I had the opportunity to attend my first HR Technology Expo two weeks ago in Chicago. At the suggestion of a colleague, I registered to walk the tradeshow floor which enabled me to speak with the vendors who came to the show. There were industry powerhouses, newly formed start-ups, and everything in between. Although there were very few things that my small non-profit social service could utilize, seeing the possibilities of what is possible was tremendous and I was excited by some of the things I saw. I had some great conversations and met new people who certainly bring perspectives to HR that have not even crossed my mind!
Performing some self-reflection on this, I know that I love new things and that connecting with people is important (for those who are familiar with StandOut by Marcus Buckingham, I am a Pioneer/Connector) for me to be at my best. Being able to do so while seeing what is possible with the continued evolution of technology and human resources is a great thing.
In the 2 weeks since the show, the emphasis on technology has lessened while the people around the technology have grown in importance. Some of the vendors have reached out and connected with me personally, noting specifics of our conversation and my interest (even if it was minor!) in the products and services they offer. Others have sent me a standard e-mail and made no real effort to connect with me. Really, it’s quite easy to find me and I am happy to speak with someone if they have a real reason to connect. The best technology will not help if the people associated with it are also not the best.
This lesson is of course not limited to technology companies. No matter how great the product or service offered by a company is, the bottom line still comes down to the people in the company. For that reason, it will always be easier to convince me that an organization’s people are a better investment than the newest technology. If technology can help me maximize the human capital, then a great partnership is possible.