Finding quality speakers to present relevant, up-to-date information to a HR audience
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
One of the leading drivers for individuals to attend their local SHRM chapter meeting or conference is the quality of the speaker(s) and his/his/their topic. In particular, individuals not only want to gain their PHR/SPHR/GPHR certification credits, they want to learn, be entertained, and feel that the dollars and time they invested are worthwhile.
Unfortunately, finding speakers, let alone quality ones, is difficult. As I noted in this space nearly three years ago, volunteers have to go out and find willing speakers (often at no cost) to provide a compelling hour or more of information to attendees. Further, volunteers have to go through a somewhat onerous process to get a program approved by HRCI at least 4 weeks in advance to ensure that it meets the requirements to provide recertification credits.
Let's revisit the math: With 575+ chapters offering 8-9 programs a year, along with a significant number of state and national HR conferences, there are at least 5000 sessions a year being offered. Even with some likely repeat speakers, there is a huge demand that needs to be met, and places a huge burden on the HRCI to approve a significant number of programs
There has got to be a better way.
WHAT'S AVAILABLE FROM SHRM?
To be fair, it must be noted that SHRM does provide a number of resources to assist chapters in finding speakers.
- In their volunteer leader resource center, chapters can contact the SHRM Speakers Bureau to find a member of the SHRM organization to speak on a whole host of topics.
- There is a short non-SHRM staff directory of speakers who have scored 3.8 out of 5 at one of the SHRM major conferences in the last four years
- A SHRM speaker program that contains just under 130 speakers
WHAT ELSE IS AVAILABLE?
- In 2010, the SHRM Chapter and State Council Leadership LinkedIn Group tried to create a list of top 10 speakers from their state conference. Everyone who commented thought it was a good idea, but it withered on the vine.
- Late last year, the St. Norbert Collge student SHRM chapter tried to crowdsource a list.ly list of good SHRM speakers (you can see it posted on the right), but it hasn't quite taken off.
1. Expand the SHRM Speaker Program. This list is a great start, but it is too small to meet the demand.
2. Have HRCI publish yearly a list of ALL programs approved the previous year. Ideally, it would be searchable by listing sessions by state, topic, speaker, credit amount (i.e., 1.25 hours), and certification level (PHR, SPHR, GPHR, etc.). Yet, even providing a link online to a pdf would be a good start.