As we prepare for 2024, we are in an interesting time for HR teams in that they are facing challenges such as back to office strategies and changing workplace expectations, all on top of a full plate of duties. Last week I attended the Northeast HR Association (NEHRA) Annual Conference, which brought together leaders and industry experts to delve into crucial topics that have become front and center HR today. This year’s conference explored vital themes, including mental health/well-being, innovative leadership tactics, and the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Here are the highlights from this enlightening event.
Nurturing Mental Health and Well-being
One major theme at NEHRA’s Annual Conference this year was meant health and well-being, a popular topic in the world of HR. The discussions were both insightful and innovative, with presenters emphasizing new trends and practices to help support employees’ mental health. Here are some presentations I found impactful:
– In the session, “Neuroinclusion in the Workplace: A Win-Win for Both Employers and Employees,” a well-being expert discussed strategies to support neurodivergent employees to foster workplace collaboration and effective communication.
-The Founder and CEO of Wellbeing Works, Shanna B. Tiayon discussed how HR departments can support employees experiencing trauma though proper communication and resilient HR structures.
– The closing keynote, titled “Transform Your Workplace Through Connection & Community,” focused on developing an understanding of the benefits of having a connected work community and how to develop inclusive programs.
Innovative Leadership Tactics
One of the most pertinent points discussed was the role of HR in shaping leadership. The event brought forward outside-the-box ideas for fostering leadership excellence, creating an inclusive environment, and retaining and developing potential future leaders. Below are some presentations I would like to spotlight:
– A presentation titled “Who’s on Deck? Succession Planning that Eliminates Fears and Reduces Cost,” reviewed the advantages of promoting talent internally and tips for developing middle management for leadership roles.
-A leadership development expert explored top management tactics and the importance of developing workplace conditions that bring out the best in people. The session was titled “Reimagining Managers: Why the Best Managers Don’t Manage People.”
– In the era of hybrid work, effective and efficient meetings can be challenging. The breakout presentation, “Mastering the Art of Meetings: Powering Up Your Gathering,” reviewed ways to prioritize productivity without sacrificing workplace culture during meetings.
Championing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Developing and enhancing DEI efforts continues to be a top priority for HR teams. The importance of setting measurable goals, conducting bias training, and engaging with underrepresented communities was emphasized. The conversations highlighted that DEI isn’t just an HR issue; it’s a business imperative. Organizations that embrace diversity are better equipped to innovate, excel, and adapt to the ever-changing global landscape. Here are a couple of presentations with insights I wanted to share:
– Two HR professionals discussed “Practical strategies to imbed DEIB Considerations Into Your Hiring Practices.” Some main points included implementing blind resumes, training hiring managers and recruiters on unconscious bias and diversifying the interview panel.
-In the session “Building a Personalized and Equitable Benefits Program,” the presenter discussed effective and realistic tactics to improve DEI efforts in employee benefits without breaking the bank.
In conclusion, the NEHRA Annual Conference 2023 proved to be a valuable platform for HR professionals to deepen their understanding of a plethora of challenges employers are facing. The event’s discussions and insights provided attendees with the knowledge and motivation needed to lead HR into the future, creating workplaces that are not only more productive but also more compassionate and equitable. The NEHRA Annual Conference continues to be a beacon for HR professionals in the northeast as they navigate the evolving landscape of the industry.