Did you happen to attend the SHRM 2017 Employment Law & Legislative Conference? No? I think you may have missed out! I know, you’re probably thinking, another work-related conference? More bad conference food, freezing cold session rooms and just adequate speakers. Not at this conference!
The 2017 Employment Law & Legislative Conference (or for us SHRMies, affectionately called “the Leg Conference”), was pretty amazing. And I think I’m qualified to judge because it was my 11th time attending! To begin, there was energy in the air, and not an empty seat in sight. We welcomed more than 700 attendees—our biggest attendance ever!
The general session speakers knocked it out of the park, with Mike Aitken kicking off the conference with his Washington Outlook highlighting the most pressing workplace policy issues of today. One of the most entertaining sessions was that of CNN’s Ana Navarro and Sally Kohn. I don’t think that HR issues tend to be “funny” per se, but they had the audience in stitches with their political commentary that was completely relatable.
The concurrent session programming was a hit with cutting-edge content on topics that ranged from labor relations, health care, the FMLA, the ADA, the FLSA, social media and communicating with your employees. While our members loved the content, I think one of the greatest draws to the conference was the advocacy and networking opportunities.
Attendees enjoyed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, even with an impending storm bearing down on the Washington, D.C., area! While enjoying the amazing venue, attendees were able to network with their colleagues and share information from the day’s sessions.
The last day of the conference, SHRM’s Advocacy Team (A-Team) was out in full effect, packing the Capitol Hill Day Boot Camp to the gills! SHRM’s Lisa Horn and Chatrane Birbal walked attendees through the policy issues they were going to advocate on the next day on Capitol Hill. Later, this dedicated group of volunteers networked in a private A-Team reception (see—being a member of the SHRM A-Team has its perks!).
The Leg Conference wrapped with more than 230 HR professionals visiting their members of Congress on Capitol Hill to talk about the impact of changes to the Affordable Care Act and the importance of workplace flexibility. The single-digit temperatures weren’t enough to scare our committed volunteers away!
So, next year, when you’re trying to make the decision as to which professional development opportunity will be the most valuable to your growth as an HR professional, make sure you consider this conference! Not only will you gain knowledge on the most pertinent public-policy issues of the moment, but you’ll build relationships with your fellow HR colleagues and maybe even with some members of Congress!