It’s that time of year right? Time to clean out the house and garage and get pennies on the dollar for all the crap you bought and now don’t want.
I was reflecting on my visit to SHRM11 in Las Vegas last week, and that’s what I kept coming back to – Yard Sale.
Let me explain. The Expo Hall at the SHRM national conference is enormous. Unless you’ve been there it’s hard to explain, but it’s a bit like walking through Vegas itself – way to much to look at, and it’s complete sensory overload.
Do we really need all this stuff?
There were literally hundreds of companies selling everything any HR person would ever buy: insurance (health, supplemental, pet, etc.), health and wellness products/programs, incentive and recognition companies, banking, training companies, research companies, recruiting systems/headhunters/sourcing products, performance management and payroll systems, plus every computer automated type of system you could ever imagine within the HR space – and even some you wouldn’t imagine.
It was a complete mess.
The one question I always leave asking after the SHRM national conference, from a vendor perspective, is whether the investment is really worth the reward for those hundreds of vendors at the show. Some of the big boys – Monster, ADP, AFLAC, Oracle, etc. — I’m sure they make out all right, although I could argue they would make out all right even if they didn’t attend.
It’s the small players that have a booth on row 136 in the back corner of the Exhibit Hall that I wonder about. Do they even talk to anyone beyond their booth mates next to and across from them during the three days the SHRM Expo is open?
The other question I was left with this time at SHRM was this — does HR really need all this stuff? It’s back to my Yard Sale comment; I think we find ourselves in HR way too often buying for the sake of getting what’s new when what we already have is completely fine and usable.
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SHRM Expo is like a TV reality show
Does it have a dashboard? Or colored graphs that tells us which manager sucks the most? No. But let’s face it; we already know which manager sucks the most, we don’t need a dashboard or colored graph to tell us it – we just need some “stones” to go tell that person they suck, and to stop sucking. By the way, not one vendor was selling any “stones” at the conference, although some vendors were giving out alcohol — which tends to give you temporary “stones.”
The SHRM Expo is like the Ice Loves Coco reality TV show: you don’t want to watch, but it’s such a train wreck you can’t keep your eyes off it. I actually find myself giving myself an internal pep talk at SHRM to get ready to walk into the Expo Hall, and I usually try to find someone to tag along with me.
It’s like going to buy a used car times a gillion! Everyone is trying to sell you something, whether you need it or not. To be more accurate, it is a cross between the day after Thanksgiving sales and buying a used car, because on top of all the sales people, you have the HR ladies fighting to get the trinkets from the vendors and register for iPads. A person not in the right frame of mind, could get seriously hurt.
I did bring one thing back from the SHRM Expo Hall this year – a clear sense that what we need more of in HR is common sense, and not one vendor at SHRM Las Vegas was selling that.