The HR Technology Conference is always inspiring and exhausting, and this year was no exception. I had the chance to meet with some exciting new companies (more on that coming soon), get updates from companies I know well, and reconnect with colleagues and friends. But I also had a collision of “personal” and “professional” life – a distinction that I am continually reminded is becoming increasingly outdated.

On the professional side, the idea of Employee Engagement is still a hot topic, but more and more we’re expanding this to be a conversation around creating a mutually beneficial value proposition for employers and employees. Putting choice and control in the hands of employees – which is good, but requires a whole new level of communication and transparency so employees are making smart choices. And it also means that organizations need to ensure they’re getting value out of all the choices they make around processes, technology and the benefits they provide. This mutually beneficial view is leading to an increased focus on things like tools to manage physical and financial wellness (by providers like Fitbit Wellness and Virgin Pulse, among others), and collaboration and communication/engagement platforms and tools to manage real-time feedback and goal management (Hyphen, Glint and BetterWorks are a few examples). My contention is that every choice an organization makes about its tools and software solutions is a manifestation of the organizations REAL point of view on talent. If the experience doesn’t match the promise, there’s a problem.

Which brings me to the personal collision. This week also marked the culmination of the HR Gives Back to a Future Without Parkinson’s effort (there is still time to give though, by clicking the link!) that a team of us have been working on for months. And as I talked with donors, as well providers and colleagues we began to discuss things like matching funds for charitable donations and support for time to volunteer, and how they could have a greater impact on employees and their loyalty or sentiment toward their organization if they were communicated better, and enabled by technology to make them easier to access.

The HR Gives Back fundraising effort was lucky to be supported by so many people, but when asked, many didn’t know if their employer matched donations, or if they did it was a complex process. Studies have shown that knowledge of and participation in other benefits designed to help employees and keep them loyal like 401(k)’s or other financial opportunities are often not understood or widely used. There are a growing number of companies focused on helping organizations overcome this barrier through education (Guidespark is one). And there could be huge opportunities for payroll providers, benefits providers and talent platform providers to help organizations better communicate the value they’re offering employees. For anyone concerned with charitable giving, this idea of bringing more involvement and raising more funds, in a way that creates a real return for employers in engagement and loyalty is exciting to think about.

I’ll be writing more about the evolving technology landscape in the coming weeks, and how HCM technology is helping organizations translate their point of view on talent into the right employee experience to deliver results. And in the meantime, I’ll be thankful for everyone in my professional world who came together to support an effort I felt personally passionate about.