How to Get the Most Out of #SHRM17 Even If You Can’t Attend

We are less than 12 days away from the start of the HR event of the year which is the SHRM Annual Conference held in the Big Easy. I find it appropriate that the conference’s slogan is ‘All in’ which implies that you are truly committed and devoted to the HR profession . ‘All in’ is a slang term often used in poker meaning to be totally committed to something which in our case is the profession of human resources.

All In at the 2017 SHRM Annual Conference in New Orleans

I, as well as SHRM understand that your attendance at the conference isn’t an indicator of your commitment to the profession.  You can be totally committed to HR regardless of your attendance at the SHRM Annual. In my experience, HR professionals regardless of their conference attendance are some of the most committed business professionals I have ever met. Most of us accidentally land in HR roles only to find success, comfort, and friendship in an industry and profession that is critical to business success and transformation. While there will be 17,000 in attendance at the annual conference including myself, there are 268,000 SHRM members who are not able to attend. And I think most of us in attendance have been in your shoes. I remember having a serious case of FOMO (or fear of missing out) the last time SHRM Annual was in New Orleans in 2009.

You can be an active but virtual conference participant from afar using social networks, communities, and technologies. I’ve organized a list of tools, technologies, and platforms to participate in to go ‘All in’ if you are not able to attend the SHRM Annual Conference face to face. Being a virtual conference attendee can be achieved with a little planning, effort and a commitment to sharing and engaging digitally.

How to Get the Most Out of SHRM Annual If You Are #NotatSHRM

    • Get on Twitter. In my experience, the annual conference is often one time a year HR professionals get on Twitter to tweet, share, connect and engage. Twitter allows you to connect with HR professionals who are living and tweeting in the moment most of them from their phones. Simply follow the #SHRM17 hashtag to be connected to the conferences real-time Twitter feed and for the best way to engage and participate in the conversation, I recommend using a free Twitter tool, Tweet Chat. You can also search the #SHRM17 hashtag on Facebook as well as Instagram too.
    • Like SHRM’s Facebook Page. SHRM is offering more live streaming of sessions and mini sessions at the conference which this year they are calling Take 10. After liking the SHRM Facebook Page, simply sign up to receive alerts when the page starts a Facebook Live. You can ask questions, comment and chat in real time. It’s a great way to engage.
    • Join the #NotatSHRM Group on Facebook. I created a private #NotatSHRM Facebook Group where we will also be live streaming sessions, hosting a virtual happy hour and offering prizes and giveaways during the conference. Our group is also hosting a Not at SHRM step challenge. You can choose to participate in any and all events with main communication happening in the group.
    • Follow the SHRM Blog. SHRM is committed to sharing insights and resources during the annual conference with the help of members of the SHRM Blog Squad, including myself. Articles published from the more than 70+ SHRM bloggers will be published on the SHRM Blog during the conference.
    • Host Your Own Happy Hour or Event. One of the biggest opportunities outside of learning at the conference is networking and making new friends. Just because you aren’t at SHRM Annual doesn’t mean you have to miss out on opportunities for networking, learning, and friendship. Simply invite a handful of HR friends to a happy hour asking them to also invite an additional HR friend.
    • Get active on SHRM Connect. SHRM Connect is SHRM’s members only social network is a great place to stay up to date on the happenings around SHRM and connect with new friends and fellow HR professional.

Regardless of your attendance at the SHRM Annual whether in personal of virtual, the conference is a great time to think, plan and reflect on the future of the HR profession and where you fit into increasing the understanding and impact that HR has especially with managers, business leaders, and your employees. I’m looking forward to connecting with many of you as a result of the SHRM Annual Conference either in personal or virtually. And if you are attending the conference, be sure to sign up for my text party alerts by texting ‘SHRM’ to 55678.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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