A Preview of SHRM 2019 with SHRM Chief Knowledge Officer Alexander Alonso

Who’s ready for SHRM 2019? I know I am. I can never turn down a trip to Las Vegas, but more importantly — nerd alert! — I can never turn down the chance to connect with HR professionals and dive head-first into the amazing, progressive conversations so many are having about our industry.

This week we’re previewing SHRM 2019 with SHRM Chief Knowledge Officer Alexander Alonso. He gives us the inside scoop on the conference and helps break down the future of HR.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

What You Can’t Miss at SHRM 2019

I asked Alonso about what he’s looking forward to at SHRM, and his enthusiasm was infectious. First, he highlighted the conference’s new Changemaker Series, which will feature HR leaders from cutting-edge brands, including Zappos and Universal Music Group.

We also took a lot at the speakers he’s excited about. While we all have speakers we need to seek for our continuing education credits and areas of interest, Alonso emphasizes that we should also take the time to brave the big rooms for the big names. Here are a few of the speakers whose insights he says he’s especially excited about:

Also, don’t forget to check out Alsonso’s talk on pettiness in the workplace!

Pondering the Core Challenges Facing HR

Of course, we all know that SHRM is much more than its annual conference. As an industry leader in credentialing, SHRM is constantly doing research, and it’s especially concerned with the barriers and challenges that HR faces in this time of institutional transition.

Alonso says SHRM has identified three core challenges for HR. The first two are how to manage and customize the employment experience for a multigenerational workforce, and how organizations approach their workforce. Alonso sums the latter up with a question: “How do I strike the right blend between my regular workforce and my regular staffing and talent shortages, as well as a contingent workforce?”

The third challenge is the rise of technology and how that relates to organizations’ business models. Alonso says organizations must begin to plan for the advent of AI and machine learning, while also accommodating the needs of employees.

Addressing the Big SHRM Controversy

At the end of our conversation, Alonso and I addressed the elephant in the room: SHRM’s relationship with the current presidential administration.

It’s a relationship that has generated its fair share of controversy, one that Alonso acknowledges and understands. But he says SHRM feels a responsibility to make itself part of the conversation surrounding work. “If SHRM is to elevate the practice of human resources — and if SHRM is really to serve the work, the worker, and the workplace … I think it’s important for us to be part of the dialogue on workplace issues,” he says. He also notes that SHRM has a relationship with the other branches of government and often submits amicus briefs for court cases.

Alonso says it’s a misconception that SHRM has aligned itself with the Trump administration. “We’ve done quite a bit of work with both parties over the years,” including the Obama administration, he says. “My sense of it, quite honestly, is it’s just us being a part of the important workplace-issues dialogue.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

#SHRM14: Moving Into The Warming Light

Failure is an enabler.

In both senses of the term, but for some, the one ultimate driver.

It’s our confidant and our kryptonite; it elevates and cripples us. Ideas fail, businesses fail, processes fail, people fail, and through it all, if we’re paying attention, learning and even a little lucky, we might just find a little light.

It’s that little light that warms us to something new, something pleasurable that we enjoy doing and providing that creates value for those around us, and ourselves, because regardless of popular belief about bloggers and social media “rock stars” not worth the words they spew out every week, some nearly ever day – they are worth it.

Okay, some more than others, but then again, I’ve been in the HR technology space for over 15 years and I’ve viewed some established industry journalists, HR and recruiting practitioners and business leaders as not worth the words they spew out nearly every day.

And that included me at times. (Heck, if you don’t already know me, I’m all about transparency and authenticity, in good times as well as bad.)












When American journalist, columnist and author Tom Friedman spoke at the 2014 SHRM Conference this week, he said something that really stuck with me:

“No one cares what you know. They only care about what you do with what you know.”

Makes sense. We’ve seen the rock slide of skills and jobs bury themselves at the bottom of a dark canyon, never to see the light of day again. Consider that many of us “world of work” bloggers have been through many incarnations, some practitioners, some marketers, some from completely different industries, we could foresee a time that, beyond connecting professionally on LinkedIn, all that silly Tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming and Pinteresting and blog-blog-blogging and speak-speak-speaking, all this would bring a valuable, warming light; that being hyperactively connected to one another and the world would spawn opportunity that had never existed.

“They only care about what you do with what you know.”

Because as Mr. Friedman also told us in his keynote, average is officially over. In fact, he admitted he has 70 million competitors these days, with bloggers and writers online with all the tools and reach that only old school media and journalism used to have.

No pressure, right? We have to constantly be “innovation-ready” or we’ll slide into shadow canyons.

This theme resonated throughout the SHRM conference, from keynotes to sessions to parties to the expo hall to sidebars that took place in every nook and cranny of the convention center. When I saw Margaret Morford speak, CEO for The HR Edge, Inc., she hammered home that you’ve got to differentiate while ignoring the status quo hype; that you’ve got to be brave and “outrun the pack.”

Or they’ll run over you.

Imagine that you have billions of competitors, regardless of your status or profession, because that’s where it’s headed (if not already there). If we don’t continuously relearn and reimagine while being relentless in failure enablement, we’re doomed. Simply and utterly doomed.















That’s why four years ago Meghan M. Biro and I launched the TalentCulture #TChat Community and Shows, because the “world of work” needs constant upending and tending to, it needs to hear from all sorts of voices, from a ever-growing online community of knowledge-thirsty professionals including business leaders and innovators, human resource and recruiting executives, organizational development and learning professionals, HR technology vendors, industry consultants, job seekers and hey, even bloggers – all of whom are our daily competition and enablers.

So there you go, we’re just a couple of those bloggers, one a recruiting practitioner and one an HR tech marketer, moving into the warming light one weekly world of work topic at a time.

To all the other HR bloggers out there, whether you made it to SHRM this year or not, whether you have a current job, consultancy and/or side gig (or not), we thank you.

And a special thank you to SHRM as well!

And of course to our gracious partners and sponsors (many of which exhibited and/or sponsored this year’s SHRM Conference) – RIVS, GreatRated of Great Place to Work, TalentWise, GloboForce, SAP/SuccessFactors, Dice, Red Branch Media, HRmarketer Insight and my mothership PeopleFluent.

P.S. – And thank you Dwane Lay for organizing another fantastic fundraising event for No Kid Hungry that included a Big Lebowski bowling extravaganza! We raised over $5,000 dollars, which will help provide over 50,000 meals. Right on. And if you haven’t donated yet, you still can by clicking here.


Class of 2013 Goes To Work #TChat Recap

Written by guest blogger, Katie Paterson

The HR community is so generous! This week at the SHRM conference in Chicago, as well as in online #TChat discussions, you’ve helped Achievers and TalentCulture spotlight issues and opportunities facing the next wave of graduates who are entering the workforce.

The ideas flowed freely throughout the week, from the moment we started pouring margaritas at our #SHRM13 booth! Below are summary points about key #TChat topics, followed by resource links and a Storify highlights slideshow. Thanks to everyone for contributing such useful insights!

Social Tools For Job Seekers

LinkedIn received resounding support as the top social hiring hub. Twitter earned some votes as a secondary portal, with other major players like Facebook and Google+ mentioned in supporting roles.

An interesting sidebar thread touched on tools for showcasing professional portfolios. Pinterest was mentioned as a smart choice, as well as tools designed specifically for portfolios, such as Seelio.

Onboarding Improvement

Mentoring received popular support as a way to strengthen employee indoctrination. Workplace “sherpas” are a natural, easy way to introduce new hires to company culture, workgroup standards, and individual responsibilities. And #TChat-ters agreed that this practice is effective for both recent grads, as well as workforce veterans.

“Buddy systems” were also mentioned as a way to connect new hires with one another as they move through the new-hire experience together. Seasoned employees can offer organizational context, but new hires can bond as they learn from each other, in parallel.

Performance Evaluation Frequency

I think @ValaAfshar said it best:

The #TChat community universally applauded continuous constructive feedback, and @Achievers couldn’t agree more. Several chat participants pushed the concept further — indicating that those who are responsible for providing for feedback should also ask for feedback and suggestions, in return.

Why Recognize Employees?

This point might be preaching to the choir, because #TChat-ters were emphatic about recognizing great performance. But it’s noteworthy that two kinds of benefits were mentioned:

1) Human motivation: Many responses focused out how important it is for individuals to hear about their progress — especially when they meet or exceed expectations.

2) Business advantage: Other comments focused on the fact that recognition helps align employees — reinforcing and redirecting work to keep everyone moving together toward organizational goals.

Improving Retention

To engage recent hires, you recommended multiple ways of involving them in the organization. We couldn’t agree more! Offering meaningful work, fostering an inclusive team environment, and tying individual contributions to a broader mission keeps employees engaged and coming back for more.

It’s important to ask for opinions, provide opportunities for growth, and demonstrate consistently that employees are valued. If you inspire passion in your employees, they’ll reward you — not only by remaining loyal, by being your most consistent and vocal ambassadors.

For more information on what motivates the graduating class of 2013, check out Achievers’ latest whitepaper.

#TChat Week in Review

WED 6/12

#TChat Sneak Peek:  Kevin W. Grossman examined the emotional factors that drive employee engagement in a teaser post: “Feeling The Future Of Work: #TChat Meets #SHRM13.”

SAT 6/15

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, introduced the week’s topics and special #SHRM13 events in his post, “Stronger! #TChat Preview #SHRM13 Edition.”

SUN 6/16 Post: In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered advice about how companies should attract and retain next-generation talent. Read “Smart Leaders Engage Tomorrow’s Workforce.”

MON 6/17

Margarita Monday Meet-up: #SHRM13 attendees timed-out with Meghan and Kevin at the Achievers booth, while hearing about the latest research on “The Class of 2013: Understanding the Needs of the Future Workforce.” If you missed this event, we invite you to attend the Achievers webinar on June 26 (or on-demand after that date).

WED 6/19

#TChat Twitter: #TChat-ters came together on the Twitter stream for our dynamic weekly idea exchange. If you missed the real-time Twitter action, or would like to review highlights, watch the slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: “Looking Forward: Class of 2013”

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about the Class of 2013, or future workforce opportunities and challenges? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week we’re tackling a big topic — literally! Big Data in HR! Stay tuned for details this weekend. And remember: starting next week #TChat Radio moves to Wednesday nights at 6:30pmET — back-to-back with #TChat Twitter!

Until then, the World of Work conversation continues each day. Join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned website. The gears are always turning at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

katieprofile.lpeg(Author Profile: Katie Paterson is the Social Media Community Manager at Achievers, where she is focused on building an online community of Human Resources professionals who want to learn how engaged employees can impact business results. She is passionate about the world of social media, its impact on the workforce, and how it can be integrated into the our lives personally and professionally.)

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