I recently read Tim Sackett’s post on topics that tend to repeat at SHRM Annual, basically saying that there was a lot of familiar content at SHRM16 as compared to recent past conferences, but ultimately recognizing the value in that. I get it. There are only so many big ideas for concurrent sessions that resonate in HR and are suitable for a broad audience. And some of the best speakers and most active SHRM leaders seem to have real jobs and don’t necessarily speak for a living, so if they are repeating their best material, that just allows people to soak it up again if they still need the message, or choose a rival session next time, of which there are many.
In addition to the topics that tend to boomerang, there were at least two other critical types of content at SHRM16 that need to be mentioned here. I am not talking about the general sessions, which are served up fresh and new each and every year. Every one of them was a complete knockout. I’m talking about:
- Small, interactive sessions on critical HR and business skills that we don’t typically get in other HR conferences and local events—an example is the great social media talk with Sabrina Baker and Michael VanDervort where we learned more about using different social media channels to implement specific strategies. I’m not a marketer, so it was a welcome conversation, after which Sabrina and Michael generously invited questions, then stayed to talk one on one with attendees to give them direction based on their own specific needs. Priceless!
- Nuts and bolts HR help that is up-to-the minute in nature-Mickey Silberman of Jackson Lewis gave a talk on pay equity legal compliance that was so fresh that the slides and even the title had been revised in the two weeks prior to the conference. Not only is Mickey a superior presenter, but the content was worth its weight in gold.
It was also super helpful to have all of the best vendors in HR gathered together in the SHRM16 expo. My clients are of the small to mid-size variety, and I was able to explore many different solutions for them in one place.
The other thing I grooved on at SHRM16 was the chance to meet people I interact with online and fellow SHRMies that work in other areas of the Southwest Central region. I also had fun getting to know international HR pros that feel like SHRM Annual is the best investment for their development dollar. I don’t meet them at the other conferences I attend, so that’s another great opportunity for me.
This was my first year at SHRM Annual, so naturally I feel like it was the best SHRM conference I’ve ever attended. There’s no question that it was well worth the investment for me. I’d love to be there for SHRM17, but since I’m the boss, first I need to make the money-speaking of which, it’s time to go do the real work of HR. See you in NOLA!
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Photo credit: “Nugget in the Back 40” by Kelly Marinelli