This past Wednesday, August 19th, I attended the SHRM-Long Island’s 29th annual conference. In fact, I haven’t missed this conference in the 29 years I’ve worked in recruitment in the Long Island region, but this was the first one that was virtual.
I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. Virtual events have become the norm; however, I have always been there in person representing my company at our booth and I knew this would not be like past years. For me, the opportunity to visit with hundreds of decades strong human resources connections was always a high point of this event.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, my work life has been changing. Naturally, since the pandemic started, I have embraced zoom interviewing, zoom client meetings, webinars and Teams’ video staff meetings and face-timing with candidates, but this virtual event blew me away! It was great: the content was on point, and I felt engaged throughout. I loved that there was a live chat during the entire event. Here’s what the 8:30 a.m. to 2: 45 pm agenda looked like:
- Panel sessions led by experienced industry professionals
- Ongoing speaker Q&As from beginning to end
- Live chat with fellow attendees
- Virtual Exhibit Hall
- Interactive networking opportunities
The day began with a warm welcome from Jennifer Carey, President of SHRM-LI. Next up was a MorningKeynote, the CEO of SHRM, Johnny C. Taylor. He discussed everything from the state of unemployment, to the rise of remote work, diversity, equity and inclusion in the work place, to now being an opportune time to define your culture. My favorite quotes from him: “HR Professionals are Workforce First Responders!” and “HR will be putting the workforce back together,”
I attended a workshop presented by Jill Christensen (of Jill Christensen International) titled, Proven Strategies to Keep Remote Workers Engaged, Enthused and Effective. She defined universal human needs, not just the needs of baby boomers or millennials. She identified 3 critical “C’s” as Connection, Communication and Collaboration. She said SHRM Members are the passionate core of the HR profession. Jill discussed ways to create a culture where your remote workers’ needs are met – “Create a culture where your remote workers’ needs are met and they will give you their all. If your employees’ needs are not met, they will leave. People have options!”
The next workshop was a bit outside the box: HR Leadership Lessons from Hollywood. The speaker was Andy Master, of Masters Performance Improvement. He related HR issues to movie clips, and was very entertaining. My favorite was Devil Wears Prada… maybe because it always reminds me of the C-Level Executive Assistant searches that I specialize in and the chemistry and pairing between the Executive and his or her right hand.
The closing keynote was, What Just Happened? The Top Ten Critical Labor and Employment Law Developments That May Have Been Overlooked During The Covid-19 Pandemic offered up from Christopher Valentino, ESQ and Brendan Sweeney ESQ from Jackson Lewis. They discussed recent legal issues which may have gone unnoticed such as NYS Paid Sick Leave, Title V11 expansion and more. As always, they make the world of law and compliance easy to understand and interesting.
Before I knew it, the day ended with Zoom Breakout rooms giving all of us attendees the opportunity to network and discuss relevant topics.
In all, it was a thoughtful, well put-together event and the SHRM-LI Conference committee should be commended for a great agenda and an easy to navigate online conference that though, not as personal as the in-person event, still gave great value to attendees like me.
It’s important to note that attendees had the option to return to any presentations for up to 30 days on demand. We were given Zoom links in advance and an attendee chat tutorial was also provided. The support platform was from Matchbox Virtual Media.
MY TOP 5 TAKE-AWAYS FOR HOSTS & ATTENDEES OF VIRTUAL EVENTS
- Make sure the content is relevant
- Keep participants engaged
- Give participants the opportunity to network and interact
- Remember the entertainment quotient
- Be mindful of the technology and make it user friendly
- Use the right device so you don’t miss anything – a desktop computer or laptop may serve you better than a cell phone or tablet
- Pay attention to who is asking questions or in the live chat so you can connect later on LinkedIn or email
- Stay engaged in the live chat, you will get more out of it. Be an active participant, not a passive listener
- Take notes and follow up. This is an event not a TV show
- Make a point to introduce yourself to new people, the same way you would if attending in person
Did I miss you this year? If we didn’t connect during the event, please feel free to email me. I would love to chat by phone, text or Zoom to see how things are at your organization. I am working with an excellent pipeline of candidates – qualified, vetted and ready to interview for a new opportunity.
#HR #HumanResources #SHRM #SHRMLI #VirtualConference
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Cohen Farber is the Executive Director of LLoyd Administrative & HR Talent. She is a Staffing and Employment Expert with 30+ years of recruitment and search experience placing all levels of Administrative and Human Resources professionals in a wide range of industries across Long Island, Queens and NYC. She handles contract engagements and searches for full time hires.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.