HR Tech Conference 2017: 5 things to expect

Charlotte Nicol
Last updated on 16th January 2020
3 min read

What’s in store as the event celebrates its twentieth birthday in Las Vegas?

Happy birthday to the HR Technology Conference! The annual event and exhibition celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, and the event’s organizers are pulling out all the stops to mark the occasion – including their first ever pub crawl, and holding it at the world’s second largest hotel.

8,500 attendees and 70 speakers from across the world will come together across 11-13 October to explore the latest trends in HR tech, network, and swap insight on a range of topics from talent acquisition to employee engagement.

We’ll once again be at the event on booth 1540 – so say hello to us there!

But what can delegates expect from one of the world’s biggest and best events in the HR tech sector?

1. The secrets to innovation

The event promises big names not to be missed in keynote sessions, starting with former SVP of People Operations at Google, Laszlo Bock, who will deliver the opening keynote address at this year’s conference.

Laszlo Bock’s views on his secrets to innovation – forgetting the moonshots, and replacing them instead with incremental advances – will be sure to get the conversation for the week well underway. In his words, ‘Everyone tells you they have the secret to innovation. Have crazy, aspirational, moonshot goals. Invest in a secret skunkworks facility. Brainstorm. Use design thinking. But that’s all wrong.’

He’ll explain there is no single path to innovation and creativity — and often a company’s success hinges on small, incremental advances.

Will he talk about Google’s recent diversity memo furore though? And what insights will he share about Google’s POPs team? Attendees will have to wait until his session to find out.

2. It’s the employee experience, stupid

Employee experience looks a cert to be one of the standout topics in Las Vegas this year.

Leading HR Directors and Chief People Officers are beginning to realize that if you want to attract and retain the best, you’ve got to offer great employee experiences. As consumers, employees can order their shopping online or hail a cab at the touch of a button – why shouldn’t they expect the same level of experiences when they want to book time off at work?

We’ll be talking about this a lot at booth 1540 at the event, where we’ll be showcasing our award-winning HR and People System that helps provide better experiences across the entire workforce.

3. The Women in Technology symposium is back – and its bigger than ever

How can the sector attract, grow and empower more women in senior leadership roles? That’s the question we’ll be discussing on the first day of the conference at the Women in Technology symposium. After the inaugural event last year exceeded expectations with standing room only, there are even more sessions (and seating!) to cover at this year’s event.

The timing is more pertinent than ever, as companies are increasingly under more pressure to take action to close the gender pay gap, and the global focus on supporting women in the workplace grows.

4. Are the robots taking over?

Artificial intelligence and augmented intelligence will both, unsurprisingly, feature heavily at this year’s event. Unilever’s Strategy Director to the Global HR2HR Director, Melissa Gee-Kee, will be talking about how they’ve used AI and gamification to deliver a simple and engaging employee experience in one session; elsewhere, as HR and people leaders think about the role of AI now, delegates will also have the chance to hear from some of the leading machine learning developers on what they think will be next.

Although we’re not expecting the robots to take over any time soon, the rise in technology and automation will certainly have an impact on HR and people teams – so it’s a subject programmed to cause a lot of discussion over the week.

5. Who will win the battle of the brands?

For both employees and HR teams, digital experiences inside most organizations are completely at odds with their consumer experiences; so, a session we’re particularly looking forward to at HR Tech 2017 is a panel debate on closing this gap, and how three companies are meeting this challenge.

HR leaders from Nestlé, American Express and GoDaddy will discuss just that. At Sage People, we’ve spoken extensively before about how designing mobile on-demand experiences to a standard that employees expect as consumers boosts productivity and engagement, so it’s something we’ll be interested to hear more about.

As well-known consumer brands, we’re looking forward to hearing how they leverage this to build their employer brand (or, People Marketing, as we call it) to attract and keep the best. If they’re actively thinking about how they design great workforce experiences through their employer brand and People Marketing, then it’ll be music to our ears!

Overall, the event promises to be one not to be missed – we look forward to seeing you there!



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