I had the opportunity to catch up with one of SHRM’s featured presenters at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition (#SHRM19) Jennifer McClure - President, Unbridled Talent LLC. She is a must see at this year’s conference. Jennifer has presented several times over the years and is one of the most respected HR innovators in the HR community.
We spent some time chatting before SHRM17 in New Orleans and we are back two years later for SHRM19…what is new or newsworthy to share with the SHRM constituency?
Wow! I'm sure a lot has changed for everyone in the past two years. For one thing, the SHRM Annual Conference has grown leaps and bounds, and it's been exciting to see this growth over the years. I attended my first conference in 2009 in New Orleans, and I think it's doubled in size since that time. It's always so impressive to me how well-run the event is, when it so large. I love the amount of learning opportunities, the ability to connect with old friends and meet new ones, and to meet with vendors and the SHRM team to gather information to help me be better at what I do.
As for me personally, in the last two years I've really focused my business on keynote speaking, and in addition to events with corporate clients and in other industries, I've had the honor of being a keynote speaker at almost 20 SHRM State Conferences. I'm also excited to be coming back to speak at the annual conference for the seventh consecutive year. I absolutely love sharing strategies for HR leaders to grow their careers and their businesses, and the SHRM Annual Conference is the best place to do that!
You have two presentations this year, can you give us a sneak peek into each one?
Absolutely! The two programs I'll be leading are both mega sessions, which is a huge honor!
The first is “THE FUTURE OF HR: Four Strategies to Meet Business Challenges and Deliver Maximum Impact on Results.”This is my most popular keynote, and it's also my favorite. I think it resonates with audience members of all levels, and there is something each person can take away, whether they are new to HR, or in a senior leadership role. My goal is to focus on the challenges HR leaders face in the future of work, and the mindset, approach, competencies that will be necessary to succeed. I firmly believe that HR is the most critical function in a company, and HR leaders are uniquely positioned to help their companies achieve competitive advantage. I want people to walk out of the session with the belief that the work that they do matters, and to recognize the opportunity they have to add tremendous value in their organizations. They just need to accept the challenge and take action!
The second program is “DISRUPT HR! It’s Time to Disrupt HR and Approach It in a Whole New Way.” In addition to being a full-time professional speaker, I'm also the Chief Excitement Officer for DisruptHR, and since DisruptHR became a "Thing" in 2013, we've seen over 3,500 five-minute talks given by people all over the world sharing ideas for disrupting the workplace, and the future of work. I've tried to distill some of the key themes from many of those DisruptHR Talks, as well as research and studies about the challenges and opportunities we are facing and offer some ideas for how HR leaders can help them organizations navigate through them successfully. I want people to walk away with their brains buzzing, thinking about new ways to approach old problems in their workplace, and also to prepare for the future!
I have now proudly done two DisruptHR events In N.Y.C. and Long Island and enjoy the format as presenter and audience member, the events have grown exponentially the past two years.…can you share some insights into the event that you created…and what might we expect going forward?
We started DisruptHR in Cincinnati, Ohio in December 2013 - and never expected it to be more than a one-time event in our city. To have it grow to the point it is today (154 licensed cities in 34 countries as of May 2019) is mind-blowing! As I mentioned above, over 3,000 people have shared an idea at over 300 events around the world. Since realizing that people outside of our city loved the format, and wanted to participate, we've tried to stay focused on the original goal of DisurptHR - an event where people from all walks of life, all industries, and all position levels can share their ideas about the future of work. It's great to practitioners, and people who never want to be a speaker - or who may never be invited to speak on a big conference stage - have the opportunity to share an idea in a fun and engaging format. I love hearing from people all over the world how they challenged themselves to give a talk for the first time, or how they were able to share an idea that others engaged with or helped them build upon.
As for the future of DisruptHR, it's still a volunteer run organization - even I volunteer my time (lots of time) with DisruptHR - so my partner Chris Ostoich and I are at the point where we need to make some decisions about how we can better support the growth, and find new ways to highlight some of the great ideas that come out of DisruptHR events around the world. So, stay tuned! More good things to come, but also more opportunities for anyone and everyone to get involved!
You personally see and hear a lot of new ideas in the HR space. What do you think will be the next trend for HR and Talent professionals for the coming year?
I do get asked often what I think "the future of HR" is, and my answer is consistent. While the world of work and technology is changing at a faster rate than ever before, and artificial intelligence is creating both challenges and opportunities for the workplace, I still believe those who focus on the human aspects of work will be the winners. People still want to be seen, heard and valued at all levels of the organization. HR leaders must champion the people-focus in their business and help the organization to integrate the changes and technology advances with their talent.
In my opinion, HR professional who focus on developing their business acumen and HR proficiency, along with building relationships and influence in their organizations will be the leaders of tomorrow. Yes, the robots are coming to take some of the job in our workplaces (including some in HR), but they can’t replace the human aspects such as trust, appreciation, decision-making, judgment, etc.
Work gets done by PEOPLE. And we have the opportunity to be the experts in people. I see that as a huge plus.
You have one Powerpoint slide with 15 seconds to end this conversation…what is the visual and what is the statement that goes with it?
The visual - a key inserted in a lock.
I believe that HR leaders are the key to an organization's competitive advantage - and I want you to step up, step forward, and embrace that opportunity!
Thanks Jennifer and I hope those reading catch Jennifer at this year’s conference!