Do You Know Next? SHRM 2010 Opening Session

weknownext

The SHRM 2010 Opening Session is now in the books. 11,000 paid attendees are expected, more than 15,000 after vendors and others worm their way in. Every region in the US and some 73 other countries around the globe are represented. That’s a lot of HR people…one must shake and shiver. First of all, this is no “un-conference.” This gig is choreographed to the hilt – a Black-Eyed Peas rave to kick it off and all! Cheeeesssseeeeeeee? Yes. But people were having fun and that’s cool with me.

After hearing a few words from our fearless SHRM CEO, Lon (you can’t help but love that name), Ray Jefferson Assistant Secretary for the Veterens’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), brought us back down to earth with a moving reminder of HR’s role in injecting the workforce with all the great stuff our Veterens bring to bear. Of everyone we heard from in the 2 hours of opening session, Mr. Jefferson probably did more to set the stage for who we are, what we have to offer, and what we can accomplish as a profession; he reminded us that “one life can make a difference – our veterens need [HR professionals], our institutions need [us], and our nation needs [us.]” Ray is the real deal – learn more about what he’s doing and you will no doubt be inspired.

I’m not sure any one would call Steve Forbes inspiring, but no one can argue he doesn’t know what’s up in this messed-up economic age. He warned us he might put us to sleep. But for a lesson in monetery policy and a 101 guide to getting into and out of a recession, he did damn well. I heard people saying “he didn’t really connect his speech to HR.” I bet those were the people whose eyelids grew heavy. And they are the ones who will be pushing paper in HR…and just pushing paper…for years to come. But for those who listened, you got a few keys to the castle. In the spirit of SHRM’s new public relations campaign, he gave us a glimpse of what’s “NEXT.” He told us to look out for developments in a) monetary policy and the US $, b) tax reform (his “hobby horse”), c) global spending initiatives beyond austerity, and d) heightened uncertainty related to workforce levers – healthcare, particularly. I can’t get you to wrap your head around that stuff in fewer than 400 words, but I can certainly encourage you to go out and figure out what they mean to you and your people. Here’s a hint: get out in front of it, get smart about this stuff, and show your business leaders that you understand what they mean…or might meant…to your organization.

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