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What I learned at DisruptHR – at the event and at the after-party

19th May 2016
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Rob Catalano is passionate about helping companies succeed – by leveraging technology to make employees successful. As a founding employee, Rob spent the past ten years at Achievers in three different countries. With his unique experience in HR Technology, Rob co-founded WorkTango – a platform that helps managers build authentic relationships and trust with their employees and create high performing teams.

I attended my first DisruptHR event this week. If you’re not familiar with DisruptHR - definitely check it out.

With the plethora of events and conferences out there, we all struggle to choose where we to spend our valuable time, but this is a disruptive conference (ugh, sorry, I had to) that’s gaining quite a following. I’m not sure how the other regional events are that they have all over the globe, but I enjoyed and learned a lot from my Vancouver experience.

What I love about it is that it’s easily accessible.

One evening. Super affordable.

No planes or worrying about leaving the city. Also, it gives you what you want from most events: to be educated, entertained and engaged.

You’ll check all three of those boxes off through a round of over ten quick 5-minute talks of how we should be disrupting HR. It’s quick, engaging, and fun.

You’ll also get to network with like-minded disruptors and speakers that don’t exit stage-left to their car waiting to immediately take them away.

It gives you what you want from most events: to be educated, entertained and engaged.

I learned some amazing things listening to the ten speakers.

It was WAY better than hearing someone drone on for an hour. I loved them all, but a few stood out personally to me. I usually like taking a ‘Top 5’ out of these experiences, and here was mine that I want to bring to my personal life, and to the WorkTango family.

  1. @loriecorcurera from Spark Creations taught me to #chooselove in the workplace - why do we need a ‘work’ self and a ‘personal’ self.  Just be yourself.
  2. @tesssloane from lulu lemon showed me how collaboration can often create bigger things than competition. How partnering with a competitor when recruiting talent supported a larger vision of bringing great talent to their market.
  3. Rise’s people & culture leader Rocky Ozaki reminded me that today’s HR includes pragmatic problem solvers doing dope shit even if you don’t have HR designation letters beside your name.
  4. Loved how Jean-Pierre Leblanc, co-founder of Saje Natural Wellness built a culture by focusing on what makes staff passionate and putting them on the right seat of the bus. How? Using Enneagrams! Look it up – awesome.
  5. @mattcorker reminded me to ‘go rogue responsibly’ – something that I know worked in previous companies. He reinforced courage and take action instead of talking about it.

Being a big people and culture guy, I was also reminded of how important people are to a great company.

The event was in the Rise (ex-Paysavvy) office which was cool, fun, and showed off their culture. Very reminiscent of the early Achievers days where we created similar environments to engage with the community and our current and future customers. 

Hats off to the LearnKit team for creating the event and the Rise team for hosting.  Every interaction with the staff was just awesome.  Passionate, driven people that made you want to be a part of their community.

Then we went to the bar.

Let’s just say the staff at the bar was the complete opposite of what I had experienced mere minutes earlier. Not engaging. Disinterested. No passion. It was pretty disheartening after being so geeked-out excited from the conference.  But there was a silver lining in all of it...

Being a big people and culture guy, I was also reminded of how important people are to a great company.

It amplified to me the importance of people and culture. WorkTango is going through a wave of hiring and it made me vow to do whatever I can to hire right, and build a great company by focusing on great people first. I want our community to be surrounded by great people that ooze passion. 

Also, thanks to Angie Coates for the advice and motivation to slay my goals! It gave me a whole level of excitement to set some new goals for myself - first one being attending more of these conferences - or even starting up a similar one on my own ;)

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