What’s Your SHRM Relationship Status? Final Thoughts on #SHRM17

Final Thoughts on #SHRM17

How would you describe your relationship with SHRM?  

  • Member
  • Volunteer
  • Vendor
  • Speaker
  • Staff
  • Board Member
  • New Attendee
  • Certified Professional

In this grouping, I am or have been a 1) member 2) volunteer 3) speaker 4) new attendee, but none of the others – although I know people who played them on television.

If you put it into Facebook relationship status terms,  you have more than one option to choose from:

  • Single
  • In a relationship
  • Married
  • Engaged
  • Not specified
  • In a civil union
  • In a domestic partnership
  • In an open relationship
  • It’s complicated
  • Separated
  • Divorced
  • Widowed
  • I’d rather not say

My Facebook status with SHRM would have to be “It’s complicated”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love SHRM. I’ve been a volunteer for many years at the state and national level.  SHRM is the kind of organization that works like this:

“The more value you put into the organization, the more value you get out of the organization.”

The miracle is this, the more we share, the more we have. – Leonard Nimoy

So why is my relationship complicated?  Several reasons:

  1. My favorite SHRM event is the Legislative and Legal Conference they run every year.  It’s smaller and more intimate, and thusly more on point for me as an attendee.  The smaller size allows me to find topics that are more relevant to me, and to network more effectively with individuals who will matter to me throughout the year.
  2. There were nearly 20,000 people in New Orleans this year, including god only knows how many vendors.  I am a professional conference goer and I felt overwhelmed and exhausted by day 3, which for me was Monday because I was in town starting Saturday morning for SHRM volunteer meetings.  I came to New Orleans with some great intentions about meeting new practitioners and checking out new vendors, but the event was just so damned big that I called an audible and worked on building on networking relationships from past SHRM events or with people I had met at other conferences like #Workhuman.   My most memorable moment from New Orleans was hanging around the Kat Cole talk with Kelly Marinelli and Kate Bischhoff.

Once again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not faulting SHRM for this.  I get a ton of value from every SHRM event I attend, but I’m finding that at this stage of my career, I get more value from the smaller, more intimate events that SHRM runs.

I was also involved in a discussion thread on Facebook about this notion of smaller conferences becoming something of a growing trend for HR practitioners, and to vendors.  There’s a lot of competition in the space – like WorkHuman, HRTechWorld coming to the US, and HR Tech going to Europe, not to mention TRU, HRevolution, excellent state conferences like HR Florida or Illinois SHRM and a bunch of others including the boutique labor and employee relations conference that CUE (the organization I run) puts on 2x a year.

This is a little bit of a rambling post.   SHRM National conference is not going anywhere, and it’s an excellent event.  There is lots to learn and many benefits to attending, but it has some competition.  If you want to find the most value, check out some different events from time to time, although I can promise you will never find an HR conference that has more offerings on site based drink delivery systems for sale in the exposition hall than #SHRM17 including smoothie makers, Kuerig, juicers and even a Nespresso Cafe with lattes to go.

That’s all for this year!

 

 

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Michael Vandervort

Creating Positive Workplaces Every Day

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