Career lesson 18 is about to be the hardest for some of y’all.
I understand why you may think you know it all, you just graduated with your degree. You passed all your classes and got A’s on all your projects. You studied all the HR legal cases and you memorized the “steps to recruiting” and maybe even competed in a SHRM Case Study competition.
You probably don’t know everything about where you just started working though. You may know case-law and how to plot compensation, but you don’t know why the organization does things the way they do.
You don’t know what it’s like yet to be the benefits manager and sit with employees going through medical trauma who need your help understanding the benefits plan.
You don’t know what hiring managers needs are yet because you don’t know what they do yet.
You don’t know how to run an HR department yet, because you haven’t learned the business yet.
Hot off the heels of #SHRM18 and I have to share that I’ve been quite sappy about it!
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.
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!
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.
Great news friends! I have earned my SHRM-SCP. I’m super excited about it because I never thought I would ever try to earn a senior certification, but when someone shared with me last year that they thought I had enough years experience to be a mentor I’ve been re-evaluating my life ever since. For instance, now I’m overly aware of beauty regiments and my calcium intake as well as the fact that if I try really hard I can burn 10 calories a minute in a boot-camp class, but still consume about 100 calories a minute without trying. 100 calories a minute hasn’t always been a problem, but I guess as you reach new heights in your career like being considered a mentor or becoming eligible to sit for a senior certification things just work different than they used to. Also, I found my first gray hair so I guess yeah… I’m a senior certified HR professional.
Proof of my first gray hair
So what does my PHR have to do with my SHRM-SCP and my baby crows feet? Well, I’m currently unequally certified. I wasn’t feeling confident about taking my SPHR before the cut off to basically roll into the SHRM certification level to match my HRCI certification level so I ended up with my PHR and SHRM-CP. A month before my scheduled test for the SCP I had to renew my PHR. Since I hadn’t taken the test yet I decided to pay the $150 to renew my PHR and go from there, so technically I’m re-certified at the PHR level for the next three years & I now have my SHRM-SCP for the next three years. Is it worth it to maintain both when they don’t represent the same level of experience?
When the HRCI/SHRM split happened there was a lot of speculation over which certification would come out on top. There was a lot of badmouthing from both sides and plenty of HR professionals who had strong opinions one way or the other. I shared why my PHR was important to me at the time, but now the circumstances are different. I’ve always seen certification as a commitment to continued learning whether its HRCI or SHRM or some other organization. I’m more concerned about professionals maintaining enough credits to re-certify than I am them taking the initial test (though thats clearly necessary and part of the process, its only a one time thing). If professionals are continuing to earn credit then hopefully they are continuing to learn new things about their field and attend events where they can network with other professionals and learn something new and take their own skills to the next level. So now that the circumstances are different and I have to make a decision for which certification is going to “win out” over the other, I’m probably going to pick my SHRM one. It’s the more senior one, I’m a member of SHRM, and my local SHRM chapter (NASHRM), and honestly I have never used a resource from HRCI outside of my PHR exam. My PHR was very important to me when I earned it, but now I’m in a different stage of my career and it’s time to choose one or the other so yeah, I think I’ll drop my PHR.
#SHRM16 is just around the corner and I cannot describe how excited I am to reconnect with the best HR pros from across the country in DC this summer. As I study the schedule of speakers and topics this year I can’t help but revisit the theme of the conference, Breakthrough Moments. I think the theme is appropriate and it has me thinking back on some of the breakthrough moments I’ve already had in my career.
To prepare for the annual conference this year I thought I’d recap my top three breakthrough moments from previous annual conferences I’ve attended. I’m just a small town girl, working in HR in little ole Alabama and I really do believe that getting out of the state and to SHRM annual conference has helped me break barriers and create shining moments in my own HR career. Without further ado, here they are:
3) Maybe this one belongs higher on the list, but it’s definitely in the top 3. This one happened in Orlando at #SHRM14. We were hot in the midst of some drama about certifications and I put out a blog post defending my current certification that made me feel vulnerable. It was a two part post, but part one shared my secret so of course it received a little more attention. I was sitting in the bloggers lounge when my pal Ben mentioned the post and we just happened to be sitting across from Gerry Crispin who decided to go read the post. I don’t know Gerry well, but I know he knows recruiting well and I was just completely caught off guard that he would stop what he was doing, read my blog post, and tell me what he thought. It was encouraging. Then I started meeting people all over the conference that shared their stories with me on how they ended up in HR and if they did or did not have a degree or some other “basic qualification” that says we can or cannot do our jobs. It was a breakthrough moment for me because I needed to focus on the skills I had and what made me good at my job and stop letting an unchecked box hold me back.
2) This one happened when I attended a global level HR session with Joan Ginsberg and Heather Kinzie in Chicago at #SHRM13. I have nowhere near the experience and knowledge Joan and Heather have, but I adore them and it was the last day of the conference and honestly, I had not picked my sessions for that day so I tagged along with them. They were so kind to not be bothered by my following. As I sat in this session I couldn’t believe all of the things that an HR professional had to consider when their organization chose to go global. At my level I had not been exposed to global HR at all so this was like drinking from a fire hose for me. I was most intrigued with how the three of us that went into the session together all had completely different takeaways. I listened as Heather and Joan debated points that far exceeded my HR knowledge and I knew then that I had to dig in and learn some global HR. This was a breakthrough moment for me because it made me realize I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.
1.) This breakthrough moment is from Vegas, from the speaker I was least expecting it from: Mika Brzezinski. Don’t roll your eyes, but this is about salary. Hearing Mika say she found out that her male counterpart made 17 times the amount she did almost killed me. (I’m pretty sure that’s what almost induced a heart attack, but maybe it was the bacon). I’ve heard women comment on the glass ceiling and how women aren’t always treated the same as men, but basically wrote it off because I assumed those women were being sensitive to specific situations. My bad. Her story made me dig in and pay attention to what is really happening in the workforce when it comes to male vs female pay. He made seventeen times more than her!!!! Mercy…
As I continue to attend SHRM conferences in the future I’m sure this top three list will change, but as of today these are my top 3 breakthrough moments courtesy of previous annual SHRM conferences!
I’m looking forward to more breakthrough moments this year. Not just mine, but yours too! I can’t wait to see you all in DC!
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.
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:
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!
Kristina Hutto Minyard
I am a former HR practitioner, current HR advocate. Program Manager and Technical Recruiter by day, HR writer and Speaker by all the other hours. Currently the co-host of #DisruptHRHSV. You can find a little bit of everything here at hrpockets: HR Lessons, how HR impacts my Program Management, Parenting woes (and wins), stories of friendship, maybe some shopping and whatever else I decide… I mean, I bring my whole self to work so it’s time to bring my whole self to the blog.
I’m a follower of Christ, Wife, Mom, Blogger, problem solver, certified in HR, touch-me-not, runner, cat person, Netflix and Hulu binger.