HRevolution – Rants and Raves

Mark Stelzner as Donald Trump - sort of

Back in March I did a post following a SHRM conference called Rants and Raves.  Since I have no desire to re-invent the wheel, and I find that the title is the hardest part of my blog to write,  I am going to take the easy way out and offer this  HRevolution version.  This time, though, the rants and raves are not mine – at least not until the end.  These are comments made directly to me by some of the attendees, and not based on anyone’s blog post or tweet.


NOT ENOUGH TIME BETWEEN SESSIONS FOR DISCUSSIONS/NETWORKING/CONVERSATIONS – This was by far the most prevalent and consistent comment I received.  People did not want to miss the sessions, but they wanted time to start and continue substantive conversations.  The tweet-ups, with a party-like atmosphere, were good for meeting and greeting, but they wanted quieter time for serious stuff, too.  When asked, people were willing to attend a 2-day session in order to rectify this.

NOT ENOUGH SPACE – Several people thought that Catalyst Ranch, while fun and funky, was not large enough for the attendees to find spots outside of the sessions to talk or even break out into a smaller group.  A related comment was that there were just too many people, making the sessions a little too large for comfortable discussion.

GENERAL SESSION/TRACK GRIPES – Some people wanted more topics lead by working HR practitioners and directly relevant to daily HR functions.  Some wanted fewer sponsor/consultant/non-practitioner speakers and facilitators. While many of the people I spoke with felt some uneasiness with the sessions, they did not articulate their feelings or dissatisfaction as well in this area (unlike the time and space rants).


EVENT PLANNING AND LOGISTICS – As a member of the planning committee, it is almost embarrassing to admit that this was the number one rave I received. People were quick to recognize the work involved and seemed happy with the food, tweetups, transportation, information, and cupcakes.

CHICAGO – Even though there are rumblings on Twitter about having a future HRevolution in Hawaii or Las Vegas, many attendees commented to me how perfect the Chicago location was for them from a transportation and travel standpoint.  They liked Chicago and the choices it afforded them.

CONNECTIONS MADE – Many people came specifically for the opportunity and ability to meet others and extend connections with online friends and acquaintances.  While some wished they had been able to do more, many were enthusiastic about the connections they did make.

Now that I have reported on the most frequent rants and raves made by attendees (to me), I am going to indulge myself  just a little and give you a personal rant and rave (just one each!) because I can only shut up for so long. 😉


There have been a lot of blog posts and tweets about HRevolution.  Some were positive, some were not. Fair enough.  I get the distinct impression, though, that many people made their feelings known only through a blog post or a tweet. No personal contact with, or email or phone call to, a planning committee member – even though contact information for every committee member was given to every participant. Was this you?  It makes me wonder if some people actually listened to some of the messages that were given about the value of connection and communication.  If you have something to say about HRevolution – good or bad – say it on your blog or on Twitter, but say it directly to the people who brought you HRevolution, too.  You can’t have influence and credibility in 140 characters,  so make a meaningful connection and help HRevolution – and yourself – move forward.


I was a very small part of a talented and dedicated group of people who helped bring HRevolution to life.  I learned much about effective collaboration and valuable teamwork from this experience, and I have to thank Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, Crystal Peterson, Steve Boese, Mark Stelzner, and Jason Seiden for allowing me to be a part of this team. I am raving about all of them!


I chose not to personally comment on the rants and raves of the attendees, because I want to know what YOU think!  Were you there?  Do you agree with anything?  Nothing?  Do you have other experiences that could help make an event like this better for everyone?

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9 thoughts on “HRevolution – Rants and Raves”

  1. Joan, let me again thank you and the rest of the committee for all the work you did. As a volunteer leader myself, I know the work involved in this and appreciate what you did to get this accomplished.

    I am still digesting my thoughts in detail but for the most part, your list covers many of my rants/raves. One thing I wished I had right now is a directory of attendees with e-mail/phone nos., etc. Minor thing, but would facilitate follow up networking.

    Like I said, still digesting my thoughts and will share them as soon as I can.

  2. Joan – many, many thanks for all your hard work to make the HRevolution event run so smoothly. You were an essential component of the event from start to finish.

    @John – This attendee information will be released soon, I believe by the end of the week.

  3. I look forward to the sharing when you are ready, John. Guest posting on this blog is available if you need it. :)

    Steve already mentioned this but I will expand a bit: there IS an attendee list coming. We had changes right up to the last minute and we wanted it to be accurate and comprehensive, so the decision was made to send it out after the conference. Trish will have it ready soon!

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. Thank YOU, Steve, for opening up HRevloution to other planners. Who says you can’t teach a baby boomer new tricks?

  5. Thank you Joan for the countless hours of work you put into HRevolution. Definitely a rave was the area of catering which you handled masterfully. We’re thrilled you jumped in to volunteer this year. That is the only way this even can get pulled together and we appreciate your insight and contributions so much.

    While the rants and raves from bloggers and people on twitter are appreciated, they only represent the smallest percentage of attendees. I am anxious to see how the other (approximately) 115 people respond in the survey they will receive this weekend. And, Steve is correct, the participant list will come out this weekend.

    Thanks again to all who attended.

  6. Again, there is no need to thank *me*. I have rarely been in a work environment that required this type of team collaboration and the experience was truly invaluable.

    In case you – or anyone else – is interested in how the rants/rants were actually received: The rants (on this blog) came from about 12-15 different people I spoke with at the Saturday evening Pinstripe tweetup, Saturday evening dinner, and Sunday morning breakfast. I asked them all “what did you think? BE HONEST.” So even on these direct comments, you are talking about a small percentage of the attendees, although I did not include a “rant” unless it was repeated by more than one person.
    The raves were more widespread, because many were given to me spontaneously, and were not just a response to a direct question. Those would represent a large percentage of group.

    I have already been asked about the ability to complete a survey/evaluation so I think we will get some thorough feedback. :)

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