Stay in touch #SHRM17

It never feels like enough time at national conference. Every one is back home by now and getting in their usual work routine again (after a 12 and a half hour crash to recharge our introverted batteries-just me?). We are all catching up on what we missed while we were in NOLA and cranking out our “final thoughts” on #SHRM17 while asking ourselves how did it come and go so quickly? This was my fifth annual conference and it may have been the best one yet.

Every year the Smart Stage line up has gotten better and better (Rue has been killing it from the start), the crew responsible for the social media team finds more creative ways to use our experience as an advantage for conference attendees, and the concurrent sessions cover a wide array of interests and experience levels. This year I really started to notice more people connecting at the conference! Of course a lot of factors are at work for this to happen, but social media has a hand in all that connecting! I was so lucky to witness, and be a part of, so many IRL meet ups this year from people who have been chatting together and sharing their thoughts via twitter, Facebook, instagram, blogs, etc. and it made my little HR heart SO HAPPY!!!

Connecting with new people is not easy for every one. I know this because it takes a lot of effort for me to connect with a new person (and following Heather Bussings lead, I’m currently looking for a designated extrovert for myself to maybe make this a little easier). Regardless, these connections are vital to the growth of our field of Human Resources. Our profession is made up of all kinds of folks with different backgrounds, different interests, different education, etc. and that allows us all to see things slightly different. The cool thing about that is now you have other professionals you can bounce ideas off of, discuss challenges, and share best practices while crossing geographical boundaries. I don’t mean we should set out to copy each other in any area of our job, but to build on each others strengths and learn from each other we have to be connected.

To move our profession forward and break the stereotypes that we don’t like we must work together as a whole to, dare I say, do HR on Purpose!! The process of moving forward will happen much quicker if we are intentional about continuing the conversation long after conference. (One way you can do that is joining the #Nextchat discussions on Wednesdays at 3pm ET!!!).

Having a strong network of HR professionals to help you grow and push you to represent us all well makes the challenges of HR less overwhelming. So I want to challenge you to reach out to someone you met at #SHRM17 within the next week and just follow-up with them. Send them an email, LinkedIn message, tweet whatever you like & see how they were doing and tell them you enjoyed connecting with them! Keeping the conversation going can be that simple.

If you’re an introvert like me, having those social media connections is way less exhausting than having to constantly meet with people in person by the way.

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Learning into action #SHRM17

As I sit in another general session for #SHRM17 I wonder with my colleagues if this information is new to people in the audience. Great speaker, great information, fun delivery, but is the core of the message still new?

We have to remind ourselves that there are over 15,000 folks in this session & some of them are entry level so it is BRAND NEW to them. Some of our attendees this year have never been to any conference let alone a national conference. Some of our attendees are so busy at work that they don’t make time to read up on “new things” in our profession. So yes, for some of the audience this is new.

It’s going to continue to be new until our profession as a whole get better at it. If you haven’t been to a general session this week, “it” could be anything from improving recruitment and selection processes to building teams. So take what is inspiring you here and put it into action when you get back to work. Make a plan to present your case and turn your new information into a solution.

A few steps to not skip when turning this into action:

-Make sure it makes sense for your organization. If you can’t make a sound business case for it or identify the ROI you probably don’t need to waste your time on it.

-Don’t try and copy what you’ve heard, figure out how it applies to your organization.

-The 140 character words of wisdom floating around with the hashtag are only a tiny piece of the story. Paint the bigger picture so you can make a sound decision.

-Solve the problem your organization has. Don’t create a problem to solve, solve the one that exists.

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Education as a Benefit at #SHRM17

This morning I had the pleasure of taking a few minutes to sit down with Rachel Carlson, CEO and Co-Founder of Guild Education and one of her colleagues Zach Rowe. I was interested in knowing more about what Guild Education has going on and what the Guild sponsored session Beyond Starbucks/ASU: The Future of Education Benefits  has in store for us Tuesday morning at 7am!

Education as a benefit could be very valuable in a hiring environment that screams skills gap and talent shortage every day. Without getting into the numbers we can reflect on our own experiences at work and looking for/keeping talent & the challenges our own organizations are facing. Education as a benefit could be an effective strategic move for your organization, but I’ll let you hear it from Rachel and the panel yourself.

In talking with Rachel we covered a lot of thoughts on education as a benefit, so I’m going to do my best to sum them all up. So here’s the break down- Guild Education’s approach is about meeting the employees where they are. I personally think that is vital in considering any benefit for your organization, but I’m thrilled to know that’s Rachel’s approach for education. They are working with some big name companies implementing options from GED through Masters program- options and flexibility go a long way for today’s consumers!

A lot of times there is educational assistance for corporate office employees or executive employees, but RARELY for the front line workers. Hearing that companies like Chipotle (as in hourly food service workers) is using this as a benefit to recruit AND RETAIN employees intrigued me. I mean, this benefit is really doubling the retention of their front line workers? I get how this could help with recruiting right? Pretty obvious without even digging in to the strategy, but retention? Wouldn’t these line workers leave after they finish earning more education? Chipotle has a wonderful program for promoting from within, but there’s only so many promotion spots. Turns out employers will generally see a 3-8% enrollment in the program. Think of it this way, your top talent is taking advantage of this and that means your top talent is staying with you instead of quitting and going to work for a competitor. They’ve also done research that says 20-30% wont use it, but will value it as a benefit. Maybe those 20-30% have plans to use it later or maybe that just means encouraging continued education is a personal value that they appreciate the organization providing.

As for the employer side of this benefit, Rachel and her team sit down with potential clients and work through the numbers. That’s right, they can sit down and see if the ROI is going to be a profit center or just another benefit cost. I understand that cutting benefits when your organization is looking to save money quickly is an easy go to for the purse holders in your organization, but when there is a possibility of a benefit being a profit center you should at least stop and listen.  While I was tossing my skeptical questions to Rachel to see if this was a sound argument and how this might play out in some companies back home she made it real simple for me: “It needs to cost less than turnover.” In this case, it sounds like the Guild Education team is going to equip you with the knowledge and numbers you need to make a credible pitch.

I believe education is so important and I could go on and on about my conversation with Rachel and Zach this morning, but I want you to go to their session Tuesday morning at 7am and find out the details for yourself! Feel free to reach out to Guild directly at partnerships@guildeducation.com

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#SHRM17 Interview with Heather Kinzie

YOU GUYS, #SHRM17 IS ALMOST HERE!!! I’m so excited! I love having the opportunity to see some of my HR Friends from across the globe, learn new things, and meet new people. I spend a lot of time going through the sessions listed and deciding which sessions are relevant to where I am in my career or current problems I’m trying to solve as well as which sessions might stretch my capabilities or prepare me for a future problem I’ll face as I work to progress in my career. I’m also always interested in who is presenting each session and I imagine you all are too! I love that the blog squad gets to spend time interviewing a few speakers before conference gets here so that you all have an opportunity to learn a little about them before you build your schedule. I recently spent some time with Heather Kinzie discussing her presentation she will be doing at #SHRM17 titled Out of the Office: The Rise of the Remote Worker.

Before I get into the discussion about her presentation, let me tell you a little about heather kinzieHeather from my perspective. I first met Heather at a national SHRM conference several years ago. We were both part of the blog team for the conference and it was my first time attending a national conference. Heather turned out to be one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I remember attending a session with her and Joan Ginsberg, who was also on the team, and just being amazed at how the three of us could sit in the same session and learn something new together even though we were all at different levels of our careers. Heather became a great contact in my HR network and a friend I keep in touch with year round. It was only last year when I had a chance to hear her present for the first time. I knew Heather was smart, I knew Heather was passionate about what she does, I knew Heather was well-spoken so I wasn’t surprised when she presented an awesome presentation on the Smart Stage at #SHRM16. At some point I stopped watching her and started watching the audience. Everyone was engaged and paying attention. People were smiling and nodding along. People were enjoying her presentation. To be fair, I think she could give a presentation about beef jerky and we would still enjoy listening to her present.

One of the other things I do at national conference is look for speakers for my local chapter and our state conference so when I saw how engaged the audience was I knew my local chapter needed to hear from her. She did not disappoint! In fact, this year she did 3 sessions for our local chapter in one day. We started with an executive level breakfast, then our normal monthly luncheon, and an evening meeting with our student chapters. The after meeting survey results raved about Heather, her presentation style, and her topics! Having her spend the day with our chapter was a great investment for our local HR community.

Now, her topic for SHRM. My first question to Heather was “why this topic?” I need to admit that I saw it and kind of stopped and made a squish face at it… I’ve been known to use this phrase often “It’s 2017, everyone is providing flexibility for professionals.” This is usually in response to any one of my HR pals that are thinking they may want to find a new job, but they enjoy the flexibility their current one provides. Turns out, I’m wrong… a lot of places still aren’t offering this flexible “work from wherever you need to occasionally” type of flexibility. If you had the same response, stay tuned because she’s going to spell it out for me/us.

Q: Why this Topic?

A: Well, being based out of Alaska I think if we can’t get it right, who can? We have a lot of businesses that have employees across the country and that requires some flexibility. Secondly, we’ve noticed a huge rise in what I like to call “intermittent remote workers” because it has been added to the employee value proposition required of a global economy. If commerce can happen globally why can’t the workforce happen globally?

Q: Since I naively thought everyone offered this already, I’m curious what your thoughts are on what is holding some organizations back from rolling out some form of remote work?

A: There is a myth that its hard to do or should only be reserved for special situations. I want to bust those myths and show how it prepares the business for success. I should clarify, just because it’s not difficult, doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are factors to explore and consider and some times there is a plausible business case to not have remote work options for employees. There are legitimate obstacles to consider from network security to ability to handle meetings. There are good reasons to shy away from it, but not stay away from it.

Q: A kind of expected question, what is the number one reason you hear from organizations that don’t have remote work in place already?

A: What I see often as a consultant is organizations shying away from flexibility because of trust. I say to that, if you don’t trust your workforce, why are they there? If you are afraid your employees are stealing from you, there is a bigger problem to solve.

Q: Okay, remember when Mayer took over at Yahoo and then pulled all the remote workers back into a physical office? Do you think the media coverage of that ‘mess’ and how employees responded may have hindered HR professionals consideration of remote work?

A: I think its important to make sure we are trying to solve the right problem. I can’t recall an article that really dug into the real issue of why she chose to do it, rather talking about the shock to the employees and culture change that was happening because of it. Was the remote workforce the problem or was it a leadership problem? Were they being managed properly? We must avoid headlines when we are working in our organizations and identify the failure so we can provide the right solution.

Q: I don’t want to giveaway your presentation so I want to switch gears on you. What are you most excited about for this years conference?

A: I’m excited to be in New Orleans, it will be my first time in New Orleans! I’m super excited to see HCJ… I’ve had a crush on him since 1995, maybe you saw the movie copycat?

Q: Never saw it. Where can people find you to connect- online and in person at #SHRM17?

A: One place you’ll be able to find me at the conference is the bloggers lounge! Please stop by, I’d love to meet all of you! I’m honored to have represented SHRM for years on the blog team. You can find me on twitter @HeatherKinzie and on LinkedIn (I don’t think I’m the only Heather Kinzie on LI, but surely the only cool one!!). Folks can also find some of my work at thestrivegroup.com or any of The Strive Group social media sites!

Attendees, you all can hear more about what Heather has to say on Wednesday June 21st at 11:30 a.m. Conference happens so fast and I can understand the exhaustion some of us experience by Wednesday, but you will not regret going to hear Heather elaborate on The Rise of the Remote Worker! It sounds like she will be tying in many aspects for us to consider as we look at remote work as an option or improve the way we are using remote workers.

See you all in #NOLA soon!!

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5 ways to be “All In” at #SHRM17

The countdown is on for #SHRM17!! I get so excited for the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition every year because I’m guaranteed to see some of my extremely smart HR pals, discover some awesome presenters, learn a thing or two, and have a great time. All of these things have been true of my conference experience every year, regardless of the location so bringing it to New Orleans is just the cherry on top for me this year! I’ve only been to New Orleans one other time and I absolutely loved it-I’m thrilled to have a reason to go back!

This year is a great opportunity for us to challenge each other to be “All In” given that is the theme for the conference and when I thought about what that means for me I realized it means the following few things.

First, it means I’ve got to increase my behavioral competencies knowledge because that was my lowest score on my SHRM-SCP results. I was really happy with the rest of my results so I’m going to take this opportunity at conference to find sessions to help me improve in this area. Second, I have to grow my network some more, let more people into my circle. I’ve made some great connections through the years at these events so I can’t stop now- after all something like 15,000 people go to this conference, I only know a small FRACTION of those folks! Also, I have to be intentional about finding knowledge and people who can help me solve my HR problems rather than cluster around and complain about our HR problems. This is tough because as HR professionals we cannot typically vent within our organizations when we are troubled by something so it’s easy to let it all out at a conference away from work with our HR brethren. Fourth, I have to be “All In” with what I learn at conference this year. That means when I get back to work, I need to use what I learned. I need to bring back ideas to Huntsville and share with our chapter. I can’t just take notes and never look at them again. Finally, I’ve got to challenge my peers to be “All In” on taking HR to the next level. I will not enable you to complain about what you “don’t have” in your organization (resources, table, support, etc.) instead I will empower you to use what you’ve got to get you what you need!

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