What Happens in Vegas…

Thank you to all our clients and friends who stopped by the Astron Solutions booth during the SHRM 2007 Annual Conference and Exhibition!  It was great to make new friends and reconnect with old friends.  We’ll refrain from putting incriminating photos on our website, for as the adage says, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!  We do want to share a few pictures with you, though.

The Astron team gets ready to work the booth.  (L – R: John Sazaklis, Eric Katz, Jennifer Loftus, Brendan Williams, and Mike Maciekowich)

No trip to Vegas would be complete without an Elvis sighting!


2007 SHRM National Conference Highlights

Joining over 18,000 attendees and exhibitors, Astron Solutions’ staff attended and exhibited at the 2007 SHRM National Conference in Las Vegas.  With temperatures hovering around 105 degrees each day, which is claimed to be a dry heat but then so is fire, human resource professionals from around the world met to listen to the latest ideas in managing human resources.  They also were able to wonder through an exhibit hall filled with more than 2,000 exhibitors offering services and products impacting all aspects of human resources.

The following is a summary of the key “official” highlights of the 2007 SHRM National Conference provided by SHRM:

  • Cyclist Lance Armstrong recalls lying in his hospital bed, tubes protruding from his bandaged body after nearly seven hours of surgery to remove cancerous lesions on his brain. “I really think that’s where the comeback began,” Armstrong told attendees at SHRM’s Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas on June 24. “When you’re there” at that kind of low point, he told SHRM members, “just stop for a moment and cherish it because it’s awfully good to come back.”

  • HR professionals believe that a worker's relationship with the boss is the most important component of job satisfaction, but most employees just say, "show me the money."

  • Refined electronic recruitment tools such as the "dot-jobs" Internet domain are making recruitment more efficient, a new SHRM survey shows.

  • Uncertain financial risk attributable to rising medical costs for a generation with increasingly long lifespans has resulted in companies rethinking their approach to retiree health care, says Chris Matzke, senior vice president of ICMA Retirement Corp., in a June 25 SHRM Annual Conference session entitled Health Care...The Latest Threat to Your Retirement.

  • The outcome of immigration reform legislation being considered by Congress will not affect the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policy of increasing worksite enforcement to crack down on companies that hire illegal aliens, an immigration lawyer said at SHRM’s Annual Conference and Exposition.

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act is one of the most difficult laws to implement. But HR professionals can master it, Beverly Kish, SPHR, told a packed room attending a session on implementing effective FMLA management.

  • Pay for performance as commonly practiced is broken, and HR needs to take the lead in fixing it. That was the message delivered by Jim Finkelstein, president and CEO of consultancy FutureSense Inc., and Barry MacLean, compensation solutions practice leader for Vurv Technology, during their June 25 SHRM Annual Conference session, "Pay for Performance: Idle Words of an Idea Whose Time Has Come."

  • The venerable SHRM logo, featuring a back-to-back H and R, has been given a makeover as part of a branding campaign announced during the Society's Annual Conference in Las Vegas.  It is now also acceptable to pronounce SHRM as Sherm instead of the individual letters S-H-R-M.  That’s good news for the many of us who had been saying it wrong all these years!

As exhibitors at the conference Astron Solutions had an opportunity to meet over 350 human resource professionals who stopped by to review our services and products.  This provided us an opportunity to gauge the level of importance of issues facing these individuals based on their questions and interest.  The following are the key topics:

  • Integrated Talent Management:

Many human resource professionals discussed the need to better integrate all aspects of managing their organizations talent management including:

    • Applicant Tracking
    • Employee Surveys (First 90 Day; Periodic Opinion Surveys; 360 Degree Surveys; Exit Surveys)
    • Job Description Development and Management
    • Competency and Performance Assessment
    • Succession Planning


  • Total Rewards Management:

Like their concerns with talent management, human resource professionals expressed concern as to how more effectively manage their total rewards systems including:

    • Compensation Strategy and Philosophy Development and Confirmation
    • Market Strategy and Analysis
    • Employee Pay Strategies including pay for competency/performance/contribution
    • Variable Compensation Strategies
    • Non-Cash recognition Strategies
    • Integration of Cash-Based Strategies with Benefits and Pension Strategies

Human resource professionals at this conference were very concerned as to how the various individual systems they are responsible for are to be integrated and administered to ensure not only consistency in application but also an impact on both their employees and the success of their organization.  This is a marked change from past conferences where discussions were limited to specific aspects of these strategies, rather than the strategy as a whole.  Clearly there was a welcomed maturing of the human resource audience attending this year’s conference.

We’ll see you next year, June 22nd – 25th, in Chicago, IL!


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Copyright 2007, Astron Solutions, LLC

ISSN Number 1549-0467