#ICYMI: Here’s everything you need to know before you go to #HRTechConf

In case you missed it (and I’m not really sure how you could!), the 2015 HR Technology Conference and Expo kicks off Sunday night. Thousands of HR pros, experts, analysts and vendors will descend upon The Mandalay Bay for the biggest HR technology event of the year. If you’re in HR, it’s kind of a big deal.


In anticipation of next week’s big event, here are some of our favorite #HRTechConf insider tips and tricks for getting the most out of the event (and finding the best guacamole on the strip!).


Steve Boese’s Top 10 Tips for HR Tech

Steve Boese, the co-chair of HR Tech Conf, knows a little thing or two about this year’s event. He put together a list of his top 10 recommendations for HR Tech attendees. Head over to Steve Boese’s HR Technology blog for the full list!


SHRM Blog: What to Expect at HR Tech

Aliah Wright has the scoop on what everyone will be talking about at HR Tech. Did you know that this year there will be a hackathon? Yep, six teams of experts will be competing to build technology solutions in less than 48 hours. Wright also says there will be a lot of discussions around predictive analytics, big data, and the intersection of technology and employee engagement. Check out the full post for more insights.


Here’s what Jennifer Payne is looking forward to

Jennifer Payne is one of the HR Tech Conference insiders who will be live blogging during the event! She recently wrote a post about what she’s expecting to see and hear this year. What are this year’s major themes? After exploring the keynote addresses, 10 different tracks and dozens of sessions, it seems like everyone has big data and employee engagement on their mind. Follow Jennifer and the HR Tech Insiders blog for the HR Tech Conference play-by-play.


Not attending? Don’t worry. A lot of people have you covered.

If you can’t make it, don’t get too bummed out. There are so many opportunities to gain some insights from the show. Here are some options:


  • Obviously, follow the event hashtag #HRTechConf on twitter – it already has a lot of good advice!
  • Check out the HR Technology Insiders Blog. A handful of HR experts with various background and perspectives will be live blogging the event!


My advice?

Map out your schedule. Wear sensible shoes. Don’t skip the general sessions. Don’t overdo it at the parties. Have your hotel put a humidifier in your room (t’s free!) so you don’t get sick. Eat at Border Grill in the Mandalay Bay – they have the best guacamole on the planet.


And, last but not least, check out some of the little vendors on the outskirts of the big, flashy booths. Meridian has a new brand, a new booth and some new swag this year, so stop by Booth #2614 and say hi! We’re funny and fun and we want to talk to you about what you want out of your learning technology. See you there!



10 Tips to Survive and Thrive at HR Tech 2015

The HR Technology Conference & Expo is literally one week away and that means it is time to start planning. Whether it is your first (or tenth… sigh) HR Tech, it can be an overwhelming experience which is why I came up with the Top 10 Insider HR Tech Tips and Tricks.


  1. COMFORT IS KEY – The show is spread out in Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Vegas, so you know there is going to be a lot of walking back and forth to sessions so do it in comfort. No joke. My first year I wore cute heels, but now I am that person in the borderline ugly, kind of cute comfortable shoes. Seriously it sounds like basic common sense, but you wouldn’t believe how many people rather look cute than be able to walk at the end of the show. Your tootsies will thank you!


  1. GET A GAME PLAN– Outline the major things that you want to get done while at HR Tech. This could be attending specific sessions, meeting friends or going to see a Cirque show. Get these items prioritized so that when it comes time to build your agenda, scheduling won’t be too difficult. Try downloading the HR Tech Conference app – it lets you know where and what time everything is happening.


  1. WORK YOUR WAY IN– The expo hall is huge and definitely overwhelming. Most attendees start exploring the show floor in the middle, which is where the large vendors and flashy booths are located. Instead, my advice is to start from the outside and work your way in. This is where the gems are. These smaller booths don’t have booth babes, but will gladly show you a quick demo without being too heavy on the sales pitch. There’s also an area designated to HR technology startups. Don’t forget to stop by booth #2614 to check out Meridian Knowledge Solutions (yes, I know it is a shameless plug)


  1. CHARGE IT– You will be at a show for 2-3 days and you will forget your power cords. It’s bound to happen, so external charges are a great way to move about the event while getting a charge on your mobile device. Being relatively inexpensive, you won’t regret getting one. I’d be willing to bet several vendors will be giving theses out at their booths!


  1. DON’T BE A HOG – As we all know, outlets are hard to come by – especially in the sessions or on the expo floor. If you are planning on using one, plan ahead and pack a power strip. You’ll make lots of friends and won’t feel guilty about hogging the only outlet in the room.


  1. A PICTURE CAN TELL A STORY – With so much to do and see at HR Tech, the best way to document your experience is to snap a few pics. Take photos of session title – it’s a great reference to speaker names and Twitter handles and allows you to easily find the recording or specific group post-event. So click away!


  1. BE AN EARLY BIRD – Once you arrive in Vegas, try to get checked-in as early as possible – like Sunday morning when lines tend to be short and the process easy. Monday morning will be crazy busy and chaotic. Registration is where you’ll get your badge, HR Tech bag and some free goodies. And remember, to gain admittance to any part of HR Tech, you need your badge. It will get you into every session, keynote presentation and the expo hall.


  1. DON’T FORGET BUSINESS CARDS – Every year I bring a small stack of business cards and never seem to pack enough. When meeting new people, it is great to be able to get their card, write down a note on how and where you met and what you talked about on the back. Then, when you need to make contact, it’s easy recall when, where and how you met.


  1. GET OUT – Conferences are fun but you can’t visit Las Vegas and not do a little sightseeing. Take some time and explore the city! Check out the incredible hotels, see an amazing show or enjoy a world-class restaurant. Check out things to do in Las Vegas for more information.


  1. BREATHE – Let’s face it, trade shows are long! There is a lot happening at HR Tech but that doesn’t mean that you need to see or do it all, it’s easy to stop and rest. Take some time to sit with new or old friends, enjoy a conversation and recharge. Remember the show is 3 days long!