Top 20 HR Conferences To Attend in 2018

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It is hard to believe that 2018, means 2008 was a ten years ago.   It was in 2008 that I keynoted my first national hr conference – talking to 2,700 talent leaders about developing and understanding business strategy before throwing technology into the mix.

Fast forward a decade to 2018 and I’ve attended and spoken at hundreds of events some amazing, some…no longer in existence.  It feels like I still often am asked to talk on that same subject – and with the ever increasing number of technologies the struggle between process and product is even more valid today.    It is why I am a HUGE advocate of lifelong learning and attending conferences.

Reading blog posts and articles are great – but getting to an event and learning from a variety of professionals, seeing products first hand and talking to (not networking with) other people in your industry, market, etc is professional development that can’t be missed.  No matter what your area of focus, there is something for you.

That is where this list comes in.  These are my 20 favorite conferences for this year.  I have had the opportunity to speak at most of these and the ones I haven’t I have either attended personally or received a lot of positive feedback on from practitioners.

10 HR Industry Conferences You Shouldn’t Miss

  1. HR Technology Conference & Women of HR Technology Conference – Las Vegas – September 11-14 2018 – Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs is Keynoting this year and he is amazing.  I’ve seen him keynote and everyone in the room laughed, cried, was disgusted and encouraged.  This year is also featuring the Women in HR Tech event.  I’ve either presented, exhibited, attended and participated as an analyst at this event for the bulk of the last 16 years.  The amount of learning that takes place here is amazing and you could spend a day (or three) just walking the expo floor learning from the vendors.    This is my MUST DO event for every VC, Investor, Start-up, Vendor, HR Practitioner, and Leader.
  2. SHRM National Conference – Chicago – June 17-20 2018 – I don’t know why they do this event on Fathers Day each year, but it is the undisputed largest HR related event out there.  Sessions start early and end late and you need to prep before you go so you don’t miss any of the learning opportunities, but there is content for every practitioner at this event.
  3. ATD – Association of Training & Development – San Diego – May 6-9 2018 – This is the largest event for learning and training professionals.  It is their 75th!! year.   President Obama is Keynoting.  
  4. Unleash (Formerly HR Tech Europe) – Las Vegas – May 15-16.   While relatively new to the US Market, I have no hesitation including this on the must attend list.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak and attend their Europe Events for a number of years and the content is always outstanding.  It is forward looking, strategic and designed for an executive attendees to feel as comfortable as a practitioner.  Curious to see how this year will shape up!
  5. World at Work – Dallas, TX – May 21-23 – If you are in total rewards, compensation, benefits or engagement, you likely are familiar with this event.  One of the largest in our industry, yet often overlooked it is still one of the more formal, events in a industry where the fun often equals the learning.
  6. Globoforce Presents Workhuman – April 2-5, 2018 – Austin, Tx – I almost hate calling this a vendor event, when it is really more of a movement.  This isn’t an event to go learn about Globoforce (although you can) its an event to learn about making work more human.  Amal Clooney is one of the keynotes this year.  EVERY attendee, speaker, exhibitor I have ever talked to falls in love with this conference. Rooms are filled with C-suite leaders from around the world.  If I was not going to be laying on a beach in Hawaii that week, I would be in Austin soaking in all the knowledge.
  7. IBM Think 2018 – March 19-22, 2018 – Las Vegas, NV – Yes, it is a vendor conference – but it is also one that is incredibly forward looking and discussing the future of technology (Thanks to Watson) in a different way.  You don’t need to a be a client to learn and understand.  Need more convincing?  Type in any topic you want and see instantly what Watson recommends for you from the agenda.
  8.  Linkedin – Talent Connect – October 9-11 2018 – Anaheim, CA – An event that started as a user conference has grown well beyond that.  Much of the content is still focused on users, but lets face it, who isn’t using linkedin?  Conversations have evolved beyond the talent acquisition side into learning, development, retention and sales.  Full details for this years event isn’t up, but you can watch some of last years on their site.
  9. Indeed – Interactive – May 14-16 – Austin, TX – No, Indeed isn’t “just a job board” they work with some of the best and brightest in the space and their spring event is a must do if you are involved in talent acquisition.  Conversations and best practices around employment branding, sourcing, hiring and even engagement are mixed in to the Texas hospitality (and food) we have come to expect from Indeed.
  10. ERE April 2-4 San Diego, CA / Sourcecon September 24-26 Atlanta, GA – Ok, I know this is cheating but…I wanted to include both on here.  ERE is the event to attend for recruiting professionals.  I had a chance to join them last fall after a few years away and loved the updated format and focus on roundtables and connecting attendees on topics of immediate interest so they can walk away with answers, not just ideas.  Sourcecon is THE event for sourcing professionals.  Sourcing is the really, really, hard part of recruiting where you try to find a person that is nearly impossible to find – and then often convince them to apply.   Both have had a groundswell of support and some of the most loyal attendees in the industry.  So happy to see the original team back and running these events again.

10 Vendor User Conferences You Shouldn’t Miss if You’re a Client or Prospect

  1.  Cornerstone OnDemand – Convergence – June 4-6 – San Diego, CA – Leave it to a company originally built on Learning to host an event focused on realizing your potential…and throwing a great party.   Today, Cornerstone products run full HCM product suite from recruiting to learning to compensation and even core HR with clients in nearly 200 countries. Their conference is split into 7 tracks to give each attendee a really targeted experience to what matters most to them.  The conversations about the future of work and the positively LA culture of CSOD merge together to create a fun event where people share best practices over lots and lots of food.  I’ve spoke at this event and the atmosphere is like you’re with people you’ve known for years.
  2.  Ultimate Software – Connections – March 13-16 2018 – Las Vegas, NV – I can tell you first hand, this event is all about appreciating the clients AND employees of Ultimate in a really genuine way, something you rarely see shared at User Conferences.  It is one of my favorite events I’ve ever spoken at because clients all seemed to know each other and employees.  It looked like a family reunion for many of them.  The sessions were really varied, the conversations were amazing and this year they are adding in a number of industry influencers to share insights on best practices and trends.
  3.  Workday – Rising – October 1-4 – Las Vegas, NV – This is a LARGE event – with 5,500 attendees (partners, employees & clients included) it is one of the largest conferences in HR overall, let alone vendor events.   The attendees are a mix of highly strategic business minds (the financials session has more people in attendance than most vendor conferences have overall) to hr practitioners learning and developing their niche skill set.  The environment is exactly what you expect of from workday – happy, energetic and fun.
  4. Oracle – HCM World – March 20-22 2018 – Dallas, TX – More than 2,000 clients will be coming down to Dallas, with a focus on employee experience and changing how we manage our talent.  Lots of partner exhibitors and likely lots of discussion on the newer HCM suite features.   Can’t make HCM World?  Oracle Open world is in October. 
  5. Ceridian/Dayforce Insights – October 15-19 2018 – Las Vegas NV – Like many of the user conferences, they have various tracks and insights depending on your role – but they take it one step further and have a specific track for executives in attendance and another program for Ceridian Women’s Network summit – helping to connect and highlight women in hcm that are customers.  Its a great program and I hope we will see more follow this trend.
  6. Infor – Inforium – September 24-27 Washington DC  Most of the attendees and sessions are not for HCM, but that only adds to the value of this event.  Learn what the rest of your business leaders are learning so you can partner with them even better!
  7. Oracle HCM World March 20-22 Dallas, TX  – This event is a smaller version, but filled with partners and product stories for Oracle HCM users.  If you can’t make the HCM event, there is always OpenWorld in the fall.
  8. Greenhouse Open – April 2-4 NYC – Greenhouse has one of the newest conferences on the list, but it has quickly exceeded expectations.  More than 1,000 attendees come out to learn about the “new” way to recruit talent and the importance of candidate experience, brand and process.   This one even attracts non clients…
  9. Hirevue Horizon – October 8-10 – Savannah, Georgia – Formerly Digital Disruption, this event now called Horizon will be focused on what is on the horizon of technology as it relates to talent.  Expect conversations around artificial intelligence, diversity, inclusion, candidate experience and of course the video interviewing that started it all.
  10. SuccessFactors SuccessConnect – September 11-13 – Las Vegas – I never understand the rationale of making attendees decide between events, but…this one is going on the same time as HR Tech in the same city.  I suppose you could not sleep and try to do both?


What did I miss?  Who should be on the list for 2019?


  1. Jen Stroud says

    ServiceNow Knowledge 18 – At Knowledge 18, you’ll meet product experts and industry peers who can help you reinvent your employee service experience.

    1. Sarah Brennan says

      Thanks Jen for highlighting your event. I’m obviously familiar with ServiceNow but haven’t ever attended so it missed the list.

  2. Brad Sutton says

    Sarah – please consider ASU+GSV Summit. – over 120+ talent/learning execs, 350+ CEOs from corporate, HR tech, and EdTech, and over 200 investors… plus policymakers, education leaders, and philanthropists

    1. Sarah Brennan says

      This looks like an amazing event, Brad! Happy to include it

  3. Amruta says

    Thanks for sharing this information. It will help HR tech savvy’s to explore knowledge.

  4. Melissa says

    Hi Sarah, would love if you could include HR Healthcare – which is an event that brings together Human Resources professionals from across the country to discuss their latest challenges and people strategies for a rapidly changing healthcare industry. Event will be held in San Diego from August 14-15. Our site:

    1. Sarah Brennan says

      Hi Melissa – I won’t include it on the main list since I haven’t ever attended or spoken at it and can’t directly vouch – BUT happy to have it listed here for others!

  5. Zoltan Vadkerti says

    Great article, thanks a lot Sarah! If I can I’d like to propose the Zukunft Personal Europe to be added to the 2019 list. With 18.000 visitors and 600 presentations it is one of the biggest HR gatherings in Europe.
    Thanks again, great blog! 🙂

    1. Sarah Brennan says

      Thanks so much for bringing this event to my attention – it looks great! Happy to add it to the list.

  6. dbg says

    Where are the non-USA conferences?

    1. Sarah Brennan says

      Not included on this particular list. We will have another one coming for various regions (EMEA, APJ, Canada).

  7. Aaron Zauderer says

    Hi Sarah – Great List! Would it be possible to include HR Financial Services to this listing? This event is designed specifically for Human Resources and talent management professionals in the banking and financial services sectors from December 10-11, 2018 in San Diego, CA. Thanks!

    1. Sarah Brennan says

      Happy to include it in the comments here! This list is primarily made up of events I’ve spoken at or attended and am more familiar with.

  8. Steve says

    Thank you for giving this meaningful information. HR is not only about recruitment only, the idea of these conference is to provide new learning about the technology updates in the marketplace. One can see and make contact with tech giants, CEOs and various designated people around the world..

  9. Kat Eletskih says

    Reinventing HR, 5-7 December 2018;

    You are most welcome to join us this year, to see if its worthwhile of adding it to your list for 2019

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