Tag Archives: SHRM Annual Conference

A Day in the Life…

One of many things that SHRM does well is to try to evaluate the services it provides to its members. So I wasn’t surprised that SHRM sent me an invitation to evaluate my experience at this year’s Annual Conference in Atlanta. And I tried to be honest. But really, how do you give feedback to an organization that executes its biggest event so well – year in and year out?

But I’ve been thinking about the question that asked what I would recommend for future Annual Conferences.  I gave a quick answer.  And I’ve been thinking about it more and I’d like to expand on my answer.

I suggest having a series of sessions called “A Day in the Life of…”  When I answered the question I was specific: engage one of the CHROs in the Fortune 100 to describe what their job and life are really like as an example for emerging HR leaders to see. We don’t see many CHROs on any stage at SHRM. I understand all the reasons why we don’t see them, but I think SHRM needs to try harder. Presenting a role model in the flesh would be high impact.

But as I’ve been thinking about it, why not also have sessions with CHROs from a privately held company with 5,000 employees, from a public company with 25,000 employees, from a large education institution, from a think tank, from a large national non-profit, and from a pre-IPO tech start-up? Not a panel discussion. A session by each of them, individually.

Not everyone in HR wants to be the CHRO of GE, but some do. Not everyone in HR wants to be the CHRO in a privately-held company, but some do. Show them what it’s like. Show them what it takes to get there – and stay there.

And then I thought, well, how about other functions? What’s it like to be the Chief Marketing Officer in the Fortune 100 – and what do they think about and want from HR?

How about a day in the life of the CFO of a global public retailer – and what they think about and want from HR?

How about the Chief Information Officer at a large privately-held technology company?

And how about the head of Total Rewards in a Fortune 250 company – how did they get there?

The head of Talent Acquisition in a Fortune 500 company – how did they get there?

The Chief Learning Officer in a global hospitality company – how did they get there?

You get my drift. A series of “A Day in Life of…” would put real leaders on the podium to share what works for them and what doesn’t work for them.  How they got there and what they’d do over again and what they would skip. And from everyone:  what advice for emerging or aspiring HR leaders.

Not only would this be interesting for intentional HR professionals, it would be helpful for those who got here by accident and aren’t sure where to go, whether or not to stay, and what is possible.  Holding successful HR (and other) leaders up for conference attendees to hear from and get coaching from might be the next big step in speaker impact that SHRM is looking for.

As with most good ideas, this came out of several conversations I had with HR leaders in Atlanta. Thanks. You know who you are.

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Filed under China Gorman, Conferences, HR, HR Conferences, SHRM, SHRM Annual Conference

It’s a Wrap!

Well…another SHRM Conference is in the can. In Atlanta. In the Georgia World Congress Center. More than 13,000 attendees – with more than 1,000 from outside the U.S.

Here’s my assessment:  no one does HR conferences like SHRM. Period.

  • More than 200 concurrent sessions
  • High profile keynote speakers
  • World class entertainment
  • More than 800 exhibitors in the Expo Hall
  • Social media integrated throughout
  • Involvement of more than 700 local SHRM member volunteers
  • More than 350 SHRM employees

The SHRM Annual Conference is the single largest gathering of HR professionals anywhere in the world – year in and year out. And it’s motivating and exciting to be a part of that.

And while the mechanics are impeccable, the content engaging, and the crowds impressive, the real value of a gathering like this aren’t the mechanics, content and crowds. The real value of SHRM is the personal connections we make, the conversations we have, the meeting IRL of people we only know through social media, the meeting IRL of people we read about in HR Magazine, the private coaching from our mentors, the chance meetings of people who will be new personal and professional friends.

On second thought, it’s not actually a wrap, my friends. It’s a hug. It’s a hug from our profession. It’s a hug from our colleagues, our heroes, our game changers.  And who doesn’t need a hug from time to time?

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Filed under China Gorman, Conferences, HR Conferences, SHRM, SHRM Annual Conference

What a Difference 3 Years Makes!

Three years ago in at its Annual Conference in New Orleans SHRM took a tiny, tentative baby step into the land of Social Media by fielding a concurrent session on HR Blogging.  It was called “HR Bloggers: who are they and why should I care?”  Four HR bloggers, 2 SHRM members and two (then) non-SHRM members) were featured in a panel discussion.  There was only one guideline:  no cussing.

The panelists, Kris Dunn (www.hrcapitalist.com), Lance Haun (www.lancehaun.com), Jessica Lee (www.fistfuloftalent.com) and Laurie Ruettimann (www.thecynicalgirl.com), spoke in language not recognized by most HR professionals about social media, tweeting and social community.  The most interesting part of the conversation to me was the discussion on whether or not bloggers should be held to commonly accepted journalistic ethical standards.

Also noteworthy about this session was the fact that it was live-streamed, a first-ever event at a SHRM conference.

And that was it. Well, if tentatively, received.  Tiny baby steps.

Flash forward 3 years and WOW!

A micro site on the SHRM website dedicated to the conference experience called The Buzz.

A social media lounge for bloggers – and there are lots of them.  The Hive – a 3,000 square foot social media hub/genius bar/meeting spot/training ground – prominently positioned and staffed by true HR social media experts to help attendees get started in social media or get more effective at social media.

Want to set up a Twitter account?  They’ll help you do it on the spot.  Want to change your FaceBook profile? They’ll help you do it on the spot.  Can’t figure out how to share a profile on LinkedIn?  They’ll help you do it on the spot.  Want to fill out your profile on SHRMConnect and get started?  They’ll help you do it on the spot.

Curtis Midkiff (@SHRMSocMedGuy), head of SHRM’s social media efforts has conceived and produced a brilliantly elegant approach to adding social media to the fabric of the conference experience.  If you’re a newbie, his team at The Hive will get you started.  If you’ve started but need help reaching the next level, his team at The Hive will get you there.  If you’re an expert, you’re welcome in the social media lounge – but beware. You will feel honor-bound to write a blog post and publish it immediately.  (Sort of like this one.)

Couple these efforts with free WiFi connectivity in the convention center and you have a benchmark, 21st century social media enabled conference.  Well done, Curtis and team.  Well done!

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Filed under Conferences, HR Conferences, SHRM, SHRM Annual Conference, Social Media, The Hive