Trying to come up with four or five notes from SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition - Day 2 has proven to be a little more difficult than I figured. Mainly because I have realized I am not actually attending the event, but rather participating in it in kind of an odd way. I have not had a chance to go to any concurrent sessions, and have only caught parts of the keynotes.
I have spent most of my conference time hanging out in the Dice booth, taking a few meetings with some interesting vendors, and catching up with some of the HR Social Media posse that has descended en masse on this event. The booth work has been fun, a little crazy at times (fuzzy dice are a really popular swag item), and we have had a chance to meet lots of nice and interesting people.
So we'll give the SHRM Day 2 notes/rundown with a nod towards some of the ancillary activities and sights and sounds surrounding the event.
1. Expo Hall and other circles of Hell
I finally had a chance to stroll around the Expo Hall yesterday and after a few minutes it becomes a kind of numbing experience. Sort of like all the casinos here in Vegas. Similar kinds of displays, giveaways, pitches, and sort of hard to differentiate providers from each other. Sure, here and there you'll see a few innovative ideas, but honestly one of the most effective ones I saw simply involved giving away water to tired and slightly dehydrated attendees. I think you can stand-out by doing a few simple things, rather than massive, over-the-top demonstrations of force.
2. Vegas - Part 4.
The only thing I have left to offer is that it is kind of amazing that a city so dependent on the tourist trade makes it so difficult to actually get from one place to another in a reasonable amount of time. Cab lines, hotel check in lines, interminable waits in numerous hotels to have simple requests answered and addressed somehow are not enough to keep people away. I guess the potent combination of gambling, sunshine, and Elvis impersonators make for too compelling a draw.
3. Industrial Pipe Manufacturing
The best question that Laurie Ruetimann and I got in the Dice.com booth was from an HR professional at a traditional, B2B manufacturing company about how she can better promote, organize, educate, and support social media efforts in her organization. It was a great question, and while I hope Laurie and I offered a few decent suggestions about how she can try to move the needle in the B2B space, it reinforced to me how there is still a huge swath of the workplace for whom 'social' is still new and scary territory.
The Monday night combination of the SHRM/BranchOut Tweet-Up followed by the Monster.com party/concert made for a big night. You know you are in the right place when you see a Tim Sackett in the front row of a Natasha Bedingfield concert. Natasha put on an excellent show, cementing her place in the illustrious category of 'singers you think you have never heard of but once they play a few songs you say, 'oh yeah, I know her'.
5. Tony Hseih is not smarter than you
I am writing this while listenting to Zappos.com CEO's Tony Hseih speech. Tony's speech really stands out compared to the last two keynotes since it is seems much more personal, a bit less formally structured, and more directly relevant to HR professionals in the audience. Ideas about company culture, hiring and firing for cultural fit, specific approaches to interviewing and onboarding are all practical and meaningful to the SHRM population. Sure your company can't simply mimic Zappos, and Tony agrees that you shouldn't, but that you can take the lessons from Zappos (and others), and apply them in your organization. But the takeaway really is most if not all of the success of Zappos stems from simple things - hire people that fit, stay true to your cause, find a higher purpose than making money. Tony Hseih is not smarter than you, really. But he makes it happen, and most of the rest of us get stuck in rhe reasons why we can't make it happen.
That's it for now, probably only one more of these posts coming to try and wrap-up the event.