I am still buzzing from all the exciting sessions and networking that took place at this year’s SHRM22. To say it was a worthwhile event would definitely be an understatement. There were so many great presentations and speakers that I'll need weeks to process everything I learned!
Here, however, are some of my top takeaways from the event. If you couldn’t attend this year, make sure you join us next year! These SHRM conferences seem to get more inspirational and impactful each time. Exciting news – registration is now open for SHRM23 which will be June 11-14 in Las Vegas!
Key Takeaway #1 - Representation matters.
HR is TRULY global and SHRM has done a GREAT job with putting diversity and inclusiveness at the forefront. At SHRM22, for example, we had 15,000 participants in New Orleans and 3,000 more attending virtually, with nearly 80 countries represented!
If we want our workplaces to reflect our diverse and vibrant world, then it becomes increasingly important to make sure that we start by making events such as these welcoming and inclusive. There is always room for improvement, but in my eyes SHRM22 did a great job at doing just that.
Key Takeaway #2 - Promoting wellbeing allows employees to bring their whole selves to work.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, and author of 15 books called on HR to #CauseTheEffect and promote the wellbeing of your employees so that they bring their whole selves to work.
How did she propose that HR professionals actually do that? One way is to conduct "onboarding interviews” where you ask them what’s important to them outside of work - then ask how you can support them.
Arianna was a definite highlight of the event!
Key Takeaway #3 - Burnout is real and preventable.
Terri & Robert Bogue’s session on burnout delivered some great insights. They weren’t just there to reiterate the dangers of burnout, but to help leaders-at-all-levels understand how they can help extinguish it for good. Two of the things they recommended were to: provide recognition for people’s contributions (including acknowledging our own!) and crafting support systems for success (both by our organizations for our employees and by each of us for our own personal wellbeing!).
For an abundance of actionable resources, make sure to visit their website, https://extinguishburnout.com
Key Takeaway #4 – Let’s laugh!
Perhaps my single favorite session was Greg Schwem’s “You Can’t Cancel Laughter: How Stifling Workplace Humor Can Also Stifle Creativity and Retention.” As an Organizational Psychologist I know that one of the best ways to get our brain back in gear in the midst of the fear and threat that can be evoked by crisis and change (and we’ve all been in the midst of so much deeply disturbing disruption in the last two years especially) is laughter. Laughter gets the oxygen flowing back to our brains so we can think more clearly and creativity, get rescued from the amygdala hijack, boost immunity, reduce stress hormones, and promote collaboration and teamwork.
After the event, Greg shared: "I was prepared for some pushback from audience members when I said that, perhaps, corporate America has gone overboard in trying to appease all employees and, in the process, removing humor from the workplace. But I felt the audience agreed with me. Humor has a place at work. Attempts to incorporate it might result in an occasional swing and a miss but it should never be swept under the rug."
Indeed! Our well-intentioned missteps and very human foibles can bring us together; remind us of our collective vulnerability; reinforce our desire to learn, grow, and live in harmony together; and foster our common humanity. Another opportunity to express empathy during these challenging times, and beyond. And, for our HR community to take the lead and #CauseTheEffect!
Key Takeaway #5 - It takes a village to put on an event like this.
I’m always amazed at how many people it takes to put on an event like this. All of the sponsors, speakers, workshop facilitators, partners, #SHRM22Influencers, SHRM staff, and behind-the-scenes crew worked so hard and so collaboratively to put on such an inspiring event.