Updates from SHRM – Part 2

This week I attended my 2nd ever SHRM conference. The 13,000 attendees was an impressive number, yet the expo hall seemed a little lighter than last year. Perhaps the Vegas distractions were to blame?

As an owner of product messaging, positioning and strategy for a HCM technology vendor, this is a good show to participate in. There is a great mix of senior-level HR, IT and Operations buyers and mid-level product users. The wide range of vendors provides an interesting perspective on product trends. This year there was a continued focus on social media integration, but a much more prominent focus on mobile technologies for both smart phones and tablets. The use cases for these two types of devices vary so dramatically between the employee persona and a manager, yet both are getting a lot of attention.

While the show floor traffic seemed a bit lighter, the sessions I attended were packed – standing room only. Laurie Ruettimann gave an entertaining discussion on the role of social media in HR and the importance of embracing these new technologies.

The session Wage and Hour Compliance: Avoiding Lawsuits and Liability presented by attorney Robert Boonin was in my opinion the most business-critical discussion at SHRM. Why? Well the FLSA trends highlighted in this packed session can have a drastic financial impact on any organization. Mr. Boonin pointed out that there were more Wage and Hour cases (1667) filed 2010 in the US than there discrimination cases! The cases highlighted were across all vertical industries and the state of Florida has more FLSA cases filed than any other state in the country. The most common area of compliance discrepancies were around “Off the clock work” and “Misclassifications” of exempt vs non-exempt employees. The off the clock work issue ties directly to the use of employee self service and mobile applications (including email) for work.

Mr Boonin also panned the DOL’s recent mobile application, stating that “the government is ‘Here to Help’ [knocking their campaign slogan] the employees, but not the employers.” “The DOL application is not very sophisticated and wages will likely not match what is entered in the application. The DOL is basically causing a lot of confusion.”If you missed this session I highly recommend viewing it online.

It was great to meet HR Technology blogger @SteveBoese at the show. We have much in common and I’m a huge fan of his blog http://steveboese.squarespace.com/.

My one on one meeting with @MarkSmithVR from Ventana Research was also great. Mark has great insights into the technology vendors and trends in the space and is a true forward-thinker, particularly around HR analytics, mobile and cloud computing. Look for some exciting new research coming from Ventana later this year on HR technology.


Kronos raffle for VIP Keith Urban tix

Lastly, the Keith Urban concert was great. Note – I am the furthest thing from a diehard country music fan, having grown up with grunge, classic rock and 90s hip hop. The show was a huge surprise to me, not knowing his music at all. The show rocked, his guitar playing was excellent and the band was phenomenal. Kronos was raffling off VIP seats throughout the show, treating 20 attendees to great, up front seats.

Overall, the SHRM show proved to be a very good event and will hopefully continue to provide value to attendees and vendors next year in Atlanta.

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