VOLO Software Development Outsourcing Company's Blog

SHRM23: Reflections from the Neon Capital of the World

6 Jul 2023

SHRM23 Conference
This year, the vibrant city of Las Vegas hosted the highly anticipated Annual SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) Conference and Expo, an immersive four-day event that brought together HR professionals, C-suite executives, industry analysts, and influencers from across the globe. From June 11th to 14th, attendees were treated to a wealth of knowledge and networking opportunities, making it an unforgettable and deeply insightful experience.

On its 75th anniversary this year, SHRM hit a record number of attendees and revenue, welcoming over 20,000 HR specialists, executives, and students at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with 2,500 more joining in remotely. 

A Quick Recap of the Event Proceedings

SHRM23 Conference 

The 4-day event passed in the blink of an eye thanks to the abundance of sessions on the latest trends in the HR landscape, covering such topics as AI, talent acquisition, DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion), mental health, empathetic leadership, employee engagement, HR technologies, and more. All the attendees, from HR specialists to C-suite leaders, gained invaluable knowledge and insights throughout the 275 sessions that catered to the needs of everyone. 

The SHRM23 Expo brought together 650 solution providers helping the guests learn more about the latest HR resources, understand the displayed solutions better through the presentations in the Exhibitor Theatres, and why not, enter the Grand Prize Drawing for a chance to win a trip for 2 to SHRM24 in Chicago. 

The exhibition had various HR-related products and services on display in its booths: 

   - HR software platforms for recruiting, onboarding, employee management, and performance tracking. 

   - Benefits programs - health insurance, retirement plans, employee support programs, etc. 

   - L&D tools such as online training programs, coaching and mentoring services, and leadership development courses. 

   - Talent management solutions such as assessments, background checks, and candidate screening tools. 

   - HR consulting services, legal and compliance solutions, and HR outsourcing. 

Some of the key exhibitors included Accredible, Genos North America, DecisionWise, beqom, Littler, Edge Information Management Inc., Paychex, and Flores & Associates. 

Since there were an overwhelming number of sessions and exhibitors with various solutions, the guests had the opportunity to make things more personalized for themselves through customized learning. They could choose a content track to find sessions on topics that were the most relevant to their business’ current needs. 

The so called content tracks were as follows: 

   - Compensation, benefits, and well-being

   - Diversity, equity, and inclusion

   - Employment law and regulations

   - Global HR

   - HR department of one

   - HR technology and data analytics

   - Leadership and personal growth

   - People and talent management

   - Recruitment and talent acquisition

   - Strategic HR

   - Workplace culture, empathy, and work life integration

There were different types of sessions, from general and concurrent ones, to mega sessions and spotlight stage presentations as well as pre-conference learning. Over 380 speakers led the sessions and shared their experience on all things HR.

Some of the keynote speakers were: 

   - Zig Serafin, Chief Executive Officer, Qualtrics

   - Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM President and CEO

   - Mitch Albom, Author, Columnist, and Radio Host

   - President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the USA

   - Bob Rothman, President, Gap International

Overall, SHRM23 gathered under one roof guests from over 80 countries, more than 450 companies exhibiting, and over 10 industries being represented, becoming an exceptional space for networking, cultivating connections with global HR experts, and helping shape the future of HR for your company, or even, country. 

Team VOLO at SHRM23

The VOLO team had the honor of being part of SHRM 2023 as well. Our delegation featured Armen Kocharyan, our co-founder, Diana Kabajyan, our HR Director, and Hasmik Ghazaryan, the senior product manager of VOLO’s HR solution, Raiser

SHRM23 Conference

They came back from the event equipped with a treasure trove of valuable industry connections, eye-opening perspectives, and an abundance of knowledge that have elevated their understanding and expertise in the field. Immersed in various sessions and weaving through bustling booths at the Expo, our team couldn't help but feel a surge of excitement as we realized that our existing HR management strategies and approach are right on track, perfectly aligned with the latest industry standards. Nevertheless, we recognize that there's always room for improvement and growth. That's why the fresh insights acquired through our experience at SHRM23 will undoubtedly serve as catalysts on our continuous journey of development and success.

Here is a quick recap of the key takeaways and insights that our team would like to share from their experience at SHRM23. 

1. Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion or DEI was big at SHRM23. Throughout the sessions we heard different HR experts share best practices for creating inclusive workplaces. Recognizing that diversity goes beyond gender and ethnicity, speakers stressed the importance of diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas, and the openness of a company to hear and support these ideas. 

The conference highlighted the need for an inclusive and healthy company culture, where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best. A special emphasis was given to the significance of engaging with underrepresented groups and ensuring their security and fair treatment within a company. 

Additionally, some speakers also shed light on the need to build strong community connections via targeted outreach initiatives, which can help businesses get in touch with untapped talent pools, thus further fostering an equal and inclusive workplace culture. 

2. Embracing Technology and Automation

One of the dominant themes at SHRM23 was the impact of technology and automation on HR processes. With the rapid development of AI, Machine Learning, and robotic process automation, HR specialists are increasingly incorporating digital solutions to streamline operations, boost efficiency, and improve strategic decision-making. 

SHRM23 Conference

A central point of interest was the potential of technology in revolutionizing talent acquisition, employee engagement, learning and development, and data analytics. On their journey to accepting and moving along with these innovations, HR professionals must not forget about the ethical part of it all and should find the balance between automation and the human touch. 

It’s also crucial for HR teams across the globe to follow the legal part of AI adoption. ChatGPT, for example, can be a highly useful tool, considering how fast and easy-to-use it is. However, it is not as simple as it seems. You have to be careful with the information you provide it with - you heard it right, it’s not just ChatGPT providing you with information, you do it as well with your questions and requests. That’s why it’s good to think twice before giving details to this robot - this might save you from a legal case in the future.

The advance of AI has brought the need for workplace AI regulations. The latter have either already been passed and are in effect, or are still in process and expected to be passed soon. In any case, staying up-to-date on the latest regulations on workplace AI in your country will help you use technology advancements more responsibly, thus driving efficiency and future-proofing your company reputation. 

At the end of the day, as some speakers rightly noted, AI is essentially becoming a third-party partner for organizations. So, consider it an official partnership and consult a lawyer in order not to violate any compliance regulations. 

3. Empowering the Employee Experience

The more we advance in technology on a daily basis, the more important it becomes for organizations to employ human-centered approaches and strategies. A happy and engaged workforce leads to improved productivity, reduced turnover, and better employer branding. 

SHRM 2023 once again highlighted that employee well-being should be a focal point for HR professionals worldwide. Many sessions explored strategies that would help promote work-life balance and nurture an inclusive culture where there is a sense of belonging. 

The mental health of employees was also one of the dominant themes at the conference. There were already successful cases of employing the help of psychologists at organizations to ensure that serious mental health issues and/or burnouts are either prevented or detected and treated early on. 

A healthy work culture where open communication is encouraged is sure to boost employee engagement and retention in the long run.

SHRM23 Conference

4. Cultivating Leadership and Overcoming the Talent Shortage

As they say, great leaders create more leaders. Instead of looking to fill in your leadership positions in the large talent pool of your city/country, you could look for the right leader within your organization. 

SHRM23 speakers touched on this topic as well, reassuring the present HR professionals and C-level executives that they can identify and nurture high-potential employees, providing them with development opportunities and preparing them for leadership roles. Such processes as mentorship, coaching, and ongoing learning could pave the way to developing strong leadership pipelines. 

As for the talent shortage, organizations should again look into their own potential of handling this issue. According to a latest study, in 2023, 77% of global organizations report talent shortages - this is the highest number in 17 years. 

What SHRM speakers suggest is already a widely accepted practice by many - prioritizing targeted training initiatives. Organizations can educate the people with the needed skills for their job openings by partnering with different educational institutions, offering apprenticeships, and carrying out upskilling/reskilling programs. Such initiatives can help companies address the talent shortage issue as well as ensure higher rates of employee loyalty and motivation. 

5. Navigating the Various Work Models

Another theme of discussion at the conference was the evolving nature of work and the greatest post-pandemic conundrum - remote or on-site? 

Some sessions addressed the issue of managing remote teams, while maintaining employee engagement in a digital environment and adapting the HR practices to the needs of a virtual workforce. Some mentioned the legal issues associated with benefit management when working with teams across different countries. 

The view on this varied slightly - some considered it important for employees to be present on-site, noting that remote work made them anti-social, others were fine with the hybrid type of work, and there were those who did not see an issue in managing a fully remote team. The main problem, as mentioned by the speakers, with switching back to on-site work was the hesitance of employees to do so. That’s why the hybrid model is slowly becoming the standard.

HR professionals should be able to leverage technology to enhance collaboration, improve communication and performance management in a hybrid or remote work setting. 

SHRM23 Pros and Cons 

Overall, SHRM23 was a great learning opportunity for our team that came with a number of benefits: 

   - As one of the largest and most prominent HR events in the world, SHRM opened the doors of the global HR market for us, helping our team learn more about the current trends and technologies. 

SHRM23 Conference

   - At SHRM Expo, we got to know the available HR solutions and products in the market, both US and non-US based. We connected with the exhibitors and learned from their experience of attracting clients, doing product presentations, as well as looking into new partnership opportunities. This was important for the further development of our HR solution, Raiser. 

   - It was also quite insightful to be able to watch the product demos in the Expo Theatre. 

On a different note, it would be fair to mention a few minor issues that caused a slight inconvenience for us and possibly for other guests from outside the USA. Despite being a global conference, a lot of the sessions of SHRM23 were focused on the US market alone and discussed US-relevant compliance and regulatory issues, which, unfortunately, we could not relate to. 

Additionally, if you are planning on attending future SHRM conferences, we recommend having a booth at the Expo in order to be able to network and connect with people better. This way you will make more valuable contacts for the future. However, since we were there to probe the waters, it was still quite educational on so many levels, and we will be better prepared next time. 

Parting Notes

SHRM23 provided a platform for HR professionals globally to gain valuable insights, exchange ideas, share experience, and explore the future of possible partnerships. The conference emphasized the pivotal role of technology, the crucial importance of employee experience, mental health, and well-being, the need for strong leadership planning, and the imperative of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

As the HR landscape continues to evolve, practitioners must seize these key takeaways and transform them into actionable strategies to drive organizational success in the years ahead. As one of the SHRM speakers noted, HR specialists should now view themselves as business professionals with experience in HR.  

Sona Dabaghyan

Content Writer

Sona, a content writer at VOLO, with a track record spanning over 5 years in the writing and editing industry, delivers high-quality, engaging, and informative content, including blog posts, guest posts, e-books, and case studies for the company. In addition to her writing skills, Sona also does translations from Armenian to English and vice versa.

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