HR Managers Want to Have Fun

When 20 credit union HR managers, from around the country spend a day together, sharing ideas, interacting and building new relationships, while on top of a beautiful downtown Portland high-rise condo, great things are bound to happen.  I would call it the perfect storm for creative thinking to flourish.

Most HR managers I know, spend the majority if their time on the tactical issues of managing the human resources of their organization.  But, one area that must not be ignored is an HR manager’s openness to change and innovate.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, that exploring new HR ideas sometimes takes a backseat.

So, we set out to change the status quo. How, you may ask?  Invite the brightest, hardest working, credit union HR managers to participate in a fun-filled day of out-of-the-box collaboration.  Laying it all on the table.  Thought leadership at its finest.

hr-manager2Most HR conferences I’ve attended have dozens of break-out sessions, keynote speakers, 100’s of vendor booths and all the eye candy you can imagine.  Enough chaos to make your head spin.  We asked the question, ‘what if we could create an environment where HR leaders could learn, share and innovate, while being highly engaged.  All in just one 8 hour workday.’

In my 25 year career, I’ve been to hundreds of conferences and roundtables.  In general, most of those conferences attempted to provide content that would attract the masses and garner enough vendor sponsors to cover the massive cost of the convention center, speakers and make a profit.

CU Benefits decided to try a different method and what happened was remarkable.  We found that facilitating a smaller, intimate setting for HR managers without all the typical conference noise, peer-to-peer collaboration and innovation could thrive.

Removing the classroom style presentation is the first thing we threw out the window.  Who wants to sit in lecture hall or classroom?  Probably no one.  The next key requirement is to only have the best and brightest HR minds in the room.  And, keep the number relatively small.  Most people will feel comfortable speaking in front of 15 or 20 folks but not in front of 100.  It’s also much easier to build relationships in a smaller group setting.  That’s where the magic happens.

In our most recent Credit Union Wellness Summit, we wrapped up the day with a healthy cooking demo and wine tasting.  We totally rocked the Portland vibe!  That has never happened in any break-out session I’ve been in before.

I can’t wait until our next gathering to see what new and exciting ideas will be incubated.  Who says HR is all work and no play?

Video Highlights from the 2016 Wellness Summit: Link