• Never Change Steve Browne

    Steve Browne in HR Magazine

    Steve Browne in HR Magazine

    Do you know Steve Browne?  One of his annual goals is to make sure that he meets everybody at the Annual Conference.  He is serious about this, he would really like to do that.

    Steve has been my friend for a long time, I think since 2009 to be exact. Steve has helped me grow my circle of friends, and in a smaller way I like to think that I have done the same for him.

    Steve has been active in the HR community for many years. He has given back so much to the profession and to his friends.  He has moved through the ranks of local SHRM chapter official, Ohio State Council, MAC rep and now as member of the Board of Directors of SHRM.

    Steve has maintained his humble roots and is still the engaging, funny inspiring HR guy he has always been.  He now has his FIRST Book published called Practicing HR on Purpose.  There is also a big spread in Jun/July Issue of SHRM Magazine featuring Steve and his new book.

    Steve will also be presenting a session at the annual conference and I bet the room will be packed,  and the doors shut,  meaning no one else can come in.

    Steve is still looking to change the world. We want to break down barriers, connect with everybody and dress the world in ty-died attire.

    He is also a wonderful father, husband and all around family guy.

    Through all of this, Steve has managed to keep his humility and be the same guy all of his friends know and love.  I am proud to call him my friend.

    Rock on dude!!

     
  • MOSHRM15 Wrap Up

    The Missouri SHRM State Conference for 2015 is over.  For those who attended there is always the melancholy feeling when a big event is over.  The build up to these things is S-O-O-O big that the let down afterward is bound to be similarly sized.  This was my first opportunity to attend MOSHRM and I was in awe of the entire event. It came off flawlessly! That said, tip of the hat to conference planner Lori Maher, you, your staff and volunteers are to be commended for a job well done!

    Some other details about the event include me and my co-presenter Donna Rogers.  Our HR Department of One program seemed to get good reviews.   We hope the fact that this is the fourth time we have spoke on the subject, it will give rise to this area getting more attention.  My friends who are running the small shop #HR are dying for more attention and content; so SHRM National and SHRM State Councils take note as  you have an underserved market.  As Donna and I point out, from SHRM, 48,000 of the 280.000 (17.1%) members are sole practitioners.

    Count of #MOSHRM15 tweets by day.

    Count of #MOSHRM15 tweets by day.

    In addition to being a speaker at the event, I was also part of the Social Media Team for the event.  So I did my best to keep the tweet stream rolling, while posting some content on Facebook as well. Based upon the graph it looks like the team did a good job with twitter.

    I attended all of the keynote sessions as well as several breakout sessions.   The breakout session seemed to average about 100 attendees per session.   I attended a couple that were very interactive with a lot of audience participation and then several others that were more lecture format. At a conference this size I think a mix of the two works very well.

    Another thing I enjoyed was the Thursday night Karaoke event.  MOSHRM was not a commuter conference.  The attendees that came were staying at the Tantara Resort and were a captive audience. Based on my non-scientific observation I would guess that 200-300 people attended the event over the course of the evening. The drinks were good and the music was fun. Unlike myself several of the folks at this event were darned good singers, so they were fun to watch perform.

    Big Jason rocking the attendees world at MOSHRM15

    Big Jason rocking the attendees world at MOSHRM15

    In terms of takeaways the most impactful session for me was Thursday’s keynote addressJason Lauritsen presented some great material on employee engagement.  Personally my biggest takeaway was the three line mantra that he made his participant repeat…

    “Uncertainty kills engagement”

    Think about that.  That is powerful, simple, direct and to the point.  Jason went on to explain further to give “CLARITY” to those things that are or seem to be somewhat uncertain.

    This advice was wrapped in the context of a presentation about Best Places to Work. All of those who I spoke with who attended the session told me they found it to be quite applicable to what was going on in their workplaces.

    I talked to know no one at the event who had anything bad to say. In fact nearly everyone in attendance had rave review.

    #MOSHRM15 is in the books and by any measure I can come with was a huge success.  I was happy to get to be a part of the event.

    So from DaveTheHRCzar a big thanks to the conference planners, attendees,  exhibitors and presenters!

     
  • 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)

     
  • ILSHRM Leadership Game On

    Another SHRM Leadership Conference is in my future. One might think even a died in the wool SHRMie would yawn at another one, after a fashion, but yet for me it’s not like that. In fact it’s more like one of my favorite scenes from Animal House.

     

    Sorry I love that clip – but I do feel that way about heading out to yet another SHRM gathering of the faithful.    This year has even more of an exciting twist to it as I am now in line to be the State Director (an exciting and frightening thought all at once).

    Dave and Connie at ILSHRM14

    Dave and Connie at ILSHRM14

    This year we are changing things up a bit and doing some things that are somewhat untested – yes, pushing the envelope.  Kudos to our new Director and my partner in crime Connie Wolgemuth (whose name I will be able to spell without looking it up at the end of her term) for taking a little risk and trying some new things.

    How many SHRM State Leadership Conference invite Officials from other states to speak at their state conference?  We are going to try that this year.  Connie has asked long time SHRMie and MAC Rep Steve Browne to keynote our program and to facilitate an experiment of sorts.  If you know Steve you know he is game for just about anything.  To prove my point check out this video from Steve opening his own Ohio SHRM State Conference in 2011

     

    Ok so you think the guy gets crazy once in his life and someone gets him on video – such is not the case, this is how Steve rolls. Check out more of his antics at SHRM Leadership in November of 2012.


    Ok so these are a couple of gotcha moments where I happened to be around with a video device and got my fun loving buddy Steve being all in on the activity De Jour. That truly is what he is all about. Steve is all in on everything he does.   So ILSHRMies should have a  fun and learning day hanging out with Steve – in fact I guarantee it!

    As for the rest of the event I am so “geeked” (Steve’s favorite term) to be rolling to Tinley Park in the morning where I will be visiting with all of my HR buddies with lot of hugs, smiles, sea stories (from my pal Joe) and maybe time for a couple cocktails in there somewhere.

    To those of you who do not know very many people in this group, this is a fabulous opportunity to grow your network and connect with some savvy HR folks who love connecting and are frightenly passionate about Human Resources and SHRM.

    Here is a re-cap of a 2012 event if you are curious to know how a previous event went down.

    As you read this I will be northbound on I-55 and I am looking forward to seeing each and every one of you there!

    -TheCzar

     
  • The SHRM Certifications – Game Changing

    The SHRM Volunteer Leaders summit is in the books.  I have had a day or two to reflect on it and have gathered my thoughts on the event.

    For those of you who don’t know me well, in addition to the HR/twitter/social media thing, I also am involved in hockey.  I am part of a board that runs a local high school hockey league, and I referee youth, high school and senior men’s hockey.  I have found many times that these things all intersect which is good blog fodder.

    Well it has happened again.  While I was at the conference, I was speaking with Andrew Morton, SHRM’s Director of Social USAHockeyRefCardEngagement, and we were talking about the new SHRM certifications.  I was telling Andrew that this year USA Hockey (the governing body of youth hockey) had implemented a number of new training requirements for officials.  This year in addition to attending an 8 hour clinic, taking and open book and closed book test, we had to watch and test on over 6 hours worth of video material.   The material covered a number of new penalty situations as well as an overall change in the way on-ice officials are to conduct the games.

    There is a reason for all of this. The game is changing. No longer is acceptable to punish or intimidate your opponents in USA Hockey.  The reason for that is this. USA Hockey wants to reduce the number of concussions caused as a result of playing the game. Going forward they want today’s current players to understand that the game has changed and the wreckless style of play will not longer be tolerated.  All of this requires new systems, new training and a new understanding resulting in an enlighten view of the game.

    The old systems that USA Hockey was using no longer meet the needs of today’s game.  Now let’s compare that to the SHRM certifications and how the world of Human Resources has changed.

    For the past several years SHRM has been saying and working to change the certification process. Why? Because they are the governing body of this, just like USA Hockey and they see the long game and understand things need to change.

    They have recognized this, and acted upon it.SHRM-SCP

    This has been troubling for those who like the level of homeostasis that HRCI has given to many for decades.  Well those days are gone. The new certification is here, SHRM is certifying members. We have moved on.   I think the HRCI certifications will be around for a while longer but unless HRCI can go through some radical changes in a very small space of time they will be a thing of the past.

    I have my new SHRM-SCP. I am proud of it and will begin sporting it everywhere.

    Now for the conference review, in my word(s) – “AWESOME“.   If you want more details Steve Browne has a great wrap-up right here.

     
  • The SHRM Pilgrimage

    VolunteerLeaderSummitIt is the week before Thanksgiving, and to the SHRM faithful that means it is time for the annual trek to Washington DC to drink the kool-aide and get the latest news from Duke Street, as to  how our mission is being refined.  I have had the good fortune to attend this event eight out of the last ten years.  It is always lively, fun, informative and energizing. The gather typically has ranged from 750 to more than 1000 over the years.  This year’s event has nearly 800 attendees registered.

    The 2014 version of the SHRM Volunteer Leader’s Summit will have a little different flavor than those of years gone-by.  We will be at a new venue this year, and some of my long time SHRMies will be visibly missing this year (Donna Rogers, John Friend and Matt Stollak to name a few).

    One of the purposes of the event is to help support current our incoming chapter presidents. SHRM works very hard to make sure that the chapters understand they have a wealth of resources and support from SHRM National.  This shouldn’t be an epiphany, as most incoming or current chapter presidents should have a good idea of how the organization functions, as taking on the role of chapter president is not something that should be done without significant planning and forethought.

    No doubt we will be hearing more about the SHRM certifications.  We will hear how it is going to rolled out and implemented, and I would bet $100 there will be a handful of naysayers who want to continue to bash SHRM over this, but I am confident they will be a very small minority.

    One other matter that takes place during the Leadership Summit is the visit to Capitol Hill.  On Thursday morning the SHRM A Team is going to empower 408 SHRM members to go to Capitol Hill and lobby their elected officials. This is awesome, it really is. WE/YOU actually get to help shape public policy – we are not that far removed!  The SHRM Legislative Affairs folks brief us, train us and send us on our way to “The Hill”  (that just sounds cool) to carry out our mission.  Here is a post from a previous visit to Capitol Hill.

    If you would like another take on the Leadership Conference, here is a post from my son Danny who got to attend a large portion of the event in 2012 and had this take on the event.

    I look forward to seeing many of you there, if we haven’t met- let’s connect.

     

     

     
  • 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.

     

     
  • Observations from TNSHRM13

    Compared to most other SHRM state conferences this one is large. I am told that there were nearly 1200 people in attendance.  That is big.  The location for the event moves around the state on a four year cycle. It goes from Memphis to Nashville, to Knoxville to Chattanooga.  The story is that Nashville always draw best due to it central location.

    TNSHRM seems to have more men in attendance than most other state or the national conference. I would say it looked like about a 50/50 mix men to women here.  Most other events seem to favor women 75/25; just check the bathroom lines at any of the events and you will see what I mean.tweetdeck

    The venue of the Opryland hotel (a Gaylord Property) is amazing.  The atrium area is huge and simply amazing. Go on line and check it out. My attempt to describe to describe it would not do it justice.

    HR issues in the macro sense do not change from state to state. Employee engagement, turnover, diversity issues and hiring practices are concerns in all 50 states.  You will see virtually the same agenda in Ohio, Wisconsin,  Tennessee or Illinois.

    Tennessee SHRM has done an excellent job of assembling a great staff of unpaid volunteers. They are all friendly, dedicated and immensely competent. Kudos one and all!

    Monday’s lunch was served buffet and hot. It was good and the seating was plentiful.

    The exhibition hall is rocking.  There are the peaks and valleys when sessions are going on (slow in the hall) and when they are out (rocking in the hall).  The traffic is good. I am guessing that there are 150+ vendors, making the event big but not too big.

    The last thing is to reflect upon is social media and it conference interaction.  I know from the people I have been working with that they have worked diligently attempting to give social media a large presence at this event.  They have done an excellent job. They admit that there is more to do, but due to their perseverance they have shown the TNSHRM board that there is merit and value into using social media as a way to both promote the event and interact with participants and vendors.  The Social Media team here in Tennessee is feeling positive about their efforts as I feel they should.

    Today is full day number two.  I think things will only get better on Tuesday. At this point if I could change one thing about TNSHRM13… I am not sure what that might be.   More to come…

     
  • TNSHRM13 – Volunteers make it Happen

    Nashville , TN – September 15, 2013…

    The Social Media Team is assembled.  We are here to do our thing.  We will support the conference, its

    IMG_2214organizers, its sponsors and all of the volunteers who help pull off an event like this. I had been meeting with the team, having dinner and a drink or two. We are good to go!

    On my way back to my room, I thought I would check out the digs one more time.  The conference hall (for the exhibitors) was coming together nicely.  It looks like most of the hardware is in place. The displays were set. The signs for the am sessions were ready.

    Then I walked down by the registration desk to see three women there.  These three  women who were  there, were there when I registered at about 2 PM. It was now pushing 8 PM, and they were going to be there until 9 PM.  I stopped to chat with them.  They were still all smiles and most courteous.

    I asked them if they would chat with me a bit.  They did.  They are Aimee Hull,  Shannan Duggin and Verta Ross.  Aimee and Verta were co-chairs for registration and  finance. Shannan’s official role is as a chapter management professional.    These ladies had been on-site since 6:30 am and were working until 9 PM.   At my shop those kind of hours are grievance material. These ladies were still happy and smiling.

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    Verta, Shannan and Aimee (L to R)

    So if  you see  Aimee, Shannan or Verta during the conference, or any one of the TNSHRM volunteers goes out of their way to help you or make you feel welcome, tell them this.  “Thanks, I appreciate your efforts and volunteerism!” These three and many others like them are the people that really make these conferences happen.  When asked why do you do this, Verta responded, like this, “Because it’s fun and I get to meet people from around the state.  It allows me to give back to the organization that has allowed me to develop.”

    So during the conference know this, it is volunteers like this that make these conferences happen.  They don’t get much out of it, other than the satisfaction of knowing they did their job well.

    Please treat them accordingly!

     
  • MTSHRM I am Nashville Bound

    One of the things I enjoy most is anticipation, the run up to an event. Whether it is a wedding,  a family get together,  an event like a concert or a conference.  For me the anticipation just jazzes me, like a 7 year-old waiting for his birthday to come. Well one of the things I have on horizon is MTSHRM.  It is right around the corner.

    Ground transportation for this dude

    Ground transportation for this dude

    So you might wonder why is a guy from Central Illinois stoked about an HR conference in Tennessee – fair question.  Here are my reasons, in no particular order.

    I was invited to participate by two people I hold in very high regard; my friends Lyn Hoyt and Chris Fields.   These two folks have taken on the task of bringing social media to this event. They have done so with passion, drive and determination – and I am proud to do what I can to help and support them.  I have met a couple other folks involved with SHRM from Tennessee at the SHRM Leadership Conference.  Teri Levy and Dennis Stull  seem to be pretty darned friendly as well, so I figure I will know at least 4 or 5 folks when I walk in the door.

    Another reason is this… It’s MTSHRM and I GOT A TICKET !  Yeah that’s right it is SOLD OUT – you can’t get in even if you want to. You waited too long! Not me I am in!

    I have checked out the line-up card, all 21 pages, and have found a whole cavalcade of speakers that I have never seen or heard.  In the last few years, I have attended a number of HR events and MTSHRM’s line-up is all new for me.  The choices will be difficult, but I will walk away with a whole bucket full of HRCI credits.

    While at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, I will also be checking out the SHRM Bookstore and my friend Andi Cale.  She will have in stock – every book that has anything to do with HR/Comp/Benefits/Engagement/Leadership/Risk Management and Organizational Development;  just to name a few areas.  Andi also always stocks all of the cutest, latest and greatest HR stuff and SHRM wear, be sure to check this out –even if you do have to wait in line.

    Otherwise I will be hanging out in “The Pit” –The Social Media Pit that is.  This is where the social media folks will be posting up and dispensing their wisdom, to those who have questions. We will probably be tweeting out conference wisdom and posting Facebook fun as well.

    Now do bring those smart phones, tablets,and  even a PCs because my advice is this;  leave the notebooks and the legal pads at home.  I challenge you to live on the edge and do it all electronically at this conference.  Having just attended another conference I have seen how popular these things truly have become.  You are not cool anymore if you are not mobile at an HR conference.  (Just giving you all a heads up.)

    Lastly, I love networking and meeting new people.  So based on the ads, the event is sold at with 800+ attendees – and I know 4 or 5. Looks like I have some serious networking to do!

    Come by The Pit – say hi – let’s connect!

     
  • SHRM Atlanta Bound

    SHRM-ATL LogoSaturday April 27th, 2013.  –  SHRM Atlanta begins on Monday morning April 29th.  I have attended and participated in my share of HR events, most of them in the Mid-West. On Monday I am off to a different region, to look at conference from a little different prospective.   I will be a Mid-Westerner in the South, and I will a speaker at one of the break out session.

    Fortunately for me, I am not flying solo, I will be presenting with the Uber-Talented  Julie Morelandfrom People Clues. Julie and I are leading an interactive session entitled HR Thinking Creatively.   This is going to be an intensely interactive session, so much, that I imagine (although I hope not) we may chase a few folks out at the opening.  The session takes place at 3 PM, and is the last of the day, as well as the last of the conference.  The challenge is on,  but I am confident we will bring home the goods!

    Past all of this, I am stoked to attend the event.  My twitter buddy Teela Jackson is one of the main conference organizers, and the President Elect of SHRM-ATL.  Teela tops the list of people I want to visit.  However, I must comment, as I reviewed the agenda I have discovered this is in-fact a varitable whose-who of peeps who will presenting at the event – below are  just the ones I know (and I am honored to be among them.)

    Jennifer Mc Clure | Matt Charney | Joe Gerstandt | Jason Lauritsen | Eric Winegardner | William Tincup | Daniel Crosby | Chris Hoyt

    I will no doubt have some tweets, some Facebook posts, and probably a blog post or two from the event.  So it’s off to Hartsfield- Jackson.

     

     

     
  • A Hometown HR Guy

    The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Il.

    This blog post is part of a collection created by various Human Resources professionals. This “Carnival” of HR posts centers around the theme of HR and Home. To read the rest of the collection click here. You’ll be glad you did!

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    When people ask me  to describe my community, Springfield, IL, I tell them it is a really, really, really, really big, small town. While I was born in Ohio (which is why Steve Browne likes me so much), I moved to the Land of Lincoln at the ripe old age of 5, so you could call me a lifer here in what is affectionately called “Springpatch.”

    I work at a fairly high profile Company in the community. Mel-O-Cream Donuts has been a local tradition since 1932.   I was not here when the business started, although I have been with the Company since March of 1979.   I have been doing HR for a long time. I am familiar with many of my peers in HR in Central Illinois through SHRM and other local activities.

    All of this thrown together does define me, who I am, what I am all about and my business acumen. Yes I am in HR, but I know a lot about business, thanks to the great people that I have worked for, for many years. I understand things like EBITDA,  ROI, P&L. Having worked at the local public radio station, while I worked on an undergraduate degree, I find myself occasionally behind a camera or microphone, talking about our Company’s business. Fortunately to date I have not ever been “ripped” for some foolish or errant remark that I made. My guess is that while I am no great orator, I seldom put my foot in my mouth either.

    Through my SHRM associations I get the opportunity to speak to college classes periodically. I get asked back, so I must do at least ok, right?

    So this is not an essay on me, but rather how I fit into my community.  To speak to the premise  of this post  which ask the question, I do feel like I belong here in my town and I do have a positive impact on the community? The community has served me well, and I like to feel as though I have returned the favor. Knowing  what I know about myself, I don’t think I would find my work as rewarding if I lived in a major metropolitan area. While I am adept, I don’t see myself as the kind of guy that the Wall Street Journal would approach and ask for my take on matters – unlike my local newspaper (The State Journal – Register) who does seek me out occasionally.

    I like where I live. We have crappy winters (sometimes). The HR community in my town is awesome. There are many other great HR Pros in the area that rock and if you want to be plugged in around Central Illinois get in touch with me and I will make sure that happens.

    So to speak to the question of the post,  my community certainly does help define me in my role in HR, and I am proud of both!

    Thanks for the Carnival Victorio and don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts here .

     
  • Review of Social Gravity

    Recently on a trip to Florida I was afforded the opportunity to read Social Gravity. The book is an excellent read.   For the purposes of full disclosure, I must admit that I am friends with the authors. I have come to know them through their public speaking engagements, and my involvement with some of the organization that have paid them to speak at events.

    From my experience the authors,  Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritesen did it differently than most folks out on the speaking circuit. It seems that most authors write a book and then go out on the road to promote their book.  These two guys have worked their way up from the trenches and now are addressing audience of 1000+ people.  Now they have a book under their belt. The book is very representative of the way and the type of subjects that these guys speak about.

    The book Social Gravity speaks to the intersection of networking, social media applications and a changing workplace.  Throughout the book, they ask the reader to make lists, action plans or perform evaluations by listing items. It is somewhat reminiscent of a seminar (of one).

    In the book they push the reader to identify how they network, as well as how they feel about networking in general. And so after a little bit of introspection, then Jason and Joe unabashedly tell you how it really works.  Next they throw the subject of technology on top of networking.

    With your new found knowledge the authors then push you to use you this knowledge as they fully explain what the Six Laws of Social Gravity are and how to use them to your advantage.

    I enjoyed the book. I got a lot out of it. And these guys to me,  are like an old favorite band. Whenever they put out a new recording I would purchase it – no questions asked.  Whether in person or in print Joe and Jason have a track record of putting out great material.

    I think you should buy and read this book!

     
  • Off to HR Florida

    I am excited!  In the morning I leaving to attend HR Florida.  This is the annual SHRM State Conference put on by Florida SHRM. It is big deal.  I don’t know if it is the longest running SHRM State Conference, but I would bet that it is.

    The conference in past years has drawn 1500 or so attendees.  This tells me that they do a lot of things right.  Rumors in the SHRM circles are that they have this gigantic conference machine that just runs.  No one know where they hide it off season.

    HR Florida has lead the way in wrapping social media into the fabric of a SHRM State conference.  This is one of the things I want to see up close and personal so that I can try and figure out what it is that makes it work so well.  I have had a chance to talk shop with many of the folks from HR Florida. They are most willing to share, advise and help.  For that I am grateful.

    Florida was the first State Council to name a Director of Social Media. That would be Stephen Geraghty-Harrison.  Stephen has had the support of state council and the position since I first came on to the social media scene in 2009.  I am going to get to meet Steve as we say IRL, for the first time.

    Florida also has a phenomenal number of folks who are active leaders/participants in social media. Two in particular come to mind: Mike Vandervort and Sharlyn Lauby.  Somehow I sense that these two folks had a hand in making social media part of HR Florida as well.

    There are thee other ladies from HR Florida who selflessly help keep the HR Florida process moving forward.   I have had the pleasure to meet them at several different events, and I look forward to seeing them again…Heather Vogel, Joyce Chastain and Carol McDaniel (see ya all tomorrow).

    And without a doubt, there is a small army of dedicated rank and file HR Florida members who make this event come to fruition. I will get some numbers on that too.

    As I wrap up this post I looked back and thought, wow,  I really haven’t even mentioned conference content, hmm.  I suspect that it one of the things that probably makes this machine work. It will be awesome.

    So look for a few posts on how HR Florida makes this thing work,  the history of social media and SHRM state conferences, pics of me meeting up with a number of old friends and  a lot of new ones.  And don’t forget to check the #HRFL12 tweet stream – I am sure it will be smoking come Sunday.

     

     

     
  • August SHRMChat Talking Communication

    Joan Ginsberg has done such a fine job getting #SHRMChat up and running AND growing, that we have given her an evening off. Actually, the ironic thing is that she can not attend because she will be attending a dinner with SHRM staff. So I offered to fill in for her and keep the chat going. So here is what we are going to talk about this month…

    We don’t get paid, we don’t have any money and we have to maintain an organization. Those are two things driving you as a SHRM volunteer. While I may have overstated the case on ANY and don’t get, the bottom line is we are all operating on a shoe-string budget, accordingly we look for solutions that are free or minimally priced.

    To run a chapter or a State Council, involves a lot of communication. This includes scheduling meetings, sending notifications, sending calendar reminders, following up with surveys, monitoring feedback and chatter from you members. Fortunately, the internet helps us immensely to do this. There are many tools that are out there that are free or cost very little to use.

    So our next #SHRMchat is going to be about communicating with your membership. What tools do you use? What medium is the most effective a particular type of message or conversations? We would like to hear from each of you on some of the following subjects.

    Q1.) What tools do you use to notify and register members for meetings?

    Q2.) Do you use a method for members to have closed end chat, such as Facebook, Wiggio, Yammer?

    Q3.) Do you use video and if so, how and what for? If you do not use video what is keeping your organization from doing so?

    Q4.) Does your chapter or council use SMS (text) messaging, or surveys? If you do please share what you do, if not what is keeping your organization from using these?

    Q5.) Have you encountered a application or piece of software that you thing would help state councils or chapter easily improve their communication efforts.

    Per usual, our chat will take place at 8PM EDT, 7 PM CDT, 6 PM MDT and 5 PM PDT on the second Tuesday of the month (August 14, 2012).

     
  • SHRM 12 in the Rear View Mirror

    The Big  Show for 2012  is over. It is on from Atlanta to Chicago for 2013.  This year SHRM stepped up their social media game. With the addition of The Hive, and the return of an expanded Bloggers Lounge, all of the social media devotees felt that SHRM had moved forward on the SM front. I could not agree more.

    It is my sincere hope that these efforts will result in increased membership, a more engaged membership and a greater and more effective utilization of social mediaas a strategic business tool.  This would provide the SHRM Leadership with the tools that they need to accurately measure the return on their social media on investment. It would also let them clearly see that this is the wave of the future.

    In an effort to make a lot of noise in the HR space Curtis Midkiff assembled a team of 70+  bloggers to assist in covering the event.  I think we did a good job, but could have done a lot better.  SHRM put The Buzz Site together at the suggestion of previous year’s Blog Squads.  Curtis had asked us to please post there first, wanting to drive our collective traffic to the site. It was a good plan that should have been executed better.  The bloggers collectively did not execute this as well as we might have.

    Dice provided us (paid for) an excellent space for us.  The bloggers (myself included) did not always use the “suggested” hashtag when or as often as we should have.  We owe Dice our continuing gratitude and support for their willing support in what probably be called an experiment.  In addition to providing us space, they also had working staff in the room at all times.   Also we owe a big thanks to Sarah Warner White for all of her behind the scenes work on the bloggers lounge.

    There was another aspect of the bloggers lounge I wanted to address. The live video feeds from the floor were spectacular. It allowed folks to blog, tweet, Facebook and Google + while they were multitask or using a plugged-in full size laptop. There were many other aspects of that, that also made covering the sessions easier, but I feel like we lost the “feel” of the conference floor.  Whether it was watching people grimace when the speaker commented, or simply seeing people walking out of sessions in droves.  From the bloggers lounge, we lost that prospective and I am not sure that was a good thing.

    There was a great deal of communication between the bloggers and the vendors (wanting us to schedule time to talk with their CEOs) about their product or service .  I don’t know if I missed some emails or what, but that whole effort seem to leave all parties involved bewildered, frustrated or just plain mad. Hopefully that will go better in Chicago

    Curtis Midkiff working The Hive

    The Hive was a fantastic  effort to engage the general membership in social media by engaging members and answering questions one on one right after a session, while the fires were still burning hot.  There were also a number of group discussion that went on from time to time in The Hive. From my prospective this was hugely successful.  While I only worked 3 hours there, the interactions I had were superb.  At ILSHRM12 we hope to mimic The Hive in a scaled down or modified version. Fortunately Curtis will be there to help us.

    In terms of sessions I only actually attended five. I have stacked up enough HRCI credits to push me through 2013 so I was not really in need of them.  It made attending the conference with no agenda most enjoyable.  I was afforded the opportunity to wonder around, stop and visit or just listen in on a session.  And on a personal level I got to meet and hang with some of the best and the brightest in the space. Just being around them and watching them work, the way the interact with others was enlightening and informative.

    It will be remembered as the SHRM 12 the year the Social Media Experiment went full tilt.

     
  • The Buzz Site, SHRM12 and Social Media

    A Happy conference attendee getting her book autographed by Marcus Buckingham - SHRM-2010

    If you follow much at all of what is going on in this space, you certainly know that the SHRM Annual Conference is coming up in Atlanta.  It is at the end of June, start of July – just about the same time every year.  Volumes have been written about the conference, the attendees and so on, so suffice it to say it is a big deal. If you work, live or feed off of the HR space, it is something you should attend routinely; even if you have to pay your own way.

    Again, this year I have been lucky enough to find myself in the ranks of those attending. I am attending as part of a cast of social media bloggers.   In 2010 in San Diego SHRM has an official blog squad of 5. This year it is 75.  Amazing, Simply Amazing.

    Given the count it is obvious that top power players at SHRM have dedicated a lot of resources to social media this year. However, like any other business entity, even the Not for Profits, they are looking for their return on investment.    I am not sure specifically how that will be measured.  In my opinion, while aspects of social media can be monitored and measured – I am unclear on how you accurately measure the true impact?

    I have noticed on a number of television shows now, such as Dancing with the Stars, American’s got Talent and Deadliest Catch the producers are now marrying the tweet stream with the show. I also see Delta Airlines, and their #DeltaAssist program growing. Again I am not sure how what this is generating or how it is being measured, but it is continuing to grow.

    I think this is reflective of the business intrigue surrounding Social Media.  There is so much going with SM it is mind boggling. We have new sites, new tools, court cases, new users, IPOs going on, and just when you think you have a handle on it everything changes.

    Now back to the conference, let’s discuss this year.   I think that SHRM is to be applauded for their efforts and the amount of resources they are dedicating to this year’s event.

    My worst fear is that it has become a case of go big, or go home, with the analogy being this.  If we (SHRM) don’t see some tangible results from this event we will contemplate a “push back” from social media.  I hope my fears are unfounded.  To help ally my fears I implore all of you to share in the conference via social media – even if you aren’t there. Watch the tweet stream, check out the video uploads, watch the Facebook posts, read some of the thousands of blog posts that will be coming out – and lastly share it with a friend or acquaintance who is not yet immersed in Social Media.  In order to get the needed ROI we must continue to grow the base.

    One final note, a specail and unique web site has been launched just for and about the conference. The site is called The Buzz and you can find it here.

     
  • SHRM, HRevolution, ERE, HRTech…Why do you go?

    Three time attendees recognized at HRevolutioin

    In this post I will be making reference and linking over to my project social partner Laura Schroeder; like we have both done a number of times.  But with today’s post Laura and I are going to add new friend and blogger to our little project social project link-fest.  For those of you who don’t know her, please say hello to  Lyn Hoyt (from twitter @designtwit) and her blog site http://hrbaconhut.com/content/.  Lyn will be linking back and forth with Laura and I now and then. So onto today’s post…

    Having recently returned from HRevolution this subject is top of mind for me.  Over the past few years I have had to opportunity and good fortune to attend a number of conferences.   Many of these my employer has paid for, and for that I am most thankful.  I have attended some other SHRM events, and while I did not have to pay to attend, on some occasions, I have committed to working and I have paid to get myself there or for meals or other incidentals.  And in the last case such as HRevolution, I paid my own (airfare, lodging, conference fee and incidentals) way to be there.

    At the various events I have attended I often encounter a number of people who seem to be in attendance at virtually every event. I look at this and I am left with more questions than answers.  I question this not to be mean or rude – simply just out of curiosity.  I understand that some of the folks who morph between attendee and participant are there to promote themselves, besides being an attendee; and I get that.

    While there are other folks who are in attendance and never present, but seem to know and hang with all of the ”A” players.

    And then there’s my group those of us that show occasionally at some of the events and know many of the folks.

    Now that I have identified the groups, I am still curious to understand what it is that drives each of these groups. I have my own reasons for attending different events. I attend for theses reasons:

    • To obtain recertification credits for my SHRM designation
    • To learn current thinking current legislative matters
    • To seek out creative solution to complex problems that I face
    • To understand better an organizations goals and objectives
    • To visit with old friends and make new ones
    • To travel to fun, exotic or just warm locations
    • To get away from the day to day grind and clear my head
    • To participate as a panelist or speak at the event

    That is my list – for now.  Why else do you spend time on the conference circuit or simply what drive you to attend an event?  I would love to hear from anyone who attends! For a couple  more looks at the conference circuit check out Laura here – and Lyn here.

     
  • SHRM North Central Student Conference Presentation

    On Saturday April 9th I had the pleasure of speaking to the attendees of the SHRM North Central Student games at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL.  It was truly a wonderful experience, and I would suggest to anyone working in Human Resources who has the opportunity to help at a  student conference; pounce on the opportunity.  I did write a post on the Illinois State Council Blog Site if you would like to read more

    And in an effort to keep my word, I did tell the folks in attendance I would post the presentation I used, as I had put a number of links in the presentation. So here you go…