RedThread Research, on why you must have purpose and technology, especially during disruption. Oct. 28
  • Steve Boese, chair of the HR Technology Conference, presenting HRE‘s Top HR Products for 2020. Oct. 28
  • Jason Averbook, CEO and founder of Leapgen, on navigating the new challenges of work. Oct. 29
  • Tolonda Tolbert, Ph.D., co-founder and head of strategy and culture at Eskalera, on how to interrupt systemic discrimination. Oct. 29
  • Lincoln Financial Group CHRO Lisa Buckingham. Oct. 30

For more information on the conference, the speakers, the platform and to register, visit

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Elizabeth Clarke
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