Thursday, June 20, 2013

Farewell, #SHRM13: You Were Like a Movie of a Concert

A poignant scene in cinematic history concludes 1970’s Woodstock, the part documentary, part concert film chronicling the storied Woodstock Festival, which left its mark on civilization the previous year. A bluesy number that famed guitarist Jimi Hendrix performed during his, the final muscial set of Woodstock, plays over the audio as the camera trains on stragglers who had yet to leave the festival, observes staff and volunteers cleaning up the premises, and follows several hippie couples as they scavenged the waste and navigated their way off Max Yasgur's farm and back to regular life.

Leaving #SHRM13 yesterday was kind of like being in the final scene of the film Woodstock. ...

#SHRM13 was another world. Human resource professionals who’d traveled to Chicago from domestic destinations as far as Anchorage, Alaska, and from myriad points international left the tedium of their day-to-day lives for three-plus days of camaraderie and cheer. SHRM leadership and keynote speakers of the highest order spoke of a future that is bright, and a can-do attitude permeated the educational sessions and parties, too. The sea of people stretched as far as you could see, everywhere. There was even a concert, performed by Kelly Clarkson.

And then #SHRM13 drew to a close. With a flight leaving Chicago later than those most of my peers had booked, I was a straggler and watched the clean-up crew for a while. SHRM’s attendees left the premises far, far cleaner than Woodstock’s did, but I still heard the music in my head. I marveled that, just hours earlier, the sea of HR covered Chicago. SHRM’s spirit surely accompanied HR professionals as they returned to the day-to-day realities of managing human capital. Surely they were already looking forward to next year’s SHRM Conference & Expo. I know that I am.