The Reward Gateway team had a great time in Las Vegas – and judging by the crowds, so did every other HR professional in the U.S. and beyond. The sessions, the expo hall, and even the bathroom lines were packed with people ready to step away from the COVID years and address the future of work.
Top conference themes
The SHRM historical timeline spread on the walls that connected the North and West Convention Centers highlighted the 75 years of SHRM and the history of changes that HR professionals have overseen. While there has been an abnormally high rate of change in the last few years, it was helpful perspective to see that it was only 60 years ago that John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. Or to see that the Family and Medical Leave Act helping employees retain their jobs after a medical leave was only 30 years old. But aside from that historical context, the SHRM attendees I spoke with were there to get real information on key areas of focus.
SHRM Board Chair Betty Thompson referenced three key themes for SHRM attendees in her opening keynote:
- Generative AI – staying ahead of the curve on this new technology and how it will impact jobs in years to come.
- Skill-based hiring – not allowing old hiring standards (e.g. college diploma, expected years of experience) to prevent you hiring the best candidate.
- Mental health and wellbeing – preparing organizations to take on a larger role in supporting the mental health of their employees.
A virtual visit to the RG booth
Back in the expo center (a significant walk from the keynote session), the RG team was doing what they do best - making people smile. Whether it was with our “Bad Bosses Ruin…” T-shirt giveaway or by helping them take that next step in caring for their employees.
Here’s some of what I overheard at our booth this year:
|A special thanks to those clients that came by the booth to say hello in person. Those visits were the talk of the team and some of my favorite moments of the conference were getting to see faces in-person rather than Zoom! As one client said, “It was such a friendly, high energy booth. The ‘Bad Bosses Ruin Lives’ was a fun theme, and it’s so true. I love my ‘Bad Bosses Ruin Las Vegas’ t-shirt!”|
“It’s time. I need to connect all my locations with online recognition.”
“People are struggling and I need to give my managers and employees a boost.”
“Wait…you can help us set up activity challenges?”
Reward Gateway presents…
As always, the Reward Gateway team loves to support our mission to Make the World a Better Place to Work by sharing best practices. A crowd of expo goers got to see George Dixon live on Monday talking about Tenure Myths and Wellness Gifts. George shared insights on how to make recognition and reward meaningful by questioning old standards of practice (waiting 5 years to reward loyalty or providing the same reward to everyone) and providing inspiration to create rewards and recognition that attract and retain your best people.
Finally, I got to share the stage with Allison Davis, PHR and Ann Shetler, SHRM-CP from our client Design Group Americas. Allison and Ann walked attendees through how they partnered with Reward Gateway to build connection and increase recognition in their dispersed workforce. Key recommendations included:
- Don’t be afraid to make the program your own – branding is important!
- “Over communicate” to ensure employees stay focus on the new initiative.
- When in doubt, start with basic functionality and grow from there. This is easier to roll-out and allows more opportunities to announce new features!
Allison and Ann got lots of questions from the crowd on how they were able to achieve 93% site logins and 90% recognition engagement in their first year.
SHRM was action packed – I’m willing to bet most attendees needed some quiet time to recharge after returning – but it was a great reminder about how helpful it is to take time away from business tactics to be strategic. Tens of thousands of HR professionals are now back at work and taking learnings from SHRM to shake off the last couple of years of uncertainty and build better workplaces. Here’s to making sure most of what we learned in Vegas doesn’t just stay there, but actually gets implemented!
Looking for more insights to help take your employee experience to new heights? Schedule a call with a member of our Engagement team.