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HR conference draws more than 20,000

Opening session features Martha Stewart

Posted June 25, 2019

More than 20,000 human resources professionals are attending this year’s Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, and Sunday’s opening session reminded them of the importance of their work.

The employer/employee relationship is the most trusted relationship worldwide – 75 percent of people globally trust their employer to do what is right, noted David Windley, chair of the SHRM Board of Directors.

“More and more people see their employer as the key relationship in their lives,” he said. “This is a huge opportunity for HR. It’s also a serious responsibility.”

HR professionals are often asked whether they are on the side of the employer or the employee, but it doesn’t have to be a choice, Windley said.

“When you create an inclusive, dynamic workplace, employees flourish and employees succeed,” he said.

The opening session also brought tips from Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, who was interviewed by SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

Stewart said a good HR director will:

  • Listen well and digest what they’re hearing,
  • Take care of problems in the best possible way,
  • Know laws and changes in the laws,
  • Know what the corporate culture is so they can fill vacancies,
  • Help solve problems in the culture, and
  • Listen to the CEO who sets the tone for the company and try to reflect that tone in the workplace.

She also spoke about how curiosity and the right attitude helped her come back after spending five months in prison on charges relating to stock trading. She looked on it as a learning experience, and taught classes on entrepreneurship to fellow inmates while incarcerated.

“Making the best of such a horrible thing in one’s life is hard, but don’t blame, move ahead, and come out on top,” she said. “If you’re good, you’ll always be good.”

The SHRM Conference and Exposition runs through Wednesday, June 26.

This article was written by Terri Dougherty, SHRM-CP, PHR, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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