If you’re reading this, I apparently snuck in and out of SHRM Headquarters and no one caught me. That is why people call me the Jackal.
Anyway, I attended the 1st Wine, Cheese, and HR YP Networking Event, provided by SHRM. The event was in short notice as it started advertising for the event two weeks ago. SHRM said around 90 RSVP for the event…around 30-40 actually came. This is no knock on SHRM since they had a short time organizing the event, plus their were other events that was ahead of time: weather, holiday parties, local SHRM Chapter meetings, Caps game. For that, SHRM did a marvelous job.
It was a formal networking event, like any typical networking event with food, bar, a few minutes of the sponsor, music (minus the loudness, which is a plus), and…networking. A few observations I want to make:
- Almost everyone I asked heard about the event through email. How did I know about the event? Not by seeing an email or through social media. I learn the event from crashing the SHRM Leadership Conference a few weeks ago and saw China Gorman, who mention the event to me there. Social media is great and I am a big advocate of using social media in any aspect, but this still proves you need to attract people on a personal level first and email still works best. Then again, it was on short notice.
- SHRM employees have read my blog. This is the second organization that is watching my move (the first is NPR for reasons I can’t discuss on this blog).
- SHRM unveiled their 2010 video. This was the second time I saw the video and I’m starting to like it more and more. “Next” will be a big word for next year for many organizations since we’re starting a new decade (new decade actually starts on 2011, but who’s counting?), but SHRM really define next. I won’t go into details, but this was an effective ad that answers my question: “What is HR.”
The event brought to attention that HR has come a long way from just being an administrative function. HR is still evolving, but that will depend on how executives uses HR and what each HR professional feels comfortable doing. Bill Maroni, Chief External Affairs Officer at SHRM, made the an excellent point that 20 years ago, HR was an administrative function, but HR has been changing definitions each year and 10 years from now, the definition of HR will be different from today.
This is where structure and philosophy has become an important role to HR because it has an open definition. Employees knows what finance, communications, and business development because they are defined and people know what to expect. HR can play many roles and thus causing a wide variety of emotions to employees either like or dislike HR (re: Tony Kornheiser, Dan Froomkin, and the Washington Post) .
What employees outside of HR need to know is HR is the vision of the executive(s). If they want a stiff workplace, HR will find stiff people. If they want a creative staff, HR will find creative people. If they want chaos, HR will create chaos, and so forth. However, HR can question or alter the executive’s vision for the betterment of the organization, but it is up to the executive if they are open to change. Collaboration between HR and executives is the key to establish the organization’s workplace culture.
As for the networking event, I do see a lot of promise for the SHRM YP group and it should start at the Annual SHRM Conference or the weekend of the HRGames (I missed those days) to expand the YP group since college students and graduates have their sessions Saturday, the day before the actual conference. I also hope there’s a two-day summit or unconference on the state of HR YPs so people can discuss HR issues and bounce off ideas and how YPs can improve HR.
Overall, SHRM did a great job of running this event on short notice. If they had more time, I would expect more people to attend these events and from the looks of it, SHRM is serious of being forward-thinking to the workplace for the next decade. Looks like 2010 could be a start of big things to come.