This was the 12th straight SHRM Annual Conference I've attended.
At this point, I've come to expect the enormous exhibit hall with the massive lines of HR ladies waiting for an item that cost $.49 to produce (I spent a total of 20 minutes in the expo hall), the big name talent as keynotes (with repeats of Gladwell and Collins) and big name Tuesday night entertainment (a significant step up with Jerry Seinfeld). Kris Dunn at the HR Capitalist hit most of the main points before the conference was even over.
I'm in it now for the novelty. Two things stood out:
1. The Hive
Sponsored by Dice, The Hive featured a smart bar area that provided an opportunity for individuals starting off, or wanting to take the next step, in social media to get individual consultation in these matters. With a significant number of volunteers (including myself for 6 hours), it was impressive to see the energy and advice being given, as well the significant support provided from SHRM to make it possible. A special shout out must be given to Curtis Midkiff, Director of Social Engagement for SHRM, who grew a small social media initiative in 2010 with a 5-member "Blog Squad" into this huge and exciting endeavor. Dawn Hrdlica-Burke provides an excellent summary of the events in the Hive here.
2. The Future of College Relations
As a student chapter advisor of 16 years, I have a significant investment in seeing student HR leaders becoming the HR leaders of tomorrow. I was able to sit down for two hours with Nancy Woolever, Director of Academic Initiatives, and Tara Fournier, Manager of Member Engagement, to discuss the state of the College Relations Program. While details need to be hashed out, for the first time in several years, I am excited about the changes that SHRM Student Programs is working on and confident in the new leadership taking the program where it needs to go.