A National SHRM survey and review found that college students wanted more job placement resources and networking events, and help connecting with local professional SHRM chapters. Traditionally, a National Student Competition event was held, but after discovering future HR professionals had a desire for a more local focus, State Councils were encouraged to offer statewide competitions.
The HR Florida State Council has embraced the need fully and paired the Student Games Case Competition with its Leadership Conference. The council’s goal is to help students develop meaningful networking relationships and elevate the importance of their contribution to the future of the HR profession. The Leadership Conference is attended by more than 300 HR career leaders and trend setters who make up the leadership of the 28 local SHRM chapters in the state of Florida.
This year, the HR Florida Student Games attracted seven teams from Florida State University, University of Texas, University of Central Florida, Florida Institute of Technology (2 teams) and the University of South Florida/St. Pete College. All the students who participated are passionate about HR and, more notably, are the future of the profession.
Each team was challenged to respond with a solution to a case study regarding generational differences called “Generational Turbulence at Pioneer Airlines.” Teams were provided background information, research resources, guidance and coaching on how to put their HR learning into action, and how to perform a proper investigation and strategize plan needs. Upon completion, they present their plans to the judges.
This year’s judges included Eric Scott Bowers, VP of human resources/consultant at LassiterWare Inc. & Great Advice, Inc.; Wesley Paul, assistant hospital administrator of LifeStream Behavioral Center; Lynda L. Rodriguez, east regional human resources manager for L&R Group of Companies; Heide Bostelmann, HR Consultant; Teresa Beckta, area human resource manager for the Lane Construction Corporation; and Jeffery E. Bryson, software and systems engineer for Northrup Grumman Corporation.
Tasked with reviewing the work of seven teams in only one day, the judges came early and stayed late during the first day of the leadership conference to ensure each team received full consideration. It was difficult to decide, but the panel of judges selected the top two teams – Florida International University and Florida State University.
Here is what the students had to say about the competition:
Florida International University
“It was amazing and we learned so much about HR during the process. The judges were great and the questions were great. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
Florida State University
“It was really cool to have the opportunity to be around HR professionals, to have the opportunity to work on problems and to take our knowledge from the classroom and apply it into the role. People always say that you know you won’t survive in the boardroom without the experience you need to use theory, and practicing your knowledge to be successful; so this truly was an amazing opportunity. The case competition pushed us to use our skills, and talents. We had the opportunity to solve real-world problems and provide feedback. It has been awesome – thank you.”
Florida State University won the opportunity to present their solution during lunch on Saturday to the HR Leadership conference attendees. This honor placed these future HR pros directly in front of potential employers, and they were ready to impress as they presented their solution with ease and professionalism.
This year, the HR Florida State Council will make the call for participation in November for the 2019 games. The council strongly encourages student HR chapters sign up a team and be a part of the games. For more information, please visit http://www.hrflorida.org/?page=186
“Thank you to the judges and all other council members who helped make this competition possible – it is your support, guidance and knowledge that helps fuel the young minds of those who are already making a positive impact in the HR profession,” said Marty Bryson, secretary of the HR Florida State Council. “Additionally, I wanted to thank the students that participated in the competition. You inspire everyone you touch with your energy and bright ideas – I know you all are destined for greatness.”
Pictured above: the 2018 student games participants and Marty Bryson, HR Florida State Council secretary.