UNLEASH Las Vegas: 7 not-to-be-missed speaking sessions

Julie Stewart
Last updated on 2nd September 2020
4 min read

Freshly branded UNLEASH springs into action in Las Vegas this May with a roar.

The message is loud and clear: workplace challenges aren’t just for HR and People leaders. The whole leadership team needs to get on board as the world of work transforms at a quicker pace than ever.

CEO of UNLEASH Marc Coleman explained the rationale behind the change of name, brand and perspective from HR Tech World earlier this year.

The mission? To UNLEASH your people. The event runs May 15 – May 16.

With 9 stages, 100 speakers and 9,000+ decision-makers attending, unleashing your people power is top of the agenda. Of course, we’ll be there too – come and say hello to us at booth 506.

Here are the top 7 intriguing and game-changing sessions we can’t wait to pop in on over the two days.

1. ‘Why trust matters – now, more than ever’ – Rachel Botsman, author and visiting lecturer at Saïd Business School

May 15, 4.15pm on the main stage

We’re in the midst of the age of distrust. That’s the message from author and University of Oxford Said Business School visiting lecturer Rachel Botsman, who will present a new world order during the afternoon of the first day of the conference.

Institutions and leaders have lost credibility, but bots, collaboration and shared services and resources are on the up and up, Rachel will explain.

Her vision was listed by TIME as one of the ’10 ideas that will change the world’ and she’s named as one of Fast Company’s most creative people in business, so her session certainly looks set to be an unmissable one.

Why does it matter in HR? How is tech changing who and what we trust? We’re intrigued by the promise of real creative thinking applied to case studies from Amazon and Facebook, to Cambridge Analytica.

2. ‘The rise of the individual in the new world of work: how will HR technology adapt?’ – Josh Bersin, analyst and founder of Bersin by Deloitte

May 15, 9.45 on the main stage

Team-powered tools are reshaping the marketplace. That’s what Josh Bersin will set out in his keynote where he’ll evangelize the shift to a team focus, away from individual hierarchy.

He’ll look to the future of the new talent management landscape and promises a roadmap for HR tech in the coming year underpinned by team-powered tools.

Which ones? And where will they take us? Josh will, as usual, be revealing his nuggets of insight which look set to frame the discussion over the two-day event.

 3. ‘Humanocracy: creating organizations as amazing as the people inside them’ – professor, author and co-founder of The Management Lab, Gary Hamel

May 15, 9.10 on the main stage

Professor, author and co-founder of The Management Lab, Gary Hamel, has coined a catchy term to title his session – which we can’t wait to listen to.

He’ll explain that entrepreneurship flourishes in organizations that are bold, simple, flat, and open – not the usual hallmarks of a typical large corporation.

He will, however, also warn the audience that overly grand, top-down programs will almost surely fail. Interestingly, when Zappos tried to replace bosses with interlocking decision-making groups or ‘circles’, staff turnover jumped to 30% and many of those left behind were confused and demoralized.

The real challenge, as Gary will highlight, isn’t creating more entrepreneurial enclaves, but infusing the spirit of innovation in organizations.

He’ll explain it’s about more than just being ‘hip’ and point out that successful start-ups often don’t stay hip and entrepreneurial for long!

4. ‘Innovation at scale: the principles of moonshot thinking’ – Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer at Google X

May 16, 9.45 on the main stage

Mo Gawdat is the former chief business officer of Google X, so he knows a thing or two about innovation and determination.

It’s quite a coup for UNLEASH to secure this session as it’s the first time Mo has shared his strategies and ideas at a major event. We’d like to hear his insider tips about building successful innovation businesses – and he promises a step-by-step approach.

It will be particularly interesting to hear his thinking on ‘moonshots’ – particularly as former SVP of People Operations at Google Laszlo Bock delivered a keynote address at HR Tech Conference last year on why the secret to innovation is forgetting the ‘moonshots’ and instead reaching for ‘roof shoots’. He explained that there is no single path to innovation and creativity, and often a company’s success hinges on small, incremental advances.

Will Mo Gawdat agree? We’ll have to drop into his session to find out.

5. ‘Humanity by design’ – Bill Boorman, founder of #Tru

May 15, 11am on the start-up stage

Bill Boorman, founder of #Tru, is billed as bringing us surprises and plenty of controversy. He’ll be talking about using technology to make humanity better, with a focus on privacy and humanity by design.

He’ll explain that the thinking around how we use technology to make humanity better applies more to HR and People teams than other areas of the business; but that although tech isn’t built with the intention of doing harm, the last few years have witnessed headlines on the hacking of our highest institutions.

HR teams, he’ll argue, can be the custodians of privacy by design. It will be particularly interesting to hear what he says considering new data rules such as GDPR and the US privacy shield, so we await Bill’s session with anticipation.

6. ‘Checkmate: winning the war for talent in the era of disruption’ – Ester Frey, head of talent acquisition (consumer), Amazon Consumer

May 15, 11.15 on the recruitment stage       

We all know that organizations are more than ever struggling to find the right people – and technology is changing the way companies attract and onboard candidates.

Attracting and keeping the right people for her high-profile organisation is key to Amazon’s continuing success in a changing market with ever higher customer expectations. Ester will explain that she’s had to think again about hiring processes to win the war in these times of disruption. We’re looking forward to enlightenment based on her high stakes, first-hand experience.

7. ‘How to deliver the perfect onboarding experience’ – Angie Rodriguez, field product engineer at Sage People

May 15, 9.45 on the product showcase stage

Ensuring a smooth onboarding experience for new joiners is essential. In our product demo sessions, we’ll explore how to use a cloud HR and People system to create great candidate experiences.

From ensuring new joiners receive timely key information, to familiarizing them with colleagues and processes, to completely key tasks at the right time, we’ll demonstrate how to deliver the perfect onboarding experience – all through an engaging and intuitive self-service experience. What more could you want? Join us there to see how.

Ready to UNLEASH the power of your people?

Want to know more? Late tickets are still available until May 13, so get in quick if you want to UNLEASH yourself in Last Vegas.

If you’re already booked in, don’t forget to study the floor plan and agenda to make sure you get the most from your visit to the show. With so much going on, it’s easy to miss the most relevant sessions for your business or particular mission or interest. There’s a handy app to help you so download it before you go.

We say: plan ahead to catch the people and topics you most want… and prepare for an exhilarating but intense two days.

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