For this year’s Father’s Day, I’ll be spending it a little differently than usual. For the most part, it started as a normal Father’s Day as years past. I got out early, at 6am to beat the heat, for a six-mile run. Once cleaned up, I made pancakes. While you may ask why I would want to spend this day cooking for everyone, I enjoy making the pancakes, and I’m a control freak with my pancake game and I’d prefer to do it myself. Hey, just being honest. But the rest of my day will be spent at the kickoff of the SHRM annual conference in Chicago, and I have a few thoughts and feelings about that.
For the pancakes, I chose to make one of my favorites. The Orange Sweet Roll Pancakes, inspired by the No. 2 Pencil blog, is a game changer. I love citrus in my pancakes and these pack the orange punch. I used the base Huddy’s Hotcakes recipe and added a zest of a full orange to the batter. These pancakes are so sweet that I recommend a nice side of bacon and some strong coffee.
Now for my thoughts around having the SHRM conference starting on Father’s Day. From my recollection, the conference has always kicked off on Father’s Day weekend. While it is a choice to attend, and I’ve made the choice not to attend the past 4 years, starting the conference on this day is a little disappointing. On my run, this morning, I mentioned to one of my friends that I will be attending an HR conference, this afternoon. Her reaction was priceless. “Really? And you’re an HR organization? Just one other reason why people hate HR.” I chuckled a bit and it also got me thinking.
I realize many may not think that having it on Father’s Day is a big deal. I also realize that a majority of the attendees are not fathers. While I don’t have the official numbers, judging by the bathroom lines, I can guess that the conference attendees will be about 15% male. And a percentage of that 15% are fathers. But that is beside the point.
Father’s Day is not just for those biological male fathers. Same-sex couples play the role. Aunts, uncles, and mentors also play the role of a father. All of the attendees have fathers. Many are still alive, some are no longer with us, and others are struggling with complicated relationships and estrangement. Days like these can cause trigger a wide range of emotions. There are many husbands/fathers of the SHRM attendees who are spending this day without their spouse as the spouse is learning about culture and employee engagement. There’s just a tad touch of irony here.
SHRM and HR should be the leaders in an inclusive environment. We spend countless hours advocating for a work/life balance for our cultures and ensuring our parental leave policies are fair. SHRM keynote speakers Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg co-authored a book, “Option B” and even have a post on the website about how to handle Father’s Day for those who are grieving over losing a father.
I’m looking forward to spending the next three and a half days soaking in the professional development of the conference. I can’t wait to catch up with old friends and get to know other HR professionals. The agenda is packed with so many great topics and I’m grateful to get to experience this as an official SHRM blogger. I would also like the SHRM annual conference committee to consider alternate dates for their future conferences. Let’s practice what we preach as an inclusive and considerate organization and lead the way. See you soon!