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LA HR Week Draws a Crowd

HRO World brings thought leaders, buyers, and providers together under one roof in sunny Southern California for the biggest HRO event on the West Coast. Hundreds attend the inaugural event.

by HROT Staff

Strong attendance, a broad speaker lineup, and a hall full of exhibitors marked the first annual Los Angeles HR Week 2006, the inaugural West Coast-based conference and exhibition focused exclusively on HRO. With more than 800 registrants, the show brought the same extensive program, audience enthusiasm, and industry discussion about the state of outsourcing and how it can benefit organizations of all sizes.

Held at the Hyatt Century Plaza in Los Angeles on Feb. 8 and 9, the event provided a forum for buyers, providers, and other HR professionals to network, learn, and strike new deals in HRO. A sister event to New York HR Week—the broadly attended national event for the HRO industry—LA HR Week also generated extensive buzz on everything related to outsourced HR. Comprised of HRO World West as well as an accompanying American Management Association program, LA HR Week featured presentations by top thought leaders who shared their insight and made their predictions. The exhibition also featured 69 booths.

“The inaugural LA HR Week showed that HR professionals nationwide, and especially on the West Coast, are deeply interested in HRO and the impact it has on their daily lives. This successful extension of HRO World is further evidence that HRO— whether on the East Coast, the West Coast or in Brussels, Belgium—is continuing to gain momentum and attracting followers to outsourcing events,” said Harry Feinberg, the CEO of Outsourcing Today, the co-sponsor of HRO World West.

PAINTING THE BIG PICTURE
With many of the industry’s leaders in attendance, LA HR Week offered a wealth of insight into how outsourcing will transform HR in the future. Professionals from Fortune 500 companies, government entities, consulting groups, investment firms, provider companies, and others shared opinions, networked, and listened to a common message echoed by speaker after speaker: HRO works and it’s here to stay.

That message was reinforced by presentations from speakers such as Deborah Hirsch, the chief HR officer at Los Angeles Unified School District. She recounted how the district’s HR department became more strategic by improving recruiting functions through technology and process changes. With the help of automation and metrics, she told attendees how her department used small, incremental investments to make significant achievements—some of which could be precursors to broader HRO at the district.

“I pressed forward with small, off-the-shelf tools and pressed ahead with applications that could be developed by in-house techies,” said Hirsch, a former military officer.

Like many public organizations, Hirsch is studying how HRO can help the district cut costs, improve performance, and boost customer satisfaction. Even though it offers myriad benefits, some still view HRO as a “disruptive” factor in HR, albeit not necessarily a negative one.

Ed Reilly, the CEO of the American Management Association, said in the near- to mid-term future, the HR world can expect a number of these influences. “We believe there are major changes in the next five, 10, and 15 years that can be disruptive,” he said, noting that the AMA will be studying issues such as changing demographics, leadership skills, increased market competition, and ethics. He added that today’s organizations have flattened so that lower-tier managers are making important decisions; there simply isn’t time in the fast-paced business environment to relay customer requests to upper management.

The conference ran the gamut of HRO issues: everything from offshoring to recruiting process outsourcing to market trends and more. In the Presidential Debate, 10 service providers discussed the myths and realities of HRO, the capabilities of the vendor community, and other factors that can determine whether a deal will be a success. With representatives from companies including Accenture, ADP, Aon, Arinso, Ceridian, ExcellerateHRO, Fidelity, Hewitt, SAP, and TALX, the animated discussion sometimes pitted one competitor against another. Other speakers included Jeff Shovlin, VP of benefits at Harrah’s Entertainment, who spoke about how outsourcing has led to improvements in customer satisfaction and benefits enrollment; author Daniel Pink, who discussed how HR professionals can protect themselves in the era of outsourcing; Clyde Rush, SVP of HR for the Phoenix House, who talked about the non-profit organization’s outsourcing success; and numerous others.

The conference precedes New York HR Week, which will be held this year on April 26-28 at the New York Hilton. With thousands expected at the HRO industry’s largest event, the conference and trade show will feature hundreds of exhibitions and dozens of speakers and sessions. For more information and registration, visit www.hroworld.com.

Tags: Engaged Workforce, Learning, Multi-process HR, Sourcing

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