We spoke to our CEO Aaron Alburey about why he and Co-Founder Cathy Acratopulo set up people_tech four years ago. Aaron discusses his past experience of dated conference models that never allowed attendees to truly assess the viability of technology for their business, as well as how LACE decided to do something different
Why did you originally set up people_tech?
We started people_tech to remedy a gap in the market for HR conferences. Big conferences can be impersonal, and there’s a lack of intimacy in the discussions. It’s always been important to me to be able to fully engage with technologies, rather than attending a market fair of tech products, so having spent some time speaking to our clients and industry peers, we decided to change the model slightly. Our team saw that the desire was there to be able to get closer to tech and to start to interrogate just how appropriate the product was for their businesses. Being able to ask the questions such as "is this usable for my business?" and "will this make a tangible difference in a realistic timeframe?" was a very real challenge for many industry colleagues and so we set up people_tech with the aim to answer those very questions.
A key requirement for Cathy and I was to create an event with integrity. From the start we made it clear that people_tech was created to connect people with new technology that would interest them, rather than solely connecting tech vendors with buyers. For us people_tech is a showcase that allows HR professionals to keep a finger to the pulse of what’s coming out on the market. We hand-select exhibitors which we think our peers would be excited to learn about and give them a very short period of time - we say a maximum of 20 minutes - to talk to attendees about why they created their technologies. What was their reason for building the technology in the first place and what is their passion about the technology? What was the problem they were trying to solve? We want our vendors to articulate that passion to attendees on the day. Our tech safari format means that our delegates will visit a wide range of new tech in a short space of time, in groups that are small enough to allow a true dialogue.
What is different this year compared to people_tech 2018?
Every year we have developed a different focus to the event. Although the structure remains the same as ever, this year we are underpinning all of the content with our recently launched whitepaper HR on the Offensive and as such we chose technologies which align to the different themes that emerged from the research. The conclusions from the whitepaper highlighted a number of potential reasons to explain why HR is struggling to transform, so what we've looked for is technology that could help businesses transform and evolve quicker.
Can you give us a 'sneak peek' at some of the technology that we'll see at people_tech 2019?
One of the key themes this year will be about handling talent in an organisation, so we have a couple of elements around technologies in that space. We are keen to showcase some of the best new tech from across the employee lifecycle that are emerging in the market. Platforms that bring together multiple pieces of technology together, or those that can fully integrate with other systems, that allow you to wire them together seamlessly, we think is a really interesting way of differentiating talent - one of the major themes. Line manager capability is another key theme of the whitepaper and it’s a really interesting area when you start looking at how you merge it with digital coaching - a big theme last year. We will be showcasing some tech which specialises in line manager training and improving capability – a challenge which was a reoccurring topic in our research interviews. We have some great technology that looks at coaching and driving performance discussions and mindset change in line managers.
If you’d like to register your interest in people_tech then register here.