First Day Report from SHRM Atlanta 2014

Slide from the opening keynote address by Jennifer McClure
Slide from the opening keynote address by Jennifer McClure

The first day of the 24th iteration of the SHRM Atlanta 2014 started off with a bang with awards being handed out to great HR departments and pros. It was nice to see HR applauded for great work.

Keynote address

Next up was HR pro extraordinaire Jennifer McClure giving the opening keynote. She talked to us about the future of HR, a favorite subject of mine. She said it was in response to a conversation where someone said that in his opinion HR had no future. It was going to be gone in the next 5 years. Jennifer said she did not believe that and proceeded to tell us how HR can save itself. We need to know our businesses and understand how we add value to that business. If we don’t understand how we add value then how do we expect anyone else to understand what we do? She ended by telling us what she sees as HR’s challenge:

  • Know the business
  • Think strategically
  • Solve business problems
  • Influence change
  • Step out

Legal Scenarios

The next session I went to was put on by the lawyers from Littler. They used scenarios to discuss social media issues; BYOD policies; workplace stress as a potential disability claim, and accommodation issues. Great session and one great tip was to make sure that attendance is listed as an essential function of a job.

Lean Six Sigma made easy

Another HR rockstar, Dwane Lay, did something I didn’t think was possible. He made a lean six sigma presentation interesting, informative and humorous. I learned in this presentation more about Six Sigma than I have ever been exposed to. One great tip from Dwane is “hire lazy people to do process control.” They want to make things operate the simplest way possible. Read his book. Acronym of the day TIMWOODU8. It stands for the areas of waste. You will have to look it up.

Marketing and HR as close friends

Marketing expert Matt Charney had an excellent presentation on how similar marketing and HR departments are when it comes to attracting customers and applicants. The metrics are very similar. Key point is that it takes 8 touches before someone makes a buying decision, with the HR buying decision that they decided to put in an application. Even if they don’t fit don’t ignore them. You need to be able to identify the top talent in your company in each job category and use them to define who you need to be looking for in the future. Matt was so informative I quit tweeting and listened instead.

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