‘Tis the season for conferences and the time that we see our colleagues’ updates on social media taking them to various destination conference venues including Las Vegas and Orlando. This past week took me back close to my old stomping grounds in Ft. Worth, Texas for the Oracle HCM Users Group (OHUG) 2019 Global Conference. As you would expect, our hosts donned cowboy hats and country music filled the airwaves in honor of this year’s theme “Stampede Into the Future of HCM.”
As a speaker attempting to impart my pearls of compensation wisdom on an audience seeking more fitting alternatives for compensation planning and pay equity analytics… and as a vendor amongst many consultancies and complementary software offerings… I always find these events to be the best time to reconnect with friends and colleagues that I’ve met throughout my career, make new connections with other industry professionals, and to reaffirm our place in this ever-changing HCM eco-system.
With this year’s conference focused on the future state of HR and Human Capital Management, the common theme across the keynote speakers was the transformation of HR as well as the technology space overall.
The opening keynote speaker, Jason Averbrook (CEO & Co-Founder of Leapgen) focused on digital transformation and the fact that most individuals and companies were still stuck despite the movement towards digitization around us. Live polls of the audience revealed that 68% of the audience felt although it was 2019 outside, it felt like it was 2014 or earlier within their organizations. Only 4% of the audience felt their companies were up-to-date technologically. Another live poll revealed that of the audience, 58% stated their organizations do not have a digital HR/people strategy and about 1/3 of the audience was still working on it. He also noted that the mindset for the digitization of the employee’s experience should be focused on “why”, not “how” and that it isn’t just about automation, which we as software vendors tend to focus on too heavily.
The Oracle Executive keynote speaker, Cara Caprietta, talked about CHRO trends, the state of HR, and HCM trends. She focused on the need to create a modern employee experience to help increase engagement and retention in an era of a gig economy and higher turnover. She challenges organizations to co-own a digital strategy that makes it more of a “human experience” that is consistent across different types of workers, even daring to include our growing contingent workforce segment. She also talked about the importance of understanding whether you already have the talent needed, making opportunities more visible, and not being afraid to lose our talent to ourselves. Otherwise we will likely lose them to someone outside of our organization. As our organizations evolve, change management and an open market are vital.
The final keynote was presented by Lizzy Morris, an Agile transformation coach and advocate for women in technology. The main theme of her message was to inspire women to be prepared to be a stepping stone for the next generation of women in technology and give them a purpose while creating our own narrative. She also encouraged us to be unapologetic and authentic about our situations and asking for what we want. Although the message was geared towards the women in the room and our experience in breaking into the technology world, I can’t help but to also note that the notion of authenticity in our life situations can apply to everyone in our changing social and family dynamics. Morris also encouraged men in the audience to help to empower women throughout the generations and pointed out that we all tend to have and perpetuate gender biases from a very early age as we raise the next generations. For myself, starting my career in technology in the early 90’s and raising both boys and girls through these years, there was so much about Morris’ stories that I found relatable. But most importantly, one of her key messages to the audience was to “Be present in your future because innovation and change starts with you.”