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The Top HR Conferences in 2017-2018 You Can’t Afford to Miss

Rob de Luca, BambooHR

Which HR conferences are you interested in attending this year?

It’s hard to overstate the value of a good conference.  The benefits of networking alone are worth the investment. The problem is knowing which conferences are worth the cost. (If you’re looking for a solid free option, make sure to check out BambooHR’s Virtual Elevate Conference). 

That’s where this list comes in. We’ve put together a list of all the best HR conferences for 2017 and 2018 that will reward you with the most bang for your buck. Do what you can to make it to at least one of these events this year.

Let’s get started by digging into some tips for making the most of your experience.

Do Your Research

planning conference attendance

What are you looking to take home from the experience?

Once you’ve successfully acquired the buy-in you need for your conference, take some time to consider the speakers and topics that are applicable to you, make yourself a schedule. Decide when you’re going to be doing what so that you aren’t wasting time during the conference trying to figure out what to do next. Be sure to include time to break for food and time to rest if you need it.

Not every HR conference is going to be valuable to every attendee, and not every speaker’s content is going to align with your specific goals. Do a little digging before committing to a conference, and look up the speakers you’re considering listening to. Even the most riveting HR topics may not be delivered in a manner that suits your learning style. So look them up on Youtube, Twitter, and elsewhere, to determine if they are a good fit, and decide accordingly.

Note: If you have to travel for the conference, then you should definitely read our popular post: Work Travel Nightmares and How to Avoid Them

Bring a Conference Buddy (Or Make One at the Event)

Conference Buddy

In preparing for a conference, you will likely run into the problem that you can only be in one place at a time.

Bringing along a conference buddy, or meeting up with one, can help with that. Decide what activities matter to both of you, and divide and conquer, comparing notes when the day is over. Even when you both attend the same presentation, you’re likely to notice different things than your companion, and the difference in perspective will help you both glean the valuable information from the speaker.


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Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities

Conference Networking

Do what you can to maximize your networking opportunities. Attend after parties (on your best behavior, of course). Stay in the designated hotel, as it puts you in proximity with other attendees. Give yourself time to mix and mingle at the conference, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to strangers—you never know when an acquaintance will turn into a business contact.

Now that we’ve gone through a few ways to prepare for your next HR conference, let’s delve into the conferences themselves. The following list is categorized by month and provides important details and suggestions for each of these valuable events.

HR Conferences in January

HR Conferences in January


  • Host: Global Strategic Management Institute
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: San Francisco
  • Summary: “Recruiting Reinvented: Improve your social strategy with best practices and data-driven outcomes”
  • Price: $1,295–$2,180
  • Who Should Attend: Recruiters and talent acquisition professionals who are interested in learning about the latest recruiting strategies, data-driven recruiting, strategic sourcing and employer branding.

  • What’s Covered: The HR conference includes a pre-conference training, and compelling topics like “Putting Technology To Work For You: The 10 Best Social Media Recruiting Tools,” and “The Millennial Fit: Strategies for Helping Millennials Find the Right Job.”
  • Dining: The restaurant at the venue is Geraldine’s, which offers unique local cuisine, cocktails, and live music. Other nearby restaurants include Iron Works BBQ, the Moonshine Grill, and the G’Raj Mahal.

HR Conferences in February

Human Resources Professionals Associate Conference

HRPA Annual Conference and Trade Show

  • Host: Human Resource Professionals Association
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: Ontario, Canada
  • Summary: Unique on our list for being both a conference and a trade show, the HRPA conference’s premier feature is the “HR today” interview segment, which is filmed throughout the conference.

  • Price: $646–$1,697
  • Who Should Attend: The “world’s second largest HR conference” brings in a wide range of HR professionals from around the globe who take advantage of knowledgeable keynote speakers, more than 130 HR professional development sessions, a variety of networking events and exhibits of the latest HR products and services.
  • What’s Covered: This conference offers training on topics like “Economorphics: The Trends Turning Today into Tomorrow,” “Practical Strategies to Build Team Resilience,” and “Because I Said I Would.”
  • Dining: The King Street Social Kitchen offers a breakfast buffet and dinner in the evening, while the Mix Bistro serves guests from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and offers a scenic overlook of Toronto’s entertainment district.

HR Conferences in March

HR Conferences in March

HR West 2017

  • Host: Northern California Human Resources Association
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: Oakland, California
  • Summary: An HR conference for San Francisco professionals by San Francisco professionals.
  • Price: TBA
  • Who Should Attend: HR West is popular among HR professionals who are focused on staying on top of the latest industry trends. With more than 80 concurrent sessions (that go toward recertification credits) that range from startups, HR and technology, small business and advanced career levels — there is something for everyone.
  • What’s Covered: This conference includes keynote speeches offered by Jacob Morgan and Poornima Vijayashanker, several receptions, and a drawing for a grand prize.
  • Dining: In addition to the hotel’s various breakfast options, the Iron & Oak Restaurant and Bar is ready to serve morning, noon, and night. Outside the hotel, there’s a host of options available within half a mile, so there’s something for everyone.


HR Conferences In March

i4cp 2018 Conference

  • Host: i4cp
  • Dates: March 26-29, 2018
  • Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Summary: An HR conference with a heavy network focus, there are no vendors among the membership at i4cp, just like-minded professionals.
  • Price: TBA
  • Who Should Attend: The conference that emphasizes “next practices” — rather than best practices — is designed for senior HR, talent, learning and diversity leaders.
  • What’s Covered: This conference offers a host of invitation-only pre-conference events, as well as a pre-conference workshop and a welcome meet & drink, in addition to general sessions.
  • Dining: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has a number of local offerings for the hungry patron, all of them fine dining. Try Bourbon Steak for prime cuts of meat skillfully prepared, or La Hacienda for a stylish Mexican dining experience.


HR conferences in March

HR In Hospitality

  • Host: HR in Hospitality
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Summary: “The only HR event specifically for the hospitality industry”
  • Price: $780–$1,525
  • Who Should Attend: This is the only HR conference on the list that was made specifically for HR professionals in the hospitality industry. This event attracts hundreds of HR and Employment and Labor professionals from a wide range of sectors.
  • What’s Covered: Agenda TBA
  • Dining: True to Vegas, there’s as much to dine on as there is to do. With a large selection of nearby restaurants, there’s more variety than the average appetite can handle.

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HR Conferences in April

HR Conferences in April

ERE Recruiting Conference

  • Host: Society for Human Resource Management
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Summary: “Join leading-edge companies that will share their tools, techniques, and strategies for real change and growth.”
  • Price: $1,495–$1,795
  • Who Should Attend: This HR conference provides an interactive experience for talent acquisition professionals, with more than 75 percent of attendees holding VP, Director and Manager level job titles.
  • What’s Covered: In addition to regular training presentations, this conference offers a welcome reception, roundtable discussions, and a networking reception.
  • Dining: Onsite, Ten 01 Market offers everything from coffee and treats to salads and pizzas, all in a social atmosphere. For a more refined experience, try Manny’s Steakhouse or Hell’s Kitchen, both of which are just a stone’s throw away.


HR conferences in April

Talent Management Conference and Exposition

  • Host: Society for Human Resource Management
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Summary: In their own words, the conference “gives you the tools, resources, innovations, and solutions you need to evolve your human capital strategies.”
  • Price: TBA
  • Who Should Attend: This conference boasts more than 1,000 attendees that work in talent acquisition and management industries. Recruiters, talent management professionals, HR managers, and generalists will likely find the most value in this event.
  • What’s Covered: This conference covers topics such as legislation and compliance, onboarding techniques, and engagement and retention.
  • Dining: With all the fantastic dining options in the Chicago area, this list of the city’s top 38 might help narrow down your choices.


HR Conferences in April

HRPS Annual Conference

  • Host: Society for Human Resource Management
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: Aventura, Florida
  • Summary: “Join a dynamic group of influential business and thought leaders in a forward-thinking discussion around the critical role HR executives play in designing the organization of the future.”
  • Price: TBA
  • Who Should Attend: Senior HR executives who are responsible for the planning and strategy behind the direction of their organizations are typical attendees of this HR Conference.
  • What’s Covered: This conference features concurrent sessions, a host of keynote sessions, and even a “Walk + Talk” networking wellness activity.
  • Dining: From fine dining at Bourbon Steak to poolside lounging at Laguna Grill, there are a number of on-site options to satisfy appetites.


HR Conferences in April

BambooHR Elevate Summit

  • Host: BambooHR
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: Snowbird Resort, Utah
  • Summary: Finally, a BambooHR user conference—with keynote speakers, breakout sessions, networking, and entertainment, it’s designed to elevate your work and provide you with a better way to HR.
  • Super Early Bird Registration: $995
  • Who Should Attend: BambooHR customers who are interested in attending a conference designed specifically to help them elevate their work with industry education, individualized training, and unique networking opportunities.

  • What’s Covered: This conference included multiple keynote speakers, concurrent sessions, morning yoga, and even a “choose your own adventure” of optional onsite activities at the resort.
  • Dining: Snowbird Resort has a host of restaurants on location, from casual to fine dining, and from expensive to spend-thrift, depending on your needs and desires.


HR Conferences in May

HR Conferences in May

ATD 2017 International Conference and Exposition

  • Host: Association for Talent Development
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Summary: “Help others reach their full potential by reaching yours.”
  • Price: $1,250–$1,575
  • Who Should Attend: The ADT conference boasts more than 10,000 attendees who are dedicated to the design, delivery, management, and strategy of talent development. If you’re looking for the specific value offered by the conference, you may want to check out their ‘Convince Your Boss’ page.

  • What’s Covered: In addition to the general concurrent sessions, this conference also offers a “conference preview” for new attendees, as well as multiple pre-conference learning opportunities.
  • Dining: In addition to the lunches provided in the EXPO hall, the city offers a wide range of dining options. You can peruse some of the top restaurants in Atlanta Magazine’s best restaurant list.

HR Conferences in June

HR Conferences In June

SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition

  • Host: Society for Human Resource Management
  • Dates: [Event has passed. Check back for updated information]
  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Summary: “Internationally renowned speakers that offer fresh points of view and inspiring stories that can help shift your perspectives and deepen your understanding of leadership, motivation, and success.”
  • Price: TBA
  • Who Should Attend: This event offers relevant opportunities for any professional in the HR industry. With more than 200 concurrent sessions that allow for customized learning and access to thousands of solutions providers, you are practically guaranteed to walk away with a fresh perspective and new tools at your disposal.

  • What’s Covered: With a grand opening reception, concurrent sessions and master series, and even a performance by Harry Connick Jr., there is a lot to do at this conference.
  • Dining: New Orleans is well known for its unique dining experiences, which you can take advantage of when you attend the conference. Even if you decide to stay onsite, you’ll still have access to a range of dining options, which include a 400-seat atrium/restaurant and a gourmet dining experience at Ma Maison.

HR Conferences in August

HR Conferences in August

California HR Conference

  • Host: Professionals In Human Resources Association
  • Dates: August 28-30
  • Location: Long Beach, California
  • Summary: “We offer a unique experience committed to your understanding of the trends and laws affecting the future of your business, to opportunities for purposeful networking, and to connecting HR communities.”
  • Price: $399–$799
  • Who Should Attend: Industry professionals who are interested in learning about employment law and legislation, strategic management, leadership development and global HR.
  • What’s Covered: This conference is organized into a series of educational “tracks,” featuring focus on multiple topics, including the following: Global HR, Total Rewards, and Nonprofit HR.
  • Dining: The conference offers a map with a fairly comprehensive list of nearby dining locations for the convenience of attendees.


HR Conferences in August

HR Florida Conference and Expo

  • Host: HR Florida State Council
  • Dates: August 28-30
  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Summary: This event is the annual conference of the Florida State Council (a state affiliate of SHRM). “Each year the event attracts 1,500+ human resource professionals and vendors throughout the state of Florida and across the globe.”
  • Price: $350–$1,125
  • Who Should Attend: The individuals who attend this HR conference represent human resource professionals and vendors from virtually every industry. Attendees can also earn credits for both the SHRM competencies certification and the HR Certification Institute certification.

  • What’s Covered: This conference features master sessions, pre-conference activities, and keynotes from the likes of Ed Davis, Sheryl Connelly, and Neil Pasricha.
  • Dining: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek has restaurants that cater to a wide range of clients, from upscale dining at the Bull & Bear, to more casual affairs, like Oscar’s.

HR Conferences in September

HR Conferences in September

Crossroads Conference

  • Host: Utah Human Resource Council, Partners in Business
  • Dates: September 19-20
  • Location: Provo, UT
  • Summary:“Our mission is to provide an opportunity to network with peers, explore innovative solutions with vendors, and improve your knowledge as an HR professional.”
  • Price: TBA
  • Who Should Attend: HR managers interested in professional development and the exploration of top industry topics by a variety of powerful speakers.
  • What’s Covered: This conference features concurrent sessions, general sessions, two conference workshops, a networking event, and an ice cream snack break.
  • Dining: Onsite at the Provo Marriott is Slate Restaurant, with contemporary dining in a casual atmosphere. For those with more eclectic tastes, try Communal, or  Black Sheep Cafe


HR Conferences in September

IPMA-HR International Training Conference

  • Host: International Public Management Association for Human Resources
  • Dates: September 16-20
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • Activities: “IPMA-HR is your resource for comprehensive and timely HR industry news, jobs, policies, resources, education, and professional development opportunities.”
  • Price: $499–$949
  • Who Should Attend: IPMA HR has been serving HR professionals since 1906 and its conference and expo appeal to all levels of human resource professionals.
  • What’s Covered: This event features two pre-conference workshops: “Leveraging the Power of Employee Engagement in Government,” and “Workforce and Succession Planning.”
  • Dining: From Morton’s The Steakhouse, to The County Line, nearby dining options cover the entire spectrum.


ASHHRA Annual Conference and Exposition

  • Host: American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration
  • Dates: September 16-19
  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Summary: An HR conference dedicated specifically to human resources in the healthcare industry. Attendees are able to take advantage of general sessions, breakout sessions, networking events, and 175 exhibitors focused on advancing healthcare through HR.
  • Price: $200–$1,245
  • Who Should Attend: Human resource professionals in the healthcare industry.
  • What’s Covered: Agenda TBA
  • Dining: For a casual dining experience, try the Daily Grill. For something with a little French flair, try Loulay Kitchen & Bar.


HR conferences in September

CUPA-HR Annual Conference 2017

  • Who Should Attend: Human resource professionals working in higher education.
  • What’s Covered: In addition to concurrent sessions, keynotes, and pre-conference workshops, this conference also features “super sessions” and “micro sessions.”
  • Dining: Nearby dining options include Vela and Odysea Lounge for fine dining, The Pool Club for poolside fares, and Fox Sports Grill for those looking to watch the big game as they eat.

HR Conferences in October

HR conferences in December

The HRSouthWest Conference

  • Host: DallasHR
  • Dates: October 1-4, 2017
  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Summary: “The HRSouthwest Conference (HRSWC)…is recognized today as the largest regional human resources event in the United States. The conference offers educational sessions, nationally renowned keynote speakers and a Marketplace of 200+ solution and service providers.”
  • Price: $279–$1,199
  • Who Should Attend: HR professionals interested in networking with 2,000+ attendees, exploring HR’s strategic role in their organization, learning about the challenges and opportunities surrounding the future of HR, and discovering new solutions to solve problems in the industry and streamline efforts.
  • What’s Covered: This conference offers educational sessions, an online learning center, pre-conference activities, and re-certification through SHRM.
  • Dining: For formal dining, try Bob’s Steak & Chop House or the Cast Iron Restaurant. For something more casual, try the Water Horse Pool Bar.

HR Conferences in October

HR Technology Conference

  • Host: LRP Publications, Human Resource Executive
  • Dates: October 13-15
  • Location: Las Vegas
  • Summary: The HR Technology Conference & Exposition is the world’s largest HR tech expo, and boasts tens of thousands of attendees.
  • Price: $395–$2,095
  • Who Should Attend: This HR conference is tailored to human resource professionals who are interested in leveraging technology to exceed employer expectations and achieve organizational success.
  • What’s Covered: This conference features the 2nd annual pre-conference event “Women in HR Technology,” in addition to concurrent sessions and general sessions.
  • Dining: As mentioned above, Las Vegas has, as a result of its robust tourism industry, a healthy variety of dining options for attendees to avail themselves of.


HR conferences in October

Talent Connect

  • Host: LinkedIn
  • Dates: October 3-5
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Summary: “Talent Connect is a three-day event that will elevate and inspire you to reimagine not just your future, but the future of your company.”
  • Price: $1,495
  • Who Should Attend: Recruiters and professionals in the business of talent acquisition may gain the most value from this HR conference.
  • What’s Covered:  Agenda TBA
  • Dining: The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is one of the nation’s most popular convention hosts with 17 different restaurants and bars onsite.


HR conferences in October

2017 HCInnovation@Work Conference

  • Host: Human Capital Institute
  • Dates: October 24-26
  • Location: Scottsdale, AZ
  • Summary: “Join us at the 2017 HCInnovation@Work Conference to begin creating great employee experiences from hire to retire!”
  • Price: $595–$1,995

  • Who Should Attend: Human resource professionals focused on the employee experience and interested in learning more about engagement, development, wellness, and technology should consider attending this HR conference.
  • What’s Covered: Agenda TBA
  • Dining: Try Kitchen West for modern dining, or for a more relaxing experience, eat poolside at the Twisted Vine.

HR Conferences in November

HR conferences in November

Advanced Employment Issues Symposium (AEIS)

  • Host: Business and Legal Resources
  • Dates: November 15-17
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Summary: “Attending AEIS will help prepare you to get ahead of workplace policy updates with a comprehensive overview of breaking legislative changes, strategies to overcome compliance issues, and a networking opportunity unmatched by any other conference on the market.”
  • Price: $599–$1,697
  • Who Should Attend: Human resource professionals, executives, and in-house counsel that want to stay on top of employment law.
  • What’s Covered: This conference features pre-conference workshops, “hot topic power talks,” and keynote speeches.
  • Dining: The Las Vegas Strip offers a diverse selection of restaurants to suit any taste when it comes to dining experiences.


HR conferences in November

BambooHR Elevate Virtual Conference

  • Host: BambooHR
  • Dates: November 15-17
  • Location: Online
  • Summary: “Virtually everything you need to elevate your work. Welcome to the largest virtual HR conference in the world.”
  • Price: Free

  • Who Should Attend: HR and business leadership professionals who want access to more than 50 presentations from an impressive list of industry experts and thought leaders and the tools necessary to achieve success in the workplace.
  • What’s Covered: Agenda TBA
  • Dining: The options from your virtual perch are practically limitless.

HR Conferences in December

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