Day 2 – 2013 SHRM Annual Conference

Day 2 of the SHRM conference, which is really the first full day of the conference, started with numerous 7:00am sessions. Reports indicated that many were quite full and the full shuttle bus at 6:30 certainly supported that observation too.

I started my day in a 7:00 session with Jennifer McClure. While Jen is always a fantastic presenter, this one was extra special as it was her birthday and the front of the room was filled with many of us who are active on social media. Jen did not disappoint and covered elements leading to the Future of HR. Highlights for me include the need for HR to not be HR leaders, but be business leaders who happen to practice HR. I also enjoyed her insights into the need to gather, interpret, and use data to make decisions that determine the right way for the business to operate. Jen gives great credit to other business pros as part of her presentation and encourages those in the room to connect with them and see how successful we can be.

The general session featured the founder of Toms shoes, Blake Mycoskie. His message was one that his company lives each day, giving can be a cornerstone of a successful business. Businesses that integrate giving are likely to attract employees who are proud to work there and proud employees are much more likely to be advocates for the organization and its products or services. Although much of his talk was the retelling of the corporate history, the vision he has for a better world and his determination to make a direct difference is a great one.

SHRM does a great job selecting sessions and making it difficult to choose just one to attend at any given time. The second concurrent slot found me sitting listening to Gary Kushner talking about the 5 global trends affecting HR. This session meshed nicely with Jennifer’s earlier in the day. Throughout his session, Gary provoked some questions in my mind. First, how can we have fully engaged employees without making them be available 24/7/365? The second question is related to the definition of the employment relationship. Gone are the days when someone would join a company and be with them for their career. Are we in HR prepared to evaluate things differently without asking for a long term commitment? Perhaps having a high performer for 2-3 years is ok? If not, there needs to be a critical examination of how we incentivize and compensate those we wish to keep.

These are the am thoughts from Day 2. The afternoon sessions were not as engaging and one in particular was disappointing in its approach. However, I am going to follow the popular motherly advice and say nothing if I can’t say something nice!

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