In any profession, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends and continue improving your skillset.
Human resources - or HR - is no different!
Industry professionals regularly convene, in person or virtually, to share their experiences at HR conferences.
If you’re interested in HR events, there are some key considerations you should take into account before booking.
Which of the top HR conferences are right for you? And what can you do to get the most out of your HR conference experience?
This guide gives you the lowdown on choosing the right HR conference for your HR team plus the top events in the industry.
Table of contents
- The benefits of HR conferences
- The top 10 HR conferences
- 4 tips for improving your conference experience
- ✅ Make skills testing a part of your recruitment process
The benefits of HR conferences
The best HR conferences offer valuable opportunities to further your professional development and refine your organization’s HR processes, all while giving you some much-needed time away from the workplace!
Here are the three main benefits of HR conferences:
1. Industry knowledge
The top HR conferences host speakers from elite companies. These sessions provide valuable insights into HR processes at the highest level.
Engaging with HR professionals working in industries different from your own will allow you to step out of your own organization’s bubble and gain a more rounded perspective of the field.
Continuing to improve your knowledge will make you more valuable to your organization; research from the UK shows that 89% of employers consider lifelong learning to be a key ingredient of successful employees.
2. Workplace solutions
At the best HR conferences, leading speakers examine the most pressing challenges facing HR and offer their expertise on how to adapt to them.
HR conference topics also tend to be specialized, allowing you to dive deep into specific areas relevant to your organization.
When attending HR conferences in person, you’ll also find expo spaces where HR tech companies showcase their products or services.
The live demos given at these conferences provide you with a firsthand glimpse at the latest products ahead of your competitors, allowing you to survey the best tools on the market.
When you return to work, you’ll be armed with a fresh set of solutions in the form of new strategies and technology!
3. Networking opportunities
It’s not uncommon for the top HR conferences to attract up to 20,000 attendees. That’s a lot of like-minded people in the same place!
Attending HR conferences in person is a great opportunity to connect with other professionals and gain knowledge. It’s easy to form bonds through common experiences, and you’ll likely learn lessons by talking with others that you can take forward in your career.
You can use these events to scout new talent for your team. On the other side of the coin, if you are seeking a new role, you can also network to find your next employer - around 80% of professionals agree networking is a great way to elevate your career.
The top 10 HR conferences
We’ve put together a list of 10 of the best HR conferences in the world. These include both free virtual HR conferences and in-person HR events.
The list is divided into five HR conference topics so that you can find the perfect event for you and your organization’s needs.
Rather than specializing in a specific area, some of the top HR conferences assess general trends that impact the whole sector.
Our two entries in this category are two of the biggest and best HR conferences on the planet: SHRM’s Annual Conference & Expo and WorkVision.
1. SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition
The SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition is one of the largest in-person HR events in the world, with previous attendances reaching 25,000. Each year, SHRM welcomes hiring managers, recruiters, and students for four days of education and networking.
The size of the conference means there’s something for everyone, with hundreds of talks, panels, and workshops from industry experts on the most pertinent issues affecting the HR space today.
Due to the diverse profile of the conference’s attendees, SHRM organizers make sure that the sessions are accessible so that less experienced learners can also engage with the content.
Location: New Orleans, LA
Dates: June 12-15, 2022
Another excellent offering from SHRM, WorkVision is one of the more exclusive HR conferences and is aimed at industry professionals with at least 15 years of experience.
The event brings together senior talent developers and strategists from leading corporations to discuss critical workplace issues and emerging human capital business trends.
With great representation from thought leaders in the sector, WorkVision offers powerful learning experiences and networking opportunities.
Location: New Orleans, LA and virtual
Tech is changing the HR landscape. Therefore, tech-focused HR conferences help you navigate this complex arena by showing you how you can use new tools to tackle challenges.
The HR Technology Conference & Expo and the HR Innovation and Future of Work event are two of the best HR conferences in this field.
3. HR Technology Conference & Exposition
The HR Technology Conference & Exposition has been running for over 20 years and showcases the latest tools, strategies, and processes used in the increasingly technology-dependent HR field.
Many of the world’s leading HR tech brands are represented at the event, allowing you to browse and purchase the most recent HR solutions for your organization.
The conference isn’t just one big sales convention; it also stages talks from HR and IT experts on how to optimize current systems in your organization and better prepare for the future.
Organizer: Human Resource Executive
Location: Las Vegas, NV or virtual
Dates: March 1-4, 2022 (virtual) and September 13-16, 2022 (Las Vegas)
4. HR Innovation and Future of Work
HR Innovation and Future of Work is one of the biggest free virtual HR conferences around. Registrants gain access to around 500 talks from global thought leaders exploring the future of work and, increasingly, the role technology plays within it.
Previous topics have included the digitization of HR, big data, and robotics. Other sessions consider the changing HR landscape more broadly through the lenses of remote work and employee experience.
Organizer: Hacking HR
One of the more common HR conference topics is talent acquisition. These events consider the dilemma faced by recruiters and hiring managers every day: How do you find the right people for your organization?
The two top HR conferences for this topic are LinkedIn’s Talent Connect and SHRM’s Talent Conference & Expo.
5. Talent Connect
Talent Connect is an exciting three-day event aimed at LinkedIn’s corporate customers.
It brings together more than 5,000 talent acquisition specialists as well as noteworthy public figures to discuss best recruitment practices, diversity and inclusion, and the future of work.
In previous years, keynote speakers have included Michelle Obama and Gary Vee. HR professionals from the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft also regularly attend, making Talent Connect one of the best HR conferences for networking.
Location: Boston, MA
6. Talent Conference & Expo
The Talent Conference & Expo is another of SHRM’s top HR conferences. The event brings together more than 1,200 talent and recruitment experts for over 50 sessions spread across four days.
HR professionals from leading global organizations share their ideas on how to recruit, retain, and retrain the best talent.
Topics include hiring strategies, corporate responsibility, and workplace culture. There’s also plenty of time allocated to networking and exhibitions.
Location: Denver, CO
Dates: April 10-13, 2022
All HR professionals understand the importance of positive workplace culture. It’s key to attracting and retaining the best talent.
But how does your organization go about implementing it?
The Human Resource Summit and The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion conference both seek to address this question.
7. Human Resource Summit
The Human Resource Summit has run for over 25 years. In that time, it’s built a reputation as the premium event for senior HR professionals to refine their processes and expand their network.
The conference brings together 40 HR solution providers to discuss topics including workplace culture, employee engagement, and diversity strategy.
In addition, 80 budget-holding senior HR delegates from leading British and Irish firms attend to share their experiences. There is an emphasis on collaboration, with plenty of opportunities to connect with other attendees during break-outs and networking events.
Organizer: Summit Events
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Dates: October 5-7, 2022
8. The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
HR.com puts on plenty of different HR events, but The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is one of its largest and most popular.
This one-day event explores the role of diversity in driving organizational innovation, engagement, and leadership. HR consultants also explain how to make organizations more diverse through recruitment strategies and culture-building.
The event is also one of HR.com’s many free virtual HR conferences, so there’s no excuse not to attend.
Date: October 12, 2022
With employment legislation changing regularly, it can be difficult for HR professionals to keep up to date. Compliance conferences provide an overview of the latest regulations and consider how best to adapt to them.
The RegTech Conference and The State of Legal, Compliance and Employment Law are the best HR conferences for helping you come to grips with the regulatory framework.
9. RegTech Conference
The RegTech Conference examines the impact of regulatory compliance on business management processes, including HR functions, such as employee data protection.
The event brings attendees up to speed with the current regulatory landscape before offering tech-based solutions for achieving compliance while continuing to grow.
Now in its second installment, the RegTech Conference is one of the most informative virtual HR conferences freely available to HR professionals.
Date: May 19, 2022
10. The State of Legal, Compliance and Employment Law
The State of Legal, Compliance and Employment Law is another of HR.com’s popular free virtual HR conferences.
It helps HR professionals navigate the complexities of today’s compliance regulations both from a macro perspective and by honing in on specific pain points in the industry.
In addition, the event predicts the future of employment law in the context of current socio-political movements and explores what this could mean for the HR sector.
Date: October 26, 2022
4 tips for improving your conference experience
Without careful planning and an eager approach, HR conferences can be overwhelming.
Follow these four tips to get the most out of your conference experience:
1. Map your goals
Once you’ve booked your place, consider your conference goals. Do you want to learn more about a certain area in HR? Are you looking to build your network? Or maybe invest in new technology for your company?
Try to be as specific as possible with these goals so that you can measure your success at the end of the conference.
2. Create a conference schedule
Many of the best HR conferences will have overlapping events, so you may have to pick and choose where to spend your time. Based on your goals, decide where you would be best served for each session and devise a schedule.
Some of the top HR conferences have their own apps with information on the various events being held. Use this resource to aid your planning, and remember: Always arrive early!
3. Maximize networking opportunities
During the sessions, be your most confident self. Failing to network would be an opportunity wasted. Take time to have informal conversations with other attendees, ask lots of questions, and exchange knowledge.
Many people will be drawn to the speakers and senior leaders. This is great, but remember that you can also learn a lot from your peers too.
4. Reflect on the experience
Research shows that self-reflection improves leadership skills, which are highly sought-after in the human capital sector.
At the end of the conference, evaluate your experience by assessing the goals you set at the start. Consider what went well and what could have gone better—this will help you for future HR events.
Also, crystalize your key learnings by writing them down on paper. Think about areas for improvement in your own organization, and make a concerted effort to implement applicable lessons when you return to the workplace.
HR conferences and the future of HR
The most established HR events have now been running for 20 or even 30 years. Their longevity shows that the HR landscape is always evolving and that there is always something new to learn.
Recently, though, the rate of change has accelerated even further. New technology and dynamic strategies are rewriting the HR rulebook! Organizations that fail to keep up lose their competitive edge.
While HR events often vary in their content, they all send the same message: Innovation in the sector will continue.
Refined recruitment processes, a greater emphasis on company culture, and wider use of technology are just some of the changes we anticipate in the coming years.