SHRM Las Vegas Day 4: Dr. Oz and a Wellness Message Sends Everybody on Their Way

If you have ever attended a SHRM annual conference, you know that the final day is not only a short one that ends around noon, but that it is pretty lightly attended because so many attendees have already hit the road and headed home.

So it was again this year at the 2015 Society for Human Resource Management’s annual Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas, but despite the short day and decreased attendance, there was — again — some interesting things happening before SHRM packed up and headed home.

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For example:

  • The final day usually has a different kind of keynote speaker who usually deliver a different, and sometimes really interesting, message. Closing keynote speakers I’ve heard since we launched TLNT in 2010 include actor Michael J. Fox, former astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, NBC’s Tom Brokaw, and last year in Orlando, former First Lady Laura Bush.dr-oz-show
  • This year’s final keynote, Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show, brought a message of how to improve your personal wellness to the SHRM attendees. I frankly struggle with the wellness pitch that so many are trying to make, and the fact that the EEOC seems hell bent on destroying incentives for workplace wellness initiatives doesn’t help. But Dr. Oz cut through that here in Las Vegas in the same engaging way he does on his TV show. His big advice, on how to change your own health, was pretty solid and broke down to four points —
    • Feelings change minds more than facts;
    • Make it easy to do the right thing;
    • Adore your solutions;
    • Live the good life. 
  • The SHRM annual conference ALWAYS draws the biggest crowds in Las Vegas — and this year was no exception. Specific attendance is always a little hard to come by during the conference (some people come late, sign-up on site, and only attend for a day or two), but they kept touting 15,500 paid attendees this year. That compares with 13,800 attendees when SHRM was last here back in 2011. When you add up everybody who was here this year, it had to be in the 20,0000-22,000 range.
  • Who were those other people other than attendees who were here? Before Dr. Oz spokeSHRM CEO Hank Jackson made a point of thanking the many volunteers who helped keep the conference going here in Sin City, and I asked about how many of those attendees were here. Vanessa Gray of SHRM’s media affairs staff was kind enough to tell me (750 volunteers, mostly from Nevada), and she sent along these other statistics too —
    • 330 HR students attended;
    • There were 200 educational sessions;
    • 1,025 global attendees;
    • 85 countries represented;
    • 169 corporate delegations and over 1,600 corporate delegates;
    •  A whopping 1,124 exhibitors, 630 exhibiting companies;
    • 21 hotels and 52,000 hotel rooms used;
    • 30,000 box lunches served.
  • SHRM conferences are just a blur to me. I struggle to remember how many times I’ve attended the SHRM annual conference. I think I’ve been here 11 times — three in Las Vegas, two each in San Diego and Chicago, and one each in Atlanta, Orlando, New Orleans, and Washington D.C. Still, I keep feeling I missed one somewhere — maybe another one here in Vegas. Whatever; they all become a blur anyway.
  • Next year — back in our nation’s capital. Although this year’s SHRM conference was held pretty late, next year’s 68th annual SHRM Conference & Exhibition will be back in it’s more traditional time slot around Father’s Day and will be at the Washington Convention Center in the District of Columbia from June 19-22. As always, TLNT will be there to watch another one fly by.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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