If I Were Running A Company…Attendees’ Reaction to #SHRM12

I came at the SHRM Conference as a blogger/press member to discuss events and what I saw. I wasn’t sure that was enough. Beyond my views of the conference, I wanted to see what the attendees’ opinions on the conference since they really drive it. Here are their views:

Before the Conference:

I spoke to a few on what they’re looking for at the conference. It was the keynote speakers and general sessions. I spoke to Paul Arnold of J.J. Keller & Associates and discuss there are three things that are important to HR now:

  1. Getting top talent
  2. Planning for Boomers to retire.
  3. Litigation
That’s what I got a sense from other attendees that these three are the big issues.

Keynote Speakers

Nearly everyone said this was their favorite part of the conference. It must be the celebrity factor as all four keynote speakers (Condoleezza Rice, Malcom Gladwell, Jim Collins, Tom Brokaw) were smart, open, and charismatic in their remarks. I guess if you have a regular dope like me, it might have little meaning, but with a celebrity, it becomes a huge ordeal. Overall, this is good for HR in general that you have these people care about our profession.

Concurrent Sessions

Obviously people have different agendas to the conference as there are many fields in HR, but most liked the sessions they attended. Only a couple hated their session because of the speaker style, which can happen. It’s either a hit or miss, but from the lineup before and after their session, they were mostly hits. The only real complaint is the 7AM sessions because everyone has to wake up very early and are groggy. Other than that, everyone like what they saw in the sessions.

Exhibit Hall

There was no real opinion about certain vendors and booths except exhibit hall is huge, which always is. The volume of vendors made attendees overwhelm on where to go to and what to focus on. If they had a favorite booth, most said it was Monster and their truck. For their favorite booth that helps their company, you have to ask them in a few months.

The Hive

I’m going to make two distinctions: when I was at The Hive, people had nothing but high remarks as the “SmartBartenders” answer their questions on social media and looked satisfied by it. People are still adjusting to social media (saw a woman trying to figure out here Twitter handle) but they know social media is here to stay.

From outside The Hive, there little to no mention to it. It’s either their company is already social or ignoring it altogether. They never gave specifics, but my guess is with so many things going on, they didn’t have time to examine the Hive…or just come by to get a bag of candy.

Overall, people had a good time at the conference with few complaints. They also like how SHRM organize the event from inside the Georgia World Congress Center to the  details of the buses, though there was only one complaint about buses before the Seinfeld show. If attendees are the bosses and give performance evaluations to SHRM, it will say, “Good Job. Keep up the good work.”

Tomorrow, you will get my opinion on SHRM12 and that will be it.


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