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”
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.
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:
Beware of cross pollination of Fed agency investigations. They are sharing info #alshrm15
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!! A 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!
One of my favorite things about working in Human Resources is my network! My network is full of funny and knowledgeable professionals that I call on regularly for their point of view, expertise, snarky comment or a good laugh. I would argue with anyone that I have one of the best networks ever!!! How did I end up connected to these amaze-balls peeps? One word folks, volunteering. I fell into HR by chance and the second I learned about our local SHRM affiliate chapter I was signing up and when a volunteer opportunity came my way I didn’t think twice about saying yes. I had no expectations of my volunteer role and what it would do for me, I was genuinely interested in finding a way to show my appreciation for our chapter (NASHRM) and the wealth of information they provided to newbies like myself.
I started out on a committee, the Community Relations & Education committee to be exact. I immediately met two people who became friends of mine, in fact one of them was my study partner when I took the PHR exam and the other I serve on our board with to this day! It made attending large monthly luncheons less intimidating when I knew at least two people in the room. This committee is how I ended up as a board member, over the years one of the leaders on the board saw me as a good fit for a role and the rest is history. I’ve held a few different positions, but Director of Government (legislative) affairs is my favorite. This specific volunteer role has afforded me the opportunity to go on multiple hill visits to DC and this year I’m going to the legislative conference! Volunteering has connected me to potential clients, friends, experts in my field and mentors. I would not have the knowledge I have today without all of these people, programs and opportunities.
I’ve learned through my many years of volunteering that there is a spot for everyone. If you are a behind the scenes kind of volunteer maybe you can coordinate the newsletter? Only want to volunteer at one meeting, don’t be afraid to ask, even if you know you’re only available to help once you won’t be turned away. If you’re thing is event coordinating you could be involved in programs. If sales is more your thing, getting sponsors is a volunteer need. Super fantastic with online tools and gadgets and social media, there’s a spot for that. Many chapters have subcommittees to help board members fulfill their defined goals and I think that is a great place to start if you’re looking for ways to volunteer. Take a minute to find out what volunteer opportunities are available in your local chapter, because while you’re doing a wonderful thing giving back to your profession (that movie title thing again) you’re doing amazing things for your professional development as well!
There are two things that I stress to everyone wanting to get a job after graduation (especially in the HR field): Networking and Internships. These days “entry level” requires hands-on experience which you can only get by working in the office. Not only that, but internships provide you an opportunity to test the waters and see if you even want to work in that field!
In my case, I had the unfortunate happenstance to be going to school out of state and was unable to land an internship until the summer following my graduation. In all my time studying Human Resources I thought I wanted to specialize in Benefits and Compensation, so when I started my internship I requested projects relating to that area. It was not long before I realized that, while I was good at the analyzing it was NOT what I wanted to do 40hrs/wk until retirement! Luckily for me, the needs at the company changed and I was switched over to staffing: something I had never considered as an option for me.
All of my work experience prior to this internship involved working the phones, so it was no stretch for me to pick up the phone and start cold calling possible candidates to screen them for positions. To my surprise, I fell in love with staffing. From writing job descriptions, to sourcing, to speaking with candidates I seemed to pick it up quite naturally. It was the fit that I was looking for in a job. I was able to see the textbook knowledge I had put into practice and I learned to use tools that the school did not teach me about (ATS and HRIS, anyone?). Don’t get me wrong, staffing can be quite stressful at times, but I work well under pressure and found it much more exciting than benefits.
The company I interned with must have been happy with my performance, because at the end of my internship I was hired on part-time and later promoted to full time. It was a wonderful experience because I was able to hire interns of my own to share my knowledge with them. While I have since changed companies, I owe a lot to the company who hired me as an intern. It offered me invaluable experience and provided a way to get my foot in the door. While the internship was unpaid, it more than paid for itself with experience that I would not have gotten otherwise.
Melanie has a Bachelor’s in Human Resources from the University of Alabama in Huntsville where she served as President and Treasurer for the student chapter of SHRM. She has been working in a staffing-related role since May 2012 and is active in the local SHRM community. She spends a lot of her time volunteering and has an HR blog (http://welcome2hr.wordpress.com/) written from the viewpoint of an entry level HR professional. She is passionate about mentoring HR students and continues to help with the UAH-SHRM chapter.
Guess what day it is… Guess. What day. It Is. It’s PITCH-A-POLICY FRIDAY! …. Wooot!
Just kidding… it’s only Wednesday and we ain’t pitchin’ no policies anytime soon! But wouldn’t it be nice if we were? Man. I can’t even take credit for this… someone mentioned this to me in Chicago-I want to say they saw it in a book? Not sure.. specifics not necessary anyway (if you’re in the market for a fact-finding blog shoo now, go on somewhere else…). Back to the point… What if you went around to everyone on your team and let them pick a policy that they would like to pitch to the trash!? Wouldn’t that be awesome? I’d be so excited to do that I probably couldn’t function; the hard part for me would be picking JUST ONE. I wonder what our employees would suggest if we gave them that option??? #justdreaming
It would be a magnificent time to get rid of pesky policies that serve little to no purpose. Ever have a conversation with a co-worker or employee about a policy and say “well we just have to do that because it’s policy, it’s not necessary that we do that for really any other purpose”. I get confused with the #policypolice at work because my thought process is: the policy must exist for a reason so we must follow it. My brain cannot work correctly when you train me on a policy and then I follow said policy and then you tell me said policy is pretty much useless. I go into LOUD NOISES mode and then shut down! If it’s useless get rid of it. Don’t write policy just to write policy. Let your policies serve a real purpose. I swear I’ve worked in companies that had more policies than they knew what to do with. No one reads all those policies. Heck, the HR department doesn’t know all those policies-even though 90% of them were “implemented” by HR. What kind of picture does that paint? How serious can your department be taken if it’s pushing around unnecessary policies? How effective is it to write a policy for one trouble maker? Better yet, how lazy is it to write a policy for one bad apple? I know a lot of my HR buddies agree with me-manage your people don’t policy them to death.
Do you policy your people to death? If you could trash a policy from your handbook which policy would it be? Why?
I recently had a chat with my baby brother about the company that I currently work for. I was telling him about all the cool stuff that happens where I work now: some of the projects we’ve worked on in the past and some of the areas that we are working in now.. He’s getting excited, my baby sister is sitting there looking at us like we are both idiots because she had heard of almost nothing I mentioned… the one thing she did know she blurted out “that sounds like Call of Duty!”.. it was a brief moment, but I was kind of proud LOL. So my brother is stoked about all this cool stuff and he looks at me plain as day and says “What kind of cool stuff do you get to do there?”…. [crickets]… I have to blink a couple of times and give him a “say whaaaaaat” because I’m assuming he knows what I do for a living… I mean I only talk about it ALL the time (Hey- baby brother, don’t you read my blog? sheesh!). When I realize he is serious and wants an answer I give it to him “I get to find the people we hire to work on all these cool projects”. BOOM! [crickets] He just doesn’t get it. So I try again… “I solve problems that are different from the problems our engineers solve…” NAILED IT! Psyche.. still doesn’t care.. he’s only interested in the cool tech-y engineering type stuff. Hmm. You may be an engineer if…?
Anyway! Isn’t this part of our problem? We can’t express our value? We can’t convince non HR folks why we rock. 😦 Well it is for some of us. And that’s okay, because for those of “us” that it is a problem for, I have faith in you. You can turn it around. You can step up and find awesome people and help grow the awesome people you already have and do some really legit team building and coaching and activities and so on and so forth and be the best HR department you can be! But no one is going to do it for you, so get up off your tush and go do it. And if you don’t want to get up off your tush and go do it I’m going to have to ask you kindly to leave the HR profession; we don’t need anyone bringing us down and we don’t want anyone giving the profession a bad name.. kthanks! 🙂 #muchlove
Completely for fun here’s a rumor I had to deal with at the restaurant I told y’all I was waiting tables for: “She’s a spy from corporate”… Corporate sent me, little ol Kristina, into a restaurant in little ol Decatur, AL to spy on them? Whoooooaaaaa. As the new kid I found it humourous. As an employee trying to do a job I found it frustrating. As an HR professional I found it heartbreaking. I immediately wondered what kind of situation I could’ve signed up for. Are things bad enough in your organization that people assume the new kid on the block is a spy? to clean things up? To shut things down? To rat people out? To change things, for the better or even the worse? What kind of culture have you shaped that has people fearing a corporate mole when someone poses a solution to a problem? I can’t face day-to-day situations and turn my “HR” off, no matter where I am. It may be a curse… I don’t know, lol.
It has me thinking about culture and where us HR professionals get it wrong… We tend to be in situations where we wait until everything about our culture goes wrong before we find a solution. We are very much reactive in defining culture and we should take a look at our goals there again and see how effective that is. Now I know we don’t all have an opportunity to build culture from the ground up, but I see a lot of situations where an HR pro comes in and identifies the need to change the culture, but waits for something to blow up to get buy in on the idea. Don’t do that! You take responsibility and start making things happen… pitch it better to the higher-ups, make sure the higher-ups believe it and support it. Be an example. If you know me you know that I’m an advocate for the 5 love languages and the theme in the book is really based around making a difference starting with yourself… If you continue to throw tantrums no one takes you seriously, if you start to implement what you know it is going to take and behave the appropriate way people will see the results. That is taking on a huge role, but the ROI is worth it. I can tell you this though, if you wait until half your staff believes that there is a spy from corporate to clean up the culture… you’re in big trouble.