1. Does it take a village to change company culture? As a consultant to many small businesses and start-ups across the United States, culture is a word that is often seen as the holy grail of talent alignment. You know your company is firing on all cylinders when the employees you hire and retain embody the core values of the organization. But what does it take to make that happen? On Monday, April 18, Jim Knight , of Hard Rock Cafe fame, will be kicking off the conference with an opening keynote entitled “Culture that Rocks: How to Amp Up or Revolutionize Your Company’s Culture.” If you aren’t familiar with Jim’s work, he’s the author of “Culture That Rocks” a pretty interesting how-to manual about building culture in an organization that’s not your typical jargon snooze fest. Follow my live tweets at @JVPsaid using the #SHRMtalent hashtag for updates in real time.

2. Who’s giving away the best swag this year? When you speak and blog at conferences like I do, it’s no secret that the Exhibitor Hall is the best place to go to find cool toys and practical gifts for your family and co-workers back home. I still have my snuggie from Monster (circa 2013)! Historically, I’ve been a fan of Indeed‘s Apple Genius Bar-esque booth set up and Dice’s swag – but each new conference brings an opportunity to experience something new. Follow the visual journey on my IG account @joeyvprice and tag me if you see a vendor that’s deserving of a “Best In Show” shout out from my account!

3. Will Steven Rothberg kindle my inner HR metrics nerd feels? Right after the Opening Keynote, I’ll be bypassing the vendors and grabbing a good seat for Steven’s session entitled “Metrics Don’t Lie But Is Your Staff Lying About Your Metrics?” I’m a devoted student of Peter “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” Drucker, so I couldn’t let the conference go by without sharpening my skills in HR data analytics. With so much talk these days about big data and using data to tell stories, I was surprised to find out that 76 percent of talent acquisition leaders admit that their organizations do a poor job of using metrics. Expect a blog here within the week sharing some of the highlights from this timely presentation. Check out Steven’s company College Recruiter.

4. Can Small Businesses build a better on-boarding experience on a budget? The time frame between when an employee receives her offer and when she receives her first performance review is one of the most critical moments in the life cycle of an employee. It’s in that period of time where the employee will gather clues about your culture, establish norms and routines, and determine her level of engagement and output – compared to other coworkers and her boss. The partners at Connect the Dots Consulting in Dublin, OH are presenting a pretty interesting session on Tuesday entitled “Disrupt Your Onboarding: Wake-Up, Shake-Up and Rebuild Your Onboarding Experience.” I’m hoping to report back with a blog or podcast over at Business, Life, and Coffee on some of these new onboarding best practices and share some thoughts on how to make it a reality for employers of all sizes.

5. What can be done to stop the cycle of re-incarceration and hopelessness for individuals with felony records? According to a study conducted by the National Institute for Justice, 68% of formerly incarcerated men and women are rearrested within three years of release. Moreover, of the prisoners rearrested, 57% of them were rearrested in the first year of being released. The cycle of recidivism must be met with an alternative approach. On Tuesday, Brian Max Dubroff, former HR Director for By for Less, will discuss strategies to overcome ignorance embrace benefits of hiring employees with felony records. Come back to the blog for an update on this and more! The session is called “Post-Incarceration Employment: A Societal, Talent and Legal Imperative for Success