HCM Excellence Conference 2017: Teeming with Innovation, Networking, and Success

I just returned from Brandon Hall Group’s amazing 2017 HCM Excellence Conference at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Gardens, Florida.  I have to say, this conference was jam-packed with workshops, panels, networking discussion groups, and leaders from Fortune 500 organizations presenting their award-winning programs. We also had our Excellence Awards Banquet and Ceremony in which more than 130 award-winning organizations were represented. shutterstock_567118192

Just to give you a sense of the scope of the conference, these are just a few of the organizations that shared their success stories: Accenture, Bank of America, The Boeing Company, Bayer, Cigna, Cisco, Ericsson, GE, General Mills, Genpact, IBM, Intel, KFC Yum!, MasterCard, McDonald’s, McKinsey, Mercer, MetLife, National Basketball Association, SAP, Zynga and more. We had just under 400 attendees from 14 countries and more than 30 industries.

Our keynote speaker was John Sculley, Chairman of PeopleTicker and former CEO of Apple and Pepsi. Our audience sat engrossed as John described the impact of new workforce on HR organizations. He also discussed his experiences at Apple and Pepsi, including the back story for Apple’s iconic 1984 Super Bowl Commercial introducing Macintosh. John also signed copies of his book Moonshot! for our lucky attendees.

At the Excellence Awards banquet on Jan. 26, Alex Goryachev, Cisco’s senior director for innovation strategy and programs and winner of Brandon Hall Group’s inaugural Emerging Stars award, forcefully advocated for innovation and new thinking in order to propel organizations forward.

I led the talent acquisition/talent management track, which included an interactive workshop on Driving Employee Retention and Engagement through a Dynamic EVP. I was very fortunate to have two leaders from KFC present their program, the KFC People Promise: Inspiring Belief and Pride. KFC showed how it used the principals of EVP and engagement to drive customer satisfaction, employee retention, and sales growth across a global organization. That is not an easy feat!

I also moderated two fantastic panels: How to Keep Your Great Talent, and Onboarding: Leveraging the Domino Effect. I had three panel members (three organizations) for each session. What is outstanding is the ingenuity with which each organization developed its award-wining program and how those programs aligned with each organization’s respective culture.

For example, for our onboarding panel, Zynga spoke about the gamified new-hire learning experience that enables new hires to connect with each other and learn about Zynga’s culture. Cisco described the global virtual sales onboarding program, which featured self-pacing, manager coaching, assessments, multiple learning mediums and more. And Bank of America spoke about the great care their team takes to onboard newly-hired financial advisors.  This panel was so wonderful that the attendees did not want to leave the room. The Q&A session overflowed because there was something for everyone to learn about onboarding, regardless of their industry.

Now, consider that we had just as rich workshops and panels for two additional tracks — learning and leadership and workforce management/HR, and an expo with great sponsors, and small networking groups. And, you get the idea that this conference was remarkable. Said one of our attendees from India: “I congratulate you for organizing such a spectacular and awe-inspiring event. I had the most amazing time of my life.”

Be on the lookout for information about Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence 18 Conference, which will again be at the beautiful PGA Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2018. Also consider submitting one of your great HCM programs and/or technology solutions to Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence Award program. More than 30 award-winners are invited to speak at the Excellence Conference. I highly recommend attending and participating in this conference!

Daria Friedman

Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, Brandon Hall Group

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.