Dispatch #1 from the Super Bowl of HR, also known as the SHRM 2012 Annual Conference and Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia. If you have not been to Atlanta before you really only need to know two things about the city - one, it is really hot; and two, every other street is named 'Peachtree' or some variation. A typical set of driving instructions in Atlanta goes something like this:
1. Head south on Peachtree
2. When you get to the third intersection take a left on Peachtree
3. Bear right at the traffic circle to get on Peachtree
4. It will be on the right, if you hit Peachtree, then you've gone too far
But enough about Atlanta.
As for SHRM12, well, so far it is exactly as you'd expect for the most part. Big. Really a giant and complex logistical enterprise. And the attendees? 15,000 or so HR professionals from all over the world mostly standing in lines - for the shuttle buses from the area hotels, for the restrooms, for Starbucks. Massive expo hall that when taken all at once is a little bit of a sensory overload.
What's new this time? Well an extremely large space called The Hive to help promote SHRM's social media outreach and efforts, an expanded and interesting blogger's lounge, and the general feeling that SHRM, (and its associated minions), are going to jam social media and Twitter down the throat of every HR professional from Topeka, Kansas whether they care to participate or not.
I think it will be a good conference though, but I worry that overall the event itself, and the flood of coverage from the blogger brigade that SHRM has assembled will result in a fair bit of the 'same-old same-old'. I have already seen some Tweets about Monday keynoter Malcolm Galdwell's talk that it didn't seem very new or fresh, and it could have been delivered in 2010. I am not sure that is fair, but if even there is some truth to it, it might not bode well for the rest of the event.
So here's hoping for a great, interesting, and different kind of event. Let's be mindful that there is a lot more to creating a great experience by simply making it bigger. Let's try to actually add something meaningful to the conversation and the industry.
I've written, (including this one), about 1,209 forgettable blog posts. And maybe 15 really good ones.
Let's hope I (and the rest of us), can do better with #SHRM12.