This is my first time attending HR Tech Fest in Sydney and if Day One’s anything to go by, it’s shaping up to be one of the best HR conferences I’ve attended in a looong time.Exploring the changing role of HR as Digital disruption continues to impact and drive business. We’re being challenged to shift the way we operate and communicate or we risk meeting the same fate as the dinosaurs.The calibre of the speakers has been really high. Like, genuinely inspiring and insightful. It’s awesome (and refreshing) so hear so much variation in the themes covered from a really excitingly diverse range of speakers. And heaps of breakout time for networking – starting the night before the actual conference kicks off!The Eventful Group have put together a very slick and interactive event that sticks to the timetable. Important when there’s so much to cover and so many great speakers to hear from. But for those who couldn’t make it this year, here’s a bit of a summary from day one:

Anchorman delivers the news

Anders Sorman-Nilsson (Futurist and Innovation Strategist): Andres took us on a journey through time using the heart warming story of his mothers traditional clothing business. Her business is approaching the 100 year old mark and the past 10 years have been challenging as she has faced the transition of face to face retail to online. He drew the typical comparisons between traditional businesses like Mariott Hotels and AirBnB, but with particular attention to the speed at which their billion dollar valuations happened. The rate at which companies are growing exponentially is radically different than before the Digital age. The impact for HR is that the way we engage with everyone has had to change too. We need to be using social communities, and be open to collaboration.Michael Molinaro (Barclays Bank, UK): A specialist in big data and analytics, Michael’s biggest piece of advice for HR was to start using the data we capture or can access – it’s rich and valuable and should earn HR a place at the table. He encouraged us to start small and use it wisely. Examples included tracking workforce productivity, engagement against turnover, attrition and recruitment. He had a cool idea around releasing a “metric of the month” that was relevant to a business outcome being delivered. Another interesting thought-bomb he dropped was the idea of rewarding staff differently depending on their engagement levels. Love a bit of controversial challenge this early in the morning!Brian Sommer (Vital Analysis, USA): This guy turned the Modernisation of HR into the funniest, most engaging talk of the day. Do you have a Digital CEO? Brian says watch out. It will be like going from one mile per hour to warp speed for your business processes (and then your performance). He told a great story about about the changes that happened with Graduate recruitment on a university campus. Gone are the days of putting up fliers. Now all students can be sent messaging via SMS or emails at the same time. And you would imagine that they’d respond pretty rapidly but this wasn’t the case. Instead they asked all their friends what they think on social, they looked up the company on Glassdoor. Their behaviours have changed - they’re investigating the companies more thoroughly before they choose to engage. He highlighted that we shouldn’t be thinking that technology is starting to change HR processes. It’s already happened and you need to be playing offense now, not defence. He also challenged the employer brand process by asking us to apply as a candidate through our own process and then do the same with our competitors. And oldie but still a goodie to test our candidate experience.Bill Boorman (Founder of #Tru and Social Recruiting Expert): Bill is always awesome and yesterday was no exception. He gave us an overview of his “slight” paper (see what he did there?) after interviewing 99 each of hiring managers, recruiters and candidates. Some very interesting insights:

Silvia Damiano (CEO of About My Brain Institute): I was stoked to catch Silvia twice on day one. Taking brain science and making it immediately relevant to us HR/Recruitment types is an awesome super-power. Her closing keynote on creating a culture that is good for our brains was obviously right up our ally. She broke down why we perform better and are better leaders when our brains are healthy. It can start with small things like eating your lunch away from your desk. Or making time for imagination. She showed images of brain activity when someone was using their imagination vs when they were not. Fascinating stuff. A particularly useful slide was one that show behaviours we demonstrate when our brains are healthy vs not. One side is very positive, one not so much. She said that anger and grumpiness can just be a glitch in the brain. We need to look after ourselves so that we can be the leaders we were meant to be.Weirdly was lucky enough to be part of the Startup Showcase: Featuring…drumroll please…us! We were really chuffed to be invited to present alongside other clever HRTech startups like Workometry.com and ShieldGEO.com. It was a rad opportunity to be up on stage in front of an attentive crowd whose minds were already hungry for innovation. Our favourite kind of crowd.So there you have it. Day One highlights. Check in tomorrow when we breakdown Day Two for all you guys playing from home.

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