It never feels like enough time at national conference.
Every one is back home by now and getting in their usual work routine again (after a 12 and a half hour crash to recharge our introverted batteries-just me?). We are all catching up on what we missed while we were in NOLA and cranking out our "final thoughts" on #SHRM17 while asking ourselves how did it come and go so quickly? This was my fifth annual conference and it may have been the best one yet.
Every year the Smart Stage line up has gotten better and better (Rue has been killing it from the start), the crew responsible for the social media team finds more creative ways to use our experience as an advantage for conference attendees, and the concurrent sessions cover a wide array of interests and experience levels. This year I really started to notice more people connecting at the conference! Of course a lot of factors are at work for this to happen, but social media has a hand in all that connecting! I was so lucky to witness, and be a part of, so many IRL meet ups this year from people who have been chatting together and sharing their thoughts via twitter, Facebook, instagram, blogs, etc. and it made my little HR heart SO HAPPY!!!
Connecting with new people is not easy for every one. I know this because it takes a lot of effort for me to connect with a new person (and following Heather Bussings lead, I'm currently looking for a designated extrovert for myself to maybe make this a little easier). Regardless, these connections are vital to the growth of our field of Human Resources. Our profession is made up of all kinds of folks with different backgrounds, different interests, different education, etc. and that allows us all to see things slightly different. The cool thing about that is now you have other professionals you can bounce ideas off of, discuss challenges, and share best practices while crossing geographical boundaries. I don't mean we should set out to copy each other in any area of our job, but to build on each others strengths and learn from each other we have to be connected.
To move our profession forward and break the stereotypes that we don't like we must work together as a whole to, dare I say, do HR on Purpose!! The process of moving forward will happen much quicker if we are intentional about continuing the conversation long after conference. (One way you can do that is joining the #Nextchat discussions on Wednesdays at 3pm ET!!!).
Having a strong network of HR professionals to help you grow and push you to represent us all well makes the challenges of HR less overwhelming. So I want to challenge you to reach out to someone you met at #SHRM17 within the next week and just follow-up with them. Send them an email, LinkedIn message, tweet whatever you like & see how they were doing and tell them you enjoyed connecting with them! Keeping the conversation going can be that simple.
If you're an introvert like me, having those social media connections is way less exhausting than having to constantly meet with people in person by the way.