Company Culture

5 Actionable Takeaways from SHRM 2024

Sarah Weinstein
June 27, 2024
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Hitting our step goals by breakfast, seeing Kelly Clarkson, a rush for the Bonusly beagles, and…performance enablement

We attended SHRM’s Annual Conference & Expo in Chicago and spent time talking with HR leaders about performance enablement, managing training, and learning from HR professionals about the current challenges facing their workplaces. 

There’s no denying HR has had a rough few years with RTO initiatives, “quit-quitting,” and record-low engagement numbers. The bright side? SHRM 2024 crowdsourced the best of the best for solutions to these common challenges. 

Here are 5 actionable takeaways from our visit to Chicago: 

1. Bonusly Achieve is bridging the gap between recognition and performance.

In case you missed it, Bonusly launched Achieve this week to cultivate high-performing organizations through personalized, weekly, and relevant 1:1 interactions to empower managers and their teams. 

SHRM was buzzing with Bonusly’s unique pairing of recognition and performance, and so was the internet! 

Tara Cooper at Mercer describes Bonusly’s entrance into the performance enablement arena in this LinkedIn post,

“Achieve powers better 1-to-1 conversations that ensure development isn’t overshadowed by the daily work. Plus, performance insights and manager coaching help leaders drive greater engagement. While Bonusly isn’t the first provider to decouple performance enablement from evaluation, their approach highlights the shift we’re seeing in the market from a past where solutions were designed for executives first, to a future where solutions are built for everyday workers instead.”

Achieve is currently available in an Early-Access Program, and the teams already using it have already provided valuable insights and feedback on the product’s future.

If you want to join the Early-Access Program, let us know here and we’ll reach out.  

2. Manager training is top of mind. 

SHRM’s Expo is filled with excitement, from puppies to Shemar Moore sightings, but the speaking session “Simple Strategies to Empower Managers and Unlock Team Performance” caught the attention of hundreds. 

With standing-room only, Bonusly’s own Chief Customer Officer Debra Squyres facilitated a panel with Bonusly customers Charles Baughman of Itac Solutions and David Gulley to provide three ways to empower managers and unlock team performance.  

The panel discussed the importance of coaching, providing an environment for employee recognition, and providing mental health support for managers.

Actionable takeaways included leading by example, setting appropriate work-life balance boundaries, and encouraging managers to be candid and transparent about their struggles. 

The panel discussed the importance of effective 1:1 meetings, ensuring  they’re happening regularly across the organization in a structured manner with HR providing support and feedback to managers on best practices. 

3. The stories and behaviors Bonusly facilitates from our customers are meaningful, emotional, and endless.  

SHRM also provided an opportunity for the Bonusly team to hear from so many of our valued  customers. Across the event, our customers shared stories filled with emotion on the impact Bonusly has on their organizations.

We hosted an after-hours event with our friends at Fountain and HRCI which provided a more intimate setting for us to collect feedback and stories from our customers. A few highlights included: 

  • Record high adoption rates of Bonusly across organizations 
  • Excitement around Bonusly Achieve and the opportunity to tie recognition into performance conversations regularly with 1:1 meetings
  • Relief that the Bonusly customer success team is comprised of real people that customers could meet at SHRM, not robots

4. Many organizations are not doing anything to recognize or value their employees. 

When asked “What are you doing to show your employees you recognize or value them?” a responses varied from “” to a resounding “nothing; we should probably do more.” 

The lack of recognition efforts across organizations is reflected in the 11-year low in employee engagement recently reported by Gallup and heavily discussed at SHRM. 

Bonusly’s Mollie Hinz shared she learned at the event:

“Engagement and employee's happiness are correlated more than originally thought in the industry. Only 1 out of 3 employees are happy at home and only 25% of employees feel engaged at work. Managers do a great job of asking "How was your weekend?" but don't dive in more than that.”

Many HR professionals were scouring the SHRM Expo floor to find solutions and tools to increase employee engagement and were pleased when they discovered Bonusly could replace their antiquated or non-existent employee engagement practices while supporting their performance efforts. 

5. AI can’t replace human connection. 

SHRM had no shortage of sessions on the intersection of HR and Artificial Intelligence (AI) from uses in recruitment, consulting, general laws and regulations, and ultimately the impact AI will have on the future of work. 

Mollie Hinz shared that she learned that AI is here to stay, but the best HR people are going to be enhanced, not replaced by the introduction of AI in the workplace. 

Here at Bonusly, we believe in embracing AI and using it to streamline HR operations. On the other hand, there truly is no replacement for personal stories in recognition and growth and feedback conversations in 1:1 meetings between employees and their managers. 

--> Want more? Download the [HR Checklist] How to Use AI in the Workplace  

What were your takeaways from SHRM 2024? Let us know in the comments!

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