SHRM Behind the Scenes - An Interview with Mary Kaylor of the #SHRM17 Blog Squad

Inquiring minds wanted a peak behind the scenes of SHRM and their Social Media for the SHRM Annual conference, which will be held June 18 – 21 in New Orleans.

Mary Kaylor is the manager of public affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management. She is the managing editor of the SHRM Blog and the creator and producer of #Nextchat, a leading global Twitter chat on HR trends. Her career in HR and communications spans from recruiting to technology management to external affairs and public relations. She is an HR Technology Conference Insiders blogger. You can find her on Twitter at @SHRMKaylor.

Mary tell us who you are and what you do:

 HR has a story and every day is a new chapter. As Manager of Public Affairs for SHRM, it’s my job to help tell that story and to communicate to external audiences SHRM’s role in supporting, educating and advancing the HR profession.

As creator and producer of the weekly #Nextchat conversations and as the managing editor of the SHRM blog, I watch top trends and deliver content that will assist HR in building a stronger workforce and a better workplace.

You have been involved with SHRM for a while (since 2007), how did that all start, and what attracted you to SHRM?

 Before arriving at SHRM, I worked in a technology role and managed the call center systems and workforce management software for a large telecom provider in Virginia. I joined SHRM in 2005 as Manager of Member Contacts where I supervised a team of contact center reps and contributed my background in technology to serve as a subject matter expert on a committee tasked with selecting a new call management technology for SHRM. In 2007 I accepted an offer to join the External Affairs team as Manager of Public Affairs. I now influence communications in an entirely different way — and love it.

Earlier in my career I did some recruiting for a brief period at a boutique agency that specialized in sourcing executive-level HR professionals for Fortune 100 companies. I recall running into the SHRM name several times while in that role and was amazed – and impressed — that HR had such a large organization supporting it. It must have been fate that I eventually landed a job at an organization that I had always admired from afar.

Let’s talk about the “blog Squad”, what is your primary goal for them to accomplish?

The SHRM Blog squad started with five members in 2010 and has grown to 40 this year.  The primary goal of the blog squad is to increase engagement with attendees while connecting millions of HR professionals from around the world through blog posts, tweets, photos and video — on every social media platform.

Through activities such as the Social Solutions preconference seminar, The Smart Stage and several pop-up micro-sessions, the bloggers will deliver real-time solutions to the many challenges that HR faces in the new world of work.

The SHRM annual conference is the largest and most valuable event for HR professionals for education, recertification and networking, and the “SHRM Blog Squad” helps to communicate that value — and the amazing experience — to the entire world.

How big a part does social media (tweeting, blogging, etc.), have in the lead up to the conference as well as the conference itself? What portion (%) of the attendees do you reach and are they following Next Chat, blogs, twitter, etc.?

Social media plays a huge role in promoting engagement before and during – and even after –the conference. The pre-conference Q & A blog posts and #Nextchats with speakers and vendors help build awareness for the excellent content and provide “know before you go” advice for first time attendees. Frequent updates via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the SHRM Conference Community assist with communication efforts and promote greater attendee networking.

Visits to the SHRM blog always spike before and during the conference, as do tweets and retweets on the #SHRM17 hashtag. Engagement numbers have increased steadily over the past few years. The SHRM annual conference hashtag has trended on Twitter since 2013 and that is always exciting to see. The HR profession has embraced social media – especially for networking – and it’s great to see their enthusiasm and the increase in adoption rates.

Do you have a subject/topic that you think is a burning issue for HR practitioners this yr. at the conference (example A.I. in recruiting – artificial intelligence, dehumanizing of the workplace, etc.)?

Yes, yes and yes. Every topic is on fire for HR. I think it’s important for HR professionals to know as much about every new trend as possible. From talent acquisition to compliance to technology, each topic affects the others — and all impact the profession – and the expanded scope of knowledge will increase your value and effectiveness.

What keeps you up at night?

The excitement that accompanies thinking about what I’m going to do tomorrow…. about what new topic or trend I’m going to feature on a future #Nextchat. I love that I can produce a virtual opportunity for micro learning that connects HR professionals in the trenches and that provides a platform to share ideas. I love bringing people together and helping them to learn and get ahead in their careers, and my job allows me to do that.

What advice would you offer a first-time attendee?

I recommend attending the conference orientation session on Sunday morning. You’ll get valuable tips to help chart your course, meet other “newbies” and find new friends.

Try to “clear your desk” and leave your job behind as much as possible, so you can focus all your attention on the education and networking opportunities, and not miss a beat. Do everything you can while there – the expo hall, meet to eat, the Tuesday night show. Explore the SHRM Store. You will meet so many amazing HR professionals and build networks that will last a lifetime.

Also, select one session that you would normally NOT attend – and attend it.  Find an expo vendor that you would normally not approach and visit them. You’ll be surprised at what you will learn and how it will affect your experience.

Finally, please stop by the Bloggers Lounge (Room 240) and say hello.  I can’t wait to meet you.

– Thanks Mary, all of us blogging for SHRM appreciate all that you do. we can’t wait to see you in New Orleans


Originally published on Human Capital 3 blog.



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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