• Kelly Clarkson she ain’t Hall and Oates

    What do Kelly Clarkson and Stevie Wonder have in common?  They are both recording artists whose KellyClarksonConcertconcerts I have attended.   While I was never an over the top fan of either one of them I have enjoyed  many recordings each has made.

    So many years ago, I attended the Stevie concert, and last night I attended the Kelly Clarkson show.  The thing that was interesting to me comparing the two artist was this. Both have an amazing catalog of hits. Hits are those songs that you know some of the words and most of the melody.  Only recently have I taken to listening regularlly to top 40 stuff. I now have XM and I have been compelled by  my wife and my son to listen to current music.  So my knowledge of current music isn’t all that good.

    Well while I knew all of the Stevie stuff – more or less based on my age.  But I was truly amazed to see that I recognized all of the things that Kelly played. It was good stuff too!  The harmonies were very tight – spot on.  Kelly got the audience rocking, dancing and singing along.  It was a great show and let’s just say a little more current than some of the artists that have appeared at SHRM National over the last few years.

    I had the good fortune to bring my wife and my son to the event. It was a great 1:20 minute show. That rocked all of the HR Pros in the house, and all of the other people like my wife and son, and the two cute little teenage girls who were seated next to me.

     
  • Gotta run to My Session

    Tuesday my third day of the conference. I have not attended a session yet, and it is ok.   One of my blogging peers, was working in The Hive. She was talking social media, and helping this person understand some of the nuances of the particular platform.  There was  a real  exchange of ideas going on.  But then … the conference attendee looked at here watch and said she had to run and did not have time to bring the conversation to a close.

    Our attendee was off to attend a session. While this is commendable, what sometimes gets lost in the conversation is that there is other learning and things of value going on, outside of the scheduled sessions.  And while SHRM does encourage networking through events, and other activities,  attendees don’t seem get or understand that is ok to hang out at the conferences, and just have conversations, exchange ideas,  learn from a peer who has a vast knowledge of a subject and is willing to share.

    I also get the concept of coming to the conference location and not setting foot in the event hall.  Remember the commercial where the guy is supposed to be at “the conference” and is badly  sunburned.  He wasn’t learning or networking, he was simply entertaining himself.  This is not what I am talking about.

    So here is the takeaway. If you are attending the convention  and you are having a really great conversation with someone, if you are learning about something by eavesdropping on a conversation, if you are talking with a presenter and you find them really engaging – don’t feel like you have to run off – just to get to the next session.  What you are doing is part of the overall conference learning experience.  It is ok.  Those of us in HR need to understand things are changing and the rules are changing.

    Learning and knowledge exchanges do take place outside of the scheduled sessions – don’t be afraid to do it.

     
  • It takes a Village to Man a Booth

    Yesterday the Exhibit Hall for the SHRM National Conference opened.   I don’t have an exact number but my guess is 400 – 500 exhibitors were present.   Some of the booths are ostentatious – really.  Some of the booths are fairly plain with a banner or two,  maybe a computer display or two but that is about it.

    Many of the exhibitors have a dozen or more folks on staff to help peddle their wares.  Some of the smaller booths have only 3-4 but it would appear to be adequate for what they are trying to accomplish.

    I am not sure what the vendors pay to exhibit in the hall, but I know what my employer pays to attend major national trade shows. My guess is that booths cost around $5 K and to bring the staff and materials on site is a $25K undertaking.  That should be a big deal in anyone’s realm.

    As I walked the floor I was shocked to come upon one booth.  There was no one in the booth.  It was set up, there was a display but there was no one there.  Who does that?  Someone dropped the ball.  If that were my Company – and that happened – someone would loose their job.  I was going to put a picture of this operation, but I decided better.  If you want to know who it is contact me and I will email you.

    I am headed down to the floor later today, I am going to check and see if they are still missing in action, or if  it is staffed.

     
  • Come See Us in The Hive

    SmartBarSHRM13Working in The Hive has been an exhilarating experience. It has given me the opportunity to meet new people and help them work through some issues.

    Most people do not want to bare their souls and tell the world, I don’t know – I don’t understand. I don’t. It is hard to do. But sometimes, that its the only way to get to understand a matter. Many of the folks who stop by The Smart Bar are looking for answers to what they perceive as being “stupid questions.”

    Those of us who participate in social media know the dangers of calling ourselves “experts.” It is nearly impossible to be an expert in something that is continually evolving. So we are not experts. We can however, be well practiced, like a doctor practicing medicine. And we do enjoy sharing our love of communicating, sharing and networking. We are not cliquish, or condescending, we are welcoming and by and large friendly. We are active SHRM volunteers and would love to answer your questions or help you. If you have questions about technology or social media, stop by and see us and we will do our best to help you out.

    Hope to see you in The Hive.

     
  • #SHRM13 The Big Show in Chicago

    From SHRM 12 In Atlanta

    From SHRM 12 In Atlanta

    The time is at hand… The Big Show (a.k.a. The SHRM National  Annual Conference) starts this weekend in Chicago.  If you have attended one of these, you KNOW how over the top this event is. If you have NEVER ATTENDED and are not attending this year do yourself a favor and plan to attend in 2014. In my time I have been fortunate enough to attend five of them.

    One of the bits of information I have gleaned over the years is this. There are only a handful of cities that can accommodate an event of this magnitude.  Having a large enough conference hall and enough hotel rooms are the limiting factors.  In the last few years the conference has had around 15,000 attendees and probably on the order of 18,000 people on site, between the vendors, presenters and support staff.

    But why, why do HR people move via planes, trains and automobiles to congregate with one and other?  I know of several reasons.  One reason is strategic credit hours.  Typically the conference will offer up about 15 hours of the coveted strategic hours.  This will complete the requirements for those holding an SPHR certification.  A second reason is to check out the latest and greatest HR offerings (this would be the exhibition hall).    Others like Dwane Lay and Laurie Reuttimann visit the exhibition hall simply for the swag.

    The Big Show always offer MEGA Name Keynote speakers… Jack Welch, Tom Brokaw, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell – you get the drift. Rumor has it these folks command MEGA bucks for thier services too. Besides the keynote sessions there are dozens if not hundreds of break out sessions. You can attend a session on virtually any subject remotely related to the HR field.  Many of the presenters are looking to get noticed and pick up additional speaking gigs with other SHRM organizations (Local Chapters and State Councils). It is also a good place for those who book speakers to preview what they might be buying.

    There is one other main reason why people attend this event – NETWORKING.  If you want to meet people in the HR biz, it doesn’t get any better than this.  You can network your ass off!  For me, after years of networking a by-product of that activity is friendships.  So it almost goes without saying, that after years of networking in the this community the conference gives many of us an opportunity to re-connect (socialize, drink, eat and tell tall tales). Which, in-turn, makes the conference several days of severe sleep deprivation.

    Starting Saturday, I will be on site at McCormick place.  I am part of the 80 per social media team for the event.  I will be tweeting, blogging (here), and posting to Facebook and Google +.  If you can’t attend this year, follow the streams and attend the event virtually – so you can get warmed up for next year.

    Chicago bound….

     
  • We can make SHRM Better and Stronger

    SHRM Advice day– it sounds like a sale or something.  I would like to thank the Cynical Girl for the invite to contribute to this concept. This is a BIG topic and like so many of the other HR bloggers out there, I have an opinion about most everything.  This is what it is… an opinion no more.

    Out of the box I need to say that I am a big supporter of the Society of Human Resource Management a.k.a. SHRM.  I have been involved with a local chapter for many years. I have been involved with the Illinois State Council of SHRM, and I have attended more than my fair share of SHRM events.  I can honestly say I know SHRM.   But when asked what could they do better, I have some thoughts.

    I am not a really big picture guy,  I tend to focus on things that can be done easily and can affect change in short order. You might call it low hanging fruit, from a trench HR guy.

    Let me also say I do not claim ownership of these improvement I am listing. The concepts have been around for a long time. I subscribe to them, and think they are things that Duke Street should act on quickly.

    Share the names and contact information of at-large members with the State Councils and Local Chapters. We are all on the same team. SHRM want all organizations to  grow membership, well this would be a great group to target.  I don’t know all the behind the scenes details but I know that friction remains between the National and the state and local organizations about at-large members.

    Coordinate/Facilitate/Help State Councils share information about events,  while helping promote state conferences.  Again, we are not the competition.  State Councils are challenged to put on good conferences each year.  We could learn more from one and other. There are many of us who have fostered relationships with folks in other states and around the country.  We share information, talk about sessions, speakers, content, venues etc.   Why not help us out with this, coordinate this and exhibit some leadership.  We are on the same team.

    This is a really a subset of the second item.  Create a National Speaker Database for use by all local chapter and state councils.  This would allow  State Councils and local chapters to coordinate information and not feel like they were on their own.  This once was framed this way by Matt Stollack – create a Yelp like database for SHRM speakers at all level. That sums up this concept.

    Make free Wi-Fi available at all SHRM National events!  Nuff said!

    That’s my take on some improvements that SHRM could make that would go a long way toward improving the relationships with the organizations up and down the line.

    No argument , I am a supporter through and through, but I do believe if the mothership acted on my suggestions thing would improve at all levels.