As unpredictable as 2020 has been, we won’t try to tell you precisely what’s in store for 2021. However, slowly but surely, the world will return to some of its pre-pandemic norms. That being said, the human resources (HR) industry is going to match the shifts of the global workforce. Namely, you can expect to see a mixture of virtual and in-person HR events much in the same way that jobs will be more of a mix of virtual and physical commuting. Remote jobs and the remote lifestyle are here to stay.
“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” — David Ogilvy
Keeping in line with the remote trend, some of the biggest HR conferences in the country, are going virtual this coming year. Of course, in the competitive market for top talent, recruiters and HR pros can’t afford to miss the chance to network and grow their skills. Now, because we wanted to help save you some time digging around the internet, we crafted a list of both the best in-person and virtual HR conferences for 2021 with times, dates, locations, and registration links.
Do you want to gain an edge in securing the best talent for your company? Check out this carefully-curated conference list to get a head start!
Conference Organizer: Society for Human Resource Management Foundation
Location: Chicago, Illinois (in-person or virtual passes available)
Dates: June 20-23
The SHRM Annual Conference & Expo is one of the largest HR professional gatherings on the planet with 25,000 attendees and more than 1,000 international delegates. This electrifying four-day event is a must-attend for recruiters, managers, executive assistants, and students to meld minds and share their love and tips for HR. An international group of speakers host panels on education, networking, and practical solutions for the talent industry.
Buzz: Whether you enjoy TED-style talks on Smart Stages for deeper dives into workshops or listening to thought leaders present Change-Maker sessions, SHRM21 is all set to satisfy you. Plus, the diverse session formats, provide equal opportunity for learners of different styles to absorb and implement the content.
“With more than 200 concurrent sessions, there’s a good chance you’ll attend a session that’ll give you exactly what you’re looking for and will help you advance your career, develop new skills, and help you apply your learnings” — HR University
Conference Organizer: Wisdom
Dates: January 19-20
Decoding Future HR 2021 is focused on the shift towards automation and technologies that will replace human jobs and tasks — and subsequently, what skills organizations are looking to add to their talent pool. The pandemic pushed the future forward in many ways, requiring HR leaders to adapt their management, performance, workforce and employee planning, and experience strategies.
Buzz: This multi-streamed virtual HR conference features several key topics, including: the rise of the gig economy, data-driven HR, mastering human analytics and promoting data literacy, trends and forces reshaping the future, using big data to improve inclusion and diversity, and much, much more. Join the 24-hour Decoding Future HR Conference to zero in on the evolution of the HR field and the challenges that come with it along with emerging roles in the field.
“The event provides an interactive platform to boost your talent and capability development skills using analytical tools to improve employee engagement strategies, social media, and AI in recruitment” — Industry Events
Conference Organizer: Hacking HR
Dates: March 8-12
The 2021 Global Online Conference “HR Innovation and Future of Work” is dedicated to the future of human resources and the workplace. By bringing like-minded HR and tech enthusiasts together, the collective can not only discuss, teach, and learn about the future of the workplace — but instead, actually create it. There are roughly 15,000 participants, more than 100 sessions, and more than 500 speakers.
Buzz: With a conference theme of Unlocking Your Potential, who wouldn’t be excited about this virtual event? Who doesn’t want to be their best self? More specifically, 2021 HR Innovation and Future of Work will provide insights, stories, experiences, data, knowledge, ideas, and information from global thought leaders. On top of that, the event is designed to facilitate virtual networking!
“We must be able to go beyond traditional and transactional HR. We must truly summon all our talents, creativity, curiosity, and full capacities to rise up to the challenges of these times” — Enrique Rubio, Founder of Hacking HR
Conference Organizer: SHRM Executive Network
Location: Amelia Island, Florida (in-person)
Dates: April 19-21
WorkVision 2021 is an in-person HR conference designed for HR professionals with more than 15 years of experience in talent acquisition and managing people. This 3-day event brings the savviest HR leaders and vets together for a key purpose of leading companies into the post-digital age.
Buzz: WorkVision 2021 features top-level business leaders strategizing, exploring, and sharing critical information about the evolution of work, the rise of individualism in the workplace, and the influence of organizations in the modern age.
“Engage in provocative discussions with leading-edge thinkers who are shaping the workforce of the future and delve into topics that deepen your understanding of vital issues impacting business” — HR People + Strategy
Conference Organizer: Summit Events
Location: Prague, Czech Republic (in-person)
Dates: October 6-8
HRS21 is another high-level in-person HR conference for senior HR decision-makers looking to find the best approach for exceeding all of the key performance indicators of employee satisfaction and talent development.
Buzz: With nearly 30 years, the Summit is well-established and proven as a time and cost-effective way to learn about the latest developments in the HR industry. Join with like-minded peers to adjust and innovate in the workplace and source partners for upcoming projects. HRS21 features more than 40 HR and leadership and development experts covering organizational development, succession management, leadership development, and employee engagement. An additional 80 budget-holding, senior HR delegates from top companies in Ireland and the UK will be present. The primary job titles in attendance are Heads and Directors of HR and Heads and Directors of People. Come to HRS21 to enjoy keynotes, strategy group sessions, and action learning workshops.
“A very well organized event with lots of like-minded individuals, no pushy sales techniques; just genuine opportunities to build relationships. Networking in the real sense of the word” — Clare Marshall, Head of People at Antic
Conference Organizer: HR.com
Dates: February 3-4
The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2021 focuses on, well, you guessed it — diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. Despite increasing awareness of the problem, HR departments and organizations continue to struggle with significantly improving DEI. Many companies need to put an even stronger emphasis on becoming more culturally, gender, and ethnically diverse. Following Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement, the world is watching how organizations and their leaders respond.
Buzz: Diversity is no longer just a buzzword…or at least, companies really can’t afford to let it be. Heads of People and other HR managers have to make sure that they keep it top of mind and let it affect their approach to selecting and retaining talent in a meaningful way. The most intelligent organizations link DEI to employee engagement, innovation, ethics, leadership, and productivity. This virtual HR event will showcase successful organizations in this realm and highlight methods for using DEI to also gain a competitive advantage.
“The event will look at how DEI is integrated into the organizational mission and how it is supported by the larger corporate culture” — HR.com
Conference Organizer: HR Transform
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Dates: March 22-24
HR Transform’s event The Future is Now is about gamifying HR to improve feedback, overall communication, and boost the candidate experience. HR Transform dives deep into how executives and management can future-proof their organizations.
Buzz: Companies from AirBnB to Slack and Zoom attend this mega in-person HR conference to rub elbows with the most prominent HR executives and the leading minds forging the future of work. Come to HR Transform to stay at the forefront of the industry and set your company up to win for decades to follow.
“Engage with a thoughtfully curated group of your peers in senior roles at forward thinking companies” — HR Transform
Conference Organizer: AnitaB.org
Location: Chicago, Illinois (virtual)
Dates: September 26-29
The Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration (VGHC) saw more than 30,000 attendees from over 115 countries last year. This virtual conference is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Among her many contributions, Grace Hopper helped invent the first computer language compiler and was the first woman recipient of the National Medal of Technology before being posthumously given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to the field of computing. In honor of this pioneer, thousands gather virtually to continue the momentum she started towards achieving intersectional gender and pay parity in tech.
Buzz: The AnitaB.org flagship event places the career interests and research of women in computing in the spotlight, and celebrates the contributions of women in the tech world. The conference gives attendees networking opportunities as well as mentoring and collaborative proposals. The conference presenters are industry thought leaders and implementers.
“If women want to ensure themselves a meaningful place in the future, they need to be among those determining how the technology will be used” — Anita Borg
9. Impact 2021
Conference Organizer: Deloitte
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Dates: May 10-13
Impact 2021 gives attendees access to elite practitioners and leaders along with unique industry insights and trends. The keynote speakers this year are New York Times best-selling authors Dan Pink and Shawn Achor.
Buzz: Impact 2021 attendees can also expect the AI-enhanced matchmaking to optimize one-on-one meetings with guest speakers, attendees, and other industry experts. In addition to incredible networking opportunities, attendees can partake in wellness sessions and a 3D exhibitor gallery where they can receive special offers, chat, and schedule meetings — even with the executive speakers via a new feature. Lastly, guests get digital swag bags from the sponsors and access to the event platform for 30 days, including recorded sessions and all presentations.
“The workplace is changing fast. Are you ready for the future?” — Deloitte
Conference Organizer: Total Rewards
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Dates: October 4-6
Connect with Total Rewards employees and managers, solution providers, other HR pros, and thought leaders to gain new insights, connections, resources, and vision.
Buzz: Come to this in-person human resources conference to network and prepare to make the smartest decisions about the workplace, hiring, and retaining talent. More specifically, you’ll learn to build a sales pipeline, develop partnerships, launch new products, and share thought leadership.
“It’s true — absence does make the heart grow fonder” — WorldatWork
Conference Organizer: HR Florida State Council
Location: Kissimmee, Florida
Dates: August 29 – September 1
The HR Florida Conference & Expo is an annual conference run by the HR Florida State Council, which is a state-run affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). With more than 2,000 HR professionals and vendors flocking to it each year, this in-person conference is easily one of the largest in the state of Florida and — even though we included some massive ones on this list — in the world.
Buzz: The HR Florida Conference & Expo is well-suited for pros and anyone looking to grow, network, and learn more about the industry, whether they come from a small or a big business. Additionally, attendees have the chance to earn credits for SHRM Competencies Certifications and the HR Certification Institute.
“You also have the opportunity to earn maximum credits for both the HR Certification Institute and SHRM Competencies Certifications” — HR Florida Conference & Expo
Organizer: IPMA – HR
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Dates: September 18-22
IPMA – HR International Training Conference & Expo is the perfect place to get energized and reinvigorate your passion for HR by listening to panels, participating in interactive workshops, and learning strategies for handling HR challenges.
Buzz: This conference is designed for everyone from executives to HR specialists. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and become better-equipped to thrive in the HR field and advance their careers to new heights.
“Whether you’re an executive or an HR specialist, you’ll leave better equipped and motivated to overcome challenges and take your organization — and your career — to the next level” — 10Times
Conference Organizer: Academy of Human Resource Development
Dates: February 17-19
The AHRD 2021 Virtual Conference
Buzz: The Board of the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) decided to cancel the in-person elements of this industry event. However, it chose to continue the tradition of guiding the next wave of HR professionals towards a brighter future by hosting the event virtually.
“AHRD is an inclusive organization and invites all those who are interested in the field, no matter where they are on their scholarly journey” — AHRD
Conference Organizer: HR.com
Dates: March 17 & 18
The HR West Conference helps determine the future of human resources. One of the key goals of this expo is to provide HR professionals with an idea of what is coming next in the industry and how the workplace is evolving. HR West frequently attracts Silicon Valley companies and their leaders, who also happen to be among the most innovative and experienced pros in the world. More than 80 presenters offer industry insights, cutting-edge workplace data and analytics, tools and resources, and strategies to boost employee engagement, culture, globalization, and to cultivate leadership internally.
Buzz: HR West is a collaborative event that emphasizes the individual as opposed to keeping the spotlight entirely on the presenters. However, it’s still a big enough draw to attract world-class speakers, yet intimate enough for relationship-building. Additionally, the reception features a DJ, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres.
“The 37th annual HR West Conference will continue its well-known experience of community-building, networking, and professional development opportunities, now in an online conference experience” — HR.com
Conference Organizer: OPTIMA
Dates: Spring 2021
OPTIMA Conference is focused on teaching HR pros how to hire, design, and maximize the productivity of super-charged teams. The main theme of this in-person conference is talent optimization — the ability to improve team dynamics and implement strategies to achieve goals.
Buzz: OPTIMA offers data-driven insights to help you determine how to inspire your colleagues to thrive and execute on their objectives. The conference issues five unique tasks with sessions designed for each particular element of talent optimization. Additionally, Optima 2021 offers keynotes — which if last year’s Billy Beane of Moneyball was any indication, will be top notch.
“Most conferences are either about business or people strategy. OPTIMA 2021 is about the integration of your business strategy and people strategy” — Gene Hammett, Speaker, strategic adviser for growth, and host of the “Growth Think Tank” podcast
Conference Organizer: HR Tech
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada (in-person & virtual)
Dates: March 16-19 (online), September 28-October 1 (in-person)
HR Technology Conference centers around the future of human resources systems and technology. With more than 20 years under its belt, this in-person conference manages to attract more than 10,000 attendees every year along with 450 vendors.
Buzz: Everything from payroll automation to tracking software is on display at HR Tech Conference and generally, the thousands of products that are showcased are designed to be fast, accurate, easy-to-use, and scalable. Each year, 100 products are premiered at this expo. Between networking events and hands-on demos, HR Tech also boasts a number of amazing public speakers, sessions, and panels on a wide variety of topics such as DEI.
“Founded in 1997, the HR Technology Conference is the world’s leading event on HR technology, covering all the latest trends. From strategy and selection to post-implementation, HR Tech is a pivotal stop for all organizations on their HR journey” — GlobeNewswire
17. Talent Connect
Conference Organizer: Talent Connect
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Dates: October 14-16
Talent Connect is a two-day offering for LinkedIn’s corporate customers. This conference attracts thousands of attendees from around the country, including HR professionals from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and many other Fortune 500 Companies with the aim of learning from recruiters, sharing best practices, and mastering LinkedIn.
Buzz: Talent Connect brings more than 5,000 talent developers and recruiters together for three days of networking, collaboration, panels, and unique insights. Keynote speakers of past events included Michelle Obama, Gary Vee, and Jeff Weiner (CEO of LinkedIn).
“We’re hiring human beings. We’re building communities, and that’s what matters” — Dean Carter, Patagonia
Conference Organizer: HR.com
Dates: January 20
New Ideas and Tools for Effective Performance Management 2021 hones in on the most recent practices and trends in performance management. A small amount of companies have truly mastered performance management despite how conscious they are of how critically important it is.
Buzz: HR careers are about recruiting, onboarding, and improving performance via excellent philosophical approaches, technologies, and better processes. This in-person conference offers an in-depth look into the present and future state of talent optimization.
“Would you like to reach thousands of engaged HR pros trying to improve their performance management (PM)? Our virtual audience is waiting for your solutions!” — HR.com
Conference Organizer: HR.com
Dates: March 10
The Future of The HR Function 2021 is changing each day and the roles are ever-evolving. In fact, automation and technology have increasingly hastened these shifts. HR specialists are becoming strategists and often proxy partners as opposed to the former administrative type roles these positions once were.
Buzz: This event examines the challenges HR pros face and how to adapt through both the struggles and successes. Additionally, much of the discussion will center around what skills HR departments need and what the emerging trends of the HR function actually are.
“HR professionals play a growing number of key roles in organizations. Thanks to technology and automation, their roles as administrators are changing more to strategists and business partners” — HR.com
Conference Organizer: HR.com
Dates: June 16
This virtual event is about recruitment advertising and marketing as well as employer branding. Proper branding will ultimately help attract candidates that align with your company values.
Buzz: The State of Employer Branding and Recruitment Advertising 2021 is a presentation on how human resources professionals make certain their recruitment marketing processes and job advertisements are effective, which media are the most useful for brand communication, and how all of it influences the success of their recruiting efforts.
“Through this event, we will reflect on the good news and bad news when it comes to employer branding and recruitment advertising” — HR.com
Conference Organizer: HR.com
Dates: November 3
The Future of Employee Engagement 2021 takes attendees on a journey through the trends and strategies used to improve employee engagement.
Buzz: The pandemic radically altered our world on an economic and societal level, resulting in a number of massive changes to the modern workplace. These gigantic shifts have led to new perspectives in how employees look at their employers, their job, and much more.
“We will look for links between organizational performance and engagement, with the goal of discovering how they interrelate” — HR.com
Conference Organizer: Recruitment Automation Community
Dates: January 13-14
RAC is a free virtual conference for the global recruitment community to network, meld minds, and grow together. This 2-day event provides viewers the chance to listen to the foremost HR experts and innovators in the recruiting field.
Buzz: RAC allows virtual attendees to engage in discussions about candidate experience, the gig economy, the talent marketplace, remote work, and workflow automation.
“Enjoy discussions covering everything from automating personalized job discovery to the future of writing resumes to AI’s impact on candidate experience at scale” — 10Times
Conference Organizer: HRD
Dates: February 25
HRD: A Virtual Experience hosts over 3000+ delegates and more than 25 speakers across 6 interactive work streams. The streams focus on learning and culture, employee experience, talent, leadership, and strategy.
Buzz: This fully interactive virtual conference facilitates peer-to-peer engagement and collaborative sessions to help you create a joyful and productive company culture.
“Change is a marathon, not a sprint, but you can ensure your organization has the tools to keep up through the uncertain times ahead” — HRD Summit
People Also Ask These Questions About HR Conferences
Q: What is a human resources conference?
- A: A human resources conference is a gathering designed for networking and improving ones’ skills as a recruiter or Head of People.
Q: Why should I attend an HR conference?
- A: Recruiting and keeping top talent is increasingly more difficult as companies compete for employee satisfaction. An HR conference will help you and your organization stay ahead of the competition.
Q: What are some hr conference topics?
- A: Some common HR topics include: Recruiting strategies, diversity / equity / inclusion (DEI), employee engagement, and the newest HR tools and technology.
Q:Where can I find upcoming hr conferences in my area?
- A: HR.com and, of course, this list both feature a number of great HR conferences from around the country.
Q: How does a virtual HR conference work?
- A: A virtual HR conference works via video presentations, streaming, and often boasts many of the same perks and educational benefits as an in-person conference.
Q: Are there virtual hr conferences I can attend?
- A: Yes, and many of the virtual conferences included on this list are free.