HR in the Caymans: Great Food, Tough Recruiting, and Lots of Hugs

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May 7, 2015

I just got back from the Cayman Islands where I was invited to speak to the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals (CISHRP) at their annual meeting.

As you might imagine, it was awesome!

This is only the second time in my life I’ve been out of the United States to speak (the first being to Toronto – which is kind of in my own backyard, so it’s hard to count!). I definitely need to do this more, as I think I actually learn more than those I’m speaking to.

My 10 Cayman takeaways

Here are some of the great things I took away from the Cayman Islands: HR and hugging.

  1. The HR and Talent Pros in the Caymans are as passionate as any professionals that I’ve ever spoken to. They love HR and talent acquisition, and they are hungry for knowledge and to get better.
  2. HR in the Caymans is as unique as you’ll find anywhere in the world. You have native Caymanians who are working to develop their talents and Expat HR pros from all over the world thrown into the mix. You put all of this together and diversity of thought is incredible.
  3. Caymanians love hugs! I got a bunch. Real hugs — not those fake hugs we tend to give each other in the states.
  4. Great HR conferences take a lot of work from a lot of people, but they are also a labor of love from one or two people, usually. Chris Bailey (@anythingoverice) is one of those people in the Caymans. He’ll be at SHRM National in Las Vegas next month, so make sure you connect with him because he’s one of the good guys in the world! Also, check out CISHRP’s Inga Masjule at SHRM national as she’ll be speaking on the topic of international H. She’s good people as well, and smart as hell!
  5. The majority of Caymanians are very religious (pornography, sex toys, etc. are illegal in the Caymans). They also celebrated Batabano when I was there. I struggled to put these two things together in my mind! But, I will go to the Caymans again for Batabano and to dance in the parade!
  6. Upon arriving in the Caymans, I would have thought they have absolutely no issue recruiting any kind of talent to the islands. I was shocked to find out this is a major problem at the professionals levels. The Cayman Islands are the fifth largest financial center in the world and they have a ton of highly paid jobs going unfilled. The largest recruiting dilemma to overcome? It’s too good to be true! People can’t believe what a great opportunity is, and believe there must be something you aren’t telling them!
  7. I got to see a speaker named Dr. Graeme Close (@close_nutrition) out of the UK who talked about wellness and nutrition. He is a former pro Rugby player and current strength and conditioning coach for England’s Rugby, Ski and Snowboard Olympic teams, as well as other pro athletes. If you are responsible for wellness at your company, you must have this guy come and talk to your employees. He’s brilliant, motivating and funny. He would be perfect to kick-off any wellness program.
  8. In four days I swam with stingrays, dolphins, sea turtles and countless fish, witnessed Batabano, ate some of the best food I’ve ever tasted (most memorable was local fare from downtown Georgetown directly after Batabano – on one plate I had lobster, shrimp, breadfruit, rum cake, potato salad, plantain, beans and rice – it was glorious!) and had the single best gin and tonic of my life at Catch.
  9. Every group of HR/Talent Pros have things that no one wants to, or is willing to, talk about. Those are taboo topics. Caymanian’s have their taboos as well, and it was empowering watching them address these head on. It’s truly the only way we move the profession forward.
  10. HR and Talent Acquisition conference planners, pay attention! CISHRP does conference food better than anyone else in the world, and second place isn’t even close! CISHRP had the best food I’ve ever had at a conference. I’m sure having it at the Ritz Carlton had something to do with it, but the leaders at CISHRP still had to pick the menu!

Thanks again, Chris and the CISHRP crew, for having me come down!

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.