I just returned from Brandon Hall Group’s amazing 2017 HCM Excellence Conference at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Gardens, Florida.  I have to say, this conference was jam-packed with workshops, panels, networking discussion groups, and leaders from Fortune 500 organizations presenting their award-winning programs. We also had our Excellence Awards Banquet and Ceremony in which more than 130 award-winning organizations were represented. shutterstock_567118192

Just to give you a sense of the scope of the conference, these are just a few of the organizations that shared their success stories: Accenture, Bank of America, The Boeing Company, Bayer, Cigna, Cisco, Ericsson, GE, General Mills, Genpact, IBM, Intel, KFC Yum!, MasterCard, McDonald’s, McKinsey, Mercer, MetLife, National Basketball Association, SAP, Zynga and more. We had just under 400 attendees from 14 countries and more than 30 industries.

Our keynote speaker was John Sculley, Chairman of PeopleTicker and former CEO of Apple and Pepsi. Our audience sat engrossed as John described the impact of new workforce on HR organizations. He also discussed his experiences at Apple and Pepsi, including the back story for Apple’s iconic 1984 Super Bowl Commercial introducing Macintosh. John also signed copies of his book Moonshot! for our lucky attendees.

At the Excellence Awards banquet on Jan. 26, Alex Goryachev, Cisco’s senior director for innovation strategy and programs and winner of Brandon Hall Group’s inaugural Emerging Stars award, forcefully advocated for innovation and new thinking in order to propel organizations forward.

I led the talent acquisition/talent management track, which included an interactive workshop on Driving Employee Retention and Engagement through a Dynamic EVP. I was very fortunate to have two leaders from KFC present their program, the KFC People Promise: Inspiring Belief and Pride. KFC showed how it used the principals of EVP and engagement to drive customer satisfaction, employee retention, and sales growth across a global organization. That is not an easy feat!

I also moderated two fantastic panels: How to Keep Your Great Talent, and Onboarding: Leveraging the Domino Effect. I had three panel members (three organizations) for each session. What is outstanding is the ingenuity with which each organization developed its award-wining program and how those programs aligned with each organization’s respective culture.

For example, for our onboarding panel, Zynga spoke about the gamified new-hire learning experience that enables new hires to connect with each other and learn about Zynga’s culture. Cisco described the global virtual sales onboarding program, which featured self-pacing, manager coaching, assessments, multiple learning mediums and more. And Bank of America spoke about the great care their team takes to onboard newly-hired financial advisors.  This panel was so wonderful that the attendees did not want to leave the room. The Q&A session overflowed because there was something for everyone to learn about onboarding, regardless of their industry.

Now, consider that we had just as rich workshops and panels for two additional tracks — learning and leadership and workforce management/HR, and an expo with great sponsors, and small networking groups. And, you get the idea that this conference was remarkable. Said one of our attendees from India: “I congratulate you for organizing such a spectacular and awe-inspiring event. I had the most amazing time of my life.”

Be on the lookout for information about Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence 18 Conference, which will again be at the beautiful PGA Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2018. Also consider submitting one of your great HCM programs and/or technology solutions to Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence Award program. More than 30 award-winners are invited to speak at the Excellence Conference. I highly recommend attending and participating in this conference!

Daria Friedman

Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, Brandon Hall Group

Daria Friedman

Daria Friedman is the Principal Analyst overseeing the talent acquisition practice for Brandon Hall Group. Prior to Brandon Hall, Daria led the research practice for Bernard Hodes Group, a recruitment solutions agency, and Findly, a talent acquisition software service provider. Daria’s focus is on conducting talent acquisition research on topics such as candidate experience, employer value proposition validation, onboarding, candidate experience, retention, internal communications, career site messaging, talent pool assessments/supply and demand, employee engagement, campus/graduate recruitment, brand perceptions/positioning, best practices, diversity, market/competitive dynamics, talent acquisition metrics, source-of-hire/job search dynamics, employer preferences, employee benefits, technology purchase preferences, and more. She has produced many thought-leading and award-winning research studies at Hodes, including: Healthcare Talent Metrics, The Growing Value of Employer Brands, RNs at Risk, The Collegiate Career Mindset, The Employment Conversation - How Employers and Talent Meet on the Social Web, and Playing for Keeps/Recruiting for Retention. Daria developed Industry Matters, a monthly newsletter that provides insight on the talent landscape from both an economic and talent acquisition trend perspective. She has conducted research globally across many industries, such as Healthcare, Technology, Insurance, Finance, Hospitality, Telecommunications, Defense, Law Enforcement, and Retail. Daria is skilled in quantitative, qualitative and secondary research methodologies. Daria has an MBA in Marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BA in French from Montclair State University.