What I Saw At SHRM

Connecting with People and Sharing Our Knowledge

By Tim Low, VP of Marketing, PayScale.com

I'd like to share a few observations from a SHRM national first timer (I am a software guy, and have never been to a SHRM conference before).

Awesome in Scale

This is a very big event. I don't know the final number of attendees, but it was somewhere in the 15,000 – 20,000 range, a large gathering by any standard. The SHRM organization really did an amazing job on the logistics of hosting, entertaining and educating that many people for several days.

Great Content

From the keynote speakers, which included Tom Brokaw and Condoleezza Rice, to the session speakers, including our own Stacey Carroll (Follow Stacey on twitter @HRStacey. Follow us @PayScale.), the quality of the content presented was top notch. I was particularly impressed with the session on using social media in HR, as I think it's critically important for HR folks to understand the impact of social on their function, and not just leave it to marketing.

A Place to Introduce Our Latest Research

We recently completed a study on the value of the PHR and SPHR certifications granted by HRCI, the education and certifying authority of SHRM. Our report and infographic were a huge hit with people trying to assess the value of those certifications for their own careers or to see the differences in compensation for professionals holding one or more those certifications compared to professionals without them.

A Great Way to Interact with Customers and Future Customers

We were exhibiting at SHRM12 as well as speaking, so we decided to bring a whole bunch of PayScale people south to the Atlanta. We had account managers and executives there meeting and greeting people with whom they often only are able to speak with on the phone. So it was really great to have some in-person conversations and take the pulse of a variety of practitioners on how they are thinking about managing compensation, the dynamics of the war for talent, and the like. It was eye opening in a way that only one-on-one in-person conversations can be.

A Great Resource for HR Professionals

I was struck by the many opportunities for HR people to branch out and learn about new things.  I thought SHRM did a particularly great job with the 'Hive,' a social media hangout/tutorial center that was there for participants to learn more about how to use Twitter, Facebook and other social tools in their day-to-day work, if they haven't yet made it a part of their world.

We Will Be Back

All in all, we met more than a thousand of you. That was fantastic. Next year, and we'll be back bigger and hope to see you there.

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