No matter how excited you may be to attend the SHRM Annual Conference, you may find that before you can click that big red REGISTER button, you still have to convince your boss to let you go. Getting approval to attend the conference is a two-part endeavor; you need to demonstrate the benefits of the conference to your organization and then you'll need to persuade your boss that it's worth the investment of time and money (and that you're the right person to invest in)! Here are some steps you can take to convince your boss that you should attend.
Step 1: Review the program
Determine which sessions you want to attend and justify this selection to your boss; with nearly 200 sessions, you can be sure you'll be able to craft a curriculum that will provide you and your organization with the information you need. Select the ones that are most beneficial to you, your team and company and when explaining the selection to your boss, be specific. Is your organization struggling with employee engagement? Show your supervisor the sessions that cover talent management and engagement tactics. Do you need to advance your leadership and communication skills? We have a large number of topics on this from speakers who are trusted and recognized for their expertise. If your organization has a challenge, there are definitely sessions that will provide you with a solution.
PRO TIP: Use the session search feature and use keywords to help you narrow down your selections so you can build an agenda that addresses your specific workplace needs!
Step 2: Stress the value of investing in your development (and then save some money)
The bottom line is that the smarter you are, the better it is for your organization! You know that organizations take on an almost unfathomable amount of risk whey they don't have the most informed, up-to-date HR staff available - the pace of legislation, trends, and even social media can be a real landmine for your organization- from recruiting to compliance to strategic planning. Stay on top of these issues (and many, many more) by attending the Annual Conference and getting the resources you and your organization need. Your boss may be worried about the cost or even your time out of the office, but remind her it's worth it in the long run. Boss still not convinced? Let her know you've figure out a way to make it as cost-effective as possible! Register early before rates increase, and book your hotel room through the official SHRM Housing Block. This way you know you're getting a fair rate AND saving on transportation costs (we have shuttles for hotels that aren't in walking distance to the convention center!) And let her know that you'll take advantage of coffee breaks, receptions and exposition hall lunches to help cut costs of dining out.
Step 3: Review the exhibitor list
The Exposition Hall will host 600+ vendors showcasing a wide-range of innovative HR-related products and services that help meet you needs. You can visit the Exposition and be among the first to learn about the latest HR business solutions, discover answers to on-the-job challenges and find the tools your organization has been looking for, whether it's recruiting software or rewards programs or wellness strategies (and a lot more!). Consider the business opportunities that could develop from establishing connections with industry professionals and partners - and maybe remind your boss once again that you'll be provided lunch in the Exposition!
Step 4: Complete the request letter
Sometimes your boss will need it in writing, or just prefers to receive your request in an email. Don't worry - we've got you covered there too. Use our handy Letter Template to list your reasons for attending and submit to your supervisor. You can customize it however you want, but this letter gives you a great starting point for organizing your thoughts and making sure you're making the best case for attending Annual Conference!
Step 5: Bring it all home
We guarantee that the learning you get at the conference will be phenomenal (and energizing). So don't leave it in the convention center - share your results! Let your boss know that you will commit to a post-conference briefing for staff, senior management or your team, where you’ll highlight what you’ve learned from the conference. Tie your learnings to your organizations long-term and short-term goals or strategic plan - it's important to show your boss that the conference wasn't just good in theory but that it gave you real, actionable solutions that you can implement for your organization.