Top 10 Takeaways from the 2018 SHRM Annual Conference

Top 10 Takeaways from SHRM 2018 in Chicago -

Another year, another success! The 2018 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference and Exposition wrapped up last month, and I’m now looking back and processing all the amazing learnings and networking. Here are my Top 10 Takeaways from this year’s conference in Chicago:

  1. Sheryl Sandberg: Sheryl impressed the general session crowd with a call to action for all HR professionals to identify the biases that negatively impact women, particularly women of color. She shared personal stories and described her current experience as the COO of Facebook, while highlighting the importance of paid maternity and bereavement leave.
  2. SHRM Book Store: If you didn’t collect your fill from vendors in the exposition hall, the SHRM Book Store had plenty of HR books and merchandise for you to bring home or into your office. I was pleasantly surprised with the collection of learning resources available that went beyond the typical “HR how-to” books.
  3. Chicago Deep Dish Pizza: I grew up in Upstate New York and my small town even has a “Little Italy” neighborhood. I share that because my friends may disown me if they ever heard me say this, but Chicago-style deep dish pizza is the real deal! I won’t go as far as to say that it’s better than New York pizza but it was a delicious treat throughout the conference.
  4. Jeb Bush: The 43rd Governor of the State of Florida started the conference off on Father’s Day with a loving tribute to his own father, former President George H. W. Bush. He also advocated for the reform of immigration, incarceration and education as possible solutions to the growing skills and talent gap.
  5. Adam Grant: If you haven’t already read some of Adam’s impressive work, check it out. He is a professor at The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania (ever heard of it?) and his general session was filled with humor and an important message that focused on the dangers of allowing your organization to become a “cultural museum.” He encouraged all 17,000-plus HR practitioner attendees to “hire, reward and promote cultural contributors: the misfits, original thinkers and disagreeable givers who stretch and enrich the culture.”
  6. The Givitas Platform: During Adam Grant’s session, all attendees were made aware of a free resource offered by him and his team. Be sure to sign up for Givitas – – a platform for attendees to stay connected, ask questions and share their perspective to help others within the platform.
  7. Pentatonix: Overhead on the shuttle bus on my way to the Pentatonix concert on Tuesday night, “Pentatonix is like Pitch Perfect, but in real life.” I must say, they weren’t that far off. The show was wildly entertaining and had most of the audience singing along with these acapella all-stars.
  8. Dave and Jerry: In partnership with Universal Orlando Resort™, the TicketsatWork booth invited conference-goers to meet and greet with Dave and Jerry, the lovable minions from Despicable Me. Attendees were also given the opportunity to learn more about the corporate benefits program, which offers employees exclusive discounts and special offers to travel and entertainment, including theme parks, Broadway shows, tours and attractions, special events, hotels, movie tickets and more.
  9. Connections: In between all of the learning sessions, one of the major highlights of the SHRM Annual Conference has always been the promise of deep and meaningful connections with other HR professionals. This year, I was able to meet a variety of HR Department of One attendees who shared their scrappy approach to Human Resources – something I think would be beneficial for all HR professionals to strive toward.
  10. Las Vegas: Next year’s conference is going to be held in Las Vegas – we hope to see you there!

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