The Future Of Work Looks Cognitive

Yes. The Robots Are Coming.

I was honored to be the first guest on the new IBM Trends In Talent Management podcast this week!

In the quick, 12-minute conversation, we discussed how machine learning, artificial intelligence/AI, and cognitive will affect human resources, talent acquisition, and talent management in the future.

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Recommended Human Resources Conferences To Attend in 2015

Recently, one of my contacts who is planning her 2015 schedule sent me a question asking for my recommendations for the top 2 – 3 conferences to attend in the US for HR professionals.

I am doing my planning for 2015 and wanted to reach out to you and get your thoughts on something if you don’t mind. One of my plans for next year is to attend more conferences in the US; ideally I’d like to attend events where there is a lot of networking, collaborating and great speakers.

Since there are so many events happening all the time, it’s hard for me to assess which ones are best. Do you have any recommendations for the top 2-3 conferences in the US for HR professionals – other than the annual SHRM conference in Las Vegas?

I shared my recommendations with her directly, but I thought I’d also share them with you – and get your recommendations too!

My Top 5 HR Conference Recommendations

1. 2015 SHRM Annual Conference (Las Vegas, NV)

I’m assuming my contact asked for recommendations other than the SHRM annual conference because it’s an obvious choice – and it is. If you’re an HR, talent acquisition or learning and development professional, you should definitely make plans to attend #shrm15. The sheer size (12,000 – 15,000 attendees) typically means there are numerous networking opportunities, the chance to visit and connect with vendors who provide every conceivable product or service in the industry, and a wide variety of speakers on topics ranging from compliance issues, to talent management, to personal growth, and strategic leadership.

I’ve attended the SHRM Annual Conference each of the last five years, and I’ve spoken at the last three. I wouldn’t miss it!

2. LinkedIn Talent Connect 2015 (Anaheim, CA)

If your organization uses LinkedIn (i.e. you have some level of paid LinkedIn Talent Solutions) as part of your recruiting and employer branding strategies, then I’d definitely recommend attending Talent Connect. At Talent Connect, you’ll find a high concentration of recruiting, sourcing and employer brand leaders, as well as quite a few HR professionals. The quality of attendees, great networking, informative content – and fun – makes it a must-attend event. In 2015, the main Talent Connect conference will be held in California, but there are also similar events in Sydney and London.

I’ve attended and spoken at four of the five Talent Connect conferences and it remains my personal favorite.

3. The Conference Board conferences (various)

To interact with senior-level leaders, typically from Fortune 500 companies, I’d recommend any of The Conference Board’s events. Their conferences are typically focused on specific aspects of human resources or talent management and are relatively small (maybe 100 – 300 attendees), but the content and caliber of attendees is great. While there is typically not much scheduled networking, there are plenty of opportunities to connect and learn from other attendees.

I’ve been a speaker or blogger at several of The Conference Board’s conferences in the past (Talent Management, Leadership Development, Employer Branding and Executive Coaching) and have always enjoyed their programming mix, which includes plenty of case studies shared by senior-level practitioners.

4. State or Regional SHRM Conferences

When I asked my network for recommendations, many enthusiastically put in a vote for their own state’s annual SHRM conference – and with good reason. (Specific shout outs were given for HR Florida, HR Southwest, ILSHRM, HR Indiana, HR West, OHSHRM, Strategic HR New England and WISHRM). State and regional conferences are a great place to network with peers and make good connections, and also offer a variety of content typically targeted at HR Generalists of all levels.

In 2014, I spoke at nine different state or regional SHRM-affiliated events, so I’m obviously a Fan. When I speak at a state SHRM conference, I try to attend as much of the programming as I can, because the networking and learning opportunities are often on par with many of the larger national events.

5. DisruptHR

As one of the organizers of the first Disrupt HR held in Cincinnati, OH back in December 2013, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend these events. Disrupt HR events are different than traditional conferences and are run by passionate local volunteer organizers. The team at BlackbookHR came up with the concept and assists each organizer by providing a framework for speaker submissions and sharing videos of the presentations online. To date, Disrupt HR events have been held in Cincinnati, Denver and Cleveland, with more planned for 2015.

I’ve given 2 talks at previous DisruptHR events (see my Awesomeness Is Not Accidental talk here) and love the format – 5 minute talks, 20 slides auto-advancing in 15 second intervals – content and energy. The attendees are typically an interesting mix of HR and recruiting practitioners, business leaders/owners and community leaders.

Recommendations From My Network

A quick poll of my Facebook network included many of the events listed above, as well as the following:

Achievers Customer Experience Conference (2015 San Francisco, CA)

Association for Training & Development International Conference (2015 Orlando, FL)

Dreamforce (2015 San Francisco, CA)

Equifax Workforce Solutions Forum (2015 New Orleans, LA)

Great Place to Work® Annual Conference (2015 Dallas, TX)

Halogen Customer Conference (2014 Washington, DC / 2015 TBA)

HRevolution (2014 Dallas, TX) / 2015 TBA)

HR Summit and Expo (2014 Dubai / 2015 TBA)

Human Capital Institute Events (various)

National SHRM Conferences (various)

Ultimate Software Connections Conference (2015 Las Vegas, NV)

Question: What are your top recommendations for conferences or events for human resources leaders – US or global? Please share them with me in the Comments!

Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

In Search Of: The Best Human Resources and Recruiting Blogs of 2014

UT Top 25 HR & Recruiting Blogs

Today, I face something that I haven’t faced in over six years. And I’m doing it intentionally, because it’s time for growth and change. It’s time to discover something new.

This morning, I deleted all of my blog subscription feeds (I use Feedly as my RSS Reader) for Human Resources, Recruiting and Talent Management blogs.

And I feel empty.

Back in early 2008, I discovered blogs. The HR Capitalist (Kris Dunn) was my first.

You never forget your first.

As I read more, followed links to other blogs and subscribed to more, I subscribed to hundreds of blogs. I learned. I built relationships with some bloggers. Many became friends, mentors and business partners.

I’ll always be grateful for the knowledge that they so freely shared and how they helped me to grow as I stepped out of the corporate human resources world into executive recruiting and then into building my own business.

At one point, I subscribed to over 300 blog feeds. Not all of them were HR, recruiting and talent management-related, but many in those categories were definitely in my “must read” folder.

However, over the last couple of years, I’ve been slowly unsubscribing to various blogs and now my “must read” list is down to just three. Which makes me kinda sad.

Why the reduction in force?

I’m tired of reading about the same topics (engagement, performance management, culture, sourcing, onboarding, etc.) without any new perspectives. I’m tired of content marketing. I’m tired of posts that are posted just because it’s Monday (or Tuesday, or any other day of the week).

So, I’m starting over. I want your help. And I’ll share what I learn.

The 31-Day to the Best HR and Recruiting Blogs List Plan:

Here’s the Plan: Leave a comment with 1 – 3 blogs that you love and/or learn from in the comments section. (Heck, you can even nominate your own!)

I’ll subscribe to all of the HR/Recruiting-related blogs mentioned during the period of July 1st – July 31st, and I’ll read (okay at least seriously skim) every post. I’ll share posts that I think are great with my social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Twitter and Facebook) to spread the word and share the goodness. I’ll also keep track of how many posts I share from each blog over the course of the month.

In August, I’ll share on this blog my Top 25 Human Resources & Recruiting Blogs of 2014 list, which will be compiled primarily based upon my shares, but also a little bit of magic pixie dust (i.e. personal opinion).

Want to help me out?

Please nominate 1 – 3 of your favorite Human Resources or Recruiting blogs in the Comments below to get them in my Feedly Reader for the month of July 2014 for evaluation.

With your help, I’d love to find some new voices, recognize some old ones and also help you connect to some great resources in this process!

The Most In-Demand Skills and Competencies for the Future of HR

Recently, WANTED Analytics published the “20 Most In-Demand HR Skills” – compiled by listing the most commonly specified tools, technologies and other skills that people in the HR field are required to have based upon online job ads.

WANTED’s list included:

  1. Oracle HRIS
  2. Legal compliance
  3. Oracle PeopleSoft
  4. Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)
  5. Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)

Click here to see the full list of 20 “in-demand” skills.

I must say that I was disappointed in the content of this list – but not necessarily surprised. As is often the case, it appears that when companies are searching for HR talent, their wish-list is filled with administrative and compliance focused activities.


At the same time, the HR profession is maligned and impugned for being focused on process over innovation and administrivia over enabling success in the organization.

But I don’t blame HR. I blame the leaders of organizations who haven’t changed their perceptions, expectations or hiring requirements (see above) for the function that touches every aspect of an organization’s unique competitive advantage – their people.

Over the years, I’ve spoken with many CEO’s and business leaders who bemoan the fact that HR isn’t a strategic partner in their organization, while at the same time compensating their HR professional well below other leaders in the company and also marginalizing their ability to contribute by not including them in discussions beyond policies, payroll and benefits.

In one specific conversation with a CEO who wanted to replace his current Director of HR for not being “strategic”, I asked him how he would describe a strategic HR professional. His response? “Someone who takes care of all of that HR stuff so I don’t have to talk to them.”


To get the most out of the HR function, the mandate of every business leader should be to view the department not just as an administrative or “people” function, but as a business function critical to execution of the strategic plan of the company – and to staff this critical business function with the best and brightest talent available to ensure the organization’s success.


Because the caliber and quality of the talent in the Human Resources/Talent Acquisition functions has a direct effect on the caliber and quality of talent that an organization is able to attract, recruit and retain.

I think the list of the Most In-Demand HR Skills and Competencies for the Future of HR should look more like this:

  1. Strategic thinking
  2. Decision-making
  3. Data analysis
  4. Predictive-modeling
  5. Organizational design
  6. Coaching and influencing
  7. Recruiting/Talent acquisition
  8. Content marketing
  9. Financial acumen
  10. Technology/Information Systems

Let’s stop giving attention to what HR doesn’t do or why HR isn’t needed anymore, and instead focus on hiring and developing HR Leaders with the skills, talents and abilities necessary to have maximum impact in their organizations and within their profession in the future.

Question: What would you add to the list? Leave a comment to let me know what we should expect from HR professionals of the future.

Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

Dealing With Difficult Employees: What Not To Say []

As a Leader, it’s part of your job to sometimes have difficult conversations with employees. But nobody likes doing this, so it helps to prepare how you’ll handle the situation in advance.

Recently, myself, Donna Rogers and Susan Strayer LaMotte were asked to share some tips on what to say/what not to say during difficult situations in an article on – Difficult Conversations: What Not To Say. logo

Here’s a tidbit from the article with my views on what can happen when an employee is angry and ready to unload:

As the person delivering awkward or unpleasant news to a staffer, you often try to make yourself feel better by giving the employee time to defend themselves, but this often disintegrates into an arguing and finger pointing. This then puts you in a defensive posture. “It almost always goes south the more explanation you provide,” says McClure. “If then you get some small fact wrong, it distracts from the actual conversation and you are both on the defensive.

Read more about how to handle this type of difficult situation, as well as two others by checking out the entire article on

Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

How Does Human Resources Use Social Media? [Infographic]

Recently, BLR’s HR Daily Advisor published the results of their HR Trends survey – sponsored by SuccessFactors.

Although the size was relatively small (300 HR Practitioners), the survey results offer some interesting and specific insights about how HR professionals are utilizing social media in the workplace. Top areas identified for social media integration included:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Employee Communications
  3. Training
  4. Onboarding
  5. Teambuilding

Check out some of the specific responses related to How HR Uses Social Media in the infographic below and download a free copy of the full HR Trends survey results, which includes additional information and insights regarding current practices for retention and engagement, formal programs for tracking and development and key HR metrics.

BLR's 2013 Social Media Infographic

BLR’s 2013 Social Media Infographic: By


Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

ROWE: Can We Afford To Manage By Results Only?

While attending a conference earlier this year,  I had the opportunity to hear from the Founders of CultureRX – Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson – who are also the authors of “Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It” – described as a field guide for how to operate in the new world or work. During their talk, Cali and Jody shared more about why they believe that it’s not Managers that suck in today’s workplace, it’s the way that we manage people that sucks.

Ressler and Thompson came to this conclusion several years ago while working at the corporate offices of Best Buy and dealing with some of the challenges associated with Best Buy’s “flexible work environment”. Cali (a frustrated department Manager) was constantly fielding questions from her team about what they could and could not do within the confines of the flexible work schedule policy – and Jody (a Change Implementation Manager) was assigned to work with her to resolve these issues.

To overcome many of the challenges created by a system where the clock was the foundation for how work is judged (“Sally worked 60 hours last week” or “Jim worked all weekend.”), Ressler and Thompson ultimately concluded that the definition of work needs to be changed. Work is no longer a place you go, it’s something you do – and defining work as a specific place and a specific time was an industrial age idea that was no longer the reality in the workplace.

With the advent of “knowledge work”, the world of work has evolved to the point that work is no longer defined as “Time + physical presence = results”. Now, the focus should be on the results of work – not on how the work gets done. Hence the concept of ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) was born, where each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done – and Managers don’t manage people or time and place, they manage the work.

With the ROWE concept, the Managers don’t dictate the “How” of work – they focus on the “What” of work. Everyone is measured on results – not just the knowledge worker. Work is objective, not subjective. Managing people, in the sense that “we must all be present in the office in order to communicate and collaborate” is outdated. In a ROWE environment, it’s about managing work – “the deadline for the deliverable is Friday, May 10th at 2pm”. As a result, the Manager is able to go from Hall Monitor to Coach and Mentor.

For many Managers and Human Resources professionals, the concept of ROWE may conjure up thoughts of anarchy and employees running amok, but Ressler and Thompson are quick to point out that in order to make ROWE work, there must be consequences if there are no results. ROWE only works if there is both 100% accountability along with 100% autonomy. In short, “no results, no job.”

I must admit that I like the concept of ROWE and I do believe that a majority of employees, if given the opportunity, will do what it takes to get their work done within established guidelines. But there’s almost always that same old 20% that ruins it for everybody. They’re the ones who don’t play well with others and do just enough to get by. They’ll hit their results, but someone in the 80% typically has to step up and take up their slack.

I’m also not sure that the ROWE concept works in all types of environments (although Ressler and Thompson say that in their consulting experience, it does). As someone who’s worked with companies in a variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing and food service companies, I see some difficulty in implementing an “every person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want as long as the work gets done” philosophy.

So what do you think? Do you have experience with ROWE in your workplace? Does it work, or is this something that sounds good in theory, but not always in practice?


Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of people strategies, leadership development and career growth. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact Us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

Using Social Media In HR & Recruiting [SLIDESHARE]

Since signing up for a LinkedIn account in early 2006 (member #5,852,039 here), I’ve considered myself a “Social Media Anthropologist”, because I love to study how social media affects the entire employment process – from personal branding, job search, employment branding, recruiting, human resources and employee development.

During that time, I’ve sought out and followed many of the pioneers in our industry who are leading the way and companies who are implementing “best practices” – and I’ve utilized social media to expand my network, attract and recruit talent, communicate with employees and build my personal/business brand.

In the last 8 years, I’ve had the opportunity to share what I’ve learned (and what I’m learning) with business leaders at a variety of industry and corporate events, and I often share those presentations privately with my clients via my account.

Recently, I opened up several of my previous presentations for public access on Slideshare and I’d like to share one of my Using Social Media In HR & Recruiting presentations from 2012 with you here.

Since the world of social media is constantly changing, this presentation is constantly evolving and regularly updated. The latest version will be the basis for my upcoming pre-conference workshop at the 2013 Louisiana SHRM Conference in Baton Rouge on April 7, 2013. In this workshop, we’ll be digging deeper into developing a social media strategy, choosing tools, managing time and content, as well as “social” recruiting.

I’m looking forward to learning more and sharing more about how social media impacts the employment process in 2013!

Share Your Feedback:

I’d love to hear from you on the challenges you face with implementing a social media strategy in your organization. What do you want to learn more about? What’s new and exciting to you? Share with me in the comments and help me to make 2013’s presentations even better!


Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of recruiting & human resources strategy, employment branding and leadership/career development. We offer keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services. 

What Do CEO’s Expect From Strategic HR Leaders?

Recently, Human Resource Executive Online (a great publication worth reading) republished a interesting checklist from Bloomberg Businessweek listing “What CEO’s Expect from CHRO’s”.

I’m kinda in love with this list, so if you’re HR, (even without the lofty title of CHRO), check it out. Ensuring that you’re focusing your time, energy and efforts on these activities is a great way to position yourself within your organization as an HR/Business Leader.

What CEO’s Expect From CHRO’s

  • Collaborating to design and communicate a Vision for the company.
  • Building a pipeline of qualified, energized people to fuel the company?s growth.
  • Selling the company to the “talent population”, in person, via traditional media and online.
  • Reinforcing a culture that emphasizes ingenuity over irrelevant, one-size-fits-all metrics.
  • Teaching all employees, starting with the CEO, to tell the truth at work.
  • Shifting the HR function away from a break/fix model to an embedded function in every business segment.
  • Installing just enough HR process to meet the company’s regulatory compliance needs but not so much that people are stymied or infantilized.
  • Building a culture of collaboration that fuels every important program at the company.
  • Asking team members every day for input on business activities, their own careers, and life in general — not via a sterile, once-a-year employee engagement survey.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
September 19, 2012

What would you add to this list?

Want to learn more about making the leap from HR Leader to Business Leader? I’ll be reprising my 2012 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition mega session at the upcoming 2012 Nonprofit HR Conference on October 8th in DC and at the 2013 SHRM-Atlanta HR Conference April 29 – 30, 2013. Check out more upcoming events on my Speaking & Conference Schedule HERE!

The Conference Board’s Senior HR Executive Conference [Discount Code]

As I’ve said before, I love attending events put on by the folks at The Conference Board. Their conferences and events always feature top-notch quality speakers from leading companies, great content and some great networking opportunities!

The good news is that I have the opportunity to attend another Conference Board event this year – The Senior HR Executive Conference – on November 15th and 16th in New York City – and the even better news is that I’ve got a Discount Code for you if you’d like to attend too.

Enter the Discount Code “JM1” when registering and you’ll save $500 off of the registration price!

The Senior HR Executive Conference will be held at the New York Marriott Dowtown and the focus of the conference is – “The Future of Work: Growth, Innovation & People.

Details from the conference website and scheduled speakers include:

In spite of the recent negative economic news, growth and innovation remain critically important.  In fact, now more than ever, companies must continue to focus growth through innovation to remain competitive. At the heart of that agenda is the workforce, getting the right people in place, the right culture to grow and innovate. The 2011 Senior HR Executive Conference is a must attend event for all HR professionals. This year the conference has been extended with specialized breakout sessions on each day to add breadth and depth to the event, featuring:

  • Expanded content – two full days of sessions which include two afternoons of tracked, highly interactive sessions, focusing on Management & Process, Issues & Strategies and Talent & Leadership
  • Insights from world-class companies on developing a workforce that is productive, innovative and engaged
  • Keynote sessions and CHRO panels focused on innovation and talent, leadership, global growth and the future of the organization
  • Facilitated, interactive, improvisational workshops on how to think different, lead and collaborate

Confirmed Speakers Include:

Archana Singh, Corporate Vice President, AMD
Steve Hinden, Vice President, Executive Compensation, American Express
Shirley Gaufin, Chief Human Resources Officer, Black & Veatch
Lynne Oldham, Head of Human Resources, North America, BNP Paribas
Richard Stephens, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Administration, The Boeing Company
Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Campbell Soup Company
Bill Adams, Senior Faculty, Center for Creative Leadership
Brenda Dennis, Strategy and Planning, Cisco
Tana Cashion, Vice President, Human Resources, Devon Energy Corporation
Nadia Owens, Vice President, Total Rewards, DIAGEO
Judith Edge, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources, FedEx Corporation
Glenn Gilkey, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Fluor Corporation
Nicholas Garbis, Strategic Workforce Planning Leader, GE Energy Global Strategy and Planning
Jared Lucas, Director, Human Resources, LinkedIn
Tanya Srepel, Vice President, Human Resources, Strategies and Global Initiatives, General Mills
Caroline Stockdale, Senior Vice President and CHRO, Medtronic Inc.
Patricia Milligan, President, Human Capital, Mercer
Brian Kelly, Partner, Mercer
Monique Matheson, Vice President, Human Resources, North America, Nike
Johnna Torsone, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Pitney Bowes
Paul Salvatore, Co-chair of the Labor and Employment Law Department, Proskauer
Susan Schmitt, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Rockwell Automation
Pamela Culpepper, Senior Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer,PepsiCo
Jennifer Mann, Vice President, Human Resources, SAS

Join executives from: AES, Allstate, Avnet, BNP Paribas, Central Intelligence Agency, Comcast, H.J. Heinz, Jostens, Nationwide Insurance, New York Life, Newmont Mining Corporation, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, The Cheesecake factory, Thomson Reuters,  U.S. Department of the Navy, and many more!

Download the full conference agenda HERE.

To register (don’t forget your Discount Code of “JM1”), or for more information: visit or call (212) 339-0345.


Note: I’ll be attending the Senior HR Executive Conference as a guest of The Conference Board in order to share with my network and clients some of my learnings from the event, but I’m not asked to say/write anything other than my personal insights. Just wanted you to know.