HRevolution Thoughts And Lessons: Why You Should Attend


April 9, 2010

We’re less than one month away from HRevolution, May 7- 8 in Chicago, IL. As of now, there are only 19 tickets remaining before it sells out.  I thought I’d use today’s post to write about why someone who did not attend the first one should attend the second.  The best thing I can do is share an excerpt from a post I wrote following HRevolution 2009.  It details some of the learning opportunities that participants experienced and describes some of the topics we covered.  I know that HRevolution 2010 promises to be even better than the first.

HRevolution 2009 Thoughts and Lessons:

Although there were many sessions at HRevolution, I saw our collective conversations bifurcate (great word I attribute to Laurie Ruettimann– thanks Laurie!) into transactional HR vs. transformational HR.  This is one thing I have been thinking about since I left Louisville.  If you look at the human resource profession as a whole, my estimation is that at least 80% of the people working in the field are fairly content.  Notice I did not  necessarily call them “happy”, but content in the role that they fill in the company they work for.  Whether they are in  a generalist or specialist role is not relevant.  They may have things that they are less than satisfied with but they will never push to change them.

Then, there are at least 10% of the people who really hate HR.  They don’t necessarily hate the company they work for, although they might, but they truly are not cut out to work in the human resource field.  The last 10% are the HR professionals who want to help make a change.  They want to lead, talk about the future, push for change that makes sense, strategize.  These people aren’t asking for a seat at the table because they are climbing on top of it.  These are the professionals who understand that it takes more than a diploma in HR to be revolutionary.  It takes a solid understanding of the business world in general and how accounting, marketing, communications, and all the other elements fit into place.  THESE are the type of people that attended HRevolution.  These are the people that will determine the future of HR.

With that said, there were several things I heard that are sticking  with me.  They are:

  • We need to be talking about stakeholders and shareholders- This idea came from John Nykolaiszyn.  He made this comment in a session and he and I also talked about it offline.  Several other people made similar arguments that it is empirical that we understand business and not just human resources.  The VP of HR is not the one making the big decisions in the company.  It’s the CEO along with heavy input from the CFO in most cases.  If you are in HR and you can’t go toe-to-toe with these people, you might as well go back to your cube and continue on as the policy and fashion police.  BUT, if you are well-versed in business and you have a solid understanding of your company and how it makes money, you can be embraced by the CEO and CFO as a thought leader and trusted advisor.  Call To Action #1: Know more than just HR.  Know about business.
  • Social media is not the answer- It’s a tool.  This idea came from hearing numerous people talk about social media.  Several said they dislike the term because “social” implies that it is not business.  I agree.  Regardless of what it is called though, it is only a tool.  It can be very powerful, just look what was accomplished through Twitter in terms of creating this un-conference out of nothing.  But, it is not the answer to what the future of HR is.  Social media is a mechanism for outreach and networking.  If used, you can expand not only your knowledge and experience, but your reach into the world.  You can share your ideas and debate with others who may disagree.  IT WILL HELP YOU LEARN.  Call To Action #2: Use social media as your Excalibur.  Not everyone will “get” it.  Use that to your advantage.
  • Sometimes you don’t have to know the ROI of something to start doing it-This was one of the more revolutionary thoughts of the day.  On one hand we talked about knowing more about business and being able to equate that to terms the CEO or CFO would understand (like ROI).  On the other hand, there are some times where if the technology is new, it may be difficult to predict accurately what the ROI is.  That’s ok.  You may need to give it a try, then use your sales or communication skills to “sell” it to the c-suite.  The point is, don’t be afraid of change and risk.  How can you ever succeed (or fail spectacularly) if you don’t take the chance? Call To Action #3: Don’t let fear of something new scare you away.  Embrace your fear sometimes.
  • Let us never lose track that HR is a noble profession.  Act like it every day.This quote came from Eric Winegardner of (one of our AWESOME sponsors of HRevolution).  For all the time we can spend being introspective and repining about HR’s lot in life- stop it!  Be part of the solution or get out of HR.  What we do in human resources is noble.  It is about a lot of things but at the end of the day it is about people.  Helping them develop and perform successfully so the company will succeed.  Be proud to be in HR! Call To Action #4: Remind yourself every day why you do what you do.  Give yourself permission to be proud even if there is still more to be done.  Celebrate your small victories.

I left HRevolution and drove home alone.  I spent the first hour without the radio on, which is highly unusual for me.  Why?  Because I left feeling unsettled, like it wasn’t over.  There is more and there has to be because we did not come away with a true call to action or purpose to fulfill.

We MUST keep this going in order to come away with something solid, meaningful, and that will give us all a direction.  It will be up to each individual to pick up that flag- the flag of HRevolution- and carry it proudly.  Viva la revolution!


We sincerely hope you will join us for HRevolution 2010.  Click here to sign up.


  • Great Post! I signed up to attend this year and was somewhat unclear as to what to expect. If your post is only part of what is on the docket, it should be a wonderful and enlightening unconference.

  • skippy- have you ever been north of the mason-dixon line?

  • Trish- I am so very excited, and I can not wait to meet all of you IRL. I have had an opportunity to meet a handful of some great peopl//
    Looking forward.

  • Good point: Be proud of what you do. HR rocks.
    I face many people who chastise HR. Why, because they do not understand what we truly do. When they chastise, I inform. If we don’t open people eyes and help them undertsand, we only have ourselves to blame.
    I Rock! You Rule!

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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