I’m a big proponent of learning, conferences, and helping to forward the industry. It’s the reason I continue to blog and work so hard to provide content and information focused on this industry. One of my favorite conferences and communities in the past has been ERE and their Spring Recruiting Conference held in San Diego. A couple years ago they changed their policies to limit the number of vendors, consultants, and media to attend their event. I’m different than most in that I actually attend sessions when I can because I think it’s important to be learning and growing regardless of your role as a practitioner, consultant or vendor who is charged with developing the technology. Personally, vendors should spend time learning and understanding what it’s like to be a practitioner and less time selling.
Where Do HR Vendors & Consultants Go for Industry Learning?
I do, however, understand why we limit attendees and vendors because these events become one big selling opportunity. It becomes less about the content and more about selling, selling, and selling. Earlier this week I did the right thing and requested a media pass to the ERE’s conference in San Diego and was excited to write about sessions on LinkedIn, Huffington Post and Blogging4Jobs. Keep in mind I can’t even register for the conference as I’m not considered a practitioner because the ratio is off. Vendors are beating down the doors to attend their event. Is this a good decision or are they throwing away money? Below is their official email response. It’s just a conference, but I want to attend because ERE has been a great place I’ve went to over the years particularly the old forums and blogs for peer learning. I wondered if others were equally disappointed in the fact they were being excluded or if the HR and recruiting communities thought this was a good thing.
As you may be aware, we made some changes to our registration policies for ERE last year to limit attendance to mostly those who are full time practicing in-house recruiting and HR professionals. What that means is the opportunities for everyone else to participate is extremely limited.I wanted to just take a second and also explain the reasoning for this:The ERE conference has always been focused primarily on the needs of in-house (corporate) recruiting professionals, and in particular leaders of in-house recruiting functions. Last year, we made several changes to ensure that we do the best possible job in meeting the needs of those in-house recruiters. As you know, most people attend conferences for great content and great networking with their peers. One of the ways to ensure great networking with peers is to make sure that in-house recruiting professionals are surrounded primarily by their peers. Therefore we set a goal of ensuring that at least 2/3 of all PEOPLE attending the ERE conference will be in-house recruiting professionals. As you might expect, most of the other 1/3 are conference sponsors and their staff. In order to ensure this “2/3 ratio”, we took a few steps:* Capped the number of sponsors/exhibitors to 72* Capped the number of staff each sponsor can bring* Capped the number of NON sponsors (who are also not in-house recruiters) who can register for the conference. There are 20 of these special “supplier registrations”, limited to no more than 2 per company, and they cost $3,900 each.This also resulted in a change to the way we looked at media requests and to keep in line with this policy and our promises to our customers, we had to limit media requests to basically those full time press (HR & Recruiting Trade Publication editorial members and other trade and/or business publications).Since you hold other roles within the HR space, I am unable to offer your a press pass.This is one of the toughest side effects of this policy since it forces us to have to make these tough decisions with people like you who have been such great friends of ERE as well as extremely valuable contributors to the profession. However, we have to keep with our policy to ensure that we deliver to experience that our customers expect and are promised by us.I hope all is well with you and you are settling in on the west coast.