What I Learned At DisruptHR New York 5.0


Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by DisruptHR New York speaker Rob Catalano, Co-Founder at WorkTango – a platform that enables managers to have better conversations with employees to create alignment, improve accountability, and develop high performing teams. Rob is passionate about helping companies succeed – by leveraging technology to make employees successful. He has also previously written about his experience at DisruptHR Vancouver 2.0. You can check that out that post here. 


I attended my second DisruptHR event this week. (My first one was in Vancouver).

If you’re not familiar with DisruptHR, definitely check it out! There are so many HR events / conferences / meet-ups out there these days (I was invited to over eight of them this week), and we all struggle to choose where we to spend our valuable time. This one is worth looking at, and it is probably in a city near you.

What I love About DisruptHR

It’s easily accessible. One evening. Super affordable. Also, it gives you what you want from most events: to be educated, entertained and engaged. You’ll check all three of those boxes off through a round of over ten 5-minute talks of how we should be disrupting HR. It’s quick, engaging, and fun. You’ll also get to network with like-minded disruptors and speakers that don’t exit stage-left to their car waiting to immediately take them away.

I really enjoyed listening to the speakers last night. It is SO MUCH better than hearing someone drone on for an hour – unless they’re paid professional speakers that cost thousands of dollars in conference fees to watch speak. All the talks were interesting in their own way, but a few stood out personally to me. I like taking a ‘Top 5’ learning from all of my experiences to take back with me to my personal life and to the WorkTango family.

My Top 5 Takeaways From DisruptHR New York 5.0

1. Aaron Cohn / @acohn24 from HappyBot taught us how the song ‘La Bamba’ teaches us everything we need to know about great culture… complete with music AND dancing! Couldn’t agree more and a great reminder that we need to bring fun to the workplace.

2. Ingrid Olmesdahl / @ingridolmesdahl from Mando reminded me that employees need to be the center of our digital ecosystems instead of the mess most organizations have with their dreaded intranets. I’m being way nicer than how she explained it. 😉

3. Colette Ellis / @Coach_Colette from InStep Consulting reminded me how culture is key, and how we shouldn’t leave culture to chance. It’s something we instilled at my time with Achievers and that I need to be conscious about, especially as we grow WorkTango

4. Julian Morency / @julianmorency from Twine shared how a design-led culture can improve the productivity and engagement of employees. I thought it just looked cool, but the data around the approach was super interesting to hear.

5. Julian Ehrdhart / @ezyjules from UsTwo had an interesting talk on Pledge Parental Leave – unbelievable how The United States is the only industrialized country in the world with no government mandated parental leave (as a Canadian, I didn’t know that!), but so great how companies are coming together to help make this happen. Great cause.

I also learned that there is a passionate group of HR disruptors in NYC, and it was great chatting with, and meeting many of them. Some cool stuff coming out of the city, especially some of the coolest New York Londoners I’ve ever met!

A quick mention to Kashay Sanders who made me want to build a world of ‘roosters’ in my company, and Costa Michailidis who led us with some great energy and awesome debates. *snap snap snap*

Also, the use of the ? emoticon was the most I’ve seen at any event ever!

Hats off to the Rise New York team for such a great venue, and the whole team that put it on!

(This post originally appeared on LinkedIn here, and is reprinted with permission.)

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