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Last week the Cornerstone OnDemand community gathered at the 12th annual client and partner conference we call Cornerstone Convergence.  Over 1,200 folks came together in unseasonably hot (and sometimes smoky) San Diego to talk about how work is changing, to meet new people, to reconnect with old colleagues, and to take part in an agenda packed full of discussions led by a cast of smart presenters. 

Convergence is always a whirlwind of learning, connecting and sometimes even partying.  If you’ve not joined us in the past, it all happens again in May 2015.

It’s Not Just About Millennials – It’s About How We All Work

In recent years, the discussions in human resources and the world of work have often landed on the impact of forthcoming demographic shifts – i.e. Baby Boomers retiring and millennials entering the workplace en masse. But at Convergence this year, Adam Miller made the argument that the discussion has now shifted from who is working to how we all work.

And the “how” part is not always encouraging.  Many of us feel overloaded daily by the relentless flow of information that comes from our push-enabled devices and the other technologies that we sign up for in the name of simplification.  We suffer from “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) and we binge watch entire seasons of Breaking Bad.  Sometimes we have an unhealthy relationship with our smartphones and see boundaries between work and family becoming ever-more blurry.

But it’s not supposed to be that way.  Technology should help us to be more human, not less.  Technology should enable us to have a better relationship with our work – a more productive, more connected one. These arguments lived at the heart of the Convergence 2014 keynote address, as Adam Miller walked through his three ways for thinking about how we all work today, namely to:

  1. Put people at the center;
  2. Simplify technology; and
  3. Reinvent work.

The full recording of the speech is available below and goes into a lot more detail about critical ways to think about he we can ensure that technology helps (and not hurts) – both in our work lives and on the personal side.

Clients Take Center Stage (Literally and Figuratively)

Of course the Convergence conference is first and foremost about our clients and every year we spend much of the general session program focused on highlighting companies with exceptional talent management stories.  Some of this happens under the bright lights of the big stage, some of it happens during our annual Client RAVE awards, and lots of it happens in smaller ways throughout the breakout sessions and in the hallways.

This year conference-goers got to spend special time with New Belgium Brewing, BP, University of Southern California, and Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation impact grant recipient Darkness to Light.

The overarching theme is that there isn’t always an overarching theme.  These are four different organizations of completely different sizes in very different industries facing entirely different talent and business challenges. You can hear their talent management journeys for yourself here:

Other Ideas from Convergence 2014

With the conference in full swing, attendees were treated to a great agenda, including over 60 breakout sessions in 8 tracks.  Here are some things we took from the event:

  • The Consumer Experience in Business Technology.  An oft-repeated message was that people expect to see the very best of consumer technologies in their business and professional tools.  If you want to engage people with technology, make it engaging.
  • HR Must Move from Process Automation to Business Outcomes.  It’s hardly the first time this argument has been made, but in 2014 it’s never been any more real.  We’ve now moved from straight-ahead process automation (table stakes) to a world in which HR can (and must) be focused on outcomes.
  • Technology Must Move from Process Automation to Collaboration.  In the same vein, technology must be ready to step forward from basic automation to systems of engagement that are keenly focused on people, interaction and collaboration. In other words, systems that bring people and expertise together to improve work outcomes.
  • Seeing Poison Perform on the Deck of An Aircraft Carrier Triggers a Complex Set of Emotions.  While one hallmark of any Convergence is ending a long, productive day with a great party, this event was especially sublime (and absurd…in a good way). Or consider Steve Boese's take on "Career Lessons from an Aging Hair Band".

Did you attend Convergence 2014?  Please let us know what your key takeaways have been in the comments way down below.

Photo: Creative Commons