If I Were Running A Company…SHRM16 Review

Written by Tracy

We’re three months past the SHRM Conference. Why am I doing this now?

  1. I had to do a lot of writing for my company and for my local SHRM Chapter. They got first dibs.
  2. I was too tired and had other stuff
  3. I think this is a better reflection if the SHRM Conference had any effect of myself, the company I work for, and the HR world three months later.

Since it was announced the SHRM Conference was heading back to D.C., I wanted to be involved, either as a blogger or as a volunteer. When the first one didn’t go through, I signed up as a volunteer.


Initially, I had two shifts just for the weekend so I can enjoy the conference. I learned over that weekend that I will be filling in as session host on Tuesday. I took the unconventional route and did three different volunteering positions. It was cool to see the behind-the scenes how the SHRM Conference operates. The reason I wanted to volunteer because not only to support SHRM, but help visitors guide to Washington, D.C. The was probably the most fun part about volunteering that week that you can show what D.C. is all about.


The past four times I went to the SHRM Conference, I basically did it for myself since I was working solo or my previous co-workers didn’t want to attend. This year, I was working for a staffing firm, specifically HR, so I can go to the sessions that I wanted to attend and don’t have FOMO. The sessions I attended, were very good. The best session I attended was Behavioral Science HR with Joe Gerstandt about our decision-making and how what we see influence our decision, which I think is an appropriate topic today. This was the first that the sessions, that I attended, were at least good and no flops or early exits. It also helps that I knew most of the speakers from Twitter and other events.


I wasn’t enthuse of Mike Rowe and Alan Mulally. I think they made their points about labor being important and hard work, but it wasn’t intriguing or interesting. If maybe they talked about unions, then maybe there’s something to talk about.

I didn’t know what to expect from Amy Cuddy. I have never heard of her before except reading the SHRM16 brochure and she has the second biggest views of any TEDtalk. I see why. Amy actually uses her media effectively how to be confident and pose a way that makes you strong. I’m happy it wasn’t about manners and love that she noted she teaches her daughters about those poses and ask mothers (and others) to do the same.

Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson might be the most civilized debate about the Presidential campaign this season and that’s saying a lot. That being said, it was basically an old episode of Crossfire and nothing much came from it.

The last keynote, Sal Khan, was probably the best keynote as he mention how he started the Khan Academy and had the quote of the conference with, “education is a weapon to take down terrorism.” Also, he discussed giving fair wages to his employees and are not restricted like most non-profits.


I’ll be honest, the vibe wasn’t as exciting than I thought. I’m not sure it was the attendees or vendors. The giveaways were not aspiring. Basically the biggest swag at the conference were custom t-shirts and a hula hoop from VisaNow. I did think the vendors went conservative because they perceived D.C. that way and that’s a shame.

Actually, what made the SHRM Expo were the products. Not ATS’s or new systems, but products that help us work like the exercise ball chair, the Varidesk, and my personal favorite, the treadmill desk.  I never thought I would need a treadmill desk, but it does help me focus more, get ideas, and burn calories.

Overall, I think it was a good conference. I wish vendors and some attendees were creative and enthuse, but you can’t impress them all. Hopefully, I will do this again in New Orleans next year and hopefully I bring the kitchen sink to make myself cool.

(photo via Globoforce)

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