HealthcareSource Talent Symposium First-Timer's GuideThe first time I attended HealthcareSource Talent Symposium, I became NetLearning NLA8 certified. I gained 12 professional development credits towards my SHRM certification renewal, and I left with approximately 20 good peer connections. I also got to put faces to the names of HealthcareSource employees I had been working with over the phone and on WebEx.

Leaving that first conference, the thing that stuck with me the most was the event’s “feel.” I truly felt included in all aspects of the conference. The HealthcareSource employees and executive staff were readily available and actively sought out clients to meet, and that is something I have not experienced at other events. Every HealthcareSource team member ensured all the clients felt welcomed and filled each moment of the conference with valuable professional development experiences.

But I also remember that as a first-timer, I was not sure what to expect. So I’ve put together this first-timer’s guide to get the most out of this valuable event.

Tip #1: Download the Talent Symposium App

Concerned about missing a valuable session, I downloaded the conference app, which turned out to be immensely helpful. I could easily check my phone for my next session, get a map of its location, and even access the handouts. You can also use the app to learn more about the sessions, presenters, and exhibitors, and find a list of attendees.

The app has the PowerPoint presentations, so even if you miss a session due to a conflict, you can view the slides and get the name of the presenter so you can reach out to them with any questions. Even better, some of the more popular sessions are repeated during the event.

Tip #2: Do Not Miss the Welcome Reception (or Any of the Fun Events)

I attended the Welcome Reception, and the first thing that took me by surprise was the fact that it was more like a reunion atmosphere. I could see clients greeting fellow clients with warm hugs, and HealthcareSource partners also greeting clients like they were longtime friends. This theme was something I noticed throughout the entire symposium. In fact, I would suggest you attend all the conference events, especially the Networking Party.

Tip #3: Eat Lunch with ‘Birds of a Feather’

Attending a conference on your own can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time going, but at Talent Symposium, there are many opportunities to connect with others. I found the Birds of a Feather luncheons extremely valuable. Tables are arranged by state, so you can meet other clients from your area. And once you attend this lunch, rest assured you will not eat alone at any other time during the conference.

Tip #4: Get Closer to the Products

Did you know you can book appointments with product associates to do hands-on learning sessions? Clients can come to Talent Symposium, sign into their product accounts, and learn how to perform certain tasks or troubleshoot an issue with the experts who created the tools. Also, be on the lookout for focus groups and roundtables with the product managers for the solutions you use to see new feature demonstrations and provide feedback. I noticed there were product engineers in the room taking notes and asking questions to improve workflows. These sessions give you an opportunity to share feedback on the system in its current format and to hear from other clients. Many of the future product releases include input from these conversations.

Tip #5: Don’t Miss the Exhibitors

You’ll find that there is also plenty of time to interact with HealthcareSource’s partner organizations and to explore their offerings. At other conferences I’ve attended, you can only do this during one lunch hour or maybe the evening reception. But at Talent Symposium, you have access to the exhibitors pretty much all day, every day of the conference. Who knows what resources you might find?

Tip #6: Report Back to Home Base

I sent emails daily to my boss at my organization to share the new processes, tools, and future system releases I was learning about during the conference — this really helps to show the value of attending Talent Symposium. Each year, I was typically able to roll out a new process across our organization based upon information I had seen during Peer-to-Peer sessions. These presentations are invaluable as they are led by clients who have real-life scenarios and examples to share.

Of course, I followed my own tips. And by the time I attended my third Talent Symposium, I was connected to 40 contacts who were also clients. I also had created a HealthcareSource User Group in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and the clients in our network would regularly reach out to each other, providing a great wealth of shared knowledge and expertise. I was even invited to present at the conference. I believe it is that experience that led me to pursue my own career with HealthcareSource.

Don’t miss all the great professional development and networking opportunities at Talent Symposium. Register today!


Sarah Peterman

About Sarah Peterman

Sarah Peterman, PHR, SHRM-CP, is an Account Support Specialist for HealthcareSource Performance Manager. In her role, she provides system support and guidance to Performance Manager Administrators as well as assists the product development team with new features and processes. With more than 15 years of human resources experience, including three years as an Administrator for NetLearning and Performance Manager, Sarah is certified with SHRM and HRCI. Originally from England, Sarah now resides in upstate New York.