New Orleans and #SHRM22 has come and gone. Time sure does fly. Where else can you find President George W. Bush on the same stage that Brad Paisley rocked out to only mere hours prior. Although if I had it my way, Brad Paisley would have rocked with President Bush as the closing session. But it wasn’t all household names, the likes of Greg Hawks, Tim Sackett and Steve Browne took to their own stages to inspire, motivate and share - the rockstars of HR.
While I might still be energized (and recovering) from the food (beignets), friendships old and new, and drinks (that last Hurricane is always a good idea), looking back at the week with friends, facts/figures, learnings and fun, a few things stand out.
Students are the next generation
The number of students coming to SHRM continues to increase. The next generation, like the rest of us, are looking for a community of support, education, and opportunity. This is a huge effort that needs to continue as these young adults will take the places we continue to develop in the new marketplace. If you're in an area with a student chapter or college, encourage and assist students to find ways to attend. Better yet, connect with Hillary Theriault as she coordinates the SHRM student conference. These students have the opportunity to completely blow up their futures 4 days at a time in another city. Props to Dr. Jeff (Indiana Tech) & Tom Mobley (University of Cincinnati) for bringing their groups once again.
People and culture in action
We saw employers actually putting their people first. Motivosity was in a premium location of the vendor hall, but didn't have their employees at the booth on Sunday so their team could use the weekend to balance life and work. Life doesn’t just happen M-F, 9-5 and this shows a ton about their culture and values. Some businesses are talking about people and culture, but have yet to really act on them. Kudos to Motivosity for living up to this when you spent big money to be there.
Post-pandemic, being with "your people" has become even bigger. We saw 16,000 people looking to get their HR geek on and assemble in NOLA…which is double that of last year in Vegas. They packed rooms, halls, hotels and venues across the city. We saw this as many attendees reconnected, hugged, planned dinners, etc. Getting back to connecting is important for us in HR (much like our employees) and it was evident as spontaneous dance parties emerged amongst bear hugs throughout the conference.
Find your people, find your board
I personally use SHRM annual to renew my personal Board of Directors. These are the people I lean on not only in our profession, but also my personal life and career. They mentor me, understand what I do and the importance of it and how it impacts my family/personal life as they've lived it too. SHRM has given me the greatest gift - the gift of support and friendship. While SHRM is a great place to get my “learn on”, it's become a place for me to re-center and reconnect much like a professional vacation. Even if many wouldn't call it a vacation when you go 6a - 2a for five straight days!
As a frequent #SHRMInfluencer, the group of us congregate to deliver content to attendees and members both at the event and back home. We each contribute based on our areas of interest or expertise (mine being talent management and engagement) and our connections to speakers and vendors. Through this event our group became close friends, not much different than that person who was a stranger prior to the laughs and/or power pack you shared during that random breakout session. You’ll still see us contributing to SHRM events through the year and in pieces meant to bring you information and resources.
With #SHRM22 over and we look forward to to #SHRM23 in Las Vegas. Don’t forget to actually reach out to that new friend you met dancing through the conference, the one who offered to stay connected (not just a business card exchange). We’re all part of the same community, and you never know where those connections may lead.