• Meet Steve Browne at SHRM 15

    I recently ran a post about my top ten reasons for attending the SHRM 2015 (aka #SHRM15) annual conference.  This got me to thinking about other folks and got me to wondering why others attend.  So, I contacted some of my friends and asked them.  For the next several days I am going to post up their comments at to why they are attending.  Today is day two and we are going to hear from the omnipresent Steve Browne.

    SteveBrowneTwitterHeader

    Steve Browne is an enigma – he is a great guy too.  Steve is from Ohio and is died in the wool SHRMie who bleeds blue.  Steve has been an outspoken leader for quite sometime.  If you have not met him I would encourage you to do so, he is knowledgeable about HR, he loves HR, he is a great father and husband and he chews with his mouth shut – what more can I say.

    Steve’s top three reasons that he enjoys attending the SHRM Annual Conference are this.

    • Steve likes to talk, and talking/speaking is something that Steve is going to get to do at the conference. When I say speak I mean Presenting (doing a session).   He says getting to do this is a very humbling experience. Steve says that he think that conference participants like to hear from real HR Practitioners .
    • Another reason he likes attending the conference is that this allows him to meet many of his peers. Steve says he has commented that he wants to meet everyone at the conference, while knowing that this is not practical, but he would be elated if he could in fact meet ALL of the attendees.  Steve said that all members need to “reached out” more.  Steve mentioned a conversation where he was recently speaking with a young man from Lubbock, TX who had contacted him recently about a student chapter.  Steve said that this young man was told that if he didn’t have some documents complete by 6/1 or it would be rejected.  Steve told the young man get it done as soon as you can and let me see if I can help you out.   The bottom line is this Steve likes people!
    • The third reason Steve talked about was this. Steve said that as a MAC rep he likes to hear from people about their thoughts and ideas about SHRM. Steve feels like he can help shape and move those messages both up and down the line.   Steve said he thinks sometimes members feel that the organization could listen to members better, while countering that sometime members could do a better job of listening and trying to help SHRM.  Steve says this conference is a great opportunity to improve our professions.

    In closing Steve said he also enjoys meeting up with old friends.  Steve said that we have become far more connected with the advance of social media, so when people do get to meet up  it’s reminiscent of a family reunion type of atmosphere.

    So if you don’t know Steve Browne, I suggest you meet him at the event! In the meantime you can connect with Steve on Twitter, on LinkedIn and visit his blog site Everyday People

     

     
  • 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

     
  • Are You the Next SHRM Speaker

    Yesterday I attended a 7 AM session at #SHRM14.  So what you should know is the room was filled with dedicated people. These are people who are intent on getting more information, making their careers better and advancing themselves and this is especially true for those who attend a 7 AM session.  What they learned is a little different than what I learned.

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    Steve Browne introducing SHRM student member Serg Moreno

    They learned that being more connected, more engaged and involved with your employees in a real way makes you a better HR pro and makes your organization better.  What I learned is that HR conference need more presenters like Steve Browne.  Steve is so damn excited and so damn extroverted that he infects anyone who is with earshot.  As an HR pro Steve has so much credibility because he is the real deal. He walks the walk and talks the talk.  He does this nearly every day at LaRosas Pizzeria in the Metro Cincinnati area.

    Steve told his audience they need to be jacked-up and talk to, really talk to, their employees.  He made a number of other points, but in a sentence that is exactly what he told them.

    What I saw was someone presenting at the SHRM National conference who really connected with his audience because he does what they do.  Steve happens to do it very well.  As they say, (IMO) in my humble opinion, we need to have conferences, and probably not just HR conferences move in this direction.  It’s not rocket science and it simply makes so much sense.

    Let’s have people who really do the work, present and talk about that work. Look for this to be a trend.

    What does this mean? This means that YOU could be the next presenter. Think about what you do and what you do well and get ready to take it on the road. Make  plans to speak at your local SHRM chapter, your local Chamber of Commerce, a local Rotary Chapter, your kid’s school.  If you want be the pied piper of HR you can. And those of us in the space need you to do that. We need fresh and excited voices.

    On Sunday, we heard from Heather Abbott and about her powerful story.  She talked about doing EEOC at her organizations.  She was proud of that and excited about that. And while Heather had many other issues to work around, given her life changing event at the Boston Marathon, she remains a dedicated HR Pro. That is the kind of person we need to be hearing from – she lives this; everyday, and many of you do too!

     
  • Networking Did I do it Right

    I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. SHRM’s director of Social Engagement, Curtis Midkiff included me in his blog squad of over 70 people. Additionally, Sabrina Baker and Susan Avello, a couple of my peers from Illinois were also in this group. Said another way, we were Curtis’ guests. We were also hosted by the folks from Dice.com in the bloggers lounge, and they turned out to be a great partner for all of the bloggers and SHRM as well.

    As part of the deal it was expected that we would attend and help promote the event through social media outlets, that we would attend certain events and that we write and tweet about it.  Heck that’s one thing we all enjoy doing, so who wouldn’t want to go to the big show and do what you enjoy doing.

    When you get on site along with the rest of the folks (the numbers vary but let’s say 15,000) the opportunity to network is phenomenal.  This was not a stated objective of the blog squad, but it is also very conference like.   The first stop was meeting all of my fellow bloggers that I already knew and exchanging hugs and handshakes.  Next I wanted to meet some of the folks that I had not met  in real life.  Most of these folks could be found either at The Hive or The Blogger’s  Lounge.  After hooking up with blogger friends it was time to meet some people and make some new friends.

    On Sunday evening I was at one of the tweet-ups where I was conversing with my fellow Illinoisans; Susan and Sabrina whereupon we were roundly castigated by a Mr. Steve Browne, networker extraordinaire.  Steve told the three of us,“Hey you folks from Illinois, break it up, go meet some new people, you can talk to each other when you get back home.”   While Steve’s comment was somewhat tongue in cheek, knowing Steve I suspect he was about 2/3 serious.

    While at the big show I continued to attend the litany of events, traveling to them with new friends, and friends from out of town – ones that I rarely get to see. I was networking.

    Now that’s the set-up; word got back to me via several folks that I was snubbing the Illinois SHRM delegation, because I didn’t go hang with them.  Really?  I thought I was doing the right thing.  Well see where Big Steve comes down on this one. The jury is out.

     
  • OHSHRM HR Rocks Wrap Up

    The Trip

    Sandusky, OH – The Kalahari Resort September 20 – I arrived at the Kalahari Resort at 11 PM local time, after a seven hour ride – and $15 in tolls across Indiana and Ohio. Upon our arrival, my traveling partner John Jorgensen, via the magic of twitter, has determined that there are a bunch of late-nighters from the state board still in the bar.  So we decided to dump our stuff in the room and head for a beverage or two, after a long ride. As we headed to our room, who should appear but the infamous host of Drive Thru HR and VP of People Clues Bryan Wempen.  After a little small talk with Bryan, we learn he is headed to the bar – we tell him we will be along shortly. Bryan responds, “Yeah after your 100 mile walk to your room.” Perhaps a bit overstated, as Kalahari Resort is a big facility, but it was about a 5 minute walk to the room.

    Once in the bar, we hook up with Steve Browne – and many of the OHSHRM board members who are enjoying themselves. A couple other faces stand out in the bar – Mike VanDervort and Bill Boorman. A few beers, some conversation and loud music then off to hit the hey after 1 a.m.

    Ohio SHRM Day 1

    Like most conferences, this is a self contained event, that means you don’t have to stick your head outside, if you choose not to. The first session I attended was billed as an Opening Act. The speaker was Mark Stelzner and the topic Social Media & HR – Cutting through the Hype. I have had the good fortune to meet Mark a few times, however, this was the first time I heard him present. Mark is a skilled presenter and engages his audience very well. The content of his presentation was well thought out and eye-opening. He presented a lot of facts and information – but it was not dry at all. If you have a chance to see Mark present, I would highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed.

    It is now lunch time and the conference official opening. This spectacle sets the tone for the event. Conference Chair Steve Browne unabashedly made his entrance in a darkened room to some head-banging HR music. If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here. So following Steve, we heard from keynote speaker Simon T. Bailey. Simon, a former cast member of Disney, sports an infectious laugh and super-charged level of energy. Simon’s role was to engage everyone and create a buzz, while delivering his message of networking and getting things accomplished. Simon gets my recommendation as well.

    These were the only two sessions I attended in entirety on Wednesday. I did post a couple things on the internet and visit with a group of old friends who had all assembled at the venue. As we chatted, Steve passed us by and made a seemingly snide remark about sessions going on. We continued to visit. It’s too soon to tell, but there is a possibility that a new Blog Talk Radio show may have come from these conversations. The co-hosts for this show are Frank Zupan and John Jorgensen – hmm.

    While the conversation continued, the main ballroom was being transformed into an exhibit hall. This is no minor feat, as we had lunch in the room and were not out of there until sometime after one. But the vendors, the volunteers and the staff pulled it off. So it was off to the exhibit hall to look, eat, mingle, talk with resource partners, drink, talk, mingle, hold drawings, walk around and then it was time for a real dinner upstairs. Dinner and drinks…. and no animals were harmed!

    Ohio SHRM Day 2

    Day two, I slept in – didn’t make the early session –BUT my travel partner did. He is a trooper! The first session I attended was kinda of deja-vu. It was the same room with Mark Stelzner with today’s topic Making a Business Case to the C-Suite. This was another great presentation by Mr. Stelzner. His content and presentation were dead on. The only sad thing about this session is that Mark was heard to say he is contemplating throwing in the towel on doing speaking engagements. I hope this is not the case, this would be a huge loss for the collective body and knowledge of the entire HR community.

    My next Thursday session was Your Employees are going Social. The presenter for this session was Mike VanDervort. Mike had one of the smaller breakout rooms, but it was packed. I thought Mike’s content and presentation were excellent. Mike is a well-known expert in both social media and labor relations. He married the two topics with some compelling information for the folks in attendance. My understanding is his encore session was equally well attended and received very positive feedback. This is a personal observation, I know Mike and would have expected nothing less from him – and I was not disappointed.

    Dave was bad and skipped out of another session to visit with some old friends and talk with some of the folks working the conference to learn a bit from them.

    The last session I attended on Thursday was put on by Bill Boorman. Bill lives in England but is quite involved in HR on both sides of the pond. This session was deemed eligible for GPHR credit. Bill’s session was edgy. Bill used Prezi in lieu of Power Point. Bill, who is also known for hosting TruConferences, did a great job of involving his audience in his session. Bill’s content, while global in nature, shows that things are really not that different in other countries. Bill also touched on some international subjects that would later be covered in China Gorman’s closing keynote address. I had not met Bill, let alone heard him speak, he truly is a thought leader in the HR field. If you get a chance to hear Bill or attend an event that he is attending, I would highly recommend this. Undoubtedly, you will find Bill on the HR scene in many places state-side.

    In typical conference style, I left Bill’s session around 6:30 and found myself back in the big hall at 6:45 for dinner, a contest and a comedy show. In keeping with the rock ‘n roll theme for dinner, it was burgers, fried pickles (they were great), fried green beans, chips and some other things that I didn’t chase down. After everyone had a chance to dine, it was competition time. Throughout the conference, there were gaming stations around for people to compete in the game Rock Band. The highest scoring teams competed in front of the nearly 800 attendees. I am proud to say on of my buddies, Brad Galen from Indiana SHRM, was in the band that placed second.

    With that competition complete, it was on to the main event. Heywood Banks was the entertainment for the evening. I had heard a lot of his material on the Bob and Tom Show. His show was a gut-buster. He had some outrageous stuff and didn’t go with the blue material. The highlight without a doubt was his song Big Butter Jesus. This was a hoot and is based on a true story. He was some of the best entertainment I have seen at any HR conference.

    Ohio SHRM Day 3

    This is go home day and I got up at 5:30 am to attend a 7:15 am session. I was going to be ahead of the game. I walked the ½ mile back to the lobby to take my belongings out to the car, only to find it was pouring outside. So the long walk back to the room to store my bag for later, I headed down to the session early and got to grab some coffee and visit with some folks. Before long, it was time for the “early” session. The poor fellow that had been dealt this unenviable time slot was Benjamin McCall. I really wanted to attend this session because I have met Ben, and have communicated with him often via Social Media. I had always had an inclination to think that Ben was a pretty sharp young man. Well after sitting though his session, I proved myself to be correct. This guy is going places. He is one heck of a presenter, sharp and on his A game. His presentation was very well received and had fabulous content, all the while Ben kept it light and entertaining. No doubt Ben will be speaking more in the days to come. If you get a chance to hear him present, I would suggest you not miss it. Good job Ben!

    Next up was Paul Hebert and Influencing Behavior. Paul had the same room that Mike did and they were standing all over for Paul’s session. I was one of the folks standing. It did not diminish the content. Paul killed it. I was unable to send out any tweets given my position. I felt bad because Paul had some killer content and I had no internet service on my phone and couldn’t fire up my lap top, so I was cyber shut-down. Paul’s content was great, some of it almost clinical in nature. Paul knows his subject material well. He charmed his audience. Paul, I am sorry for not tweeting at your session, but you didn’t need me. I watched the tweet stream for Paul’s encore session, and they were loving it too. Go see Paul if you get a chance.

    The final session before the closing keynote was with William Tincup. William was back in the Cypress Room; his session was titled How to Create User Adoption of HR Software. William is a very intelligent and insightful guy. This comes through in most of what he does. In his session, William provided some great insights into the process of finding, purchasing and implement various types of HR software applications. The information offered by William almost seemed above some of the folks in attendance. William provided some great strategies in dealing with software vendors. I hope people got what he had to say. It was all good. William, too, is on my short list of people you should know and hear speak. If you want to get to know him, reach out to him he is one of the most approachable people that I know.

    Back to the main hall for lunch and the wrap up. I had a really nice lunch and got to sit with Kyle who is one of the three HR people from the Kalahari Resort. After lunch, it was time to wrap things up and Ohio SHRM called on one of the best people in business. China Gorman former COO of SHRM was given the podium. After sharing her life’s journey in the workplace, China gave the audience some tough talk and great advise. She urged them to be business partners and understand all aspect of business. Her presentation also had an international flavor touching on business opportunities throughout the world. She used some video examples to drive her point home. At one point I had to move close to a wall to plug in, so my laptop wouldn’t die. I looked around the room to see everyone riveted to everything that China had to say. China was a strong closer and brought the conference full-circle. She is awesome.

    Wrap-up

    That was it. There were the thank yous and the congratulatory accolades. And there was one final matter – Ohio SHRM State Council Director Andrea Gurcsik had been conspicuous by her absence. It was announced that she was at a conference for her work in Arizona and could not attend. Late on Thursday, her boss told her to get out of town, get back to Ohio, no matter the cost and see the end of her state conference. Her boss really knew how to motivate and take care of one of his employees. That is probably one of the biggest take aways from the event – know your employees and know how to take care of them!

    A big thanks to all of the folks from Ohio SHRM for being such gracious hosts. We would love to have a couple of your folks come learn and share with us next year in Illinois.