SHRM annual conference 2018: Three cool vendors you might have missed

Charlotte Nicol
Published on 25th June 2018
3 min read

Blink and you might have missed it. We’ve been counting down the days to SHRM’s annual conference for months – only for it to feel like it flew by in a blink of an eye last week.

What a conference it was, though. With sessions from Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, and over 16,000 attendees, it’s easy to see why it’s the not-to-be-missed conference of the year.

What does clapping tell us about breeding a culture of originality?

Our lasting memory of this year’s show? The sound of thousands of HR pros clapping a tune to the person next to them. Keynote speaker and best-selling author Adam Grant used this as a great analogy to convey the main message of his session: ‘take your unfamiliar idea and make it familiar’.

His thinking was this: only you know what tune you’re clapping. It takes others a while to understand the rhythm – they just hear clapping for the first 10-20 seconds.

It’s the same when presenting a new idea, or hearing others’ new ideas. What is familiar to you, may not be familiar to others.

For original thinking to flourish, we need to accept and be aware of this, Adam Grant explained. ‘We have to teach people to connect that idea in ways that innovate’.

Our own applause for stand-out vendors at SHRM 2018

The other biggest takeaway for us was some of the other great vendors at the conference.

In fact, the impact of innovation in the sector couldn’t be felt more than seeing some of the great exhibitors at the show – and we’d like to give shout outs to three vendors that we thought are doing some awesome things right now.

1. Headspace

Headspace is an app that works as a personal meditation guide – and the team were out in force at SHRM 2018, hailing the benefits of meditation in today’s world of work. However, it’s not just stress that mindfulness can help with… It’s a great tool to prevent loneliness too.

Partner and research director at Future Workplace Dan Schawbel gave an excellent presentation on this in his session on the top workplace trends for 2018. In it, he spoke about the massive impact of loneliness – and the role mindfulness can play in dealing with this.

His most shocking takeaway? The impact of loneliness is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. If you’re not promoting mindfulness in your workplace today, then it’s time to seriously start considering it.

2. Carrot

Carrot’s mission is to help employers extend fertility benefits to all employees and their partners – without hinging on an infertility diagnosis.

Founder Tammy Sun explained in a recent interview: ‘We cover everybody equally, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, sex, marital status.’

Adam Grant hailed the importance of fostering cultures of productive generosity in his session. What better way to give back to employees than to provide fertility support, for those who want it?

At Sage, we often talk about tailoring experiences for your employees – and this is a great example of employers doing just that. Ultimately, everyone is driven by different goals and aspirations; and in fact, our recent research found that organizations which tailor experiences for their people, in ways like this, get ahead.

Get it right, and you’ll attract – and keep – the best.

3. CareerBuilder

We couldn’t not mention CareerBuilder and their mysterious booth in the form of a giant black cube. With huge queues and plenty of winners, these guys were a sure-fire crowd pleaser at SHRM 2018.

But it wasn’t just the swag which resonated well with HR pros at the event. These guys were talking about the future of recruiting – and it was a topic which got a lot of folks talking over the course of the week.

For us, the biggest takeaway on this topic was Adam Grant’s message on not letting your talent get to the stage where they’re looking for a new role.

We need to talk about exit interviews, he said in his keynote session. He asked: ‘Why are you waiting until people walk out the door to find out what would keep them?’ Cue 16,000 nodding heads in agreement.

Instead, get them early, soon after they start to find out what they would like to see changed. ‘They haven’t drunk the organizational Kool-Aid yet’, he reasoned. Don’t wait until they’ve left or are already looking for a new role. We couldn’t agree more.

Goodbye SHRM 2018, hello HR Tech Summit

We had a great time at SHRM’s annual conference this week – it rocked, and we can’t wait to return next year.

We’re already getting excited for our next show though. With the end of SHRM 2018 last week, we’ll be heading to Toronto for the next leg of our global whistle-stop tour this week. If you didn’t catch us at SHRM 2018 in Chicago, perhaps we’ll see you there.

Heading to HR Tech Summit? Here’s what to expect.


Browse more topics from this article

Industry Insight
Exit popup

Take an Interactive tour of Sage People

Discover how Sage People can transform the way you hire, manage, engage and retain your workforce, in this interactive product tour.