Just got back from my first ever HR Indiana Conference in downtown Indianapolis. I appreciated that my work allowed me to have a few days to go and learn what is going on in the human resources world currently and get some hours for my continuing education requirements for the PHR. Thought I'd write 5 quick things I learned or observed.
1. Social Media is THE biggest buzz phrase out there right now. It seemed like every presenter said something about Facebook, Twitter, You Tube or LinkedIn. As I'm writing this now and you are reading it later, we'll both be participating in this social media phenom that has taken the business world and our personal lives by storm the past decade. I found it very interesting not only the suggestions of how businesses can use social media, but how they need to have a plan should it go badly, and to be sure to be ready before going on social media. Not just using Facebook, because everyone else is.
2. Probably my least favorite part of the conference was Monday afternoon's 4 hour session of "Everything Legal" that was lead by a lot of different lawyers. Now I know that human resources isn't the most exciting job out there, but I've got to say that when I feel like a text book became animated and started talking to me, that as a speaker the job hasn't been done well.
3. There was a discussion of mega-trends in business on Tuesday that interested me. In particular how important it is for companies to allow their employees telework options. I understand why this is a mega-trend and I understand that it can be used as a very useful recruitment tool. However, I find it interesting that as of now, I'm less interested in teleworking than the average 28 year old. I enjoy going into the office, seeing my co-workers, and getting the job done that way. (This of course could be because I have a 10 minute or less commute)
4. The amount of people there was interesting as well. There were over 1200 attendees this year, which from my understanding has gone up, and so it seems that human resources professionals care about continuing to educate themselves. Now the cynical side of me thinks they probably just showed up to get their hours so they can keep that PHR certification, but maybe that is not completely true. Now that I've got a year under my belt, I think if I could go back I would, because overall the conference was good. There were some sessions, see above "Everything Legal", that I could've done without or in a different format. There were also several very good sessions including 6 Mega Trends, Social Media, and the Indiana Business Panel.
5. I realized more than ever that human resources is a female dominated industry. I counted in one session out of the 78 people in the session, only 11 were men. What does this mean for me and my career? When I go to human resources conferences, I can snicker as I walk by the huge line outside the ladies' restroom and glide right into to a nearly empty mens' restroom.