#SHRM22 Reflections

The SHRM22 conference ended with a grand gala last week; after nearly three years, seeing people live,  touch and hug friends was heartening. Fifteen thousand five hundred people attended the hybrid conference with in-person attendance of 78% and virtual attendance of 22%. Conferences are the best opportunity to learn, unlearn,  re-connect with old and make new connections. SHRM22 theme of "Cause The Effect" was woven throughout the breadth of mega, general, and concurrent sessions with topics covering the entire gamut of critical HR areas- DEIB, talent acquisition, retention, workplace culture, wellbeing, technology, and leadership. It's a challenge to summarize the four days of mega learning. My favorite sessions and exhibitors:

HR Technology/HR Tech

·       How BMW Leverages Emerging Technology for People and Talent Needs by Joe Zeska, Manager HR Planning BMW, and Erica Young, Enterprise Solutions Architect, SHRM – various tools available to manage Talent Management and augment HR operations.

·       The Age of People Analytics: Discover The Secret to Solving Your Biggest Business Challenge session by Carla Williams, Senior Director of People Analytics at Visier – how to leverage data to tackle business challenges like The Great Resignation, etc., and business justifications for investing in technology

·       Using Machine learning to Get the Full Story from Employee Survey Data by Shawn Overcast – Applications for machine learning with qualitative data and how to use machine learning-based analysis to tell the whole story behind numbers

Exhibitor :

  • People Intelligence Alliance (PIA): Unlike other exhibitors, PIA doesn’t have a product to sell. PIA is a collaborative effort by 11 companies, academia, and vendors to identify and help solve workforce problems without any self-serving interest. The People Intelligence Alliance is a community of data-driven people leaders that provide the support needed to steer the future of work towards openness, transparency, and collaboration.  


SHRMLabs  Better Workplace Challenge Cup


The second annual Better Workplace Challenge Cup (BWCC) Competition is an HR Technology Startup competition that goes through multiple rounds of vetting. One hundred and fifty HR Tech startups compete, and the final four make it to the SHRM Annual Conference. The final four-pitch about their product/services to the expert panel of judges. The winner takes home $50,000. All participants are winners simply because of their exposure and visibility at the SHRM conference and after that. One special mention is that this year’s final four were founded and run by female founders. So, let's take a glance at the absolute last.

·       Vinco  -2022 Winner was founded by Lissy Giacomán, an ed-tech company based in Monterrey, Mexico. Vinco helps blue-collar workers' education upskilling through their connections at over 2,000 top educational programs.

·       Automation Workz – Ida Byrd-Hill, CEO based in Detroit, MI, a mobile app assisting HR teams to motivate front-line workers to digital career and training.

·       Included was co-founded by Laura Close, it helps an organization hire and retain a diverse workforce and help accomplish DEI goals

·       Inclusivvv was founded by  Jenn Graham and is a  research-backed tech platform that brings people to difficult conversations via a three-step process and fosters inclusion.


Congratulations to the winner Vinco and the final four participants. Shout out to Guillermo Corea – Managing Director SHRMLabs and his fantastic team for fostering innovation and encouraging startups to build a better digital workplace today for tomorrow. As an HR Technology practitioner and consultant, I desire that SHRM, the largest HR organization in the world, should become the go-to place for all things HR Tech and HR research. Kudos to Johnny C Taylor Jr. for making the investment and energy in SHRMLabs. We live in a data-driven world; HR needs original research and data; kudos to SHRM's original study led by Alex Alonso – Chief Knowledge Officer, SHRM.



· "Rise and Shine: HR's Defining Moment Is Now!" by Johnny C Taylor Jr., President and CEO of SHRM-  HR should function like a thermostat that regulates and creates changes, not as a thermometer that can only measure the state of things. Favorite quote in this session: "Change is happening at incredible velocity."

· H. R. - Transforming from Support Role to Strategic Leader" by Steve Browne.  Steve explained the inertia of HR practitioners to lead and how HR can bring value to the team and the organizations. Favorite quote in this session: "If you are not here for the people – get out."  


"Shifting Mental Health Awareness into Action in the Workplace" by Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive – Arianna said, "Burnout shouldn’t be looked at for success" and emphasized recovery and recharging are the two most important ways to improve our performances. In other words, her calling was to sleep well and feed "cognitive nutrition," as food helps our brain function effectively. Arianna also discussed smartphone addiction and how it affects too many of us.

Favorite quote in this session: "Failure is not the opposite of success; it's a stepping stone to success."

Closing Session:

The closing session of President George W. Bush was refreshingly funny. First, he shared his leadership experience handling the major crisis of 9/11 and the need for leaders to maintain calm during storms. Characteristics of successful leadership are humility, keeping calm, and listening to people. Next, he shared inspiring stories about his late parents. Finally, he kissed Johnny Taylor Jr cheeks.

Call to Action:

You can download all presentations from the app SHRM Events; if you didn't attend, you could just read all SHRM22 Influencer's blogs about the sessions. Then, make sure you implement all the learnings; it's not easy to make changes immediately, but don't get discouraged, keep trying—plan for the 2023 conference in Vegas.

Whatever happens in Vegas... you know the rest. See you there!

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