Wow. That word sums up all the HR goodness I experienced at the annual SHRM conference last week. Between sessions, meeting new people, tweetups and parties it was a jam packed three days.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
General Session with Blake Mycoskie – Blake discussed the uplifting and fascinating story behind the famous TOMS shoes (for every pair you buy a pair is given away to a child). He spoke about the journey from a small idea (get shoes to kids in Argentina) to the development of a mission that led to a successful for-profit business.
Blake has a very different look at business and TOMS, is just one example. He also strongly believes that giving should be at the heart of business. He spoke to the thoughts of many an HR pro with this beautiful line about employees:
“Attract, retain and inspire our employees.”
If that doesn’t make an HR gal’s heart skip a beat I don’t know what will…
Later in the morning I hit up a great session by Jeff Perkins, the Chief People Officer at NPR. This was a great look at how the HR group at NPR evolved and became a proactive business partner rather than continue in the reactive personnel model of the past. Jeff spoke to the difficulty of changing a team and the organization’s view of HR. This session was known as a practitioner exchange, and Jeff left plenty of time for audience questions.
Interesting fact: after the session I spoke with Lars Schmidt, the Head of Talent Acquisition for NPR, and he told me this was Jeff’s first time as a conference speaker…I never would have guessed that after watching his session. He seemed like a natural speaker.
Later in the day I also hit up a phenomenal session from David Rock of the Neuroscience Leadership Institute, he discussed how we can use the expanding field of neuroscience to understand how to select, grow and retain leaders and star employees. He also made some interesting comments that those tweeting from his session were not getting smarter but in fact dumber…
I would be remiss not to mention the phenomenal party Glassdoor threw at the House of Blues. The headliner was DJ Jazzy Jeff…enough said!
Two great highlights from Tuesday (no, I did not go to the Kelly Clarkson concert):
In her presentation “What the CEO won’t tell you” Sue Meisinger, discussed the relationship between CEO’s, CHRO’s and the Board of Directors. She started out on a basic level describing the average CEO Job: “The CEO job is lonely and difficult.” The discussion continued on a deeper level as she described what issues to bring to the CEO, how to speak to the CEO, how to deal with the Board of Directors and what the CEO usually thinks about HR:
A blunt statement for sure, but at least Sue also gave plenty of advice on combatting this mindset: leave the HR speak at the door, make decisions and ask for forgiveness later, and always be networking for the next job.
The afternoon was another whirlwind of events capped off by attending more sessions, a pre-Kelly Clarkson party in the bloggers lounge and the book release party for The Crowd Sourced Performance Review written by Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce.
Was I busy? That is an understatement.
Did I meet a ton of great people? Yes
Is my brain, even three days later, crammed with new ideas? That is an understatement.
Of course no event is perfect (certainly not the lunches at SHRM) but I also felt a lot of optimism and dare I say…pride? Yes there were the usual legions of people heading to the compliance themed sessions (Understanding FMLA! Ugh) but there were just as many focused on being a better HR pro, building and changing culture and developing employees. I am proud to be part of a group of professionals actively striving to improve themselves. Regardless of the negatives or the feeling that we aren’t moving fast enough I think we are certainly headed in the right direction.
Thank you to SHRM for a great conference and to Dice for sponsoring the bloggers lounge!