Dispatches from #SHRM17 – Day One


When you think of Sunday in New Orleans many things come to mind.  The heat rising off the worn streets of the French Quarter, an interesting mix of pagan and penitent moving about slowly round the Jackson Square, or the line for café and beignets crowded with tourists struggling to find shelter from the mid-morning sun.  Oh and then there’s that conference of over 17,000 HR Professionals over by the convention center.

This is my seventh SHRM conference and it has become my favorite. Now, I hear you already saying’ and rolling’ your eyes “Suuuuure John, but it’s only been one day. How can that be possible?  Well, if you’ll indulge me for a bit:

New Orleans is a city that amplifies and heightens your senses. The sounds, sights, smells, people, all contribute to being in a state of awareness that is unique to everyone. You see and hear things you’ve never heard before, are willing to taste a bit of a dish you’d never have back home, and you find your feet shuffling to a rhythm that’s unlike anything you’ve danced to in years. 

SHRM is doing exactly the same thing, you just need to stop, and take a look around.

Sure, the general session opened with some familiar names: Tripp Crosby, Juana Hart, Hank Jackson. But the messaging is different. This time, you’re being challenged.

See, this opening session, if you didn’t catch that the world of work has changed and that you needed to be on the leading edge, you missed the big message.  HR has lost the inferiority complex, stopped demanding a seat at the table, and embraced the data.

HR is now saying “We’re thinking like the business and we gotta tell you we’ve got some opinions that are going to make the company grow – take a look at this...”

Yeah, our brethren have risen to the challenge to become smarter, data driven business leaders. We’ve embraced technology, not rejecting the unknown. We’ve become smarter, better, (and in the immortal words of Kanye West) faster, and stronger.

HR is “All In”.

This message came across loud and clear and early on. It showed that we’ve embraced this concept.

That’s why just after one day, #SHRM17 is my favorite! 



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