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Joe,

As you mentioned in your post, we are camped out here in Orlando this week at the HR Florida Conference.  For those who don’t travel the conference circuit, this one of the largest state HR conferences in the country.  We travel to a lot of conferences, so I don’t always slow down to really try to feel what’s happening at the conference and try to pick up the trends.  Since we are here for a few days, I’m trying to pay closer attention this week.

Here’s what I’m noticing.

  • HR professionals, despite the fact that many have been in the bad news business for the past few years due to the economy, are still pretty engaged and excited about their work.  The passion they have for their job is clear to me.  Where there’s passion, there’s potential in my book, so I think this is a good sign.
  • I get the sense that HR professionals are starting to look for a higher bar in terms of content at these events.  My impression is that most of the people are knowledgeable about their work and they want to be challenged with new ideas–they want to be stretched.  Both of us, together and individually, try to create content that is new, challenging and actionable to audiences, and I’m struck by how often people will come up after a session and say, “this session made my conference.”  I take that as a sign that they are ready for more challenging content across the board.
  • The HR community is social when they get together, but they really aren’t connected at a level that I think could transform their work.  People are very friendly and they seem very happy to be here.  But, I actually had a woman sit down next to me at a session yesterday and strike up a conversation.  As we talked, she mentioned that she was disappointed by how few people where interested in striking up a conversation with her, even when they sat next to each other at conferences.  She was looking for some networking and was finding it lacking.  Perhaps some of them will swing by our Social Gravity session today to be inspired and educated on how to connect because this is still clearly a gap.  Once the HR community embraces the power of social capital and network, I think we can advance our work much faster.

I love the work and the people of HR.  So, I am excited to be here this week.  These are my day 1 reflections from this event.  We’ll see what Day 2 brings.

Jason

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