You Can Bet Global HR Is Representing in Vegas

By Roy Maurer Jun 23, 2015
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More than 1,100 attendees from more than 80 countries and territories are in Las Vegas for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition.

Canada, as in recent years, accounts for the largest number of international attendees, followed by large delegations from China, Nigeria, Korea and India.

Attendees have come from all corners of the globe, with double-digit representation from Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, Israel, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan ROC, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, among others.

“Our attendees—whether U.S.-based or international—can expect networking opportunities at the most global HR event anywhere in the world,” said Howard Wallack, SHRM-SCP, global markets executive for SHRM. “For professional development, every session of the program is mapped to the SHRM HR Competency Model, providing guidance to HR practitioners to focus on those competencies that need improvement and enhance their existing strengths.”

There’s something for everyone, Wallack continued: “The combination of more than 200 keynote sessions, 75-minute-long concurrent sessions, and the longer Masters Series, allow attendees to personalize the mix and duration of learning that best fits their particular needs.”

In addition, U.S. SHRM members benefit from the global expertise and insights their international colleagues bring, enriching the experience for everyone, Wallack said.

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 Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. in Room N210/N212.

The International Welcome Reception is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday in the Global Lounge, located in Room N238/240/242.

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 Saturday 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sunday-Tuesday 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; and Wednesday 7:30 a.m.-noon.

The popular lunchtime Table Topics talks—discussions set around international HR themes—are also held in the Global Lounge on Monday and Tuesday. “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.

Having a Game Plan

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

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

  • “Developing and Being More Effective Internationally,” at 7:00 a.m. Monday; repeated 10:45 a.m. Tuesday. This session, presented by Wallack, will provide an overview of SHRM’s global and cultural effectiveness competency, review current global HR trends, and provide best practices for effectively conducting business internationally.
  • “HR’s Role in Developing Braskem as a Global Company,” at 10:45 a.m. Monday. Attendees will learn how HR was instrumental in helping Brazilian multinational Braskem develop a global mindset in its leaders.
  • “Think Global, Act Local: ATC’s HR Strategy to Entering New Markets,” at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday; repeated 10:00 a.m. Wednesday. This session will illustrate how to identify the implications on established HR programs and procedures when entering new markets and how to proactively apply, align and/or modify corporate guidelines to accommodate country-specific requirements, maintaining a consistent corporate culture while being locally compliant.

The Partners’ Summit

For the third consecutive year, SHRM will host the Global Partners’ Summit, an invitation-only event for international delivery partners that are delivering certification programs around the world.

“As part of its international strategy, SHRM has been licensing its content to training delivery partners to reach HR professionals around the world with certification preparation courses for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP and stand-alone HR seminars covering 20 different topics,” Wallack said. SHRM has 35 contracted organizational partners, including for-profit training companies, university business schools, and HR associations covering more than 50 countries and territories, he said.

Organizations from Argentina, Bahrain, Chile, China, Cyprus, Ghana, Greece, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam will share best practices for marketing, logistics and course delivery.

Final Thoughts

International attendees and global HR practitioners have a lot to look forward to as the Annual Conference gets started. “Wear comfortable shoes. Visit the Exposition. Hydrate yourself—it’s literally hot in Las Vegas,” Wallack said. “Make new friends out of your professional peers and have fun. Come back in 2016!”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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