We’re down here in sunny Orlando, Florida where the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference has been underway for the past day and a half. This year’s theme is “Transform,” and it’s a theme that has reappeared and been reinforced numerous times already.
Preceding Robin Roberts’ opening keynote, SHRM CEO Hank Jackson took the stage with a call to action to attendees to champion the new and different. With the technology solutions available to us as HR practitioners, we should be able to automate the administration of HR and free up time to think and act more strategically. He also cautioned that out of everything in our HR toolkits, technical knowledge is just the start. It’s what we can do with that knowledge going forward that will make the difference to our companies, and our careers.
Robin Roberts inspired us with her tales of optimism and grit in the face of adversity. She shared with us her belief that optimism is a muscle that gets stronger with use. But she also encouraged us to put ourselves in a position for good things to happen, be willing to make necessary sacrifices to allow the good things to happen, and to dream big but focus small – the day to day details DO matter. But what really resonated with me was the idea that it’s okay to be grateful and thankful for what you do have and where you are, but not necessarily content, and that we should ask ourselves the question, “Am I ready for something bigger?” I believe that question should apply to each of us personally as well as us as a collective profession.
Tom Friedman talked about the marriage of globalization and the IT revolution as the most important event in the 21st century, and how that impacts companies and workforces alike. We gone from a connected to a hyper-connected world in just 7 short years, and advances in technology will continue to change the way work is done and the skills needed to get work done. He reiterated the idea that it’s not what you know or where you learned it that will matter going forward, but rather what you can do with that knowledge that will determine your success. It will no longer be enough to say “I’m non-routine;” we will need to find our “extra” – our unique contribution that justifies our value. As HR professionals, are we ready to guide our companies and employees (not to mention ourselves) through these changes?
As I listened to the numerous variations of this theme over the past couple of day, I have to wonder to myself…..are we, as a profession and as a collective body of HR professionals ready to transform? I know I am. Will you join me?
Stay tuned for more updates from SHRM14 later this week.
To read more blog posts by Jennifer Payne, check out the blog: Women of HR.