5 ‘Breakthrough’ Takeaways from the SHRM 2016 Annual Conference

5 ‘Breakthrough’ Takeaways from the SHRM 2016 Annual Conference
Marketing Director

Last week, I joined over 15,000 human resources professionals in Washington, D.C. for the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) 2016 Annual Conference from June 19-22. As the profession continues to adapt to the changing workplace and ongoing challenges, SHRM is headquartered in the nation’s capital to collaborate with legislators and serve as an advocate for employers and HR colleagues. This year’s conference theme was “Breakthrough,” focusing on helping HR transform the workplace in significant ways.

I hope you find the following takeaways helpful as you focus on changing the status quo at your organization while overcoming your biggest challenges.

1. Staying Ahead of the Overtime Final Rule

On Sunday, June 19, I had the opportunity to hear about the Overtime Final Rule from Dr. David Weil, Administrator of the Wage & Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor. “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” Dr. Weil explained, is the key sentiment behind the updated Final Rule, which was issued on May 18, 2016. This represents the second time the rule has been updated since 1975 and far too many workers were not receiving overtime protections, according to Dr. Weil. In order to prevent future erosion of the rule, it will be automatically updated every three years. While the rule has been criticized by some saying it will hurt workers it was aimed to help, it is now the law and will go into effect before the year’s end. “Let’s get over the phase of fighting and let’s get on with the more important task of how to achieve what the rule envisions us to do by making the adjustments that are appropriate,” Dr. Weil said.

The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to offer training webinars to help employers comply with the Final Rule. For more information about the rule, visit www.dol.gov/overtime or call 1-866-4US-WAGE.

2. Making the 21st Century Workplace Work

The world continues to change at rapid pace and employers need to become agile to keep up with the new workplace environment. “We are in a brand new world,” Hank Jackson, SHRM President and CEO, addressed attendees during the conference’s opening keynote session. “Employers are up against new technology and changing employee needs; facing intense global competition and managing rising costs such as compliance, keeping doors open, and healthcare.” Under the new conditions, employers should consider the following three key areas in order to create a workplace that can succeed in the 21st century:

  • Innovation: Determine how, where, and when work is done.
  • Competition: The competition for talent is immense and no organization will be able to avoid the global competition for talent. Companies will have to be much more creative and flexible in the way they approach anything from recruitment, to employee engagement, to performance management and benefits.
  • Fairness: Very few people are productive if they believe they are not treated fairly.

3. Seven Things HR Can Borrow from Sales and Marketing

As a marketing professional, I find my team collaborating with our HR department more frequently as time goes on, which is why I attended Stacey Carroll’s session titled “When HR Needs to Act More Like Sales and Marketing.” Carroll, President at HR Experts On-Call, shared the following seven lessons HR can learn from Sales and Marketing:

1. Look at data backwards to make decisions forward: Make sure you think about turning data analytics into actionable items.
2. Set big goals: Don’t be afraid to tackle big things and go for it.
3. Plan multiple paths to “yes”: Adopt a likeable, positive approach and don’t be afraid to try a different path if the first one leads you nowhere.
4. Communicate to influence and get action: Nobody reads below the fold, so make sure you keep communications short and sweet and focus on creating consumers out of your employees.
5. Be persistent: If your message is not being received, try changing one of the following: (a) the messenger, (b) the message itself, or (c) the way the message is being delivered.
6. If it isn’t working, do something different: Be a risk taker and stretch your limits.
7. Fake it until you make it: The imposter syndrome is alive and well in HR; when big goals are established, you are able to achieve them because you believe you can.

4. Ensuring Compliance with I-9s

During their session, “I-9s and E-Verify: New Compliance Challenges,” Daniel Brown and Cynthia Lange, Partners at Fragomen, discussed the ongoing challenges employers face with the Form I-9 process and employers who are enrolled in E-Verify. In order to safeguard your organization from compliance issues, Brown and Lange recommend documenting comprehensive I-9 compliance policies and procedures. “People responsible for I-9s should get regular training and understand prohibited discrimination based on immigration and citizen status,” they explained.

Brown and Lange suggest employers consider implementing a compliant electronic I-9 solution. “If you’re trying to track I-9 compliance, this allows you to run reports, check timelines, know what’s missing, what’s been done late, and then take corrective action,” they commented. However, not all I-9 solutions are created equal. When selecting a solution, make sure they meet the government’s requirements of an electronic I-9 system:

  • Ensures the integrity, accuracy and reliability.
  • Prevents, detects and tracks unauthorized or accidental creation or changes to electronically completed or stored Form I-9s.
  • Has an inspection and quality assurance program with regular evaluations of the system and stored Form I-9s.
  • Has an indexing system and retrieval mechanism that permits searches by any data element.
  • Reproduces legible hard copies.

5. Getting from Strategy to Results

One of my favorite sessions from the conference was Michael Wilkinson’s presentation, “HR’s Role in Influencing Your Organization’s Strategy.” Wilkinson, Managing Director at Leadership Strategies, stressed that too many strategic plans simply “sit on a shelf” because they are never measured. In order to overcome this pitfall, Wilkinson proposes HR and their organizations adopt the Drivers’ Model, which focuses on the following five key steps:

  1. Assess where your organization stands today.
  2. Create a shared vision of your ideal future.
  3. Understand the barriers and critical success factors to achieving your vision.
  4. Define the drivers that will overcome the barriers and achieve critical success factors.
  5. Monitor your progress.

Wilkinson cautions that strategic plans often are not implemented because they are not considered an urgent initiative because of their high-level nature. “Our job is to make what’s important but not urgent, urgent,” he says.

I hope you find these takeaways from the 2016 SHRM conference inspiring as you lead your organization to achieve new breakthroughs. By continually learning and working on changing the status quo, HR can lead their organizations to long-term success.

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