Dispatch from Vegas: HR Brew at SHRM23

Not too much time for sinning in Sin City, as SHRM’s Annual Conference and Expo offered wall-to-wall programming for HR pros.
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Adam DeRose

· 3 min read

More than 21,000 people in the HR space attended the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Annual Conference and Expo in Las Vegas from all across the globe. Another 3,000 pros joined the conference virtually.

SHRM23 featured notables like former President Bill Clinton, music sensation Janet Jackson, and a bevy of HR professionals and people pros to network with and learn from during the multiday extravaganza celebrating all things work.

Sessions. SHRM23 sessions were too many to count, but pros could follow tracks such as strategic HR, DE&I, or “HR department of one” to curate their experience based on their needs. The conference featured 11 different tracks.

A former president. Clinton headlined the conference’s main stage Monday morning. The 42nd president touched on the Family and Medical Leave Act, which he signed into law in 1993. Washington celebrated the measure’s 30th anniversary earlier this year.

During the session, the former commander in chief called for an update to this signature piece of legislation. He suggested lawmakers work on a phase-in component in order to help small businesses adjust to the requirement. Emily Dickens, SHRM’s chief of staff and head of public affairs, told HR Brew the advocacy group is lobbying for paid leave legislation, in addition to updates to immigration and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Regarding the worker shortage and the push to loosen degree requirements, Clinton extolled the benefits of a college education, but also said, “I don't think we should make our economy less efficient by lowering workforce participation at a time when there are 10 million open jobs."

image of shoe shine worker shining a conference attendees cowboy boots

Cowboy boot shine, anyone? The Las Vegas Convention Center houses 3.2 million square feet, and the conference was held in two separate buildings. HR pros got their steps in running between sessions.

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A shoe-shining team was also in attendance. More than one conference-goer, clad in cowboy boots, took advantage of the service.

image of the Indeed booth at the expo where the vendors made cookies with attendees faces

Adam DeRose

Exhausting expo. In addition to plethora of conference sessions, the expo’s food offerings could rival the menu at a Cheesecake Factory. More than 500 vendors exhibited on the showroom floor, and many got a little campy with the Vegas theme: roulette and a Price Is Right-style wheel were both available for spinning. (Almost as fast as my head.)

In addition to the usual suspects such as HRIS platforms, payroll companies, and employee engagement vendors, the expo had some out-of-the-box offerings:

  • Noom reps provided info on the Noom for Work program. The weight-loss app launched a service companies could add to their health and wellness offerings.
  • The See’s Candies booth had a sweet idea for HR pros when employees need a thank-you for a job well done: Give them candy, obviously.
  • More than a dozen colleges and universities touted continuing education opportunities for HR professionals to grow their career.
  • Indeed, known for posting job openings, got into posting selfies at SHRM23, and by posting, we mean printing faces on cookies.
  • Others lured HR pros with puppies (cute alert!). Dog food company Cesar wanted to discuss pet-friendly offices with attendees. The PetPartners booth explained how companies are incorporating pet insurance into their benefits.
a fleet of green SUVs outside the Las Vegas convention center

Ridin’ in style. Outside the convention center, attendees could hop in a green Cadillac SUV to explore the offerings in Sin City. A Paycom spokesperson told HR Brew in an email that the payroll company offered attendees a free ride because it’s always looking to make life simpler.

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