I am just home from Las Vegas. My meetings coincided with the SHRM Annual Conference, and I was able to meet human resources leaders from around the world who talked about attending sessions about executive compensation, defined benefit pension plans, and social media.
You know who I didn’t meet? Talent acquisition professionals under the age of thirty.
There’s a quirky and emerging group of HR colleagues who prefer Chloé, not Coach, and entered the workforce as Obama’s policies began to improve the economy. They aren’t digital natives, but they’ve lived most of their adult lives on Instagram. They don’t associate with hoodie-wearing Millenials on Facebook because those people now have kids. And they certainly don’t work in human resources.
This new crop of workforce experts isn’t on SHRM’s radar because SHRM lumps them as “staffing” and “having no money,” both of which are wrong. These kids have cash. They spend it on a good time and personal development, which mostly happens at bars with their friends and colleagues who tell stories and share industry secrets. And they are looking for a community.
That community is not SHRM.
So imagine if a professional associate came along and met the needs of young talent acquisition and recruiting professionals. If you challenged them to be part of a community and infused that community with new and astonishing ideas, and didn’t weigh it down with SHRM or HRCI credits, you might have something special.
And if you asked your community members to stand up and speak, without submitting an RFP or a speaker proposal, you might get something a little more special than Coach K or Mika Brzezinski lecturing a bunch of middle-aged people about how to be a better version of themselves.
(When you’re under 30, you don’t need to be a better version of yourself. That kind of navel-gazing introspection comes after you make mistakes, not while you’re making them and having fun.)
There are great “staffing” communities in places like Chicago, DC and Seattle. But I think there’s room for a national organization to swoop in and help knit these efforts together. We need an association that meets the needs of young, professional experts who know the ins and outs of finding, attracting and retaining great workers.
Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur based in Raleigh, NC. She’s working on her next book about fixing work due out in 2020.