And another thing…Her too

Another thing that unexpectedly took up a lot of brain space for me in 2018 goes all the way back to a conversation that started in 2015.

For several years now I’ve been part of the SHRM Blog team that gets a pass to conference each year in exchange for writing about the event. All other notions about SHRM aside, it’s usually a pretty great team of people and I’ve found some incredible mentors and friends through this avenue. Back in 2015 the annual conference was in Vegas and the fundraiser (back when we also had an annual fundraising event for NKH) that was organized for the group to participate in was a poetry slam.

Even though this was my third time being at annual conference, I still didn’t know a lot of the group and I kind of stuck to myself  at these events and a handful of familiar faces. One of the people who participated in the slam shared her horrible experiences from multiple conferences through her poetry. I sat so still when she was talking. It was the first time I heard someone who was in the same field as me talk about the way she was treated by males in the industry, and sometimes other females. How she was talked to, how she was propositioned, how certain things were expected of her… I very distinctly remember someone I knew at my table leaning over and saying “she and I are clearly not going to the same conferences.”

But here’s the deal, we are going to the same conferences. It’s happening at conferences that YOU and I are attending. Conferences full of HR professionals! And lawyers! And other business leaders!

After the slam was over I kept telling myself to go over there and talk to her. I was so shocked about what she shared and I truly felt for her, I could relate. I couldn’t think of any words to say so I said what really turned out to be the worst thing I could think of “Why do you keep coming back to these?”

I’m not going to share specifics of what she shared that night in front of the whole crowd because I have literally never talked to her again and did not get her permission to share the details. I’m not going to share specifically what she said in response to my question because that’s for her to share, but I can say she handled it with more grace than I probably would have. I mean, I basically asked her why she continued to come to a conference related to her field that also was a source of potential clients which ultimately turns into revenue. Her livelihood. I asked her why she came back to something that represented a connection to her livelihood.

I have replayed the poetry she shared that night and my idiotic question in my mind so many times since 2015, but most of those times were during the year of 2018.

I was part of the problem that night in Las Vegas. I asked a question that implied it was her fault that these things kept happening because she kept coming back. I asked a question that implied if she would stop coming, these things would stop happening EVEN THOUGH I know these things can happen to anyone, anywhere.

The Vegas conference was a weird conference for me. I felt that a lot of the content was “just playing it safe,” and not challenging us to be bold in our profession. We HR professionals need to hear the hard truth, and this hard truth is that we cannot sit in our offices, behind our desks, and help create a narrative that the victim is to blame. We cannot ask questions that imply a worker put themselves in a position to be harassed just by showing up.

Think about the last time you heard about someone being harassed or being a victim outside of work? How did you react? Did you ask a really dumb question like me? Did you assume the victim should’ve done something different? Were you impartial? Did you look for the facts? Were you sure you knew the victim was lying because you know something about their character already? The truth is, who we are at home is who we are at work-you can’t fake it forever.

That incident in Las Vegas in 2015 is burned in my memory forever. The good thing about that is, I learned something about myself that night and I’ve equipped myself with the resources to handle that differently in the future.

Friend, what are you going to do differently in 2019?

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To kick off 2019 lets talk fees

In 2018 I committed to one thing for my career that took far more energy than I had planned. I decided that I needed to stop accepting lower fees for my side work than my male counterparts. I don’t mean accept less than males who do speaking and writing, I mean stop accepting less than males who do speaking and writing in the same arena I do who have comparable experience, knowledge, exposure, etc as me.

Y’all… this was hard. Sometimes it meant saying no to opportunities I really wanted to take and sometimes it meant pressing on with difficult negotiation conversations. Sometimes the first offer was sufficient, plenty of people let me set my own rate, and sometimes I still failed at negotiating the right price and accepted way lower payment than I should have.

I know I’m not the only one up against this. I’ve worked on this for my day job and overlooked the much needed negotiations for my “side gigs.” 2018 was the first time I had enough confidence to start the conversation to earn better pay for my side gigs so I started it.

What is glaringly obvious to me now is so many organizations still do not have a solid compensation strategy. I don’t know how far away we are from more folks getting this right, but I sure hope we can collectively step our game up this year.

I mean this as HR professionals with a voice in our organizations. I also mean this as HR professionals planning conferences for our profession. I know its tough. I’m helping plan a conference with a limited budget, so limited that one of the speakers we really wanted quoted me a price larger than the entire speaker budget that’s set aside to pay multiple speakers. Multiple speakers people!! We can’t do much this go around, but we can do something and I intend for that something to be as fair as possible.

Together, lets agree to start somewhere. Find a way to get the revenue or the sponsorship’s. Talk about a number your team is comfortable with, and don’t pay someone twice as much as you pay someone else for no good reason. Reach out to other people who have planned conferences and ask advice. Use your resources.

I’ll get better at negotiating my rate properly. You’ll get better at a solid compensation strategy. We will all get better at something this year.

Friends, secure your bag in 2019. If I can help, let me know.

cheers

 

The Fortune is in the Follow-Up (#SHRM16)

In networking marketing we have a phrase that fuels everything we do: “The fortune is in the follow-up.” Basically when we say this we are encouraging our teammates or down-line to follow-up with prospects, don’t let the conversation or the interest die. People need more than one exposure to something before they are comfortable buying whatever it is or acting on whatever it is. It is the way my fellow network marketers drive their business and support their families and let me tell you, it works.

When I first joined a network marketing team other teammates were saying it so much that I became absolutely tired of it, but thinking about #SHRM16 coming to an end has me looking at that phrase in a new light. Because the fortune really is in the follow-up in everything we do. In this specific instance how are you going to use what you’ve learned here at the conference? You won’t if you treat it like “out of sight, out of mind” but if you put some follow-up to it you are way more likely to have some fortune from your experience here. Before you roll your eyes, let me just throw a couple of things out there for you. First, I’m on your side-I want you to be the best HR/business professional you can be. Second, before you do any of this please take time to recharge, unwind, and recover from the conference. You need to take care of you before you start executing some of these ideas! Personally I’m looking forward to spending a whole day by myself soon after being surrounded by 15,000 of my colleagues for 3 days. Back to the follow-up, let’s start with some easy ideas:

  • Follow up with a contact you made. Simple. You connected with someone on a social media platform or exchanged business cards, now follow-up with them. This is how relationships start.
  • Look back through your notes and pick one thing from #SHRM16 that you would like to see in your own organization. It can be small-Rome was not built in a day. If you did not take notes then hop on over to twitter at search the hashtag SHRM16 and use someone else’s notes.
  • Don’t get discouraged. We’ve  heard some great stories from wonderful leaders this week. Some of these executive level leaders already know the value of HR and they include them at their table and in their decision making strategy, but I know that isn’t the case for every single company right now! Someone had to take the lead on showing the value of HR to the leaders and they worked hard to do it. Don’t get discouraged when you take some of these tidbits back and execute them and you’re not immediately welcomed into the circle. It’s going to take a lot of work, focus, and determination.
  • Use some calendar reminders to start picking dates to measure what you’ve decided to implement and when to start executing the next thing on your list. It’s easy to get distracted by our day-to-day stuff, but you have plenty of tools to help you manage your time and tasks efficiently-use them!
  • Have conversations with your team about what you learned here. If all of your team didn’t get to attend the conference, they need to hear about the conference from you! Don’t leave them hanging. Taking 15-2o minutes to chat about some of your takeaways could lead to great ideas that wouldn’t have come up otherwise.
  • Commit to continued education after this conference. An easy way to do that is to get involved with your local SHRM affiliate chapter back home.
  • Be involved in the online HR community. Don’t just follow HR professionals on twitter today and then forget about them until you log back into your twitter account next year for #SHRM17 in New Orleans.

So that’s my simple list of follow up actions for you to use to get the most from your experience here in DC this week. I hope to hear from you throughout the year and can’t wait to hear about what you’re doing with the things you’ve learned at #SHRM16!!!

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See y’all in New Orleans!

Quick Guide to Tuesday at #SHRM16

Conference wraps up tomorrow afternoon, but there’s still plenty to see and do! So what can you look forward to today? Here’s a quick list!

  • Immediately after general session you can catch a pop up session right outside the exit of general session to the right at the social solutions stage.
  • Another pop up session at 12:45 today in the same location.
  • Some great sessions on the smart stage including Ben Eubanks, Marlin Smith, and Matthew Stollak
  • Jennifer McClure and Steve Browne both have sessions today that I’m looking forward to!
  • More giveaways and drawings on the expo floor (by the way, yes Ultimate Software still has massages going on today!!!)
  • Long lines to get to lunch (turns out you can use the stairs through the doors marked emergency exit)
  • And of course the Train concert tonight

Don’t forget to sync those fitbit’s and check the #SHRM16 app for more great sessions and activities! I hope to see you around the conference today!

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That time I lied to the whole world

I am SO sorry! I owe the internets an apology… I lied to you!! I told the whole world that registration for #ALSHRM16 closed on May 3rd and it DID NOT!!! Registration is set to close May 11th-I promise I’m telling the truth this time! So far over 400 HR professionals have registered for this conference. All with the anticipation of great content and lots of re-certification credits.

im sorry the force was weak with me

I also have another confession. Tim Sackett won’t be there after all. Not because he was kicked off the schedule (I know some of you were thinking that), but for legit reasons beyond everyone’s control. While we will miss Tim greatly-he is our favorite recruiter after all, we are SUPER pumped that Laurie Ruettimann will be taking his place!

ALSHRM16BANNER

So to recap, this conference is going to be killer. You’re going to walk away with 10.25 re-cert credits for both of your HR certifications, meet some awesome HR pros from across the state, hear from some of the industry’s best speakers, and upgrade your super hero powers. The evening of day one there will be time to network so we can all get together and plan something fun to do in Birmingham while we are there and there’s going to be some pretty sweet giveaways at the end of the conference. If you haven’t registered yet, now is your chance! Be sure to tell all of your friends too! http://bit.ly/1Q3JDPL

birmingham

See you in Birmingham on May 17th!!!!

What a ride!!! #ALSHRM15

WOW! Wow, wow, wow! I just got back from the Alabama 2 day State SHRM Conference and I had such a GREAT time! First, the conference team had a great theme: “Roller Coaster of Love, the UPS and DOWNS of HR”alshrmconferencecorrectphoto

Second. They had great speakers: http://bit.ly/1EZ4DLO This group was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I heard at least a bit of everyone’s presentation and everyone did fabulous! I was so impressed with this line up of speakers.

Third. 10.25 recert credits! They even had some strategic AND global recert credits!

Day 1 was a shorter day and it had three great general sessions! Broc Edwards closed it out with a killer challenge to a room of 300 or so HR professionals to be BOLD! During day 2 (now up to over 500 attendees) of the conference the halls were buzzing with excitement. So many people were pumped and ready to accept the challenge of being bold. All day long during day 2 professionals were bouncing from great session to great session with enthusiasm and excitement that we all wish we could have every single day on the job. What I loved the most was overhearing all of the positive comments from attendees. It was refreshing! It felt like we were all in this together and that we could all make a difference together.

Yeah, yeah I'm kind of cheesy...
Yeah, yeah I’m kind of cheesy…

 

In just about every session we were challenged to stop being just HR and start being bold and passionate and reasonable! Stop being the department of no, do risk assessment and present your team with options, help the business reach their goals, etc. etc. What’s the best thing I learned? Probably that we are business professionals who happen to work in HR. Let that sink in for a bit! Here’s some of what you missed:

Okay, seriously, I know that was a lot of tweets, but its only a sample! Go search the hashtag #alshrm15 for more and to find some GREAT HR PROFESSIONALS to follow! What do you think about these takeaway tweets?

Go ahead and mark your calendar for #ALSHRM16 because I hear its going to be even better!! SAVE THE DATEA huge thanks to our conference co-chairs Melissa DeVore & Bobbi Wilson and their committees for pulling off such a great 2 day conference, allowing us HR pros to connect with each other, learn from each other, and recharge! Best State conference I’ve been to in years and I cannot wait to do it again next year!

Time to pack #SHRM14

#SHRM14 is just a few days away and I’m packing up for a week away with my HR buddies. I’m pretty excited for the opportunity to attend annual conference again. For me it’s like a place to recharge and get excited for the profession again. You’ll hear inspiring stuff from the keynote speakers, something you can bring back to the workplace in concurrent sessions and you’ll grow your network while you are there. You’ll have everything you need to be a great HR pro under one roof from an I “heart” HR jacket to the latest and greatest HR books to vendors for every possible thing you can think of. A quick Google of #SHRM14 will point you to some sound advice from veteran conference goers, groups from all over the country trying to connect with people in their industry, and of course party guides for making the most of your week out of the office.

I just have a few notes to put you at ease before you head to Orlando this year. 1) Stop worrying about silly things like dress code. You are a grown up, wear whatever you want. 2) We are all busy, your office will survive without you. Do not be that guy that sighs and huffs and puffs between each session while you proclaim how busy you are and that you don’t understand why your managers and so on can’t make decisions without you (we can only assume it’s because you won’t let them make decisions without you when you are in the office).  3) Have a plan. You can check out all of the sessions before you get to Orlando so do it. Download the app and plan your day out, it’s not that hard-pick a session!

Get out there and learn something new. Have fun in Orlando. Make new connections. Go back to the office and share what you’ve learned and follow-up with those new connections. They will prove to be useful throughout the year. Don’t be shy. Don’t waste your trip to Orlando. If you are going to #SHRM14 email me or hit me up on twitter and lets hang out! But, if you can’t find me it’s because I’m at Disney trying to pick up a gig as Belle while we are there, but one that doesn’t sing. I don’t have a good singing voice. Maybe they have a Belle job for someone that can rap? A girl can dream…

belle