#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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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!

I’m ready for #SHRM16

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Are you?

I am ready to get to DC and see some of my friends and get some running done in my favorite place in just a couple of days! So here’s all the things I’m doing in the 11th hour to get ready:

  • Download #SHRM16 app
  • Add sessions to app
  • Add back up sessions to app (in case my desired session is full)
  • Download presentations for the sessions I’ve chose
  • Checking to see which friends I know will be there (search the #SHRM16 hashtag on twitter)
  • Finding HR pros on Snapchat and Instagram to connect with before getting to DC (seriously, I love snapchat- add me: kminny32)
  • Checking my sessions one more time
  • Double checking my hotel reservations (just in case)
  • Checking to see if the keynotes have a book I want to buy (I have to mentally prepare myself for the line at the SHRM store)
  • Making sure I have shoes (besides my running shoes) in my suitcase so TK doesn’t have to save the day two years in a row!
  • Packing my portable phone charger battery pack thingamajig

What did I forget? I’m sure I forgot something…

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A #SHRM16 Interview on Gender Gap & Glass Ceiling

I’m so excited to share this post with you! I recently had a call with Sara Shinneman, SHRM-SCP & Deborah Rocco with Interaction Associates (Check out their site, I found a ton of great blog posts on the issue and some white papers) on their presentation they will be giving at #SHRM16 called “Bridging the Gender Gap: A New Approach to Shattering the Glass Ceiling.” When I was thumbing through the talent acquisition and retention presentations to choose speakers to interview I noticed A LOT of good options, but I kept coming back to this one. These ladies were fun to interview and clearly so passionate about this topic!

Why? Because Gender Gap and Glass Ceiling issues are still very real. I am getting a close up look at it right now myself. I wanted to hear from seasoned professionals on how they confront the issue and what they’ve seen to be successful. Instead of a traditional Q&A format I opted for a summary of our conversation. I’m not going to share everything we talked about here because after talking with them I think it will be way more beneficial for you to hear it from them! You need to hear their excitement and passion-plus they promised to be a bit provocative (you’ll have to figure out which definition they were referring to yourself).

So here’s a rundown. A lot of organizations are still approaching this issue with a check the box mentality-that is not okay and it won’t solve anything. Anyone else guilty of checking the box and moving on? How’s that working for you? Unconscious bias won’t just go away, it needs to be addressed and we, as business partners, need to assist in building managers tool-kits to address and effectively manage this very thing.

A lot of people will acknowledge that the gender gap and glass ceiling are problems that exist, whether in their organization or in their particular industry, but until we take awareness and put it into action we are not moving forward. Its vital to get all key stakeholders engaged and working together to solve the problem-if it’s just an HR initiative IT. WILL. DIE. (More on this later because I was completely fascinated and almost taken aback to hear that comment).

What I appreciate so much from these two professionals is their firm opinion that this is a PEOPLE problem. It was like the heavens opened up and the angels sang a verse of hallelujah when Deborah shared that. I could not agree more. People. And what is your HR team responsible for? Hmmmmm… So it’s a people problem and part of that people problem is that we have to approach it in a way that stops blaming men. Men are going to be part of the solution and it will be a thousand times harder to get to the solution if we are making men feel like they are to blame for this issue.

How are you helping your organization solve this problem? Are you solving big picture HR problems right now?  The numbers say that women will outnumber men in the workforce eventually and that women currently have more buying power than men. Taking it a step further its predicted that by 2050 we will no longer have a racial majority in the workforce.

Deborah and Sarah are going to bust some of our unreasonable expectations when tackling this issue (like expecting immediate results) and help us think about approaching this issue from multiple dimensions. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on the presentation if you attend! Make sure you download the #SHRM16 app to your smartphone or tablet and mark their session (Monday at 4:00 p.m.).

See you all in DC! blogger badge

Pamper your millennials

So you want to retain the best and the brightest millennial talent? How can you do that? Pamper them, duh! Throw things like stacks of money, bring your pet to work, unlimited snacks, nap rooms, and tequila shots at them. They will want to work for you and stay there forever!!!

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Now that I have your attention lets address some misconceptions. You don’t have to do a bunch of flashy things to get your millennials to like you. It can be much simpler than that.

I was recently in a planning meeting for an upcoming event in our area and the committee was making a list of key young professionals to invite. This is an event where top employers will have access to who we invite and plenty of networking time to take advantage of. Someone made the comment “how do we make sure that other companies don’t recruit our good millennials” Without skipping a beat I said “we don’t have anything to worry about if we are taking care of them.” The response to that comment was “throw a bunch of money at them,” accompanied by an unsettling wink.

Here’s my millennial + HR perspective on this solution. No. Millennials don’t need more money, well most of us could use more money, but that’s not solving our problems. For example, say you have a millennial that has a very specific career path carved out for herself and wants to sit down with you and talk about how to execute the appropriate steps for said career path. Throwing money at her will not solve that problem. What if you have a millennial who wants to have an opportunity to attend training that will help him in his field, but he’s not sure you will pay for it. What happens when a recruiter calls the young lady and happens to hit her pain point by promising to sit down and negotiate the desired career path and steps to support it? What happens when you have a recruiter call the young man and guarantee that he is going to get a set training budget to use every year for conferences like the one he wants to attend. They are going to add some cash to their current salaries, but they are fixing current pain points for your young professionals. This can be true of anyone at your company, not just the young folks.

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Is it because you aren’t giving any constructive criticism or because Millennials are terrible people? 

Those millennials aren’t taking those phone calls because they are ungrateful, they are taking those phone calls because you’ve ignored their requests to solve these issues internally. Money won’t guarantee a young professional will stay at your organization anymore than any other one thing will. I’m sorry there isn’t a one size fits all answer like you may have been led to believe. Get to know your workforce, not pamper them. Find out what they need, find out what motivates them, listen, give them honest feedback. Don’t treat them any different than you treat the other generations. At the end of the day every generation needs to get their work done-no excuses! Are you treating your millennials different than your other generations?

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Conversations about Millennials are around every corner, even after all these years that we’ve been in the workforce. Want to continue the conversation? Check out a couple of upcoming events in the Huntsville area: 

Rocket City YP Summit

Night of the Living Millennials 

 

8 questions to make you better at HR

Many words are powerful, but if we are not careful we can miss the extent of the power of our words. If you have kids then you know that after your kid learned the word “no” you would give anything for them to stop using it. Pick up your toys. No. Go potty. No. Eat your dinner. No. Is your name no? No. A two letter word that can drive a parent crazy, am i right? It’s also a two letter word that can drive our leaders  at work crazy. It’s a disappointingly common mistake in HR.

Manager: Hey, can we change..

HR: No.

Manager: Can I…

HR: No.

Manager: What if we…

HR: No.

No shouldn’t be our go-to for a response. No shouldn’t even be on the horizon. When a manager comes in with a problem and a suggestion or solution we shouldn’t immediately fire back a “no” and hide behind some compliance effort. When we do that, especially when we consistently do that, we lose the trust and respect of the leaders in our organization. We become their last stop when they need something. We become the group they call to clean up a mess instead of the group they call to help them think through the process of executing a great plan from the beginning. What about when you were growing up and how you identified which parent was going to say no to something specific and which one wouldn’t- who did you ask? You obviously asked the one who wouldn’t say no (unless you were a Hutto kid, then you definitely knew better than to try that).

When we constantly say no we are viewed as something less than a business partner and something more like a hall monitor on a power trip. I don’t mean when we say “No, HR cannot plan that social event” I mean when we say “No, HR cannot change that policy” or “No, HR cannot support that benefit chandept of noge” or “No, HR cannot help you fire that person” or just “No, we cannot do it that way.” When we constantly use the response “No” we are underestimating the power that it has on how our employees and leaders view us.

 

Think back to the last job you had that wasn’t HR. Did you have something that you viewed as an unnecessary hurdle in executing your position? Was corporate or HR to blame for that hurdle? Did you have a manager that you wished was better at managing people? What if that manager had gone to HR for some guidance and was left with a response of “no.” Does that knowledge change how you view that person? Does the fact that HR didn’t support your leadership make you more angry at the manager or at HR? Did you have questions about benefits that you didn’t understand? Did you have an HR team that was annoyed by your questions about your benefits? Do you feel like you were recruited by a recruiter who was knowledgeable about the company or someone that just told you what they needed to tell you to get you to accept a position with them? Did you have problems with HR before you were HR?

Everyday that we are faced with problems to solve we should stop and ask ourselves simple questions, such as:

  1. If I were the employee, how I would I feel about this?
  2. or If I were the manager, what kind of support would I expect?
  3. How would this keep me from doing my job well if I were in their shoes?
  4. How could I explain/train on this topic in a way that helped employees understand this better?
  5. How does this impact our organizations business?
  6. Is there a solid business reason for doing it this way?
  7. Is this helpful to our goal or harmful to it?
  8. If I were coming to HR for help/insight/etc. would I be happy with the solution I’m about to provide?

This shouldn’t be confused with people pleasing, because that’s just as dangerous as always saying no. What it should do is make you think about how you are behaving in a way that may have a negative impact on your department’s image and what you can do to fix that. When you do use the answer no, can you defend it with a business reason that makes sense?

It’s time to go full-time #truestorytuesday

I love a good story about how off mark a manager has behaved. One of my favorites was the one  I read about the supervisor that decided it would be a great idea for him to take everyone’s cell phones when they got to work and give them back when they left (and not for security purposes). I believe in most cases the manager is just trying to get the job done and hopefully has good intentions, just the wrong way to get to the end result.  I also know what it’s like to be so desperate to get the job done that you start taking extreme measures, but here goes a classic conversation with a manager and a new mom working part-time:

Manager: Look, I know you want to stay home with Violet, and you don’t want anyone else to keep Violet, but I really need you to be here full-time. I’ve made a list of local day cares that can take Violet now. I’ve circled and highlighted my favorites with notes about their curriculum. I think this one is the best and the staff I met with was very friendly, it’s also very affordable. You should call them.

Employee: My availability is part-time and that is not changing.

Close curtain.

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What would you do different in this event as either the employee or the manager?