The first time I tweeted

Hot off the heels of #SHRM18 and I have to share that I’ve been quite sappy about it!

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First reason being because Chicago is where it all started for me. #SHRM13 was the first time I was invited to be a part of the bloggers team and I was absolutely overwhelmed with the experience. I was introduced to so many wonderful, intelligent HR professionals from different industries and backgrounds, heard speakers that I probably never would have heard otherwise, went to Chicago for the first time, played a pretty fun kickball game with complete strangers for a good cause, went to a party where DJ Jazzy Jeff was the entertainment and saw firsthand how important it is for #HR professionals to have other #HR people in their circle. I was welcomed into a group of people who were trying to do good HR and help others do the same. The other reason being how twitter changed everything for my professional development and career path. Seriously.

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The first time I tweeted was at an Alabama SHRM State conference back in 2012. The conference organizers had set up two screens in the main session room that would scroll through tweets of people using their hashtag in real-time. I sat close to the front and kept seeing the same few tweets over and over from two, maybe three people ( I have determined two were April Dowling and Pam Werstler). I was uncomfortable, I was slightly embarrassed for the conference organizers (I had empathy for conference organizers far before I ever helped organize a conference) and decided to pull my phone out and create a twitter so I could start tweeting about the session. It didn’t help much, but I was doing my part to throw some variety on the tweet screen set-up. My plan was to delete my twitter after the conference, but I didn’t. I’m so glad I didn’t.

Fast forward to today and I’m connected to thousands of #HR professionals across the globe via twitter. I interact with hundreds of them regularly, call some of them my friends, and have used them as resources when I need fresh perspectives on a challenge or some expert guidance. I’ve been inspired by #HR pros on twitter, I’ve been furious because of some of the content from #HR pros, I’ve been a voice in the conversation for our profession thanks to twitter, and I’ve listened to other voices of our profession, also thanks to twitter. I’ve found mentors through this social media tool, role models, people who are smarter than me, people who also make mistakes, people who are better writers than me, people who have experienced things I have not, people who love me, and some people who don’t. I find updates in the legal realm of HR via twitter, I get to see takeaways from events and conferences in real-time via twitter, I see people helping others solve their challenges through twitter, and one time I met Boyd Tinsley because of twitter. He’s a hugger, as you can see below. Good things happen on twitter.

 

Good things happen on twitter if you let them. All things that can be used for good can also be used for bad (or even evil). In my experience the good outweighs the bad. If you are still hesitant to get on twitter, try it for 30 days. If you are afraid that your employees will see what you are tweeting, make your account private. If you go the route of private you can control who follows you, but I recommend putting HR in your bio so other HR pros can tell they should follow you back when you follow them. You can also practice “what if my boss reads this” or “what if employees read this” and screen your own tweets. Believe it or not, there are some things I want to tweet that I actually never hit send on. If you are afraid of being yourself out there and feel the need to make an anonymous account that works for some people, but I think you’ll have a hard time building real relationships that route and you are really missing out if you can’t build real relationships.

All this to say that really I’ve experienced so much because of my first tweet. I really believe that if it weren’t for the opportunity to connect and build relationships via twitter, my career would’ve stalled out years ago. I would’ve learned far less than I have and had a much smaller network of HR friends and colleagues to cheer me on and challenge me to be better. I’ve had opportunities to speak to groups, write for other companies, travel to new cities, etc. and all of that can be traced back to my first tweet!

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The Most Awkward Position on Your Board

My faithful readers know that I’ve been involved in my local SHRM chapter since about 2008 and that I’ve held a lot of different volunteer roles through those years (holy cow that’s ten years, which I think makes me a chapter historian by default). Side note, if you’re still a faithful reader of my inconsistent blogging, you deserve an award and all of my appreciation! Focus Kristina.

My favorite role was Legislative Director (or Governmental Affairs) and I did that one for a few years! I’ve also been on the Community Relations Committee that later evolved to the Community Relations and Education Committee (and yeah I was on that too). I was Chapter Administrator and a workshop magician with Michelle (good story, you should keep one or two of these in your chapter). I rolled out the chapters social media (that we are STILL working on-cmon HR pros use the social media powers for good already and stop fighting it)! I’ve supported Programs and Membership via subcommittees and helped anyone who ever had more than they could handle on their plate execute their volunteer commitment in a way that ensured our members wouldn’t miss a beat. I’ve helped coordinate membership events, vendor appreciation events, updated chapter info, suffered through HOURS LONG board meetings where we all had to share 1 large pizza (It’s worth mentioning here that I can literally eat an entire large pizza by myself), supported SHRM Foundation through calling companies begging for donations, marketed everywhere I could think of, changed our sponsor strategy, partnered with many a local initiative, raised money, recruited volunteers, balanced a budget or two, stressed over menu options and I actually wore a t-shirt that said “HR for hoo-hahs” in public to support an event that a board member signed our chapter up for. She thought “hoo-hahs” were your boobs… no one calls their boobs “hoo-hahs.” I’ve been president-elect, I’ve been president, I’ve been many a presidents “get stuff done” person, I’ve asked people to stop soliciting to members, I’ve been accused of not providing enough tech support to members who were trying to figure out their gmail (turns out it wasn’t me she was looking for, Ben helped her set up her gmail-how did she even confuse me with him?).  I’ve even endured an awkward conversation with a member that suggested I should be submitted to a psychiatric study, but by far the most awkward position I’ve ever held for our chapter has been immediate Past President.

That’s the actual title, immediate Past President. I get the purpose of this role and I’m thrilled to still be on the board (and back in a support role), but this one is weird! I sort of feel like I’m in the way and that maybe a good ol clean cut changing of the guard was in order. I love our members and I enjoy serving them, but I feel like I’m in the boards way now. I knew it was time to roll off the board and make way for new members and fresh ideas on the board, believe me I’m all for me getting out of the way. We have a board filled with excitement and great ideas for the chapter, but I find myself having an internal conversation of “be seen and not heard, they will let you know when they need you.” I get the idea of a Past President, its great to have the continuation and someone to pass along a bit of history for the newer board members, but sometimes I just feel like the person in the room getting in the way of creativity. Really all I need to do is pass on what I know doesn’t work (and why it didn’t work for us) and what I know works (and why) and then get out of the way.

This is a serious leadership learning opportunity for me because I’m sure I can find a way to add value and not be in the way, I just haven’t figured it out yet. Fading out would be the easy way to deal with this, but I had other members make it a point to ask me to my face if I was going to “disappear like all of the other past presidents” on multiple occasions so I came into this role with the drive to be present, be supportive, and be a set of hands when needed but sometimes its hard. I’ve been around long enough to see almost every other president disappear (one or two actually moved away and didn’t disappear in the sense of not showing up to our events anymore) and I always wondered how to get those past presidents involved again. In my efforts to get them re-engaged through the years I did find out that some just needed to feel included, some just needed a break, but now I know at least one of us needs a safe place to say “I’m sorry for being so freaking awkward.” If you’re reading this and you’re a super awesome leader and you didn’t have this problem, good for you! I am apparently still learning leadership lessons and figuring out how to best lead from where I am without getting in the way of the actual leadership.

As a reward for your faithfulness and sticking it out to the end of this post, here’s the t-shirt proof. I tore my closet apart looking for the shirt so I could just take a picture of it for you all, but I couldn’t find it so I dug through Facebook to find the actual proof that I wore this in public… to support my fellow board member of course. Being immediate Past President is more awkward than showing you all the proof that I wore this shirt… in public.

hooha shirt
It was a breast cancer awareness 5k (I feel compelled to tell you that neither of the ladies I’m pictured with here had anything to do with this shirt). 

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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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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Best practices danger

I’ve noticed that in our profession we are constantly motivated to find the “best practices” surrounding a scenario or issue. I’m sure this isn’t restricted to the HR profession, but that’s obviously what we are going to talk about on this HR blog today! I myself often support this avenue for problem solving or collaboration, but I’ve witnessed the danger to this process and thought I’d share as a reminder to all of my HR peers.

I recognize that seeking best practices is how we make the most of our resources (especially on tight budgets) and how we find out what other organizations are doing when faced with challenges we are experiencing. Those are good reasons to seek best practices, but this is a real example from this year that I want to use to illustrate the danger in seeking best practices the wrong way.

When faced with a recruiting challenge, an HR manager sought the advice of a fellow HR manager from a company that often times competed for the same talent. She asks the other HR manager “how is your recruiting team set up?” On the surface, this was a good idea. This HR manager found a trusted professional that works for a similar type company and has a recruiting team that she manages to find out how she should structure her recruiting team going forward. She gets her answer, but then she makes a mistake. She takes the answer from the second HR manager and she applies it to her recruiting team.

best-practiceWhat did she do wrong you ask? She didn’t find out how many positions the recruiting team is responsible for filling, what type of positions they are responsible for filling, how much travel does that recruiting team have to do, what steps are the recruiters actually responsible for, etc. She may have gotten a bit more information than how the team was set up, but not enough to know whether that answer was correct for her organization or not. For example, a glaring difference in the two companies is that her company does a TON of college recruiting and the company she received advice from-basically does none. This is a huge factor in determining how many recruiters you need and who should be responsible for what. Your resources look a lot different when they are on the road for 6 weeks at a time, twice a year.

 

Simple illustration to serve as a reminder to you that when you seek out best practices, gather the right information. Do not just copy what someone else is doing, make it fit your organization. The decisions you make as an HR manager should align with your organization’s mission and vision and it should serve your community of employees. You cannot copy and paste another organizations processes and expect the same results!

Collaborate. Don’t copy.

Dying HR

If it’s only an HR initiative, it will die.

If it’s only an HR initiative, it will die.

it. will. die.

riphr

I was taken aback when a very seasoned HR professional shared this phrase with me recently. Not so much because its a true or false statement, but because SHE works in HR and she said it… out loud. She 100% meant that statement too. I’ve been pretty busy so I pushed that statement to the side of my brain and I’ve carried on through a lot of work and a whole SHRM conference since, but it came back up this week during a couple of conversations.

I had a C-suite level person explaining to me an issue that they’ve seen time and time again. He summed it up like this “managers have work to do-maybe a product to deliver or a service to provide & they don’t care about HR. HR doesn’t care about the work managers have to get done, they just care about the HR side of things.” Yep. That’s how some people are viewing the HR function, which explains why if it’s only an HR initiative, it will die.

Another C-suite level executive told me (while discussing recruiting goals) that it had to be a collaborative effort. There’s no way HR could do it alone and no way the departments can do it without HR. Reinforcing yet again that if it’s only an HR initiative, it will die.

What do you think? Can an initiative be successful if it’s only an HR initiative?

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!