High Hopes That SHRM Nationals Will Punch Me In The Face

 I hope SHRM11 turns out to be like Vegas in the Evening and punches me in the face.

Vegas is a place I’ve always dug.  I love a city where no one gives a rip– where authenticity is front and center and where regret is (typically) a non issue.  When we are ourselves, we are powerful.

That’s where HR has lost its bite.  Years of policing coupled with years of filtering created quite the black hole.  However, I do believe there are more HR rockstars that are taking a cue from Vegas and letting their hair down a bit.  And that is good for their organizations.

So Vegas in the morning is a wonderful thing.  There is a stilted energy that is palpable.  Things are brewing, people are recharging, building their superpowers slowly. But Vegas in the morning is nothing if not coupled with Vegas of the evening.  Vegas in the morning is only worth writing w/in the context of how it blasts into the evening.  And if the evening didn’t punch me in the face….. and the Vegas vibe started and stopped with the morning vibe…  well, that would suck.


I hope Vegas SHRM nationals punch me in the face.  At first blush I am hopeful but cautious.  I’ve went to a fabulous social media networking sponsored by Monster (@MattCharney) with HR though leaders.  I’ve also run into practitioners on planes, trains and automobiles traveling and the conversations left me scratching my head.  Same old boring, cheezy, HR stuff–

  • I can’t wait to learn about all the scary people who will sue me….” . Yea– that whole fear thing has really been helping our profession.
  • That session “Document, document, document (gag me) is just what I need”.  Really are we still there?  At least come up with a better title like “Hey Jackhole…. you need to cover yours”
  • One guy was talking about a conference session with the title “SHAZAM“.  The session may be great… but you lost me at Shazam.  if you want to get through to thought leaders, just a little less on the patronizingly high-energy, a little more focus on the content. You can be hip without being corny.  What engaging HR pro goes into their workforce shouting Shazam.
  • I love to enter all those prize giveaways….. (huh?)

So with 15,000 strong I am certain their will be something for everyone.  My advice, if you want to get out of fear mongering… then drop the 101 sessions about legal administration (you can get that at a free webinar) and get into the sessions about

  • Engagement
  • Inclusion
  • Workforce Culture
  • Talent management in the new Century
  • New Mediums to attract, retain, engage your team (say..uh.. social media).
  • Technology to help you will ALL of it
  • And yes…. even if you are new to the game and are a bit lost… go to a session about strategic HR.  Please, don’t sell yourself short with how to “create a great filing system”

OK SHRM 11 — hit me hard…..

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Dawn Hrdlica-Burke

VP People & Culture/ Talent Consulting at Kinetix. Advisor. Speaker. Writer.

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