I trust many of you are planning on attending SHRM 2010 Annual Conference and Exposition in San Diego next week. Doesn’t matter what you think about SHRM, or the scheduled sessions, or the venue itself. If you’re serious about a career in HR, you should pretty much consider this an annual job requirement. End of story. I for one am thrilled to be attending as a blogger this year and will wear my press pass with pride. It will be cool to see the new lens through which I view these sessions. Even cooler, though, is that I’ve been asked by SmartBrief Workforce to be one of their contributing bloggers during the event. I’ve been working closely with their Senior Editor, Mary Ellen Slayter, to figure out where my experiences might help her and her team assemble a meaningful content summary for those watching from the sidelines. If you’re one of those HR pros who can’t make the Conference (Really? See Below…), I’d strongly recommend you sign-up to receive SmartBrief’s daily news feed. The feed will feature a ton of SHRM10 session content – a great way to experience the conference from afar.
So it ain’t cheap to get yourself out to this shindig…I get that. I would argue that the chance to see Hall & Oates on Tuesday night, though, is well worth the price of admission. I will of course be chastised for that sentiment (and as a teenage product of the 80′s I could care less). But this is a chance for HR pros to take a step outside of their job descriptions for a few days. We are the proverbial cobbler’s children, and taking care of our own personal and professional development is often something that falls prey to “higher priorities.” That just plain old sucks. If your company really believes HR plays a role in its success, they ought to relax the purse strings. But first you have to ask! If they balk, tell them this is the only thing you want to do this year for development and remind them that you don’t get to do it often; that the networking opportunities alone will be invaluable to your role in strengthening the employment brand for the organization. Remind them that the face of Talent Management is changing more rapidly than almost any profession and this is a near perfect way to stay on top of it. Promise to bring back your learnings and share them at great length with the HR team. Let them to take a look at the program and suggest they pick a few of the sessions for you to attend. Offer to disseminate a summary of your take-aways to a wider leadership audience (and do it anyway even if they decline). Suggest you’re willing to pay for it yourself (but only if you think they won’t call your bluff). Don’t play the “but he gets to go to the annual sales conference” card unless you absolutely have to. And if all else fails, just go…and then look for another employer to develop your career.
If you aren’t asking for – in fact, insisting on – this opportunity, then you’re doing yourself, your colleagues, your clients, your business, and your profession a disservice (no pressure). And if you’re too timid to at least ask, then maybe this profession isn’t for you any way.
Photo Credit: Daryl Hall & John Oates Website