Top 5 Takeaways from Indiana SHRM

By: Matt Gainsford


It’s HR Jim, but Not As We Know It 

Last week we descended upon the Indiana SHRM Conference in Indiana. Over 1000 of the keenest minds in HR; a group of committed people champions (and karaoke fiends) gathered to talk about some of the key challenges being faced within Human Resources, and how to overcome them. 

It was a highly informative and engaging time, and we came away tired, yet inspired!

As a Talent Optimization agency talent acquisition is perhaps what we are best known for, but it is only part of what we do. Being able to hear from experts in employee engagement, retention strategies, innovation in technology and the psychology of how people think, and act was fascinating. 

Here are our top 5 takeaways:


It’s not about the money but compensation is a art of every conversation 

In the session, The Great Resignation: Compensation Matters attendance was high, and people were sitting on the floor, in the aisles and against every wall. This was one of the most talked about sessions and the inspiration for several follow up questions. Clearly, this is one of the leading topics right now. 

According to MIT, compensation ranks 16th on the list of importance for candidate considering a new role. That statistic was surprising to hear. Money is rarely the driving factor for a candidate considering their options. A-Players are looking for and increase job stretch, challenge and impact. Candidates want to know that they are going to enjoy what they are doing and to make an impact doing it. Money driven candidates don’t often last long and will likely leave at the promise of more money. For the rest of us, it’s not worth the money if you don’t like the job/company/environment. 

The top 4 issues driving candidates to consider new roles are 

  • Toxic Culture and failure to promote DEI 
  • Job insecurity and increasing work loads due to lay offs 
  • Too much innovation 
  • Failure to recognize high performers 

On the surface these topics are not compensation based however, they are all in some way, pay related. 

Each of these areas directly affects the total compensation package and is central to the conversations. 

Those who switched jobs between April and October of 2021 saw an average wage increase of 5% 

Boomerang employees (those who were part of the Great Resignation and then the Great Regret) who returned to former employers saw an average wage increase of 25% 

 Remote work, relocation, benefits, and the gig economy are all contributing to a wider compensation picture. Companies who can get creative in these areas put themselves in a strong position to attract top candidates. 

In terms of Total Rewards candidates are looking for: 

  • Mentoring programs based on skill and competency 
  • Reward and recognition systems that enable employees to recognize their peers 
  • Health and wellness initiatives. If you care about me, you’ll care about ME. 
  • Engaging onboarding, consistent and clear feedback, honest assessments, and career pathing 

 By 2028 the US is expected to a deficit of 6 million workers. Even in a recession compensation is climbing and employees have more bargaining power than employers for the first time since Y2K. 


The Gig Economy is changing the way we work, and the way we think 

The entrepreneurial mindset, the desire for flexibility and impact along with a value driven approach to work is causing companies to reassess the way they operate. 

By 2030 87% of companies are going to experience a skills gap this will cost them trillions and part of the answer is this. We need to elevate our existing employees while rethinking the way we look at the way we manage our roles. 

By 2028 it is estimated that there are going to be between 68-90 million freelancers. Companies, particularly in digitally driven sectors are seeing more and more candidates who have side hustles but also want the consistency and security of a regular job without giving 40+ hours a week to an employer. These candidates also want to focus on the elements of a role they enjoy, and to stay away from the elements they are not naturally so good at.   

The time is coming, and it may already be here where we are looking at hiring two candidates for one role and giving them 20hrs each. The question that is being asked is: would you rather hire two candidates for one role or not hire anyone at all? Welcome to the Gig Workforce. 

This change of thinking doesn’t stop at the logistics of how a role is serviced. Change of how we manage candidates and the opportunities we present to them is also requiring adaptation. 

They keynote speaker for the session “Workforce 2030: Are You Ready” talked about how Gen Z’ers and Millennials think and how we have created a generation who move on quickly when things aren’t working or resonating; if you don’t like Softball, try something else, if you’re not getting on with this school/teacher then we will move you. 

 This isn’t necessarily a bad thing it just require adaptation.  

 Key takeaways on how to support employees in this area are: 

  • Engage your workforce in conversations about future interests. If you can’t provide them someone else will 
  • Encourage growth through mentorship 
  • Career pathing and future vision is essential. Show your employees their path for advancement 
  • Train managers to coach 
  • Create a safe space to fail 
  • Bring your employees into situations that are going to stretch them, and where possible give them a seat at the table in strategic decision-making, or at least give them access to sit on those sessions 
  • Buy in is critical to stickiness, especially in a gig economy 


Retention and psychology are directly linked – Thanks Ted Lasso 

For someone to feel connected they need to feel seen, heard and understood and that “knowing” of what is important to employees is a key part of your retention strategy. It’s not just about what I can do, it’s about “who I am”, and from “who, I am” what I can do. If you can’t provide what the employee is looking for or give them the opportunity to work towards what is important to them then someone else will. Managers who regularly connect with their employees and who take a coaching approach vs a management approach are making a big difference for their team members. 

There is a sense of having someone in the team member’s corner who can help them map out their future and who sees and nurtures the spark inside of them that creates trust and loyalty.  

The fact that there was a session on Upgrading your Team by Ted Lasso highlights the importance of looking beyond what someone can do to what’s inside them and how that can fuel achievement. It takes an individually tailored approach, a coaching approach, that requires being present, using measurable analytics and seeing the person behind the performance. 

Embodying empathy and emotional intelligence are one of the keys to creating a connected workforce. With 35% of employees being afraid to talk about burn out being able to change the way we approach critical conversations and equipping our people leaders with an empathetic ear will have a drastic impact on our workforce. 

The ability to challenge and bring constructive feedback into these situations is greatly increased when trust has been developed. When an employee or team member believes that their manager is in their corner and has a belief in them and their abilities, and the impact they can make, even the most difficult conversations are possible.  


Candidate experience can make all the difference.

You may be surprised to learn that most candidates don’t get the job and most of them don’t even make it past the application stage. Honestly, perhaps you’re not that surprised. What is interesting is how that candidate’s experience can affect them applying for another position at your company or their experience with their networks (or beyond). 

Candidate experience is critical and yet only 37% of companies use this metric in their hiring process. 

The Net Promoter resentment rate (candidates will never do anything with you again) has risen by 50% over the last two years, from 8% in 2020 to 12% in 2022.  

With some companies spending up to $1million a year on recruiting services like Indeed (who, this year have raised their rates by 30%) and hundreds of thousands on employee branding initiatives huge resources are being poured into attracting candidates, but what do they experience when they show interest?  

In 2021 the Recruitment Technology industry was worth around $18 Billion. Candidates don’t care about that; they care about getting the job.  

Candidates don’t want to be kept waiting. If they aren’t qualified for the position, they are applying for then let them know immediately. If they are engaged in the interviewing process, you control every aspect of what they experience, and communication is key. Companies who don’t let candidates know what is happening in a timely manner risk losing out on the candidate and potentially alienating them from future roles.  


Find a Partner You Can Trust 

With the challenges and continual changes that surround the world of HR, especially since the trauma experienced during the early days of the pandemic, HR professionals are naturally cautious, and deservedly so. The impact and influence of the role of HR in an organization is critical to its performance and sustainability. The burden of care and responsibility that falls on the shoulders of HR leaders is heavy. HR departments are expected to act as part business strategist, part therapist, part legal advisor, part people and performance partner, part mediator and expert on all things process. 

The topics that most talked about the conference touched on each of these areas and brought with them a great deal more questions.  

One thing was certain. For HR teams to find a partner who can understand the nuances of what they face while also challenging the tensions of innovation and security along with employee power and employer ability is critical to their success.  

Technology is giving us more access to efficiency and connection. Psychology is deepening our understanding of people but without a trusted partner it’s all just noise. 

 More than recruiters, Titus Talent Strategies are a team of Talent Optimizers who genuinely care about the work we do. We empower companies to put the right people in the right seats through informed, connected strategies that combine data with an empathetic understanding of what makes people tick.  

If you’re looking to get a deeper understanding of our one-of-a-kind hiring process, we invite you to join the conversation in our Introduction to H4P Course. Visit us online today to see our upcoming training dates, to learn more, and save your seat! 

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