Top 10 Takeaways from #SHRM17

Top 10 Takeaways from #SHRM17

My mind is still spinning from all the thought-provoking sessions (or maybe from the long nights on Bourbon Street) following the 2017 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans. There were so many opportunities to learn, network and have fun. Here are my Top 10 Takeaways from this year’s SHRM Annual Conference:

  1. Being humble is critical for all leaders and teams. Humility was a key theme for almost every keynote or must-see speaker, from Kat Cole to Patrick Lencioni, and even Laila Ali. As an HR professional, it’s important to remember this valuable trait in our day-to-day interactions and in how we coach our employees to be better team players.
  2. No, robots are not taking over the world. However, they will dramatically change how we get work done. You may have thought artificial intelligence or AI was only connected to self-driving cars or virtual assistants (hey there, Alexa!). The conference exposed a variety of interesting HR or Recruiting applications, however. The effective utilization of AI proved it can help streamline the candidate selection process or help employees navigate their benefits and administration. Looking ahead, it’s clear AI will continue to penetrate our daily lives, particularly in the office.
  3. Wellness programs are key. I took a lot of steps at SHRM. Of course, I forgot my Fitbit charger so I wasn’t able to track them all but the first day alone I walked over 23,000 steps. On the next day, I certainly walked the same, if not more, but my Fitbit was nothing more than a dead-battery fashion statement around my wrist. The continued emphasis on health and wellness was on full display at this year’s SHRM Annual Conference. If you don’t already have a wellness strategy in place for your workforce, get on it.
  4. Data, specifically people/talent/HR data, is becoming more and more ubiquitous. The majority of speakers discussed the importance of leveraging data to make decisions or used it themselves to build a business case for their message. Also, almost every exhibitor pitched advanced analytics or reporting as part of their product or service suite. In short: Data is now at the forefront of everything we do in HR and it’s not going away any time soon.
  5. Employee engagement continues to be a priority for many companies. Everyone’s looking for the “secret sauce” to full employee engagement. After all, engagement is powerful – research shows that it leads to improved retention, hiring – and business results. However, as many speakers note, it’s actually rather simple – treat your people like people and recognize and reward them regularly. Check out TicketsAtWork’s new sleek and intuitive Reward Management Solution as a potential provider for your company’s engagement efforts.
  6. Student loan assistance is the latest “hot” benefit trend. The crippling student loan debt described seemingly daily in the news has forced companies to address it as part of their employee benefits package. The focus on education is not new. Tuition reimbursement programs have been around for a while. Loan repayment assistance programs for previously received degrees, however, is picking up steam and will be a benefits package game-changer in the coming years.
  7. A basic benefits package is no longer enough. At the SHRM Annual Conference, SHRM released the 2017 Employee Benefits Report. The report provides in-depth analysis for HR professionals, including resources and information about trends and employee expectations for the market and various industries. In a nutshell: No longer can companies simply offer the basic benefits package and average pay if they expect to compete in the war for talent.
  8. Performance management needs a revamp. HR professionals continued to show their great disdain for the typical annual performance management cycle. There were so many performance-related exhibitors that I lost count after picking up my thirteenth branded pen. In 2017, figuring out how to effectively revamp the performance management process for your organization will be critical.
  9. Employees are looking for more than a paycheck. As the former SVP/Head of HR and People at Google Laszlo Bock shared, HR professionals must help employees find purpose and meaning in their work and the organization. Ask yourself, “What is my company’s mission?” and then try connect it to the work that each and every employee performs for your organization.
  10. I need to go back next year. It was another awesome experience and I’m already getting pumped for the takeaways I’ll come away with next year. I look forward to seeing you in Chicago for the 2018 SHRM Annual Conference!

Did you attend the 2017 SHRM Annual Conference? If so, what were your top takeaways? Send a tweet to Dan Cross (@CrossOverHR) on Twitter and tag it #SHRM17.

By: Dan Cross

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