Pretty good first day for me at SHRM09 on Monday. Started thinking that night about the sessions I attended, which were high quality. One of the problems with a big show like SHRM is the fact that there are 20+ concurrent sessions running at the same time, so I decided to take a look at the program to see what I missed.
I didn't miss the HR Practitioners...
THERE ARE NEXT TO NO HR PRACTITIONERS ACTUALLY PRESENTING AT SHRM09...
repeat - THERE ARE NEXT TO NO HR PRACTITIONERS ACTUALLY PRESENTING AT SHRM09...
Before I give you the stat, let me define what an HR Practitioner is in the mind of the HR Capitalist. An HR Practitioner is an HR Pro who is actually employed by a company and supports a client group of employees within that company. In short, they're practicing the HR craft inside a company in the classic sense - in a way that most typifies the average SHRM member. Doing it on a daily basis.
That doesn't mean I don't think consultants, vendors, attorneys can't be HR Pros - they can and are, but they're advisers to the core of the industry - the practitioners who are charged with actual employees in the field. Consultants, vendors and attorneys are highly regarded in our economy and bring tons of value. I might be one of them one day.
But they're not HR Practitioners. They're not HR Representatives, HR Managers or Directors/VP of HR inside companies. They're consultants.
So here's the stat - I went through the SHRM09 Conference Program and looked at the profiles of the presenters. Here's the ugly stat I came up with:
Of the estimated 95 presenters through Monday, only 4 (four!) looked to be HR Practitioners holding a title like HR Rep/Manager/Director/VP inside a company.
Let me tell you why that's a big deal. SHRM has backed models like Ulrich's "New Competencies for HR", profiled in past copies of HR Magazine and other SHRM resources. See the entire list of competencies here. Since competencies like "Credible Activist" represent the top indicators in predicting who's a player in your HR department -- according to Ulrich, the Credible Activist is respected, admired, listened to and offers a point of view -- doesn't it make sense that SHRM would go out of their way to showcase the HR Practitioners nationally who are game changers by having them present to their peers at National SHRM?
4 of 95... I'm not even asking for half - how about 25% of the speakers (roughly 24 of the 95) be actual HR Practitioners who are world class?
4 of 95? Can I get a study on this? A task force?