With customers, partners, and HR luminaries coming from all over the globe to congregate and strategize, it's no wonder that last week's HCM World conference was such an enlightening event. The perfect weather in Dallas provided an appropriate backdrop to a series of thought-provoking sessions that spanned new product functionality, emerging trends, and everything in between.
HCM World 2018 kicked off in fine fashion with a keynote from Oracle's HCM evangelist Cara Capretta, who walked us through the latest insights from PwC, Gartner, and more. Most compelling, judging from the audience reaction, was her discussion on shifting from "PTB to EI," or from "pleasing the boss to employee intimacy." This focus is far more valuable, Cara asserted, than the perpetual talk of reaching millennials—whose differing expectations have not been confirmed by statistical research.
Next up was "futurist" and author Jacob Morgan, who guided us through the evolution of the employee experience, from the days when candidates were lining up in droves for any job posting, to the current pervasive struggle for engagement. During an enlightening section on how only 6% of employers provide an "amazing" employee experience, he reminded the crowd of HR professionals of an important paradigm shift.
"Engagement is not the cause," Morgan said. "It's the result of something."
Attendees seemed to relish the HR-dedicated content throughout the three-day event, maximizing the chance to start systemizing new strategies, rather than only discussing them.
A packed Baker Tilly session, "Meaningful HR Metrics: Overcome the Hurdles to Manage and Extract Value," used an Indiana Jones theme to explore what's needed for companies to move beyond "basic static and compliance reporting," something 44% of companies do, according to a survey. Establishing a new "data steward" role, as well as leaving a "transactional" mindset are key.
"The spectrum has grown tremendously in terms of expectation," said Jeffrey Haynes, citing the growing use of analytics similar to Google search and FICO credit scoring.
Naturally, audience members were primed to visit the Hands-On Lab area, which saw a steady flow of traffic throughout the week. For the first time, participants could use iPhones in addition to iPads to play around with the latest product features, including Oracle Recruiting Cloud's External Candidate Experience and New Hire Onboarding.
"Hands on" took on a literal meeting for one of the most fun sessions of HCM World, "Beam Me Up, Scotty: Augmented Reality in Oracle HCM," hosted by senior UX manager Lulit Bezuayehu. The interactive session was packed full of attendees, who sat at small tables for group collaboration to experiment with "augmented reality," which has been used to great effect by Snapchat, IKEA, and Pokemon Go. At such a high-tech event, people loved creating objects for digital overlay, and merging the physical and virtual worlds.
In addition to deep dives on compliance and other issues affecting HR departments, HCM World 2018 provided many vertical-specific sessions to address some singular industry challenges.
On Day 3, VP of transformation Joseph Clay presented "The Modern Campus: Challenges and Opportunities for Human Capital Leaders," in which he outlined steps that can be taken by higher education institutions to better navigate the fickle budgets and change management challenges. Clay cautioned that service delivery and user experience are no longer open for debate in this sector.
"It's not just your ability to compile information," he said," it's also about your ability to get it into the hands of those who need it."
Disengagement is one problem that all industries can relate to, yet author Andrew Sherman saw the upside of nearly 70% of today’s employees not being engaged at work.
"This is an incredible opportunity for HR professionals," he told the attentive audience. "This is your time to shine."
Most interesting was his citation of a University of Maryland study that confirmed "mattering" increases in importance for people as they age. Christmas bonuses, free bagel Fridays, and other "1990s thinking" won't help you.
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