Welcome to 2022! Perhaps history will remember the past two years with the single adjectival description of “lonely.” Visiting family on FaceTime is not the same as being there live. Whether we like Zoom, Slack, or Teams, they aren’t the same. In the professional world, we are seeing the resurgence of employees returning to the office in many companies. I agree that some things may be permanently changed and that hybrid and remote working arrangements will be more prevalent in the future than they were in the past. Remember those pre-pandemic times when we would look forward to seeing friends, colleagues, mentors, and members of our professional network? We all do and we all miss them.
HRO Today will be hosting live events this year. Our strategic-level forums will be held in North America (May 2-4 in Philadelphia) and EMEA (Oct 31 – Nov 2 in Athens, Greece). Our educational conferences will be held in a variety of venues and address the pressing issues of HR officers today. (Hey HR officers…HRO…that sounds like a good acronym, right?)
We held two live events last year. Our HRO Today Forum North America was postponed until September (though we return to the traditional first week of May timing this year) and the People in Healthcare Conference was in November. We took PRUDENT precautions. We closed the conferences to non-vaccinated HR leaders. Decisions have consequences and those who chose to not be vaccinated also opted out of our events. We observed appropriate masking protocols, we insisted the hotel staff assigned to our events were fully vaccinated, and we socially distanced tables and groups. We had NO contact tracing reports after the events. We are proud that we were able to hold events and do so as safely as possible given the current challenges.
People attend conferences for two reasons. The first is to be together. The companionship of shared experiences and the commiseration of shared challenges is important. Humans are social animals. As I said at one of the conferences, humans lack fangs and claws. A million years ago on the savannah, lions did not avoid our ancestors because we were tougher than them. We survived as a species because we are communal creatures, pack animals, and I do not think two years of pandemic will change the socio-biological nature of humans. We experience content and events differently when we are in the rooms together. Not that hybrid events with virtual options are going away, but live events are usually the preferred option for the ability to network.
The second reason people go to conferences is to learn. To learn from each other is the model that we use at the HRO Today Forums. The very senior audience of CHROs and their reports learn not only from academic and thought leadership attendees, but also from each other in structured sessions that allow everyone to share best practices that worked within their organizations. At the HRO Today Educational Events, we follow a model of speaker-driven sessions as the principal paradigm. Of course, the middle levels of HR management that attend these conferences are seeking to learn and maintain their professional certifications.
We announced the opening of the HRO Today Professional Development Institute in this issue (see page 20). We see from our study of HR departments that educational development is fragmented. Each individual decides on each conference or curriculum. In addition, the procurement of training is fragmented and not transparent to the CHROs who may consider professional development of their team and the maintenance of certification a priority. Each individual acquiring each course one at a time is wasteful. Our HRO Today Professional Development Institute allows a CHRO to acquire several programs and allocate them to staff members needing customized development. HRO Today will keep track to ensure that all the credits are being used. This will allow us to work with leaders to make sure that their interest in development and their investment are both targeted and well-utilized. Also, all of our content is certified by HRCI. For more information, contact Sofia.Madrigal@SharedXpertise.com.
We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events in 2022. It will be great to have you back!