2015 Guide to Conquering SHRM Annual- Las Vegas

Las-Vega-300x132We’re just a few weeks away from the biggest collection of HR professionals in the world….. the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition.  It’s one of those events where you’ll find HR pros in all phases of their careers, from all parts of the world, who work for every type of company under the sun.  Where better to put this collection of diversity but in Las Vegas!

Personally, I hate when events are in Vegas. Somehow the sights like people dragging their oxygen tanks around with them from one slot machine to another at 4 am, people on the street trying to flip nudie business cards at me, and hookers picking up Johns as I walk by the hotel registration desk just does not scream “HR Conference” to me.  But I digress.

The fact is that no matter the location, SHRM is one of the most valuable events for practitioners.  As a seasoned conference goer, I thought I’d share some tips to guide you through this year’s event whether it’s your first time or your twentieth.

1.  Attend my session.  Ok, maybe this shouldn’t be tip #1 but you have to admit that if I didn’t tell you to come to the session that Steve Boese and I are doing about HR technology implementation, I’d be remiss.  Seriously, be there on Tuesday morning bright and early for a session that will give you practical insights on implementing technology.

2.  Attend all the 7 am sessions.  I am not kidding. I get that it’s Vegas Baby! and that you’re thinking you won’t be able to get your party on if you have to be at a 7 am session.  Trust me….those are the great ones. Great topics. Great presenters.  Be there.

3.  Don’t stay where everyone else stays.  This is true for any SHRM conference.  It’s the only way you can have any real down-time, away from the conference mayhem.  Vegas is prime territory for finding a nice hotel like the Cosmopolitan or Aria where you can have great views and make time to hit the pool or spa.

4.  Diversify.  Break out of your routine and comfort zone.  Don’t just attend sessions.  Don’t just hang around people you know.  Plan to walk the expo floor and talk to at least 2- 3 new people each day of the conference.  Attend at least 2 sessions that you think sound completely irrelevant to your current job.  You’ll surprise yourself by learning something you normally wouldn’t.

5.  Network like a champ.  I mean it….I don’t want to hear that you’re an introvert.  Think of me like your mother telling you to eat all the food on your plate because of the starving children in China.  If you are fortunate enough to be at SHRM Annual, think of the thousands of your HR comrades who will NEVER have this opportunity.  I used to be that practitioner.  You’re there so be brave and introduce yourself to anyone who walks by you with a name badge.

6.  Know when to take off the name badge.  Earlier I mentioned partying  and if you’re the type that just needs to do that, remember to not wear your name out and about.  Nothing good can happen with your badge on after 5 pm.  It may even be a good idea to have an aka if you’re going out.  Just saying.

7.  Make notes.  Not just notes in sessions, but each time you return to your room, sit down and write a quick one page summary of what the takeaways were from that day.  You’ll be experiencing so much in a short amount of time so make the most of remembering what is important for when you return to your office.

8.  Take care of number One.  I used to be guilty of going to conferences and not eating properly.  Make sure you eat and sleep enough.  Also, it’s Vegas, so it’s dry.  Lather yourself in lotion constantly so your skin will love you and drink water at least 3 times as much as you would at home.  You’ll thank me later.

9.  Follow it all on social.  If you’re on social, you know the drill.  If you are not, at least get on LinkedIn and follow what people are saying about the event.  You’ll get good tips in real time of what is going on, where to be, etc.

10.  Have fun.  Seems it would go without saying but don’t just worry about sessions and notes.  Have a memorable trip.

Oh, and just to recap, come to my session on Tueday morning.  Can’t wait to see you there!

What Gave You Pride in 2014?

2014-pale-blue-beautiful-clip-art-reflection_0Well, there is no getting around the fact that as the year draws to a close, it’s a time of reflection.  I like to look back to see what I did that was expected and what changed.  I’ve been blessed this year to have more good than bad, and even with a few health setbacks, I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish, participate in, and the people I’ve been able to help and collaborate with.

I’m grateful to have tried a new aspect of the HCM profession, to have the ability to travel to too many locations to list, and to meet and spend time with some of the most interesting people.  I’m proud to have a career that is not only challenging but gives me the opportunity to work with people I really like and respect.

Two HR-related things that continue to make me proud are my involvement with HRevolution and HR Happy Hour radio show.  Both have been part of my life for over five years and I have grown as a person because of my interactions through both ventures.  

I have the best partners in both projects.  In 2015, I expect that both HRevolution and HR Happy Hour will take on new direction and that is an exciting feeling I can share with my collaborators Ben Eubanks, Matt Stollak and Steve Boese.  We hope you’ll continue to join us for the ride.

From a work perspective, the thing I’m most proud of is taking on new challenges.  One of those, HCMx Radio, has been some of the best learning for me.  Brandon Hall Group leaders decided we wanted to start a podcast in the HCM space that is different from all the rest.  HCMx Radio accomplishes that by incorporating research into every episode.  We’re the first to make that commitment.

If you haven’t checked out the new show, I hope you will and then add it to your favorites.  We post shows twice a month so it’s the perfect way to add small bites of HCM learning to your month.  Here are the recent episodes:

I am excited to see what 2015 holds.  In the mean time, tell me what you did that made you most proud in 2014….

What’s Killing Creativity in our Students?

HRevolution Official Logo blackIt’s been a week since #HRevolution 2014 wrapped and I’m just now coming down from the high of being around such brilliant people.  It is always the one event that I can’t write about immediately because there is so much information to process.  While there is great value in each session, one that touched me personally was “Sally Can’t Doodle and it’s Your Fault” led by Lois Melbourne.

Lois, Chief Story Officer at My Future Story and thought leader in the industry, has embarked on a career path where she helps students learn about various industries and careers.  This is something Lois has been passionate about for many years and she’s now putting that passion and her knowledge to use by writing books targeted at students.  These books will help them as they determine which career their studies will support.

In this session at HRevolution, several discussion topics emerged:

  • Do schools kill creativity in our students?  Lois encouraged all attendees to watch the TedX talk by Sir Ken Robinson on the topic as a way to get them thinking.  Discussion centered around the current state of the public school system in the US and whether it needs to change.  There was mention that US businesses need to partner with the school system in order to ensure that students are prepared to enter the workforce.  Another discussion was around the fact that we do not have a “business system” in the US so it is hard to partner with the school system.  Since each organization has to decide whether to reach out to schools, then come up with it’s own approach on how to partner, there is a lack of consistency.
  • Do jobs currently posted as “degree required” really need to have applicants with a degree?  Several in the group mentioned that it’s a way for recruiters to single people out of the hiring process.  Others started naming jobs that are traditionally degree-required that would not have to be.
  • What are Maker Faires and what is their impact?  When Lois mentioned Maker Faires, most attendees were not familiar with them so this was a definite learning point.  According to their website, Maker Faires are, “Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.”  I’d encourage you to check them out.
  • What does it means to have tenacity?  She then talked about tenacious inventors and how without them, we would not have many of the innovative, creative solutions and products we have today.  This made me wonder how people become tenacious.  Is it a characteristic you’re born with or can we learn tenacity?

All in all, the session was nothing short of amazing.  It’s not often that I walk out of a conference with more questions spinning in my head then I walked in with.  It’s an energizing feeling.  I’ve spent the last several days using my free time to listen to the TedX talk and to research more about our education system and what we can do to find a new way to prepare students for the future work world.

I don’t have many answers yet, but I know that these themes will emerge in my writing as I think through them.  What do you think?

Is our current education system adequate for preparing our students?  If changes are needed, what needs to change?

Do our children even know how to be creative anymore?

How can we send our children through the same system we went through, yet expect different results?

Share your thoughts in the comments.  I’d love to keep this conversation going.  

*Special thanks to our sponsors: Mercer, Symbolist and Small Improvements for making HRevolution possible and for all your personal and professional support.

 

Live from Achievers- HR Happy Hour #190

Steve Boese and I recently had the great fortune of hosting the HR Happy Hour show LIVE while at  the Achievers ACE 2014 event in Toronto.  Our show topic was Reskilling Your HR Team for the Modern Workplace.  

We talked about some of the most pressing and important changes and challenges impacting the modern workplace, and what that means for the skills development, expertise, and mindset for the modern HR professional.

It was a fun and interactive session.  You can find us on the show page here, or using the widget player embedded below:

Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlaneon BlogTalkRadio

 

And of course, replays of the show can be downloaded from the show page or accessed on iTunes or for Android users, on Stitcher Radio. Just search for ‘HR Happy Hour’ to listen to all the prior HR Happy Hour Shows and subscribe to be sure to never miss the latest episodes.

Join us for HRevolution November 7-8 in Dallas!

HRevolution Official Logo blackThe HRevolution is coming to Dallas (Grapevine), TX on November 7- 8, 2014 and you’re invited!

HRevolution is an industry-changing event in the US for the human resource industry.  It began as a single tweet on Twitter as a way to bring HR professionals, recruiters, CEOs, and other industry leaders together to discuss the current state of human resources and where the industry is headed.  It was also a way to give back to the HR community by decreasing the costs for attendees compared to traditional events.  Our generous sponsors cover much of the costs associated with the event.  This keeps our ticket prices low.  Get yours today HERE for only $200.

HRevolution has produced six highly successful events and we are excited to bring HRevolution 7 to a whole new level by refining the focus of the event while expanding the reach to increasingly more high-level HR professionals.  It’s also a way to celebrate our 5 year anniversary by reuniting with many of the past attendees who made this a success.

What is the ingredient that makes HRevolution different from all other events?  It’s YOU.

You will bring your knowledge, your questions, your fears, your ambition, ideas, and all those things that make you unique.  Then, instead of just sitting quietly in your chair as speakers feed information to you, YOU become part of the sessions.  We pull in some of the most talented thought leaders in the space to guide and challenge us.  You take an active role in the session.  It’s all about the dialog and networking.  If you go home having made some life-changing contacts, we’ll view the event as a success!   

At HRevolution, we believe individuals and organizations embrace the future when given the opportunity to discuss and test their ideas in a safe environment.   We provide an open forum for discussion, collaboration, and relationship building within the global HR industry.

HRevolution is really a living, breathing case study in change management.  Who would have guessed that a group of strangers could come together via social media 5 years ago and have a grassroots movement start to change the Human Resource profession?

For anyone who doubts the power of social media, I offer this event up as an example that when creative minds come together and are motivated to share their voices, great things happen.

Thank you to all our sponsors for helping us make the dream a reality. With the help of Mercer, Symbolist, Small Improvements and personal contribution from Lois and Ross Melbourne, this will be a great event.

Your planning team including me, Ben Eubanks, Steve Boese and Matt Stollak are all very excited to see you in November.

Viva la HRevolution!

Big Trends in HR Technology 2014 and Beyond

Today I’m sharing the presentation slides from a Human Resource Executive Magazine webinar that I co-presented yesterday along with Steve Boese.

The title of the presentation is Big Trends in HR Technology 2014 and Beyond.  While these kinds of ‘trends’ talks tend to focus on ‘trends’ that are really just far-future kinds of speculation or are simply repeats of ideas that have been talked about for some time, Steve and I tried to keep the talk grounded in research and the actual experiences of many of the leading organizations that will be part of the upcoming HR Technology Conference in October.

You can check out the slides below or this direct link.

Top 5 Points from the Webinar

1. There are 3 dimensions for potential impact of HR tech – organizational, managerial, and individual – and the most successful HR tech projects resonate and add value at all 3 levels

2. The key organizational decision drivers for the replacement of HR technology vary depending on the type of HR tech. For Core HR systems, better integration is the primary driver. For talent management however, User Experience tops the list.

3. Selecting the ‘right’ HR technology solution involves an analysis and balance of 5 factors: Cost/ROI, Technological fit, Cultural fit, system capability/roadmap, and complexity/UX.

4. For both Core HR and for Talent Management tech, an increased demand for better integration across the HR systems footprint, as well as with other corporate systems is driving investment and the attention of corporate leaders.

5. We are not really talking as much about ‘mobile’ or ‘social’ as discrete concepts, but rather a more comprehensive idea of ‘User Experience’, at its many levels, will increasingly influence systems development, purchase decisions, and user adoption rates, (and therefore, ROI).

Thanks to Human Resource Executive, webinar sponsor Castlight Health and Brandon Hall Group.

#HRHappyHour 186 – A Look Back, A Look Forward

On our most recent HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and I talked about the recently concluded SHRM Annual Conference, shared some information about our session about HR Technology selection and evaluation, and looked back over the last few years of the HR Happy Hour Show.

You can listen to the show on the show page here, or using the widget player below:

Discover Business Internet Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

The mid-year timing made it a good time to reflect back a little on some of our favorite shows, as well as talk about what the rest of 2014 has in store for the show. Also, new listeners to the HR Happy Hour Show can spend some time digging back through the show archives and play on-demand some of the shows that Steve and Trish mentioned, including ones with guests like Dave UlrichSherry TurkleMatt Stillman‘Live from Gettysburg’, and plenty more.

Additionally, you can subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or for Android device users, from a free app called Stitcher Radio. In both cases just search for ‘HR Happy Hour’ and add the show to your podcast subscription list. 

This was a fun look back and look forward for us, so we hope you enjoy it as well. Stay tuned, (and make sure you subscribe to the show/podcast) for more fun to come in the second half of the year.

#HRTechConf 2014: Technology in Sin City

HR Technology ConferenceIt’s that time of year when you start planning on whether or not you’ll attend any fall conferences or events.  For me, one of my favorite events each year is the HR Technology Conference.  I’ve been attending since 2009 and can attest to the great amount of learning that takes place as I wrote about in these posts:

I’m excited that the agenda is now posted for the 2014 event that takes place October 7- 10 in Las Vegas.  I’ll be leading a session with some of the top CHROs in the technology space.  I also have several of my Brandon Hall Group colleagues leading sessions as well.  I know that if you have any interest in gaining knowledge about HR and technology, this event will not disappoint.

The best part is that as a speaker, I have a discount code to share with you.  If you use the code SPKR14 (needs to be entered in CAPS) that gives a $550 discount off of the full conference rate of $1,945 – so the net is $1,395. This code does not expire.

So, come see me in October and connect with Brandon Hall Group at the HR Technology Conference!