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Top Sessions at SHRM 2016

Read about five of the best sessions at the 2016 Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM's) Annual Conference and Expo, judging from the buzz they created and the impact the content could have on your organization.
top shrm sessions 2016

The 15,000-plus attendees at the 2016 Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) Annual Conference and Exposition in Washington, DC had hundreds of sessions to choose from. We summarize five of the best, judging from the buzz they created and the impact the content could have on your organization.


A Business Case for Hiring Veterans: Designing and Implementing a Veteran Hiring Program

Speaker: Lida Citroen, principal, LIDA360 LLC

More than 600,000 U.S. veterans are unemployed, even though these individuals benefited from more than $130 billion in training, education and skills development from the government. Veterans represent a wealth of talent, passion and commitment, but are too often stymied in the job hunt by myths and misconceptions about their employability. Take advantage of this workforce by building a veteran hiring initiative.

To find these workers, recognize that they don’t always use online employment resources as civilians do. Your HR team may need to reach out to them in other ways. Train your staff in interviewing former military members, as these folks have a particular mindset. Interviewers need to know that:

  • A vet sitting in front of you is a vet ready to go to work.
  • Vets relate to strong values, so play up your firm’s ideals.
  • Vets are all about the team — they focus on the “we” rather than the “I.”

Hiring former servicemen and women can boost your company’s image and reduce HR costs.

Technology Meets HR: Selecting and Justifying the Right Solution

Speaker: Joe Rotella, CTO, Delphia Consulting LLC

Technology can help free nearly any business sector from “administrivia,” allowing its members to focus more on organizational goals. Because 47 percent of senior executives think of HR professionals as paper pushers, you have to justify an HR technology investment. An effective written proposal demonstrates:

  • Thorough research of vendors and products;
  • ROI beyond the bottom line — payback includes cultural improvement, process improvements and enhanced client satisfaction;
  • The huge benefits of employee self-service features; and
  • Alignment of the purchase with the company’s strategic goals.

Know how to sell your decision to decision-makers. When you improve HR processes, you boost the processes of the entire the company.

Communicating Total Compensation and Benefits to Millennials

Speaker: Karl Ahlrichs, senior consultant, Gregory and Appel

The challenge: Communicating complicated corporate benefits programs to young employees with short attention spans and high standards. How do you get millennials to understand the perks their company provides?

Deliver information in the way this generation typically digests it. Millennials (18 to 34 years old) are digital natives, so give them the facts electronically. Use the company intranet or perhaps a specifically designed internet site. Consider social media options, as well. Be simple. Be concise. Be precise. Be fun. Be consistent in the message.

Recognize that millennials aren't concerned about their careers 30 years down the road. They focus on the benefits their jobs offer here and now. Keeping that in mind, every generation wants a workplace that provides a sense of inclusion, leaders with integrity and rewards for a job well done.


T-Minus 90 Days and Counting to the General Election: The Washington Outlook for HR Public Policy

Speaker: Michael Aitken, VP, Government Affairs, Society for Human Resource Management

In a little over three months, voters will elect a new president and decide control of the 115th Congress. Key issues affecting the workplace include paid maternity/paternity leave, immigration reform and tax reform. Legislators face efforts to amend the Affordable Care Act, push new workplace flexibility options, and address compensation equity.

12 Ways to Increase Gender Equality

Speaker: Jonathan Segal, Duane Morris, LLP

Women are underrepresented in leadership positions across all industries. In Fortune 1,000 companies, less than 4 percent of CEOs are women. Gender equality is not only a legal issue, it’s a business imperative, if our nation wants to give it more than lip service. Indeed, equalizing the numbers of and opportunities for women in the workplace will bring greater diversity, skills and talents to our nation’s economy.

Twelve ways a company can accomplish gender equality:

  1. Reassess hiring requirements
  2. Expand the applicant pool
  3. Establish screening “guardrails,” e.g., circulate résumés without names 
  4. Establish interviewing guardrails, e.g., ask uniform questions, use mixed-gender teams
  5. Maximize access to opportunity
  6. Minimize the gender pay gap
  7. Support work-life management
  8. Provide empowerment vehicles, e.g., mentoring, affinity groups
  9. Remove bias from evaluations/assessments
  10. Squash harassment
  11. Ensure performance management
  12. Establish a board of diversity

By recognizing unconscious bias in hiring and promotions, and consciously develop ways to mitigate this risk, organization leaders can find and recruit a more diverse workforce. Organizations perform better financially and are healthier culturally with gender diversity, particularly at the top.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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