HR from Around the World Represented

By Roy Maurer Jun 20, 2014

More than 1,000 attendees from more than 80 countries and territories are in Orlando, Fla., for the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition.

Canada, as in recent years, accounts for the largest number of international attendees, followed by sizable representation from China, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Attendees have come from all corners of the globe, with double-digit delegations from Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, the Cayman Islands, PR China, Ghana, Jamaica, India, Israel, Pakistan, Qatar, South Korea, Taiwan ROC, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turkey.

“This is the largest and most international HR event in the world,” said Howard Wallack, GPHR, vice president of global business development for SHRM. “But more important than size, it’s the quality and diversity of our programs—from keynote speakers and Masters Series sessions to the concurrent sessions—that provide international attendees with a unique opportunity to learn and grow as HR professionals.”

U.S. SHRM members benefit as well. International attendees bring global expertise and insights to their American colleagues, enriching the experience for everyone, Wallack said.

“In addition to the normal schedule of global activities, for the second year in a row we will have a Partners’ Summit of our international delivery partners, those organizations attending that have been licensed to deliver certification preparation courses and HR seminars in other countries,” he said. With 32 partners from 36 countries across the world, the international delivery network is tasked with advancing HR certification and delivering certification preparation programs and selected HR seminar topics on a global scale.

“The Global Partners’ Summit is an opportunity to share and learn best practices and marketing strategies, meet with global training peers, and connect with the SHRM team to support the global advancement of the HR profession,” said Shari Merrill, manager of educational products at SHRM.

SHRM officials expect partners from Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Ghana, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and more, Wallack said.

Be Prepared

Wallack recommends that international registrants select in advance the sessions they most want to attend but have a second option if rooms are full.

Global HR sessions will cover a broad array of topics. Some highlights include:

  • “A Guideline to Doing Business in Brazil from an HR Perspective,” at 2 p.m. June 23. Attendees will learn strategies for doing business under the Brazilian HR model, including a discussion of salary structure and talent management.
  • “Cemex and HR’s Role in Driving Productivity,” at 10:45 a.m. June 24. This session will highlight Mexico’s Cemex, one of the world’s largest building materials suppliers, and its productivity initiatives, including connecting engagement to productivity, implementing creativity initiatives that foster continuous improvement and developing programs based on the participation of union employees.
  • “How Samsung’s HR Strategy Led to Innovation and Worldwide Growth,” at 2:15 p.m. June 24. Attendees will explore Samsung’s unique talent management system and the company’s international pursuit of diversity in recruiting and developing talent, which has produced tangible long-term results.
  • “How to Build HR from Scratch in a Global Company,” at 10 a.m. June 25. Avi Robinson, VP of HR for Israel’s Keter Plastic, will share how HR transformed its role and became the steward of the company’s organization and culture by changing its structure, communications, technology and relationship with strategic business units.

Getting Started

If you’re a first-time international attendee, SHRM offers lots of ways to maximize your conference experience, including an international orientation and a special welcome reception.

The international attendees’ conference orientation will be held at 10 a.m. June 22 in Room W207.

The International Welcome Reception is scheduled for 1 p.m. June 22 in the Global Lounge, located in Room W206 A/B/C.

The lounge is your “home away from home,” Wallack said, a place where you can relax between sessions, network with SHRM staff and other HR professionals from around the world, and participate in informal learning.

Lounge hours are 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. June 22-24 and 7:30 a.m.-noon June 25.

The popular lunchtime Table Topics talks—discussions set around international HR themes—are also held in the Global Lounge on June 23-24. “It’s a complement to the more-formal concurrent sessions and a way to bond with practitioners over an informal meal while learning,” Wallack said.

International attendees and global HR practitioners have a lot to look forward to as the SHRM Annual Conference gets started. “Spend time exploring the SHRM Exposition, visit the SHRM Booth and check out the Tuesday night concert,” Wallack said. “But remember to pace yourself, wear business-casual attire suitable for the Florida climate, and have fun!”


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