ERE Fall 2010, Day One: Keynotes, Panel & General Sessions.

by John on October 31, 2010

I got this crazy notion that after flying in from the NSHMBA conference, I’d be able to cover the ERE Expo taking place just a few minutes up the road. I had the opportunity to attend the conference two years ago and by attend all I really did was walk the vendor floor, look at the new bright shiny objects for the ATS we had inherited. In fact, I remember being aggressively approached by several vendors.

This time around I had two things I didn’t have two years ago, a pass that got me into the sessions and the time to attend.

Tony Blake, VP of Recruiting & HRIS for DaVita and Conference Chair, kicked off the main conference sessions. He made reference to a “Top 5 Sleepless Night List” and one of the points, “Increasing Diversity” served as a good segue into Reggie Stewart’s keynote “Building a Diverse, Multi-Generational Workforce Resulting in Innovative Solutions and Outstanding Service”.

I found Reggie’s presentation insightful, but canned. I applaud him for starting off his keynote with his background and how he started his career and some brief commentary on where he works now. Sadly, that was probably the only genuine part of the keynote. Everything after that was your typical read the slide, provide some anecdotes, and go to the next slide, share some stats.

Two items that Reggie mentioned during his keynote really resonated with me. The first was that all of the recruiters for Sodexo are certified diversity recruiters, including Reggie. The second was that certified diversity recruiters are incented to provide a diverse slate of candidates. When Q&A came up, I asked why continue this process if everyone is now certified? I don’t think he liked my question, because he really didn’t answer it, instead, I got the corporate answer. Oh well, I tried.

Next up was the panel discussion “Recruiting’s Transformation” with Andrew Gadomski, Mike Boissonneault, Melissa Mounce, Jim Schnyder. I was immediately impressed with their credentials and experience. Expecting some really interesting insight, I was able to dismiss the inevitable “seat at the table” comment that snuck out early in the session. What continued to impress me was the affirmation of the consultative and sales skills (both internally & externally) that recruiting professionals need to have in the marketplace today.

The final session before the breakouts started was “Your Employer Brand: Is it more than just a logo?” by Heather Polivka, director of employer marketing at UnitedHealth Group. Kudos to Heather for sharing that she was a “marketing” person and not really an “HR/Recruiting” person. She’s someone who built a bridge between the two disciplines and had demonstrated measurable successes. Her session in a few spots did fall into the “data dump” category, but it also provided some great starting points and some great lessons learned for recruiting professionals. It was a very real and insightful representation of how UHG rolled out the employer brand.

Coming next post: the breakout session and the vendor floor.

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