HRevolution 2011 – Rants and Raves

I like to post a blog after attending a conference called Rants and Raves. Here’s an example, in case you didn’t know,or, more likely, you have forgotten because I haven’t posted in so long.

RANTS

HRevolution Polo Shirts – Sure, it was nice of the organizers to give everyone who has been at all three events a white polo shirt with the neat HRevolution logo on the chest. But, folks – come ON! You have known me for over two years now and I am pretty sure you can figure out my proper size.

Stuffed Monsters – Yeah, Eric Weingardner and his Monster.com team had those big stuffed monsters laying all over the place. They didn’t have ONE little one, though. The last time I took home a big stuffed monster I thought someone from the TSA was going to shoot me in the Louisville airport. Besides, my dogs like the little monsters better.

Meet-Meme Trading Cards – Okay, the people at Pinstripe had a great giveaway in those cards, so email or message Sue Marks and thank her, as I did.  BUT – 50 cards for 130 people? Sheesh. We don’t have to remind the world that HR people can’t count.

If you haven’t figured it out, I’ll spell it out – these are ridiculous rants and I was planting my tongue firmly in my cheek while writing them. Truth is, I could not find one legitimate thing to rant about, and I didn’t want to give up my post title.

RAVES

Trish McFarlane – The Queen of HRevolution, Trish acts as the true ringleader of the HRevolution planning crew. She is also directly responsible for getting sponsorships that help this event come to life.  Her work in attracting Monster.com, Pinstripe, Ceridian, Aquire, Inc., SHRM, and PeopleMatter creates a big value for the attendee buck.

Steve Boese – Most people had difficulty deciding which concurrent session to attend, and I was no different. They all sounded wonderful, and they were. Steve was responsible for assembling facilitators and sessions, and he deserves a huge round of applause for making this a learning and giving event like no other.

Crystal Peterson – Great space, nice traffic flow, good food, plentiful snacks and drinks. Crystal deserves the nod for making attendees so comfortable that all of that heavy duty brain power could focus on the discussion and not on discomfort.

Ben Eubanks – Ben kept all of the HRevolution information in your face and up-to-date, so you knew where to discuss an issue on Linkedin, or send your Meet-Meme information. Oh, and he brought his beautiful family with him to HRevolution, so the attendees got to meet Melanie, Bella, and Bree. That’s rave-able by itself.

Special Sponsors – All sponsors are special, really, but I have to single out Eric Weingardner of Monster.com and Lois Melbourne of Aquire.  Eric and Lois have both attended all three HRevolution events, adding their considerable smarts to the discussion. Both represent a corporation that sells product to HR folks, but they have been there to participate and learn, not to sell and shill. They epitomize the best of HRevolution.

Attendees – Caring, warm, intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, enthusiastic, and a little bit naughty. It was my pleasure to spend a couple of days with you.

 

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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.

RANTS

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).

RAVES

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. 😉

PERSONAL RANT

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.

PERSONAL RAVE

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!

IT’S YOUR CHANCE NOW

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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HRevolution – Beginnings

I attended a strange and amazing “unconference” two days ago.  It was called HRevolution and it was a collection of HR and recruiting pros coming together to discuss social media and its intersection with their professional life.  It was the first out-of-town HR conference I had ever attended, made up mainly of bloggers (including Twitter micro-bloggers).  The ideas flew fast and furiously, and I already have several HR University lesson plans in the works based on thoughts generated at the Revolution. Those lessons will have to be spread out over several posts, but I want to start here with some introductory remarks about the Revolution in general:

  • One of the attendees at HRevolution, Frank Zupan, lives and work in Cleveland.  He eats corned beef at a deli called Slyman’s; they buy corned beef made at United Meat & Deli (UMD) in Detroit.  The corned beef is injected/pumped with pickling brine with a machine operated by Joaquin Arredondo.  Joaquin is a permanent resident alien (has a green card) – a status that I helped him obtain as the HR manager at UMD.  That circle (Frank to Joaquin to me to Frank) of connectivity wasn’t created by HRevolution or Twitter, but it was discovered there.  It makes a compelling argument for the continuing exploration of social media, and it slaps the argument that “people only connect on social media because they can’t connect in person” right in the face.
  • Laurie Ruettiman of Punk Rock HR is a true superstar of the HR blogosphere.  Ooohs and aaahs were audible when she arrived, and I am old enough to be her mother.  In fact, I discovered through conversation with her that I am older than her mother. But she, like the other Gen X and Ys present (which was most of the room), was absolutely energizing.  Boomers like me can learn a lot from these smart kids, if we will listen.
  • None of the attendees at HRevolution had met me before; they only knew who I was because of my Twitter presence. Yet almost everyone who knew who I was (because of my avatar) hugged me. It was marvelous because I really like hugging.
  • HRevolution attendees have an absolute fascination with bacon.  I have no idea what the origin of this fascination is, or why it continues.  I am happy to indulge the fascination, though.  The first HRevolution attendee who comments (10 words or more required) on this blog post will receive the book “Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon” as a gift from me.

bacon-book

More lessons to follow; stay tuned!