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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle

11/28/2007

Creating a Better Regional HR Conference

The HR Conference season is over for 2007, and I have some observations, and some goals I have set for myself that hopefully will spur on some exciting activities in 2008.

So far I have attended and spoken at 2-3 HRMAB's, 2 HRMATT's and 3 HRMAJ's. I have been to a couple of JEF conferences and also a JIM Conference. I may also have lost count of one or two here and there...

What is striking about our conferences is how limited they are to the attendees of the country. At HRMATT, there were 2 Jamaicans and a single Bajan. At HRMAJ there was one Bajan (the same one) and one Trini. At the last HRMAB conference there were 2 Jamaicans, and perhaps 3-4 Trinis.

The numbers don't augur well for what we are all attempting to create -- a regional body that unites all practitioners across the region. At the moment, the only unifying entity that exists is CaribHRForum, the regional discussion and email list.

Under the auspices of CaribHRForum, I am thinking about doing more to help regionalize our conferences. So far, I have come up with the following ideas:
  1. Find out why people aren't attending the conferences across the region (a survey maybe?)
  2. Determine what needs to change to enable them to attend
  3. Sharing the outputs from each conference across the region
  4. Giving cross-conference awards e.g. best paper submitted to a conference
  5. Granting conference discounts for those who travel to attend
  6. Setting dates early in the planning year to allow for those who want to attend to do so
  7. Approaching cross-regional companies to sponsor several conferences at the same time
Does anyone have any other ideas about what we can do in the short term to generate greater attendance?

As budgets get created for 2008, does attending a regional conference show up on HR budgets as a priority? If not, is it because the company has no interest in CSME, or is it because the case has not been made for HR to be an important part of the changes that are coming?

I am eager to hear. Let me know your thoughts.

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