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Impressions from SHRM 2011

July 1, 2011, Milind Pansare -

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well, some things did stay there, but I made sure to bring back a few key thoughts and ideas to share with you…

Earlier this week, we had a strong team from Saba visiting the Society for Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) Annual Conference in sunny (and hot – a toasty 107 F) Las Vegas. With attendance estimated at about 18,000 SHRM, is a tremendous venue to exchange best practices and learn with the top HR practitioners in the world.

Welcome to Vegas!

One of the keynotes at SHRM by Sue Meisinger that I attended was titled, “What CEOs want to know from HR”. The keynote was packed! One of Sue’s key observations during the keynote was that CEOs need to consider HR as a strategic partner; likewise, HR needs to help the CEO with what he/she stays up at night worrying about. And what is that ?

Sue’s observation is that CEOs are desperate for ideas and innovation. They need ideas and innovation from their people and their extended network of partners and customers in order to accelerate the pace of business. To me this seemed to call out for a Technology and best practices based solution. Yet, looking around at the vendors in attendance, it became obvious that most of them were missing the mark by talking about solving transactional HR problems, like once a year performance reviews, administration of forms etc.

A packed keynote at SHRM.

Perhaps that explained why the Saba booth, demos, and meetings with prominent press, bloggers and analysts generated a lot of buzz. We were demonstrating how the newest release of the Saba People Cloud (which, by the way, just won two awards back-to-back, the Stevie for Saba Social and the Enterprise 2.0 Launch Pad for Saba Social Learning) can help HR professionals bring ideation, innovation and motivation into the workplace.

With a built-in Idea Lab in Saba Social, not only can the best ideas in the organization be surfaced, but they can be connected with experts and product teams, helping deliver a new or modified offering to market. Our message seemed to fit very well with Sue’s keynote. Wouldn’t it be great if HR professionals could help the CEO and the Line of Business with enabling innovation in their workplace, and, in turn, accelerate the velocity of their business with Social Technology?

The conference was also notable for some amazing inspirational keynotes by Michael J. Fox, Arianna Huffington and Tony Hsieh of Zappos. Living up to the Vegas name, on Tuesday night, there was a concert with Keith Urban, playing his hits live for the SHRM attendees!

I’m looking forward to SHRM next year! See you there!