Heading down the Atlanta Highway…looking for the HRevolution Love Shack!

I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway,      
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at!
Huggin’ and a kissin’, dancin’ and a lovin’, 

How come we had no Love Shack themes going at HRevolution 2011? How did we miss the HR Love Shack!

The love was certainly there…

Love for the organisers

Love for the sponsors

Love for the track leaders

Love for the attendees…each and every one of us

Even love for the HRBritpack!

All of it fully deserved!

On my long and rambling journey back to London I’ve been thinking about how to explain HRevolution to someone who’s never been. To call it an (un)conference doesn’t seem to fully do this event justice. There’s way too much energy, adrenalin, friendship, respect…and partying!

It’s so much more.

It’s definitely a learning event and it’s very much a sharing event. Not just one way learning but sharing of experiences, thoughts and knowledge. And in the afternoon (in particular) we got ourselves a bit of a debating event too!

It’s most certainly a networking event, a gathering of people from all corners of the USA and Canada, and the UK. People who’ve never met before…people who’ve met once or twice…and people who meet regularly at these events. It’s very inclusive, no-one is left out, everyone is welcomed…part new faces and part old friends.

It’s a party event for sure! Whether you want wine tasting or dancing, anyone who ever thought that HR can’t let its hair down really needs to get down to HRevolution!

It’s also the only event I go to that’s residential for every attendee, with many coming long distances to be there…maybe this helps create the buzz.

So what about the discussions…which aside from the fun and friendship are the real highlights!

I’m sure there will be many blogs posted over the next few days giving great insights into the learning points, and I’m still getting my thoughts together…so for now I’m focusing on what we were saying with the notes that I made during the tracks that made the biggest impression on me.

The opening address from Liz Gottung (CHRO Kimberley Clark) was a great scene setter. Her quest to make HR a go to career destination will certainly resonate with many of the candidates and clients that I used to meet during my time as an HR recruiter. I noted down:

  • Reverse mentoring – younger employees can also mentor upwards (Powerpoint! Social Media?)
  • CEO blogging to talk to the employees
  • HR as a go to career destination
  • Aspiring CEOs should spend 2 years as HRD as part of their development
  • HR should gain experience working outside function, and workers from outside the function should work in HR

I enjoyed the Pop Culture, Politics and HR session with Laurie Ruettiman and Matthew Stollak, looking at the part pop culture and gossip plays in office life. Checking back on my notes I wrote:

  • Know your audience – need to know what they’re talking about
  • Not letting people be judged by their opinions
  • Having difficult conversations – eg getting people remove stickers
  • Discussing politics at work – a no no?
  • Do we let top producers get away with things we shouldn’t because they bring in money/get things done? What do we do about the ‘I hate Bob’ club?
  • Is pop culture homework in some orgs?
  • Pop Culture Reverse Mentoring (my suggestion, keeping the reverse mentoring theme but ensuring workers don’t feel excluded if the pop culture topics are not something for them)

One of the tracks that got a lot of debate going was from Paul Herbert on Designing for Influence – this was also one of the most heavily tweeted discussions. Some of the key points we discussed:

  • Aim for small changes over short periods of time
  • Bullying is a learned behaviour
  • Recognition is about behaviours you never want to change, incentives about behaviours you do want to change
  • Judge managers by how many of their team get promoted or headhunted not by how big their teams are
  • Adopt a strengths based approach
  • Do you have a shitty manager policy – thought not! (Do something about it – this got a lot of traction from the group)
  • Understand how people change and how they react to change
  • Don’t run an incentive programme until you understand the behaviours
  • Control all the behaviours that lead to ROI, break it down into behaviours you can do

There you have it, a snapshot of my second experience of the awesomely irrepressible phenomenon that is HRevolution…

…I can’t wait for the next…

…I hear it’s in Vegas!!

10 thoughts on “Heading down the Atlanta Highway…looking for the HRevolution Love Shack!

  1. Good post Mervyn. Enjoyed much of it, particularly things around “reverse mentoring” and not judging managers by how big their teams are.
    On another note, as an “outsider” trying to gain access to this particular blog (and I read many of yours!) some of the speak / terminology did make it difficult to understand for those who were not there – and the main reason for reading this post was … because I was not there!

    Just some honest talking feedback, but thanks for sharing as enjoyed it. And a great song too!


    1. Thanks Andy! Apologies if there are ‘you had to be there’ moments…it’s often one of the dangers of blogging immediately after an event like this, hard to detatch. There will be an HR Carnival soon gathering together all the blogs emanating from the even…I’ll send a link.

    1. Thanks Laurie, so great to see you too…as always it was your track that got us talking the untalkable!
      I can’t help but ask though…who can hate Love Shack??!!

  2. Love Shack is the only b-52’s song on my iPod. Not sure what that means, but there it is…

    Once again,ou escaped with my getting chat with you. I wanted to talk social media community management. Guess we may have to resort to Skype, or I need to take a trip to London (and Amsterdam!)

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