Connex Group- HR & Employee Benefits Sector

A couple weekends ago, I was able to attend the Connex Group‘s HR and Employee Benefits Sector Meeting. A trip to New Orleans for a conference? Sure, you bet! And just for good measure- a stop at Cafe Du Monde? Of course!

I enjoyed the format of this conference. They interviewed each of the attendees beforehand to determine which sessions made the most sense. It was also in the format of think tanks for most of the sessions. This helped to have a more intimate discussion with other HR execs, which was amazing.

Instead of sharing an overview of each session, here are a few tidbits I took away:

Diversity and Inclusion:

One of the organizations was focusing on tracking sales results between men and women. They found that the women were showing better results versus the men. I did not dig too deep into what type of sales the company did but I thought it was an interesting idea. Could we show the importance of hiring females based on their ability to sell? My mom sold cars for a few years and beat the men on the floor pretty much every month.  I went with the theory of her being a rockstar but maybe it was because she was a woman!

A few companies are using diversity targets to make folks more aware of their numbers. Reporting on these numbers and setting targets made it more front and center.  They are not held accountable to these targets, and the awareness and visibility have driven better behaviors.


One of the craziest things I heard which makes me a bit anxious- no email Fridays!  It sounds preposterous but I kinda love preposterous.  The HR Exec mentioned that it helped folks to get up and walk over and talk to someone or pick up the phone.  It also helps folks go into the weekend in good spirits.

One leader spoke about their engagement team reporting into the Marketing department. The idea being that the marketing team sells the products and should sell the brand to prospective and current employees. Something to consider, maybe over another beignet.

I may remember this one incorrectly but I loved the concept so I will try my best.  Stay, say and serve- the way to keep folks engaged is through these three focuses.  First, the stay interview to determine how the employee is doing and if they are engaged at work.  Say is about conducting an employee engagement survey at a regular cadence. Lastly, serve is about asking folks to engage in their work and in volunteer activities.

Many of these Hr Execs sited use of the Rooney Rule.  According to Wikipedia: “The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. It is sometimes cited as an example of affirmative action, though there is no quota or preference given to minorities in the hiring of candidates.”

Change Management:

I was not familiar with the Prosci ADKAR method before this conference. This method can be used for both small changes or a complete overhaul of an organization’s culture and way of doing business.  It seems so simple, yet we all struggle with change management in our companies. Focusing on the A-wareness, D-esire, K-nowledge, A-bility, and R-einforcement will help drive the necessary changes with an urgency for business results.


There were many other ideas and wonderful conversations.  The vendors were a lively bunch that maybe kept me up a bit past my bedtime but I enjoyed speaking to them about their products AND world domination.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting some amazing HR Executives through this conference.  These are connections that will be beneficial for us all in the future.  The more that the HR industry can grow and support each other, the better we all become.

Enjoy these takeaways.  Reach out to me for more info if you have question about any of these topics.