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

Last month was another win for the Pan European HR Network and one of our growing brands/networks – HR Tech Europe Spring Warm-Up.

Like it’s predecessor our flagship event in Amsterdam, a full house registered leaving some souls disappointed in the run up (with one speculator arriving unannounced from Saudi Arabia!) I had to refund an army of vendors who wanted to cheekily attend as delegates! The success? More references, testimonials and importantly valuable hands-on feedback on what to improve & great ideas that will help fuel the network’s research arm and events business for the rest of this year!

Strategically placing an event in the early part of the year, allow’s us to take this learning forward for #HRTechEurope in Amsterdam this October. It was our first time back in London for 2 yrs, (unfortunately I didn’t get to go …), nothing new to Peter and I, the team discovered first hand how saturated London actually is with HR events (they counted no less than 6 HR Events on in London on those same dates). I reckon, it’s got to be a good sign when the sponsors of other events are calling their partners sponsoring HR Tech Europe Spring Warm Up in London to find out how things are going? …. our Ops team overheard one of our sponsors on the phone saying – I told you this was the one to come to!

The stable of champions!

UK is a tough market if you’ve not been there for a while – for me the toughest part of the project was positioning the opportunity of BIG Data for HR and taking that anywhere in the world. Largely because HR are often last to the table on such opportunities – Marketing, IT, Recruitment, Supply Chain, etc are the usual front runners (why you see the US HR Guru’s Cappelli, Boudreau, Ulrich et al, using existing Supply Chain/Logistic methodologies in much of their work on talent, processes, etc).

Last October in Amsterdam we integrated Big Data as a running theme based on our research, the London event was the first event I believe globally to showcase the Big Data for HR opportunity. Different to much of what HR has been pitched to death on when it comes to standardisation of Metrics, Benchmarking and Measurement. I did have an assumption for a while as I did my research, that our American partners were well ahead of the game. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered really interesting cases (some as old as 2-3 yrs) on the use of Big Data for HR in Global 500 Companies in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland – how and ever not one of them were prepared to take the stage (just yet!) and share that hard earned Intel with the world. I am held hostage to confidentiality agreements! C’est la vie!

I spent some of my research time focused on the sporting arena last December and January, speaking to some of the people changing that world and evolving sports science area with some amazing results. I focused some of my attention on team sports and clubs like Leicester Tigers (Rugby), Paris Saint-Germain (Football) and Chelsea FC (Football) to discover what kind of trouble they’ve been getting into. For years, I have used sporting analogies for business where and when relevant (I have a past career in sports industry – football, rugby, horse racing sailing, etc.). I saw Usain Bolt at IMD last year after the Olympics and found the occasion hilarious – he was surrounded by suits – felt like a room full of vultures ready to eat him up, the context of discussion really felt embarrassing sometimes and so far removed from the workplace.

I read from a tweet that Moneyball was highlighted once again at the London event – I have been waiting for John Henry (Boston Red Sox) to use similar ideas at Liverpool (The club he now owns and that I have followed since I’ve been able to walk!). Henry was briefly portrayed by Arliss Howard in the 2011 film Moneyball which follows Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane and his quest to build a winning team in 2002. Towards the end of the film, Beane travels to Boston’s Fenway Park where he meets with Henry, who wants Beane to become the new GM of the Red Sox. The film notes that Beane turned down a $12.5-million per year contract with Boston and returned to Oakland but adds that the Red Sox did use many of the “Moneyball” ideas and soon won two World Series, including their 2004 title which was the first Red Sox championship in 86 years. Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season and their general manager Billy Beane’s (Brad Pitt) and assistant GM Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), faced with the franchise’s unfavorable financial situation, take a sophisticated sabermetric (analytics) approach towards scouting and analyzing players/talent, acquiring “submarine” pitcher Chad Bradford (Casey Bond) and former catcher Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt), and winning 20 consecutive games, an American League record.

I have touched on this in the past and pleasantly surprised to see this in my Inbox this morning from my Liverpool membership – seems Mr. Henry is at work – we can only speculate on what is missing. Luis Suarez this year is the top scorer in the Premier League!

Wouldn’t it be fan-tastic if the world of HR/HCM Management had similar people analytic’s in place tied in to business goals with a social and tech wrap-around that keeps everything alive in one place (people changing jobs/company, performance reviews that do not reflect the performance, etc.), in a changing world that is more mobile, more social, more collaborative, more 24/7, more in need of leadership and direction.

HR Tech Europe London Spring Warm-Up as the 1st event to showcase Big Data HR, it has inspired a spate of media posts over the past few weeks – here is a short video from our friends at the Economist on Dehumanizing the HR Function.

Marc Coleman is director of the Pan European HR Network. You can connect with Marc on twitter @HRNEurope or via LinkedIn. Recent productions include: HR Tech EuropeiRecruit Expo, iHR Awards. Build good-smart connections by joining Europe’s largest Corporate HR Network – Please feel free to visit the Pan European HR Network’s Groups on LinkedIn.

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