by Matthew Stollak on Sunday, May 1, 2011

Back from Atlanta and the 3rd Annual HREvolution Conference.  While there will likely to be about 74 of these, give or take in the next 48 hours, here are my quick impressions:

The Conference Committee Rocked It Again  - This was the 3rd time I had the opportunity to attend HREvolution, and it once again delivered in spades.  Kudos have to be given to the Conference Committee of Steve Boese, Ben Eubanks, Trish McFarlane, and Crystal Peterson for the fine job on the facilities, food, content, and atmosphere.  Fanatstic job!

People Like Each Other - Given the significant connections that were made prior to the event, you can definitely see the passion for each other shine through in person...from long-time vets to first-time attendees.   You had nearly 60 people show up before the event even started to get together and chat.   You had 30 people head to Flip Burger for dinner Saturday night.  You had 35+ at breakfast the next morning.  There is a kinship about the experience that was mutually shared....just follow the #HREvolution on Twitter to see.

Our Session Went Well - I was blessed to have the inestimable Laurie Ruettimann be my co-pilot for our session on "Pop Culture, Politics, and HR."  It was that, and so much more.  We discussed:

  • What is pop culture?
  • What is the relationship between pop culture, HR and the workplace?
  • Does pop culture bind us together or separate us?
  • Is pop culture ephemeral?
  • Is pop culture just high class gossip?
  • What do you do if your employee is a birther?
  • But, given the format of the conference, the audience took us in a lot of different and unexpected directions - how to deal with employees who are a**holes, scientology, religion, gay vegans, news v. opinion
We both had an interesting and good time presenting it, and we had a great audience who pushed, prodded and poked the discussion, as they should.

Get Over the Format - I thought too much breath was wasted on the discussion by some on whether it was a "conference" or "unconference."   Was the content good?  Were you able to connect with others?  Get over the label.

Other Thoughts
*Atlanta - not a big Coca-Cola town
*The Meet Meme trading cards were a hit....would love to have them for our own state SHRM conference.
*As it demonstrated yet again, it was not your father's HR conference - I was 4 for 4 in hearing the "F-word" in each of my sessions.  I'm tempted to start another blog titled "Profane HR."
*The unintended effect of the flat taxi rate to/from the airport - the driver of the taxi Joan Ginsberg and I shared decided in the middle of the trip to pull over at a gas station to use the restroom.  Wonder if that would have happened if the meter was running.
*Looking forward to HREvolution 4 in Las Vegas October 2.  Heard a rumor that might be a new member of the planning team....


Thanks Matt for attending and for co-leading what was an excellent session at the event. Looking forward to Las Vegas for sure!

by Steve Boese on May 1, 2011 at 3:45 PM. #

Nice recap, great session. The idea of a reverse mentoring pop culture program is one that was thrown out off the cuff in the session, but deserves more discussion that it was given.

by Dwane Lay on May 1, 2011 at 4:19 PM. #

Great recap Matt...further enhanced by getting an extra hour coffee time with you this morning!

I was in your session and it did work well, in fact it was me who threw the pop culture reverse mentoring comment off the cuff! I had been thinking about Liz's comment earlier on reverse mentoring with the younger worker helping the older one with Powerpoint.

Dwane, honoured that it is one that you feel merits more discussion! With an open-minded approach from both sides it could work.

by Mervyn Dinnen on May 1, 2011 at 4:40 PM. #

Thanks for the recap and sharing of thoughts. I wish I could be there! I'm sure I would be able to learn a lot as a newcomer to the HR field.

by Agnes Lam on May 1, 2011 at 5:58 PM. #

Thanks for the recap! It's clear from my twitter timeline that a great time was had by everyone there.

And "Profane HR" sounds like an awesome idea! I'd read it.

by Buzz Rooney on May 1, 2011 at 6:41 PM. #

I enjoyed the session and the conference as a first timer...I will be back. What's with all the bacon? LOL

by Unknown on May 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM. #

Nicely said, especially about the format issue. Talented, giving, innovative people with a willingness to lay it out there. That's the value. That's the growth opportunity for anyone who attends.
Great to meet you, looking forward to the next!

by Tim Gardner on May 1, 2011 at 8:48 PM. #

I did not attend your session, but hear great things. You add greatness to everything you do from being snarky to being professorial. I am looking forward to sneaking behind the "chesse curtain" this year to WISHRM!

by Dave "theHRCzar" Ryan on May 1, 2011 at 9:16 PM. #

Unfortunately our sessions were battling it out at the same time. Love your perspective on this, but more than that - great to meet you and hang out !! Truly a cool thing for me. Carry on professor. We will cross paths again sooner than later !!

by Steve Browne on May 2, 2011 at 6:28 AM. #

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