The theme for the 2022 SHRM annual conference is “Cause the Effect.” But, what does it really mean to effect? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (2022), effect can be defined as the state of being operative, or the act of making an impression, or the ability to influence others. Each of these terms serves to highlight the tremendous benefits to be realized by participating (virtually or in-person) in this year’s conference, June 12th – 15th.
Being operative requires HR professionals to have understanding of current legal and company-specific strategic requirements and then translate these into accessible, understandable, and actionable policies and practices. The road to New Orleans may be paved with good intentions, but the road travelling back home from this annual event needs to be created from a foundation of solid knowledge that can be put into practice.
Conference tip #1: Take notes during each session and write down at least one key takeaway that you commit to implementing when you return to work.
Conference tip #2: Bring a phone charger with you. This will help keep you operative during the event.
As HR professionals we leave an impression on those we work with during each and every exchange. While this may seem daunting, it is in fact exciting as our work provides opportunities for ongoing reinvention and contributions. While we may only get one chance to make a first impression it is important to acknowledge that the nature of our work leaves ongoing impressions on those we serve. The numerous and varied sessions offered during this year’s conference provide resources and important reminders of the critical nature of our work and how we contribute to both organizational and employee success and well-being. This time for self-development and growth will help all attendees reflect upon the impressions we create and the work legacy we are leaving.
Conference tip #3: Plan to take time after the conference to ruminate upon key points of learning. Book this into your calendar now or it won’t happen! This time of reflection is critical to ensure that you can use new knowledge obtained in meaningful ways, thereby enhancing the impression you leave on others.
Conference tip #4: This event is an example of when you don’t have to dress to impress. While business casual is appropriate, remember to wear flat, comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking. You will leave a better impression if you aren’t hobbling around the expansive convention venue. Virtual attendees should ensure that their surroundings are comfortable as well.
The art of influencing others is a reminder that, regardless of job title, we have the ability to impact those around us. While our work continues to evolve and face ongoing complexities as we navigate ongoing change, how we approach these tasks and the results we produce can serve to inspire others. It is not only what we do, but how we do it that has influence. Are our words kind? Does our body language (online and in-person) convey respect and deep listening? The smallest actions and even the tiniest outcomes can encourage and support others. While Carnegie’s (1936) iconic text provides guidance, influencing others doesn’t have to be complicated.
Conference tip #5: Don’t jam pack your agenda. Whether attending virtually or in-person, plan for appropriate breaks and make sure you include time to network. The opportunities to engage with, and influence other participants and be influenced by them, will certainly be a highlight.
Conference tip #6: Have fun! But, pace yourself, and relish the array of events wisely. A large part of influence is being authentic. So, remember to enjoy yourself (think Brad Paisley concert on Tuesday evening!) both virtually or in-person.
In summary, HR professionals have tremendous opportunities to be operative, make impressions, and influence/be influenced by others. In essence, we have the ability to truly cause the effect.