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Our team just returned from the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas, and it was massive! This year, there were 600 exhibitors, 22,000+ attendees, and hundreds of speakers. Some of the themes revolved around building more inclusive work environments, navigating through diverse work populations, and various applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our team had a great time catching up with old friends, making many new connections and attending sessions. Here are some key takeaways from the conference:

It's all about the Benefits

eb-4The US is currently experiencing it’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.6% - the outcome of which is organizations fighting harder than ever to attract and retain employees. Benefits have consistently shown to be the key factor to success, and SHRM's annual survey perfectly timed with the conference, supplied us with fresh facts on the latest benefits trends:

  • In the past year, 20% of employers increased their health-related and wellness benefits. 

  • Student loan repayment assistance more than doubled in the past year, now offered by 8% of companies surveyed. Millennials, who are saddled with more debt that any other generation will surely appreciate this trend.

  • Organizations offering paid time off for volunteering climbed up to 26% - a 5% change since last year.

Companies are clearly trying to find the sweet spot for benefits offerings and knowing these trends helps maintain a competitive edge. 

Flexibility in a Changing World

Going hand in hand with the evolving and expanding benefits programs, is the employers willingness to be be more flexible. Telecommuting, compressed work weeks and flexible work hours continues to grow year after year. According to SHRM's survey, here are some latest trends on this topic:

  • Part-time telecommuting is on the rise, now offered by 42% of employers -up by 5% year over year.
  • Ad-hoc telecommuting is offered by 69% of employers - up 13% since 2015.
  • 27% of organizations offer full-time telecommuting.
  • 57% of organizations offer flextime during core business hours. 

We believe that this area will only continue to evolve and support team culture, which will contribute to employee growth without any losses in productivity.

AI is here to stay

AI is being rapidly adopted by organizations across all verticals. From business to medicine, AI has already proved to increase efficiency, accuracy, and elimination of repetitive tasks, yet, humans are far from being replaced. It continues to be a hot topic at major conferences bringing with it a combination of fear and excitement for what's to come. This year, we jumped on the AI-bandwagon, as we started to offer AI-powered benefits recommendations to make decisions simpler and more accurate. Here are some other bits about AI and it's affect from industry leaders:

  • "It's been a huge impact on our industry. The influence of AI has made it half as hard to hire, and half as many people you need to communicate with before you find that person for the job” John Jersin, VP of Product, LinkedIn Talent Solutions. Source: SHRM Roundtable
  • AI helps us understand candidates better. Skills that we may not be aware of will be important in the future - AI is able to understand those and target those better” Joe Whittinghill Corporate Vice President Talent Learning Insights at Microsoft. Source: SHRM Roundtable
  • "[AI] is going to have a profound affect on everything that we do in HR, as well as in business," Stephen Welford, HR director of Inline Plastics Corp. Source: TechTarget

The 2019 SHRM Conference left our team energized and excited for the future of the HCM benefits sector. We learned about the importance of an inclusive environment that is not only being driven by AI, but also holds opportunities for each employee to grow personally and professionally. It was a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and be reinvigorated to keep evolving.

Did you attend? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the conference! 

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