I did two presentations, as well as blogged this year at #SHRM17 in New Orleans. I pushed myself harder than any other year at “the biggest HR conference in the world!”. But I also had some me time, including 18 holes of golf at a local course on Monday. No, I didn’t break 100 and the remainder of my group did (83,85 and 89 to my lagging 104), you also know there is always a silver lining. We played the back tees (longest distance) in 96-degree heat and I par’ d the 4th hole with rental clubs…. Life is sometimes about singular moments and a par on a 430-yd. hole with water down the whole right side isn’t shabby….and I did 26,000 steps on Monday, setting my own record for this year. I bet all of you had some pretty big Fitbit numbers, too!!!
Now down to business. First, I must give Kudos to the SHRM blogging team or should I say the Blog Squad. What an incredible group of high energy, passionate and focused individuals. The SHRM team lead by Mary Kaylor and Andrew Morton were incredible. I know many of you have heard this repeatedly….TS (you know the acronym) I must say it one more time. I also made some new friends and now have a couple of mentors. One of the best parts of the conference is exactly this. I also made a couple of new friends outside of the blogging community too.
There is so much to see and report on at the conference and we only touch on a small cross section of it. Sure, we heard angles on keynotes and a few interesting folks. We touched on a few existing and emerging issues in the space. The tweets and social media reach this year was significantly larger than any conference in SHRM history. Yes, HR folks are now in the main-stream on using social media. This year’s conference proved it and maybe that’s the biggest story of all.
However, there were entire sub-topics that we missed unintentionally. SHRM ran numerous training sessions for accreditation in tandem with the conference. The international attendance continues to grow each year and had large contingents and their own events, too. There were sub sections of SHRM like HRPS doing conference days within the main conference. There are board meetings or gatherings of HR branches going on before the conference, too…I saw the folks from the SHRM Foundation throughout the event. Think of it as the ultimate of all HR folks being “in session”.
Next year, I hope we expand the coverage to the outer fringes of the conference. I would personally like to report on these fringes as you may have already figured out. I also want to have a few sit downs with the board and hear first-hand what the agenda for our society looks like and challenge it with important questions. Unfiltered and unbiased, our version of the NO-SPIN ZONE (not to be confused with the FOX television version – OMG). The second ask may be better suited to a couple of our more seasoned bloggers, but as I always seem to do, I will certainly insert myself in the mix.
There was also significant business going on removed from the conference floors with vendors beyond the traditional smorgasbord of Monday night events, or vendor parties…. what was hot and what was not? Business was happening in every corner of the convention, hotel bars, restaurants, “the Quarter”, and even on a local golf course. Come on do you think I was just playing for the hell of it. Inquiring minds would like to know (I am an HR guy and some things just stay confidential).
Who were the HOT newcomers on the vendor floor? I saw two companies playing to the corporate hotel space this year, competing for the same customers…where were the law firms and major consulting firms this year? I was invited to one that had a party and wasn’t even exhibiting. Have they abandoned this conference for good? Is the new model to court and maintain business away from the main conference??? What’s new for next year? Is the Smart Stage going Main Stage as I have suggested?
These are all unanswered questions and opportunities for coverage in the future. And how about having blog squad coverage on a smaller level at some of the smaller SHRM conferences? I have an interest in politics, others are interested in diversity, almost all of us are Talent folks? The opportunities are only limited by time and budget.
I can’t wait for 2018!