UNLEASH America Seeks to Meld HR Tech, Future of Work


When UNLEASH America opens its doors for the second year next week, organizers expect to build on what they consider a solid start in 2018.

“We expect everything to be bigger,” said China Gorman, managing director, America, for UNLEASH group. While she declined to share specific numbers on attendees and visitors, Gorman believes “all of those will be more plentiful than they were last year.”  

.@UNLEASHgroup's UNLEASH America sees #HRTech as critical to the future of work, but not the only thing that must be taken into consideration and innovated around. #HR Click To Tweet

In 2018, approximately 1,500 people attended the conference, including 115 presenters and representatives of 100 exhibitors. While the numbers were small, exhibitors and attendees gave the event generally good feedback, complimenting the range of presentations and the quality of foot traffic on the exhibition floor.

One exhibitor said that even though traffic was “uneven to sparse,” last year all who visited his booth “were good-quality people and we had some good conversations.” Another vendor said her company came away with “a positive outlook on how [UNLEASH] will grow and evolve.”

Among the returning exhibitors are SAP SuccessFactors, Ultimate Software, LinkedIn, IBM and beqom. Also on the floor will be Pymetrics, Slack, SurveyMonkey and GuideSpark.

HR Tech and the Future of Work

UNLEASH America positions itself as an event that’s more forward-looking than its competitors. As work and technology shift, Gorman suggests, “the whole talent piece” of running a business is shifting, as well. She sees UNLEASH as “carving out a new space” which isn’t only about HR technology, but “is really about the future of work, the future of organizations, the future of the relationship between employers and the people who do the work.”

That doesn’t mean UNLEASH is taking its eyes off the technical component of HR. Instead, it’s putting tech in context. Technology has a critical role to play in the future of work, Gorman says, but “it’s not the only part and it’s not the only thing that we have to take into consideration and plan for and innovate around.”

2018’s Foundation

To grow the event, Gorman’s strategy seems to be about building on key aspects of UNLEASH America’s approach last year. For one thing, UNLEASH continues to curate not only its presentation schedule, but all of the “constituent populations” who attend, she said.

UNLEASH is aimed squarely at decision makers, influencers and senior leaders at companies seeking technology products and services. Every registrant is vetted to make sure they wield the influence they claim to, Gorman said. The idea is to make the event “the single biggest gathering of senior-level business leaders” involved in the creation of organizational dynamics that emphasize quality work, culture and retention.

“Our marketing, our outreach, the PR that we do is all targeted toward the top of the house,” Gorman said. “That’s a really critical differentiator with other conferences in our space.”

Like the HR Technology Conference and other trade events, UNLEASH takes pains to make sure the only companies selling on the show floor are those who’ve invested in an exhibit or sponsorship. “For sure, [others] don’t get to come because we’ve got this large number of exhibitors and sponsors who’ve made that commitment to have access to our attendees,” Gorman said.  

UNLEASH America will be held at the Aria Las Vegas on May 14 and 15.

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Image: UNLEASH America

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