HRLA Chapter President Karen Eichstaedt – Thoughts from the 2017 SHRM Annual Conference!
Over 16,000 HR professionals, 1,000 of whom were global partners from 80 countries, were welcomed into the Big Easy city of New Orleans for the annual 2107 SHRM National Conference. It was my first national event, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the event management team!
With a theme of ALL IN, a huge area was designated as the HR Connections area, housing registration, concierge, book store, e-learning/certification and a smart stage where speakers gave abbreviated versions of their presentations. My favorite spot was a gigantic post-it board, where folks added what they were ALL IN for in their HR roles. Some things mentioned were: The New Workplace, Bringing Life into Worklife, Listening More, Inclusivity, Forward-Thinking, Soft Skills, Leadership Development, Getting Energized, and Making a Difference.
That the HR profession is rapidly accelerating in terms of knowledge, leadership and importance was evident in the hundreds of offerings tracked by HR competencies in the new learning Model.
My goal was to add 10 new HR ideas to my tool box; I left there with three times that! Most notable for me was finally meeting one of my HR gurus Patrick Lencione, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and his latest book The Ideal Team Player.
Patrick laid out a new model for selecting and growing people who can work together on teams and thrive. It’s so simple . . . but then, most profound things are! Without giving away his thesis, think about these virtues when hiring and coaching people: humility, people smarts and hungry. When I think of my hiring miscues, most can be attributed to the lack of one or more of these attributes!
There was no shortage of fun either! For me, walking the famed Bourbon Street with its magnificent French architecture, a seat at the chef’s table at Emeril’s first New Orleans restaurant and the welcoming hospitality of the people of New Orleans stand out. And, hanging out in the Volunteer Leaders’ Lounge, where I met up with other CT Chapter and State Council members was a real treat.
However, I can say with all honesty, that I truly felt like I had experienced NOLA after spending a raucous evening in the company of New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. His march through the audience with his outrageous brass band playing When The Saints Go Marching In exemplified the spirit and energy of the city. It’s a moment I won’t forget . . . Thousands of HR folks, umbrellas raised, dancing in the aisles. Who says HR is not fun!!! We are writing the book on bringing more life into work!