Another HR Indiana Conference is in the rearview mirror! August in Indiana brings HR professionals three days of value-packed content, networking opportunities, and a notebook full of ideas you’ll want to tackle. With about 1500 attendees, HR Indiana is one of the largest Regional SHRM conferences annually. It draws attendees from the Tri-State area as well as national speakers and vendors. Below are some of the highlights of the 2023 conference for me and the Recruiting Experiences team as well as some tips for anyone preparing to attend an upcoming conference or on the fence about attending the HR Indiana 2024 Conference.
Let me begin by saying, I’m not an HR Indiana veteran like so many of my colleagues here in Indy. There are volunteers and attendees who have MADE this conference over the past 15+ years. This was my 3rd time attending and I’ll highlight some of the positive changes I’ve noted and why it has become a staple of my HR events calendar.
I first attended in August 2014 as a new Indianapolis HR leader after joining my first local tech company the year prior. I brought 2 team members along and we were so excited to jump in and learn ALL. THE. THINGS. For a non-compliance, Recruiting & Training geek like me, 2014 did not meet my expectations. A full day of legal review in one giant room for the entire day and I was ready to start drinking coffee. If you know me, you know this is a big deal. I do not like coffee. In fact, unpopular opinion, I straight-up hate coffee. I vowed to never attend again.
Fast forward to 2022. My colleague and friend, Julie Barker of Cultivate Talent (Strategic HR Advisory) called and asked if I’d like to apply to co-present at HR Indiana. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I said ‘Tell me More. I’m not sure it’s my scene.’ She assured me that this particular session was part of a different track of the conference – Collaboration Workshops. This would be a 75-minute workshop facilitated by Julie and me to teach a new skill, share a case study, or demonstrate a practical application of an HR concept. It was designed to help practitioners who wanted more than lecture-style learning. “Sign me up!” I decided if I was going to be there for that day anyway, I would check out the whole conference and invite two of my teammates who were new to HR and excited about growing their careers to join me.
Aladdin had nothing on my 2022 HR Indiana Conference experience. It was a Whole New World. Instead of a full day of Legal, there was a Legal track so you could spend the whole day if you wanted or needed to or you could skip those and GTS (Google that acronym if you don’t know the term J) like I do every day. Seeing the conference as a speaker also gave me a new perspective. I could pour into new professionals who were thirsty for content they could use in their environments. Indiana is FULL of one-person HR teams, and they needed this conference. Additionally, seeing the conference through the eyes of the young professionals on my own team reminded me how important these networking and learning opportunities had been for me in the early days of my own career. People I met at those conferences are still some of my go-to contacts for questions and networking. HR Indiana had grown, and I was ALL-IN.
As a new-ish entrepreneur, I also found that I was running into potential customers and many of our referral partners all day long. Then, my 2023 HR Indiana vision was born. I decided to apply to speak in a general breakout session, look into sponsorship opportunities, and ensure that some of my team members would be able to attend. I was elated to be selected to speak in a prime timeslot on Wednesday afternoon – that meant my ticket cost would be granted also. As a breakout room sponsor, we’d have the chance to have two more attendees and introduce speakers throughout the day. It was so fun to be part of the action and to meet new potential customers, partners, and contacts. Our Lego-themed booth brought energy to the conference, and we loved being part of the 2023 success of HR Indiana.
Now that I’ve turned in my Whova survey, I’ll share some of my personal favorite moments (in no particular order) which I hope inspire you to consider attending the 2024 HR Indiana Conference.
- Mascots – I’m a sucker for a mascot; Lego Man, Mario, & the Yeti were favs!
- Karaoke – I didn’t know there would be karaoke, but it never disappoints!
- Photo Ops – From professional headshots to staged opportunities including an HR-themed Friends couch, they were there for us.
- Networking – As a shared in my survey, I’d like to see even more of this but if you take advantage of it, there’s plenty of networking to be accomplished
- Smart Stage – 20-min quick hit content sprinkled throughout the day in an informal setting at The Hub. Yes, please!
- Informal Meetups made possible by my next fav – anyone could make one and they were a hit!
- Whova – Amazing conference app! If you are planning an event and not looking into this, you’re missing out. They are not paying me for this blog, but they should be. Whova people – call my people!
- Giveaways – Tons of great prizes all over the place – Legos, Coach purses, Colts tickets, bourbon, wine, and so much chocolate
- SPEAKERS – HR Indiana NEVER disappoints with an inspiring list of speakers bringing energy and actionable insights.
See you all next year! The Recruiting Experiences team will be there. Will you?
Don’t forget – If you attended HR Indiana 2023, you are eligible to receive a 15% discount for the remainder of this year on any of our Recruiting, HR, or Career Services. Just mention #hrindiana23