In a recent gathering of leaders at the invite-only Human Resource Executive Strategy Summit, several themes cast light on business evolution, technology shifts and organizational dynamics within the human resources practice. The first-of-its-kind event, held at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, featured a distinguished lineup of speakers, including industry analyst and thought leader Josh Bersin, seasoned sales and talent executive Jenny Dearborn, CEO and co-founder of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) Kevin Oakes, and EEOC commissioner Keith Sonderling.
Together, these speakers provided a comprehensive view of the diverse facets of workplace leadership to an audience of dozens of senior HR leaders from across the country. This group encompassed a range of employers, expertise categories and practice fields. After two days of interactive sessions and thought leadership presentations, attendees gathered to share the topics they felt were the most important to HR leaders leading into 2024.
Madeline Laurano of Aptitude Research served as the event chair. She promised attendees an experience filled with “collaboration, inspiration and knowledge exchange.” When she asked the audience how their top takeaways from the Summit delivered on this proposition, here is what they revealed.
Advocating change starts from the ground up
Change management took center stage, emphasizing the need for messaging at every level of an organization. The consensus was clear—transformation requires grassroots support and effective communication. Attendees enjoyed hearing how other HR leaders used unique methods to lift employee engagement.
Navigating AI requires critical thinking
The urgency to harness the power of AI was palpable, yet the summit group acknowledged that, as a society, we are still deciphering the full potential of this technology. An intriguing analogy surfaced: Imagine introducing a modern washing machine to the past, where people, armed only with current insights, would simply rub clothes against it. This metaphor underscores the ongoing journey of understanding and adapting to AI’s capabilities.
EEOC as a support system
Thanks to a pragmatic presentation from Keith Sonderling, attendees are hopeful for a paradigm shift toward the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Sonderling cast the organization in the light of a supportive system, rather than only a regulatory body, that could offer guidance and collaboration in fostering inclusive workplaces.
Vendor exploration in a fresh context
The Summit provided a platform for learning and networking, where industry professionals delved into the offerings of various vendors. Event sponsors G-P, Calm and Eightfold showcased their contributions to the evolving HR landscape. Many attendees felt that this more intimate setting, including unstructured conversation time, helped them understand the potential benefits of vendor offerings.
Mental health takes center stage
Addressing the pervasive issue of mental health in the workplace, the Summit acknowledged the profound impact on employees. The discussion highlighted the need for organizations to prioritize the well-being of their workforce and provide HR leaders with advice to develop this area of benefits.
HR leaders valued connection over competition
Contrary to a competitive stance, the Summit embraced the concept of audience connection. It brought together a diverse range of employers, fostering an environment where shared experiences and collaboration took precedence over rivalry. Many attendees shared that they met with peers from across the country who shared their leadership-related concerns.
New tech requires leadership mobilization
The final note struck a chord on the imperative of mobilizing leadership and organizations to embrace and experiment with new technologies. HR leaders were urged to explore and adopt emerging technologies to propel their organizations forward. Many attendees felt this Summit helped them prepare to bring fresh solutions forward in conversations with their C-suite.
The HRE Strategy Summit is where strategic relationships are built, innovative solutions are discovered and critical discussions impacting the future of HR take place. Learn more about future summits.
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