Monday, October 24, 2011

HR Themes from 3 Conferences

The conference season is in full swing and I had the opportunity to attend three wonderful conferences last week.

1) SHRM-Atlanta's HR Conference
2) The Performance Institute's Performance Conference
3) The University of Alabama's HR Management Conference

It is so interesting to participate and listen for themes to emerge. As I wrote notes for each one of the workshops/keynotes I attended, I began to see familiar topics. Here are the common themes from all three conferences:

1) Alignment-seemed to be the most popular theme. Whether it is alignment of organizational goals to the departmental level or aligning HR activities around organizational goals, the topic was mentioned at each conference. My personal opinion is that HR has a huge opportunity in the alignment area. As execution is the reason strategy fails...HR can exercise its strategic muscles in this area. "Execution trumps strategy every time," Rich Berens, Root Learning at the Performance Conference.

2) Engagement-is no longer a nice to have. Engagement is now a must have for a company's competitive advantage. Speakers at all three discussed engagement in the following ways:
1) Employees must be engaged with their work
2) Employees must be engaged with their manager
3) Employees must be engaged with an organization's strategy
4) Employees must be engaged with their team

Tracking and acting on engagement data is key so that those things that drive engagement can be identified and sustained.

3) Focus-such a simple word, but yet so hard to do. Speakers discussed the recent economic challenges forcing companies to get focused on what is truly important. Instead of rolling out 10-12 objectives, speakers discussed the necessity to simplify and focus on the top 3-5 strategic objectives. By focusing on a smaller number, it really makes an organization pay attention to what matters most. Whether it is an individual's goals or an organization's goals a smaller more manageable number keeps everyone's eye on the desired target...organizational success as defined by the strategic plan.

The next time you attend a conference, sit back and listen...listen to common themes across presentations.

For those of you that attended conferences over the last few months, what themes did you hear? Do tell...
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