Marc is Founder & CEO of HRN, HR Tech World, disruptHR and iRecruit.

In contemplating my first post about HR Tech Europe next month in Amsterdam, I had a quick gander at the other HR/Future of Work events this week to see what they had to say about themselves – overviews, introductions, podcasts and videos. I discovered most suffer from commonality and sameness, and tendency to pitch the market about what they are not ( … we are not a vendor driven event, we are not a technology event, we are not an HR event, we are not an exhibition, we are not a conference, we are not … .)  I have decided therefore to avoid telling you what we are not, do my best to avoid the traditional spiel on speakers, seniority, practical, tangible …… in favour of telling you what we ARE.

We are human. Human as in down to earth and place more emphasis on the HUMAN in HUMAN RESOURCES than the RESOURCES.  A common denominator at our events over the years is that there is a fantastic vibe that you seldom find at other events. The reference that I have pulled out below is a testimony over time and dates back to 2010 when we first started to formulate a network, and the video clip brings it up to date on our last event production in June – iRecruit World Congress.

“We were saying on the trip home from Vienna what a great network you have going there it had a nice feel to it that you do not always find at other events.”  Director – The Work Foundation (2010)

We have a special team who are incredibly hard-working for continental Europeans … well most of them! I need to highlight how great our team is and anyone who knows our team will know it’s our secret ingredient. I watched from a hospital bed last year so cannot take any of the cred, but here are some comments about the HRN Europe team from Heather Bussing on Kindness as Subversive Activity …. l had to look up subversive in the dictionary ;). In 2011 we had lots of sincere handshakes at the end of the show – the phew – we did it! … that greeting has since evolved into hugs, kisses and being dragged away to celebrate at various client parties – real friendships.

We are champions of our industry. Not in the Dave Ulrich sense. I know, don’t be bold Marc but the truth is we are bold sometimes and on occasion we have been HR’s biggest basher in working to bring about positive change and transformation in the industry. I have never been more certain about the profession as I was when I wrote – The Most Important Function of the Future = HR 3.5yrs ago. When Peter and I were researching and new to blogging 5 years ago we were promoting the social enterprise at a time when employees were being banned from using social media in the office; Social Enterprise is a way of life now and you can view our 5th installment at HR Tech Europe by clicking here.

We are sincere in our objective. We want our audience of have the best event experience they have ever had. We also want our community to leave the event with a sense of purpose, knowing that the level of engagement will be greater in them, and that they leave more informed and better positioned to take intelligent action if they choose.

We are producing the best growth rates  worldwide, we are also producing the best buyer to vendor ratios in the market there is on average 3 practitioners to one vendor.  No-one else has come close to this and anecdotal evidence from those who know suggests at best a 50-50 ratio on the other side of the Atlantic.

We might appear to be a little bit bohemian – the most colourful characters of the industry are to be found and easily heard at HR Tech Europe – the suits, ties, dickie bows, the winkle-pickers, beards, the hats, luminous Converse shoes, Oscar the robot, Jedi warriors, young global leaders, start-ups and more  ….. take a look at some of last years photo’s or enjoy the short clip from 2013 below.


We help inspire our network. The word “inspired’ is the most common word used during and post event on social media and references – from 3 years of running the show.

We are ambitious … in a good way. HR Tech Europe has become the one of the Fastest Growing HR Events in the World! We work continually to create the best event experience in our industry.

We are loud and proud, but in a good way; we won’t inflict podcasts and flash banners on you to try and underline it!

We focus on team – most of our network members come to HR Tech Europe as a team, and plan carefully, so that they may explore all of the conferencing sessions, and also meet the vendors most relevant to their current and future plans.

We favour social equality at the event, which in turn has little tolerance for opinionated bias.  That means no forced attendance of sessions, meetings or parties. It’s a Happening, so the DNA and success of the event means the networking tends to look after itself.

We are European, underpinned by a strong global network that is actively involved in our community. A large % of characters and people excited to join HR Tech Europe travel from all over Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, with +50 countries on our books to date.

We are disruptive. We exist in an industry where too often the emphasis is on “what we are not”; perhaps one of the reasons why so many fail to produce a customer experience that’s not as loyal or inspired as it could be. We listen to our community and showcase disruption.

We make it happen! Somehow, even though we are often challenged, we have managed to send everyone home with smiles on their faces.

We are improving year on year. We have had to learn everything from scratch on our own, and because of the event’s growth it means each year brings new learning experiences, sometimes difficult challenges, and more frequently the drive for us is to develop bigger & better ideas.

We are nurturing a good smart network.  Our network is premised on collaborative discovery, where a full spectrum of needs are catered for – learning, networking, buying new HR solutions and more. To this end, our attitude has always been turbocharged in searching for those people globally who still care – who genuinely want to make work a better place – who see things before everyone else, and who bring valuable new insights and perspectives on the future of work.

We are small fish in a big pond. HR Tech Europe was born 3 years ago, and we have rapidly travelled a long distance in an ultra saturated market. We sincerely thank all those who have helped, and continue to make this journey possible.

We still feel very much a start-up.  Even after 3 years of HR Tech Europe we still perhaps get our greatest kick out of showcasing start-ups. Giving HR Tech start-ups an opportunity to be on an international stage has been very rewarding for all involved. Interestingly, 8 out of 10 start ups fail yet out of our 3 yrs and 18 finalists only one finalist from 2011 is no more! 17 have gone on in leaps and bounds, and a few have commanded significant venture capital or have been sold for spectacular sums of money. TalentBin 2012 Winner was acquired by Monster and last month 2013 finalist Zao was acquired by Amris. This year and next we have new surprises which I will keep up my sleeve for a later post called disruptHR.  May we continue to be good at backing winners!

….. and overarching all of the above, our network and sense of community is fun loving. We work to live, not live to work.

Be there or be an HR Square! See you in Amsterdam next month! Marc.

Please visit HR Tech Europe.