• SHRM State Council Director’s Meeting

    I have just wrapped up my meeting of the Secret Society of SHRM State Leaders (#SSOSSL).  Many of you who have been involved with SHRM at different levels are familiar with this meeting – even if you did not know the name of the group. This is the meeting where State Directors and Directors’ Elect jet off to some exotic and usually warm destination in the first quarter of the year and huddle. (FYI not really the name of the group even if you thought that.)

    Rumor was the meeting was going to cease, and then apparently there was some mass uprising (again, not really) –let’s go with concern that the meeting had significant value and that if the meeting were scuttled it could be problematic.  So apparently the powers that be at Duke Street listened and decided to continue with the meeting, which is now called a business meeting.  It is called a business meeting because there are no keynote speakers, no guest speaker sessions, just sessions on how to run our State Councils, and this year the SHRM Certification was also on the agenda (there is still more work to do here).

     


    So what is the purpose to the meeting, you might want to know – as I did?  Why spend a bunch of money flying people from all over the country to get together and talk about what they do? One could take the cynical approach and say that it is just a junket and a payback to those who volunteer at the highest level. While I think that may be a small piece of the equation, in my opinion that certainly is not the main reason.

    To the best of my recollection we had people from 48 states and Guam in attendance (all part of the 280,000 members).  In terms of priorities I am not sure which is first or last but here is a lot of what was going on in my view.

    • The Directors and the Directors’ Elect got to meet (face to face) one and other
    • Ideas/Best Practices were shared between all states
    • SHRM staff spent a great deal of time asking questions and soliciting responses TRULY wanting to hear our opinions on specific issues
    • The SHRM Mission is reaffirmed and clarified
    • The SHRM Staff gets an opportunity to meet and assess their Directors’ & DEs
    • Bonds and friendships are built through planned and spontaneous activities
    • It gets everyone excited to hold the role that they are and jazzed up for when they head home

    So as the new incoming Director I am looking at this and attempting to put the value proposition to this.  What is each of these items worth to my state council?   After considerable contemplation I am pretty much stumped, to come up with a hard dollar value.

    However, I am not naive enough to think that there is not value in this, it is just hard to measure in tangible dollars.  Had we not had this meeting what would we have lost?

    This reminds me of an HR parallel.  If your organization has a really effective safety program and you rarely if ever have accidents – how much money did you save by not having any accidents?  In this instance, how do you measure the cost of things that never happen?  It is unknown, in fact, never to be known.

    Another unknown I have always likened this to, is advertising.  I once asked a friend of mine who is in the car business why they spend so much on advertising. He said, “To help sell cars.”   Looking for a number I asked him how they measured that?  He said this, “when we spend less on advertising we sell fewer cars.”  That’s about as specific as he could get.  So to some degree it is a leap of faith.

    So to bring this back to our meeting, as the Director Elect I will be mindful of my opportunity to attend this even, and try to keep a record of the benefits of having attended this (let’s hope the list isn’t too short).  I will re-visit this issue next year at this time, as I prepare to head to Dallas for the 2016 version of the meeting.

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    Lastly this is more on a personal level, but I need to put this out there.  For anyone who has been around SHRM, you have seen Steve Browne move up and through the organization at every level. This year is Steve’s final year on the MAC.  By rule, and we know us HR peeps are all about rules, Steve will be done with that role this year.   What will happen then…(to be continued)

     
  • ILSHRM14 Day Two

    Another ILSHRM conference is in the books. The conference was a success. Thank you to Sabrina Baker for your efforts on this and to Cathy Plouzek for your leadership and guidance as our State Director.

    The Entrance to ILSHRM14

    The Entrance to ILSHRM14

    The conference itself appeared to be flawless to me. There were no outward signs of failure; things like a speaker not showing up, a room being too full or problems with food.  I did not hear of anyone who was upset or offended by session content or speaker conduct – so I call this a success.

    The purpose of the conference is to provide educational opportunities to our Illinois SHRM Members at a reasonable price, and the board accomplished this.  While the reviews have not been tabulated as the military folks like to say the anecdotal evidence indicated that attendees were pleased with the session content. This included all three keynotes, which by my measure were fabulous.

    We even added a new wrinkle this year with the Monday evening social event, which raised $1600 for the No Kid Hungry organization. A special thanks to ILSHRM long-time friend Dwayne Lay for his efforts on this.

    So all good, BUT… the underlying concern, the elephant in the room was still the “new” certification. Illinois SHRM members are still concerned about this and are looking for hard fast answers to the questions.   In an effort to ally these concerns we did have a couple representatives on site.  SHRM CHRO Jeff Pon held a town hall style meeting Tuesday morning with what looked to be about 100 folks or so.  It appeared that most if not all of the folks in the room held some certification and were concerned about where this whole process is going, and how it got there.

    Mr. Pon did a 20 minute presentation and fielded questions for about 20 minutes.  Thank you SHRM for trying to put us in the loop.

    However, in my opinion, this is a very complicated story with a lot of history behind it. Accordingly many questions cannot be fully answered in two minutes. In this instance I am referring to what happened between SHRM and HRCI. We will get the story in the days to come and I would venture to say it will all make sense.

    Regarding the new certifications and the transition from one to the other or the holding of both, this is going to happen. It is a reality whether you like it or not.  There still are details to be worked out –but it is a reality.  I would guess most folks will maintain both, this is what I intend to do.

    Another fear I heard was this; SHRM is dumbing down/devaluing the certification, and/or it is a money grab by SHRM. As we say on twitter, IMO I can’t see the benefit for SHRM, or any group of HR pros, to lower the bar. This makes no sense to me! Regarding the money matter, I can see where one would want to think this.  My thoughts are that there has to be a great deal of cost in ramping up for and implementing this program.  So if the plan is for SHRM to monetize the certification program I think they are working outside the standard 12 month ROI model.

    One other concern that was raised was the delivery method for training.  Some sole HR practitioners/contractors expressed some concern about who and how training will be done. The answer I heard on this matter was that this is still a work in progress.

    Ironically there was little discussion of the some of the upside arguments.  I have heard countless chapter volunteers complain about the process of getting certification credit for meetings. This will improve dramatically the new system.  Chapters will be pre-approved, no submission for meetings – BAM!

    If you are a SHRM member who holds a certification I implore you to follow this matter.  It will get better, and it will be good.  SHRM has been too good, too long for it not to be.

    If you attended Illinois SHRM the board thanks you. If you did not we would love to have you join us next year. I hope to see you then!

     
  • ILSHRM14 Day One

    ILSHRM Day one

    imageFor my unbiased review of #ILSHRM14 I will say that things have gone exceedingly well. Outwardly there no fatal flaws or major blow ups. On a personal level I have been thrilled having two very positive things going on. First is this, I have become the director elect for ILSHRM, which means I will be running the operation for 2017 and 2018 (as I must spend two years in a director elect status), The second matter had to do with our afternoon keynote speaker Jim Knight, I had recommended Jim (pictured above), from seeing him at HR Florida in 2012. I wanted Jim to “kill it” and he did – in spades.

    The speakers/presenter have all been eliciting positive feedback. But the one thing that continues to be rumbling underneath the surface is the issue with the certification system/process. If you are not familiar with this issue you have been living under a rock.

    SHRM has dispatched Jeff Pon Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM’s CHRO here to speak to the ILSHRM group. On Monday he spoke with a small group of SHRM members and leaders in an attempt to “fix the problem.” However the jury is out whether or not that is going to happen. While I arrived late for the meeting and did not hear all of what was said, the consensus was that Mr. Pon had not fixed the problem, at least with this group of people.

    These are the facts as I know them.

    • SHRM has been working on a new set of competencies for more than 2 years, and this was not a secret.
    • SHRM did a poor job on the roll out and informing the members about this.
    • Most members do not understand how and why HRCI is now “out of the picture.”
    • The new SHRM certification is moving forward.
    • You may choose to continue to keep your PHR, SPHR, GPHR or CA designations if you choose to do so.
    • The transition for the new certification process is in place.

    On Tuesday morning Mr. Pon will be holding a town hall style meeting before the keynote address. I hope that his presentation is effective in communicating SHRM’s position on all of this to the general members of SHRM, here in Illinois. After all, it is the general membership that we are all charged with supporting.

     

     
  • SHRM14 Is Open

    It is here #SHRM14.  Got here yesterday, and hooked up with some old friends for a great dinner, some silliness and drinks.   It is go day today Sunday, day one of the conference.

    Arriving at SHRM14

    Arriving at SHRM14

    So far most of the talk is about certification – duh.  At this point everyone knows that this could have been handled better.  Have you ever screwed up anything at work?  I have.  On the run up to the conference SHRM has worked diligently to communicate to its membership about this.  I have been on calls at the national, state and local level; all of which were designed to push the message out. I have heard from numerous SHRM officials that they know they handled this poorly.  All of us are held accountable for our actions at work, just as the SHRM folks should be. I am sure that a few people at Duke Street “heard about this.”

    There will be more meetings today with the volunteer leaders and the general membership.  The new certification process is probably going to get top billing.

    Perhaps by the end of the conference, if the efforts are successful, this wrong will be righted.  If you are part of the faithful, listen to message, hear what is being said and give SHRM a chance to explain the whole matter.  Remember if you are like me you have probably screwed up a thing or two at work, listen up and see what is being said about this.