SHRM 2009: Day One

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Hello from hot and steamy New Orleans. Many great bloggers have written about the first day of HR festivities, and you can follow the Twitter stream here, so I want to write about what I heard and saw at SHRM.

  • HR people are old. There’s no two ways about it. FrannyO and I attended a fancy reception for HR people, last night, and there weren’t many people younger than me in the room—and I’m not all that young, anymore. (Believe me, that’s true.) Furthermore, SHRM’s leadership team represents an older (ahem) demographic. Who is out there beating the drums and recruiting young and talented people into Human Resources? If MBA graduates have Jack Welch to emulate, who is the face of Human Resources? Do we need a face?
  • Networking is changing. You can’t tell me that trade shows, expos, and industry conventions [in any field] will last another 50 years. The expense of sending your employees to these conferences—along with the lack of sleep, decreased productivity, and general distractions that come from being drunk for more than 16 hours out of the day—isn’t worth it. Sure, it’s important to network. Sure, it’s important to meet people and learn from your peers. You can do the same thing in flash mobs and cheaper ‘unconference’ formats.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to see my friends (old & young) at SHRM and learn about new products and services from vendors. I also like to go have a drink at 2AM in my pajamas at a bar in New Orleans. (What? Did I really do that?)

I’m just not sure if these behaviors or ours are sustainable.

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SHRM 2009 Day One

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