Today was the official start of the SHRM Annual Conference and already, the buzz around the conference yesterday was The Hive (no pun intended). A lot of people were asking questions from the basics like how to register and how to choose your username to more advance questions; mostly about policy. The Hive has been a great addition not only for the conference, but SHRM’s Social Media Guy, Curtis Midkiff’s mic skills.
On the side
On a personal note, another thing I love about yesterday was meeting the other bloggers for the first time. I’ve been in the HR twitter scene since 2009. They’re were rare opportunities to meet the other bloggers and Atlanta was perfect for me since I have friends (in HR and other circles) there, and SHRM won’t be coming to DC anytime soon (remember the monsoon of 2006?). It was great to see their faces for the first time and why social media is cool.
Dr. Condoleezza Rice
The keynote speaker was Dr. Condoleezza Rice and for the first 20 minutes. It was interesting to note in the “three greatest shocks” that she mention the 2008 financial crisis. She mention the housing crisis as the primary cause, although there are findings that suggest otherwise. Other than that, Dr. Rice mention little to no education is the biggest national threat and U.S. needs to regain footing in advancing human potential.
Then, Soledad O’Brien did a Q & A with Dr. Rice. It was an odd segment where it went all over the place from her childhood to Iran and Syria. It didn’t sound slick. Don’t get me wrong, Iran and Syria are big issues people need to read about. However, I think O’Brien should done a better job transitioning and carrying the positive momentum Dr. Rice created that afternoon. Overall, it was a great speech, but I do hope they eliminate the Q & A from Dr. Rice’s talk and guest speakers Malcom Gladwell, Jim Collins, and Tom Brokaw, it does seem SHRM’s “Be ____” campaign does have a purpose.
I only went to Exhibit Hall for 45 minutes and it’s like the last time I went there since Chicago 2008. You got big companies occupy space, people gathering swag, run over to get in line for A CHANCE to win something, and new this year…nearly every vendor has a tablet to give away. Cool, but I want some other prizes like a brand new Vespa, a 3D printer, or win a free trip to the moon. The one I like was a HR outsourcing vendor showing the Euro 2012 quarterfinal between England and Italy, and the most intriguing one was a vendor that does mobile rewards & recognition where Executives and c-suites can text or message their employee on doing a good job. Apparently, from Amy Shat, there are vendors who focus on unique things like pre-arrange funerals and breast pumps. Although these companies are important and fill a unique niche in HR, those vendors should be heard, but not seen. I will expand my horizon tomorrow.
I participated in the first #SHRMHockey game, which was started by Dwane Lay and it was a lot of fun and for Atlanta Mission. As for my performance: I suck as an offensive player, but I can block a shot like Anton Volchenkov. Seriously though, it was great and hopefully a new tradition begins in SHRM. Photos of the event are by Heather Bussing.
If Sunday is the sizzle with the parties and rowdiness at the Expo, Monday starts the meat & potatoes of the conference with concurrent sessions, The Hive into high gear, a more focused Exhibit Hall and Malcolm Gladwell as the keynote. In honor of Gladwell, let’s tweet jihad his speech.