The SHRM 2021 annual conference and expo can’t catch a break.
Last year’s Chicago-bound event was canceled because of COVID-19, and more than a year later, the pandemic is still messing things up for SHRM 2021 Las Vegas and its thousands of attendees.
Nevada recently resurfaced as a COVID-19 hotspot, prompting the state’s governor to issue a mask mandate for indoor spaces. This means everyone at The Society for Human Resource Management annual conference will be required to wear a mask.
But this isn’t the only new thing you need to know about SHRM 2021 Las Vegas. Here is our list of SHRM survival tips.
SHRM is going for the gold this year: five-time Olympian Michael Phelps is one of the keynote speakers during the event being held in Las Vegas from September 9 – 12. America’s most decorated athlete with a record 28 medals (23 of them gold), Phelps has become a strong advocate for mental health wellbeing and will share his perspectives from the main stage.
You won’t want to miss Phelps’s inspirational advice, but we have even more can’t miss tips for SHRM 2021!
1. Pack Masks
The masks are back. Nevada is requiring people to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. This applies to all casinos, hotels, and yes, convention centers, like the Las Vegas Convention Center where SHRM 2021 is being held.
That means SHRM attendees will be in masks – a lot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cloth face masks made from tightly woven fabric with at least two (preferably three) layers of material.
Because SHRM attendees will be wearing masks for many hours over several days, packing a variety of masks made from breathable materials is a must. Here is a roundup of cool and comfortable masks that satisfy even the most sensitive mask-wearer.
2. Wear Comfortable Shoes
SHRM always requires a ton of walking. Convention centers are sprawling, seemingly endless buildings. When you add in all the touristy stuff you are going to want to do because – hey, it’s Vegas — you can expect to be hoofin’ it from morning ‘til night.
Therefore, you may want to avoid brand-new shoes, strappy heels, and barely-there flip-flops. And guys, this goes for you too! Those new dress-for-success wingtips might be a win for your next meeting, but at SHRM 2021, they will be the bane of your existence by lunch.
So, what should you wear on your feet? Check out this list of comfortable shoes curated by professionals who stand all day. Your feet will thank you for being sensible for once, and you won’t have any trouble making it over to the EBI booth to win a great prize!
3. Preplan your PDC’s
Doing a little prep work before you head to SHRM 2021 Las Vegas will make sure you soak up all the Professional Development Credits (PDCs) you possibly can in a few short days.
First, download the SHRM Events app. The free app offers attendees access to the conference schedule, speaker information, maps, and exhibitor details as well as tools to connect and share information with other conference-goers.
Next, review the list of available sessions. There are concurrent sessions, several mega sessions, and keynotes. This year, many sessions will be offered in-person and virtually (see tip #5) so you can create just the right mix of PDCs for yourself. Keep in mind, sessions can fill up quickly, so plan early and arrive early.
Finally, consider exploring a few pre-conference offerings. Many of these workshops and educational programs provide additional PDC credits so you can get started on recertification even before heading to SHRM 2021. Be sure to read the fine print about registration and pricing on these pre-conference offerings, though.
4. Practice Empathy
There’s never been a SHRM conference quite like this before. People will be experiencing all sorts of added stresses like mask requirements, social distancing, and travel concerns. Then, there’s also the increased pressure of maximizing business leads and sales in what’s been a year and a half of sluggish economics.
Showing your fellow SHRM 2021 attendees a little extra grace, compassion, and space will go a long way this year. It may be the first time some people have traveled under pandemic guidelines and restrictions. Other people may struggle with leaving their families for the first time in months. And still, others may be excited to network in person again and experience learning opportunities to help them grow professionally.
5. Consider Virtual Attendance
Virtual conferences are big adjustments and create both challenges and opportunities for folks who are new to the game.
One of the things that gets talked about less often is how great data is from virtual conferences. From an organizer’s standpoint, virtual conferences are a data goldmine.
“You’re delivered a wealth of behavioral data that can inform what topics are most popular, where to double down in the future, and what really resonates with and engages attendees,” says Bianca Lager, President of Social Intelligence, a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) focused on social media screening.
Here are some of Lager’s other virtual show tips from her LinkedIn Learning course on How to Rock a Conference:
For more on the future of large-scale networking events, check out our two-part series: How to Make the Most of 2021 Conferences and Trade Shows. We interview three industry experts, including Lager, and get their feedback and observations about where this hard-hit industry is headed.
As a long-standing SHRM participant, not even a mask mandate and lingering pandemic can keep us away from this year’s event. Our EBI team loves the energy and camaraderie on the convention floor – and we are excited to connect with HR professionals, our partners, and new vendors. We’ll be on hand to answer all your questions about background screening, drug testing, and anything else related to modern workforce recruiting.
So please stop by SHRM 2021 and visit the EBI Team or reach out to us beforehand and let us know you’d like to connect.
See you at SHRM 2021 Las Vegas!
Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.