Who's that Girl?


HR Technology, Simplicity, and Breaking Bread

Originally posted: October 5, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

I planned on writing about simplification today.  As the second theme of the recent HR Technology conference, it seems like an important message to ponder.  However, as I was reading the other blogger accounts of the conference, I found that Steve Boese had a similar idea and wrote quite eloquently about simplification.  So, go check out his posts because he captures the essence of how simplicity needs to factor in when thinking about technology solutions for HR:

Simpler Answers


HR Technology 2010, Simplicity, and Beer

So, now what will I write?  As I am going through this exercise, it struck me that the most important and valuable aspect of this conference experience is not attending a specific session, briefing, or expo hall discussion.  It’s breaking bread.

Breaking bread in the literal sense and in the figurative.

There is something comforting about sitting down with someone, forging new relationships and having honest discussion and debate.  The feeling of magic and excitement you get when you’re meeting people who are energized about our industry and who want to do more, create more, learn more, teach more.  And, it doesn’t make a difference if they are a practitioner, consultant, or vendor. It’s the current of  collaborative possibility that runs through the HR Technology conference that gets to me. It’s the adrenaline I need.

In the act of sharing a meal or of sharing an idea, you are giving of yourself.  You are exposing a bit of the tender underbelly and making yourself vulnerable, even if only for brief moments.  You become more than just a persona or conference-goer, you become the “real” you.  People talk a lot about the vendor parties and dinners and say that there are too many.  Maybe.  I see it from a different view. By attending them, you can give yourself this glimpse to see the CEO or other company leaders for who they really are.  Guard down and interactive without selling, you get the feel for whether or not you are going to have a relationship with this person.  Is this a person you want to work with?  And, the relationships with the other attendees can form here as well.

Yes, breaking bread is valuable.  It is an opportunity few may spend any time thinking about and what a shame if they miss this.  I learned more and was able to bring all my ideas together in this way than I did in any single session or briefing.   So next year, I’ll still view the agenda with excitement and I’ll still schedule a briefing or two.  The REAL question is who is hosting the dinners and what can we learn from each other?

What do you think?  Did you attend a vendor dinner and did you make any meaningful connections or have any great discussions? Or, did you just see people partying and not taking advantage of the situation they were in?  Share in the comments.

*Special thank you to Alex Douzet, co-Founder and President of TheLadders.com for inspiring this story.  Being able to have the intimate experience getting to know your team over dinner was amazing.  Also, special thank you’s to Kris Dunn, Josh Letourneau, Tim Sackett, and Chris Frede for being open to share.  Amazing night!

Leave a Comment

How we can help

Led by Trish Steed and Steve Boese, H3 HR Advisors harnesses over 40 years of experience to delivery HCM insights and guidance to global organizations.

Advisory services

By leveraging technology, analytics, and our deep industry knowledge we can help you to reposition your workforce and ensure that you have the right people with the right capabilities in the right roles to positively impact the growth of your business. 

HR Happy Hour Podcast Network

Created in 2009, The HR Happy Hour Show is hosted by Steve Boese and Trish Steed and is the longest continuously running internet radio show and podcast on Human Resources, HR Technology, Talent Practices, Workplace and Leadership topics. 

Speaking Services

We work closely with every client to customize your content - keynotes, webinars, research, infographics, and buyer’s guides - to inspire, educate and inform the audience enabling you to reset and realign your organization for a talent-led breakthrough.

Get in touch

Talk to us today and find out how we can help you and your organization leverage HCM technology to attract, onboard, retain and manage top talent.