July #SHRMChat Preview – Conferences


It’s time for another SHRMChat!

For newbies, SHRMChat is a monthly Twitter chat where we discuss issues affecting state and local affiliates of SHRM. There are different issues every month, and I preview and recap every month on my blog.

This month, SHRMChat will be discussing conferences. Many of us attended the recent Annual SHRM Conference & Exposition (SHRM12), where more than 13,000 people gathered to drink in all things HR. I belong to two different local SHRM affiliates, and both have hosted, or are preparing to host, one day conferences. And most state affiliates offer a conference.

So conferences are important to SHRM at every level. Other HR pros think so too, considering the rise of non-SHRM conferences like HRevolution and TLNT.com.

So let’s chat about what  needs to be done  to make an HR conference a success. To help us with this discussion, we will be joined by 3 special guests:

Mike VanDervort@MikeVanDervort – Mike is the social program strategist for HR FLorida, one of the largest state councils and conferences in the country. He also recently attended SHRM12 as an official blogger, and decided that SHRM has a formula for success through social media. Read about it here.

John Jorgenson@jkjhr – John is serving his 2nd year as director of the Illinois State Council conference, and was the State Director of ILSHRM prior to becoming conference director.

Steve Browne@sbrownehr – Steve was the conference director of HR Rocks, the 2011 Ohio State HR conference.

Here are the specific questions we will ask during the chat. The first question will be asked at 8:10 and each successive question will post on the 10’s.

  • Q1. Excluding content, what are the 3 most important ingredients for a successful conference?
  • Q2. Can there be a successful HR conference without social media? Why or why not?
  • Q3. Name the top 3 social media practices a conference should use.
  • Q4. Are HRCI credits a must for a successful conference? If not, how do you attract attendees?
  • Q5. What are the 2 or 3 most important attributes of a successful conference director?
As always, we encourage discussion around the topic even if a specific question isn’t asked.
Chat with us on Twitter, hashtag #SHRMChat, on TUESDAY, JULY 10  at 8 pm EST/7pm CST 



March SHRMChat Recap: Collaboration = Innovation

Our topic for March was “is it in the interest of SHRM chapters and councils to embrace other HR groups?” The point of this topic was to discuss whether partnerships with these groups- particularly those groups who have emerged with the explosion of new media and offer conferences and other learning opportunities-  limited the ability of SHRM state councils and local chapters to attract members and conference registrants.

The discussion yielded a resounding “yes” for collaboration.

Most of the people chatting felt that SHRM chapters and councils risk stagnation if they fail to embrace  outside groups. While some of the chatters felt that stagnation was the result of a need for new leadership, many felt that collaboration with other groups helped overcome the tunnel vision that many current SHRM leaders possess, and offered the current SHRM leaders new insights, or innovation, into HR-related areas.

When faced with a tweeted concern that having outside groups provide knowledge might keep potential members from joining their local chapter, most of the chat participants claimed that the added value from effective collaboration would prevent an exodus of current members, and attract new ones.

So in the minds of the March chatters, collaboration also yields added value.

With the case for collaboration firmly made, we asked the chatters what groups SHRM states and locals should look to when developing some kind of partnership. One of the most frequently mentioned  partnerships was the Chamber of Commerce.  Not only do Chambers have an interest and need to promote business-related programming, they also help SHRM locals and states reach businesses that have no traditional HR presence.

Beyond that, it was felt that the groups that might be effective partners for SHRM chapters was highly dependent on the specific needs and focus of the chapter.

One of the best examples of SHRM affiliate and outside collaboration was revealed by guest Craig Fisher of Talent Net Live and John Jorgenson, Conference Director at Illinois State Council (and faithful #SHRMChat moderator), who announced that Talent Net Live was kicking off the 2012 Illinois SHRM state conference with a pre-conference session on social recruiting.

I also humbly added my own chapter as an example – in April, Human Resources Association of Greater Detroit (Detroit SHRM) is partnering with the Michigan Diversity Council to present renowned diversity speaker Joe Gerstandt.

So if you belong to a SHRM affiliated state or local chapter, make sure you take any opportunity you can to suggest collaborative partnerships with other HR related groups.

SHRMChat is held on Twitter the second Tuesday of every month from 8 – 9 pm Eastern. Join us for the next chat on April 10th. Details will be announced in an upcoming blog post.


SHRMChat – February Recap and March Theme

Tweet Reach February


Our question for February was: “Which programs or issues do you think are important and appropriate for a future SHRMChat?” That question was posed because it seemed clear that participants in SHRMChat wanted to be able to speak about all things SHRM, not just about social media.

But as we discussed different potential topics, it became clear that our audience preferred that the topics be focused on the state/local chapters, instead of being specifically concerned  with the intersection of national and its affiliates.

It was also suggested that we establish a committee or include more than one moderator – an idea that I was already pursuing and embrace totally. Again the topic of speakers or guests was brought up and it is clear that our participants are committed enough to SHRMChat to start inviting guests.

Finally, the age old issue of breaking the bubble was discussed, thanks to China Gorman who tweeted about “seeing the same old faces”. This discussion led to the suggestion that everyone who participates in SHRMChat should try to recruit one new participant each month. It was a great suggestion and I hope everyone tries to expand the group.


You suggested, I listened. Going forward, we now have 3 additional SHRMChat moderators: John Jorgensen, Dave Ryan, and Nicole Och. We will be working behind the scenes to create topics and obtain speakers, etc., so be sure to reach out to one of them, or me, if you want to suggest something. Also, after this month, I will be separating the recap and upcoming chats into two different posts.

For the March chat, our topic will be “the interaction of SHRM chapters with other HR or business related groups.” Social media has brought an explosion of these groups to the web,  especially groups that provide knowledge and education, like  Tlnt.com, HRevolution, and Talent Net Live. There are also more traditional alliances of SHRM chapters and other groups, such as Chambers of Commerce. Our questions are:

1. Is it in the interest of SHRM chapters to partner with or embrace other HR related groups? Why? Why not?

2. If SHRM chapters should pursue some kind of alliance, which groups would be best and why?

Join us for SHRMChat Tuesday, March 13th at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST, where our guest will be Craig Fisher of Talent Net Live and #TalentNet chat. REMEMBER TO TRY TO BRING AT LEAST ONE NEW TWEEP!