SHRM-300x239Last week, I attended my very first SHRM Annual Conference in Orlando – along with fellow Brandon Hall Group analysts Trish McFarlane and Ben Eubanks. For those of you who have yet to attend, suffice to say it has immediately secured a permanent spot on my travel calendar for years to come.

The reasons are many, but come down to one thing: it was well worth my time.

#SHRM14 afforded me ample opportunities to connect with prominent voices in HR and talent management, as well as talking shop with your HR professionals.

Beyond great networking, I also learned quite a bit this week:

    • SHRM is a giant organization. Ok, maybe this isn’t news to you. But it’s one thing to know a thing is true, and quite another to experience that truth. After spending three days with some 15,000 SHRMies, I realized why this is such an important event for my friends in the practitioner community. It’s a massive convergence of minds, all hungry to learn about how things are changing in the world of work – and how they can keep their organizations ahead of the game. This conference presents them with an opportunity to do that in a dynamic (and highly social) environment along with thousands of their peers.
    • HR Leaders are increasingly savvy. Many HR professionals are too busy fighting fires and managing day-to-day talent processes to look up and look ahead. As a result, relatively few have more than a passing understanding of many of the tools and technologies emerging in the space. But while the gap between innovation and adoption is still very wide, I learned last week that HR leaders are much savvier today than they were even five years ago. A number of the folks I sat down with had pointed questions about optimizing their sourcing efforts with social and mobile technology, and even a few were interested in discussing recruitment marketing strategy in detail. We’re still a long way off from a day when these practices are widely adopted, but it was encouraging to see so many organizations stepping up to the plate.
    • Relationships are invaluable resources. This was perhaps the most important thing I learned in Orlando last week – and what I wanted to be sure to bring back to my readers. I spent much of my time during #SHRM14 in the Blogger’s Lounge along with thought leaders from all over the country – from Alaska to Wisconsin to Louisiana. Some I’ve known and respected for years, others I was delighted to have finally met in person for the first time. Each and every one brought a wealth of knowledge, and all were eager to engage in thought-provoking conversations.  These folks are invaluable resources for analysts and practitioners alike, both as informed experts and as sounding boards.

I’ve often said an analyst’s job is to ask questions, and conferences present a great opportunity to do just that. Not only do I get to learn more about how talent acquisition is evolving directly from some of the world’s most innovative hiring organizations, I also get to connect with leading solution providers to get the inside scoop on new technologies and services supporting this evolution.

#SHRM14 certainly afforded plenty of both, though I was surprised to have many I met asking me the same question. “What are you doing at an HR conference?”

It’s a fair question considering there were only a handful of sessions on anything remotely talent acquisition. But when you think about how many HR managers also double up as heads of recruiting, it makes a bit more sense for me to be there. As I see it, I should be spending as much time with HR as I do with leaders in talent acquisition. They have a larger perspective of talent acquisition as it relates to human capital management, and it’s likely they have the greater need for specialized research.

To that end, please take a moment to provide your frontline insights and experiences by taking a few minutes out of your busy day to take a brief survey for some exciting research I’m doing on Social Talent Acquisition.  The goal of the survey is to identify key practices for building a strategy that leverages social media and social technology effectively in order to improve overall talent acquisition performance.

Please click here to take this confidential survey and stay tuned for the report on this and a few other exciting projects we’re currently researching here at the Brandon Hall Group.  Because without benchmarks, there’s no way we can tell how well we’re doing as an industry – or what we can be doing better.  That’s where you come in.  (Take the Social Talent Acquisition survey now)

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Kyle Lagunas-9
About the Author: 
As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle Lagunas heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding – as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting.

Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today’s business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent.

Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead.

Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM’s We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleLagunas or connect with him on LinkedIn.