I just got back from the Cayman Islands where I was invited to speak to the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals at their annual meeting. As you might imagine, it was awesome!
This is only the second time in my life I’ve been out of the United States to speak (the first being to Toronto – which is kind of in my own backyard, so it’s hard to count!). I definitely need to do this more, as I think I actually learn more than those I’m speaking to.
Here are some of the great things I took away from the Cayman Islands, HR and Hugging.
1. The HR and Talent Pros in Cayman are as passionate as any professionals that I’ve ever spoken to. They love HR and Talent Acquisition and they are hungry for knowledge and to get better.
2. HR in Cayman is as unique as you’ll find anywhere in the world. You have native Caymanians who are working to develop their talents and Expat-HR pros from all over the world thrown into the mix. You put all of this together and diversity of thought is incredible.
3. Caymanians love hugs! I got a bunch. Real hugs. Not those fake hugs we tend to give each other in the states.
4. Great HR conferences take a lot of work from a lot of people, but it also is a labor of love from one or two people, usually. Chris Bailey (@anythingoverice) is one of those people in Cayman. He’ll be at SHRM national, make sure you connect with him, he’s one of the good guys in the world! Also, check out CISHRP’s, Inga Masjule, at SHRM National as she’ll be speaking on the topic of International HR – she’s good people as well, and smart as hell!
5. The majority of Caymanians are very religious (Pornography, sex toys, etc. are illegal in Cayman). They also celebrated Batabano when I was there. I struggled to put these two things together in my mind! But, I will again go to Cayman for Batabano and dance in the parade!
6. Upon arriving to Cayman I would have thought they have absolutely no issue recruiting any kind of talent to the islands. I was shocked to find out this is a major problem at the professionals levels. Cayman is the fifth largest financial center in the world and they have a ton of highly paid jobs going unfilled. The largest recruiting dilemma to overcome? It’s too good to be true! People can’t believe what a great opportunity is, and believe there must be something you aren’t telling them!
7. I got to see a speaker named Dr. Graeme Close (@close_nutrition) out of the UK who talked about wellness and nutrition. He is a former pro Rugby player and current strength and conditioning coach for England’s Rugby, Ski and Snowboard Olympic teams, as well as other pro athletes. If you are responsible for wellness at your company, you must have this guy come and talk to your employees. He’s brilliant, motivating and funny. He would be perfect to kick-off any wellness program.
8. In 4 days I swam with Stingrays, Dolphins, Sea Turtles and countless fish, witnessed Batabano, ate some of the best food I’ve ever tasted (most memorable was local fare from downtown Georgetown directly after Batabano – on one plate I had Lobster, shrimp, breadfruit, rum cake, potato salad, plantain, beans and rice – it was glorious!) and had the single best Gin and Tonic of my life at Catch.
9. Every group of HR/Talent Pros have things that no one wants to, or is willing to, talk about. Those taboo topics. Caymanian’s have theirs as well, and it was empowering watching them address these head on, it’s truly the only way we move the profession forward.
10. HR and Talent Acquisition conference planners! Pay Attention! CISHRP does conference food better than anyone else in the world, and second place isn’t even close! CISHRP had the best food I’ve ever had at a conference. I’m sure having it at the Ritz Carlton has something to do with it, but the leaders at CISHRP still had to pick the menu!
Thanks again, Chris and the CISHRP crew, for having me come down!
What Tim K said! Great article. Having traveled to Grand Cayman many times, I get what you mean about the people. They’re genuine. I’d ex-pat but if Barcelona were on the table, tough choice!
Tim, it was our pleasure hosting you, as they say you get out what you put in and you embraced the island with a load of passion and guess what you saw what we see, you felt what we feel and now Cayman has you! Your welcome back anytime see you in vegas!
Tim, so glad that you enjoyed the conference and it sounds like it was worth your time and trouble. For next year, I will be glad to go as your Assistant…even though I have no idea how to spell “HR”. I am sure there will be a lot of people volunteering to go. What’s not to enjoy about either Grand Cayman or the Ritz?!?
What an awesome experience! Maybe I should see if they want to chat about sourcing 🙂
1. You should travel outside the US more. I would suggest making Madrid or Barcelona next. Alcohol, protein and fat – world’s greatest diet!
2. I am open for ex-pating to Cayman!