Top 5 Takeaways from #SHRM15

July 2, 2015 Sarah Payne

Thousands of HR professionals descended upon Las Vegas this week for the annual SHRM conference to network and learn the latest trends and best practices in the field. I was lucky enough to be part of this incredible event. Here are a few things I learned (besides the fact that I am a huge fan of air conditioning):


  1. HR needs better data. 61% of performance management data is more about the rater than the person being rated. Marcus Buckingham, Tuesday’s keynote speaker, said this results in bad data. While we all know that HR stands for human resources, he pointed out that LinkedIn often knows more about our people than we do. It’s time to invest in HR tools that give team leaders real-time, reliable insights on the productivity and engagement of their teams.
  2. Use culture to fight turnover. Derek Irvine cited an alarming statistic from the new SHRM/Globoforce recognition survey—turnover is the top HR challenge this year. This isn’t a big surprise given the job market numbers and how it’s continued to gain strength this year. The good news is that many organizations are using values-based recognition programs to cultivate better work cultures. Survey respondents cite positive impact of their programs on engagement, retention, safety, wellness, employer brand, and even cost goals.
  3. It’s the dawn of the Participation Age. What does that mean? Chuck Blakeman said it’s about viewing workers not as employees, but as stakeholders. It’s about making meaning at work, not just money. It’s saying goodbye to the Industrial Age and hello to a human workplace. When we allow people to bring their whole, creative selves to work, we cultivate more productive, motivated work cultures.
  4. The best workplaces are friendly. Zappos has made the top 100 best companies to work for list for the past 6 years in a row. Why? Jamie Naughton, Zappos’ Chief of Staff, talked about how Zappos focuses on friendships and giving to foster P.E.C.—personal emotional connections—at work. Zappos employees spend 10 to 20 percent of work time doing team-building activities. They also have a program called Wishez, which allows employees to make and grant anonymous wishes for each other.
  5. Engagement is linked to wellbeing. According to Jennifer McClure, a projected shortfall of up to 18 million skilled workers will exist in advanced economies by 2020. If the talent war is here to stay, we need to work even harder to engage and retain our best employees. Jennifer cited a Towers Watson study that found the single highest driver of engagement is whether or not workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their wellbeing.

What were some takeaways you got from #SHRM15? Did anything surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

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