The SHRM conference – HR self-doubt and other familiar themes

Michael Carty has a round-up of comments from the SHRM conference (the US equivalent of our CIPD conference) in San Diego. The event might be an ocean and a continent away but the reports have a ring of familiarity about them. The prevailing theme, it seems, is HR self-doubt and pessimism about the profession’s future.

This is nothing new. We tend to get similar fallout from our HR conferences. Three years ago Louisa Peacock expressed her shock after sitting in a hall full of HR folk whooping with delight as speaker after speaker gave their profession a damned good kicking.

Mark Stelzner’s report carries a quote from Conrad Venter, Deutsche Bank’s global HR boss, who predicated that HR will be obsolete in ten years if it stays on its current course. Heather Vogel draws a similar conclusion; if HR carries on with the same people doing the same stuff year after year, it is screwed. Again, we have been saying similar things over here.

Charlie Judy goes even further, railing against “pansy HR subject matter experts“. Then again, didn’t some bloke in the UK have a go at HR for being a bunch of wimps?

Everything I have read about the SHRM conference sounds strangely familiar, right down to the HRDs rat-arsed on free margaritas, the fashion disasters and the thirty-something middle managers throwing up outside.

We might be divided by an ocean and a common language but American conferences sound more or less the same as ours.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The SHRM conference – HR self-doubt and other familiar themes

  1. Pingback: The SHRM conference – HR self-doubt and other familiar themes - Rick - Member Blogs - HR Blogs - HR Space from Personnel Today and Xpert HR

  2. Well, perhaps in HR things are the same, but I recall a friend of mine – basically a journalist – somehow being recruited to a mid-high level job in Microsoft UK and being sent off, with various other Brit Microsoft people, to a conference in Seattle.

    Naturally, they responded like all mid thirties Brits in a strange place with no family ties: they went out on the lash, and stayed out on the lash and drunk themselves into oblivion. Meanwhile, the Americans stuck to pizzas, cola and throwing frisbees followed by an early night.

    Now all this would have been fine except my friend had to give a presentation to a hall full of hundreds of people at 9 in the morning. In England, I suspect, he would have just somehow stumbled through it to a half empty hall as his fellow reprobates slept it off. But, no, this was America – this was the West Coast, that epicentre of positive thinking and ‘can-d0’ type opposition to negativity. So not only was the hall full, but everyone had been issued with tiny cymbals which they were supposed to crash together to indicate their enthusiasm for the words of the platform speaker….

    I’ll leave you to join the dots as to what happened.

  3. Rick says:

    Oh Hell! I can feel the headache coming on. What a complete nightmare.

  4. David Shepherd, aka Old Shep over there in the UK attended the SHRM conference and wrote this article for my blog. There is some interesting discussion in the comments regarding the differences and similarities of SHRM and CIPD.

    http://www.thehumanracehorses.com/2010/07/06/over-there-an-englishman-at-the-shrm-global-conference/

  5. Charlie Judy says:

    just to be clear, rick, my “pansy HR subject matter” post was back in January of 2010 and had nothing whatsoever to do with the SHRM 2010 Annual Conference and Expo. You’re the second blogger who has associated that post with that conference. I was, however, blogging from the conference and I can tell you that there is a lot of good stuff going on in this profession. “Self-doubt” doesn’t necessarily abound, but one gets the sense that a lot of HR professionals are still uncomfortable in their new skin. my assessment is that HR is the proverbial dog who finally caught the car – we’ve worked hard to position ourselves as more crucial to not only responding to the company’s direction, but also helping the company actually set that direction. But now we’re not too sure what to do with it. It’s all a part of this evolution. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s