HR Tech Fest 2015 – It’s not a wrap, it’s just the beginning of learning!

HR Tech Fest 2015 – It’s not a wrap, it’s just the beginning of learning!


This was my first year at hrtechfest and it certainly won’t be the last. After a cracking start in 2014, serial tweeting, and twitter pals coercion I was swayed to attend this year!

To begin with, the venue doesn’t disappoint, ATP (Australian Technology Park), in the middle of a thriving up and coming Redfern/Alexandria, is the playground for start-up’s and all things cool, arty and foodie in Sydney.


With the opportunity to connect with over 400+ attendees and their connections, the hrtechfest certainly packed a punch in 2 days. To set the scene, if you missed out this year, indisputably everyone knew they were attending an event where they’d be transported into the future of work as soon as Anders Sorman-Nillson

Andersstarted his keynote on Analogue vs. Digital! The title probably gives it away, but there was no denying that Anders was challenging every person in the room to think of their personal and organisations analogue to digital journeys. With references to his mother’s brick and mortar business model and its journey through digital, Anders reminded HR professionals and organisations of the need to be digital, to keep up with speed of change or be prepared to fail! Of course, it would be cruel to tell HR professionals to get on with it without providing them some ideas on how they can change to be successful.

mikeMichael Molinaro, certainly didn’t disappoint those wanting to learn. He refreshed HR professionals of their journey from being polite to partnering with business, but challenged them to become players. His suggestion of making business “beg” for data certainly made a controversial impact when he compared it to the simple dating game of playing hard to get. He emphasized the need for companies to start small and build the skills required in Analytics. His key message though was blatant and obvious, make it count by correlating all data to dollars.

MattAfter all that money talk, I chose to be transported to the land of social disruption with Matt Adler. He talked about 3 social drivers – social graphs, sharing and social proof. In explaining social graphs, Matt pointed out how social media was pulling together our internal and external connections. However, without the ability to share these relationships and related content, social channels would not be effective. He described authenticity as key to a successful social media presence. And finally he talked about social proof which he described as proof of experiences and true feedback. Matt challenged HR professionals and organisations to not only check out what their employees, candidates or ex-employees are/were saying about them on Glassdoor but asked them how they were responding?

billIf you were into recruitment, you wouldn’t want to miss what Bill Boorman had to say. The key insights he imparted were – it is all about providing timely feedback to candidates; make your application process easy (pointing to a 47% abandonment rate of first page of most ATS’s); use technology that your users are familiar with; set KPI’s for every stage of the recruitment process to hold every process owner accountable; use data for good not evil and finally it is no longer about EVP (employee value proposition), it is all about IVP (individual value proposition)!

TimTo continue this journey, Tim Sackett’s rhetorical title “Candidate experience (CE) is the biggest lie being sold today” stated the obvious lie. The unconference style session was designed to have a conversation with the attendees about candidate experience and its importance. He started with a question that summed up the session for me, “Have you applied for your own jobs in the recent past”? The key messages were simple – treat candidates how you wanted to be treated, you cannot make every candidate happy but you can give them feedback, let technology serve you and do the heavy lifting, and last but perhaps the most important one was if you are going to measure CE, make sure your Hiring Manager have it on their metrics too!


And finally to inject some reality, Nicholas Antuar, talked about how RACQ (Royal Automobile Club of Queensland Limited) shifted their manual talent processes online with Oracle. Anyone familiar with the traditional talent identification process would be glad to hear of the whopping time savings (75 hours of work reduced to 2!) RACQ made by taking their process online. If that benefit alone wasn’t enough to swing the business case in your favour, the other benefits such as dynamic moderation of talent review and centralising information were equally persuasive.

For me, the key themes for HR Professionals and organisations were crystal clear:

  1. Social media and its influence is here to stay. Don’t fight it, embrace it.
  2. The conversation has shifted from just implementing any HR system to knowing what to do with it once you have the right systems in place. Hint: it’s all about the data you collect and how you use it.
  3. Businesses who know how to utilize the above two effectively have a distinct advantage over their competitors.

*All images in this post are borrowed from one of the following:;×200.jpg

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