News for HR Professionals


Trade Up: Sharpen Your HR Skills at a Trade Show

As an HR professional with looming deadlines, urgent requests, and hundreds of unread emails clamoring for your attention, dropping everything to attend a trade show may seem like a waste of time. But the truth is, trade shows are rife with networking and education opportunities that can sharpen your skills and make you more effective at your job. In fact, according to a study by Exhibit Surveys, 75 percent of trade show attendees say they received “excellent or very good” value for the time and money they spent. Here are just a few of the things you can expect to accomplish.

Get Insights From the Experts

Looking for a fresh perspective on the issues your company struggles with? At a trade show, you can meet other people who have faced the same challenges and learn about best practices for overcoming them. Whether it’s in a formal presentation or a chat over coffee during a break, speakers and industry experts can not only give you a solid foundation in HR fundamentals, but also provide insight into the latest innovations. For example, if improving retention and satisfaction is one of your goals, they may point you to resources like MetLife’s 2014 and 2015 Employee Benefit Trends Study, which revealed that employees who are satisfied with their benefits are four times more likely to report being very satisfied with their jobs.

Learn Something New

Employees rely on you to have the right answers to their HR and benefits questions. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of changes in laws, trends and strategies. And trade shows are a great way to do it: in one survey, attendees ranked the value of education at a trade show at 4.09 out of 5, and 4.17 out of 5 agreed that shows provide new and useful information.

In addition to overall trends within HR, a trade show also can be an opportunity to learn concrete skills, such as creating documentation, or to get tips on adapting your company’s benefits package to the needs and preferences of different generations, including defined retirement plans for baby boomers, remote work options for Gen Xers, and bus passes, paid overtime and pet insurance for millennials. The insights and knowledge you gain won’t just make you a more powerful advocate for employees—they’ll also help strengthen the skills of your entire department when you return to the office.

Make Connections

Last but not least, meeting with vendors and exhibitors on the show floor is one of the biggest draws for attendees. A full 92 percent report that they come to “see what’s new” in products and services, and 64 percent are not customers of the companies whose exhibits they visit. Representatives from companies like Nationwide® can help you identify growing voluntary benefits, such as pet insurance, which Willis Towers Watson reports was offered by 36 percent of employers in 2015 and could rise as high as 60 percent by 2018. They not only know what’s going on in the HR and business world now—they can alert you to what’s coming down the pike so your company stays competitive.

Get Packing

If you’re ready to join the 67 percent of trade-show attendees who say they “definitely or most likely will” attend a future event, you have plenty of options to choose from, starting with the annual Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference & Exposition. The largest of the HR-focused trade shows, it’s currently scheduled for June 2017 in New Orleans. Eager to get started sooner? Consider attending one of the upcoming events below. No matter which one you choose, we know you’ll be glad you did!

Regional SHRM Events

  • Iowa, Sept. 2016
  • North Carolina, Sept. 2016
  • Ohio, Sept. 2016
  • Michigan, Oct. 2016
  • Wisconsin, Oct. 2016

ASHHRA Annual Conference and Exposition

Texas, Sept. 2016

Health Benefits Conference & Expo

Florida, Jan.–Feb. 2017