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

 

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Social Accountability

One of my favorite things about being connected to other professionals online is the accountability it brings. I am an advocate for connecting to other professionals and exchanging stories and best practices. As fast as the world moves these days no one should be spending time reinventing the wheel (and believe me our problems are not as unique as we think they are). I’m connected to people from all over the country through this blog, my Facebook, twitter, Instagram, g+ and I love it. I read what they are sharing, I call on them for advice, we call on them as a chapter when we need some great speakers, we solicit invitations to write for each other and encourage each other to be better professionals for our businesses.

accountability

It also holds me accountable for my recruiting. I’m connected with recruiters that are far more experienced than me so when I do a lame post to catch the eye of job seekers and then call those experienced recruiters to complain that I can’t find anyone for this position, they are going to call me on my crappy work. I can’t hide what I’m doing if there is an electronic trail of everything I’ve published right? Sometimes we like to tell our side of the story when we are complaining, venting or presenting information but if it’s online there is no getting around what was said (or wasn’t said). No sugar-coating or pretending I gave it all my effort if there is proof that I didn’t.

You can use social accountability for any and everything these days. Seriously, there are groups for like every single thing. I also use it for fitness. I follow people on Instagram that workout like beasts every day. We look forward to seeing each other post about our workouts and we encourage each other to keep going. It’s a wonderful thing to see that someone you follow did a killer workout even when they didn’t want to on the very same day that you are considering skipping your workout. The cool thing about using twitter and IG (and FB even though some people think otherwise) for accountability is when you use a hashtag (not a pound sign Juanita 🙂 ) for your group to track! I’ve found one that combines my HR world and my fitness world. Wait for it…wait. for. it.: #hrfitcrew (Thank you Chris for kicking that off!) I totally found this by accident, but I love that its other HR pros getting fit and encouraging/challenging each other. I know this makes me sound like a huge dork, but it’s perfect for me.

Giving back to your profession

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 VOLUNTEER

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!

Preparing for #SHRM14

Lessons learned from #SHRM13

No need for any t-shirts in your bag, you can pick plenty of those puppies up at vendor booths at the conference, but my favorite conference swag is books, the rest of that stuff is probably not necessary. I intend to leave room in my suitcase for books and that’s it.

Come a day before conference starts. It’s easy to check in and get out the day before conference starts. Checking in the day of will mean lines, long lines! Coming the day before also allows you to take time to get the lay of the land. Also check into public transit. C’mon people, don’t take a cab everywhere!

Wear comfortable shoes. Nothing says newbie like stylish uncomfortable shoes. Don’t be foolish. We all know we are doing a lot of walking so don’t think twice about pairing some comfy tennis shoes with your trendy office attire. And really, dress how you feel comfortable. There is no dress code and you’ll see everything from professional dress to jeans and t-shirts.

Take a water bottle with you. There was several water stations set up through the conference location, but small cups. It wouldn’t hurt to take a bottle with you (or buy one in the SHRM store) so you can easily tote water around with you.

Bring your charger to the conference. There will be charging stations.

Get your Twitter thumbs ready! #SHRM13 made it to a trending topic on Twitter this year so we hope to do it again in 2014! *If you do not have a Twitter I highly recommend setting it up before the conference. Twitter is a good tool for your note taking and a great way to follow the Speakers at the conference and the other HR pros you meet there.

Review the sessions ahead of time. If you’re going with people you know talk to them about splitting up and sharing notes from different sessions. This will help you make the most of the sessions and force you to network with new people. Each of you may want to choose up to 3 topics for one session in case you need to make changes for logistics or overflow reasons. So much to hear, so little time.

Take a hard copy of your session calendar with you in case of spotty Wi-Fi.

Be realistic. You probably will not be able to last all day every single day. I recommend deciding if you want to go early or stay late. If you go to a 7am session don’t overdo it and stay through a 4pm session too. Because of this, get plenty of rest leading up to conference time! Bobbi explained it like this, “the flow of the conference is more like a sprint than a marathon, prepare accordingly”. Furthermore, pencil in down time on your schedule. This will allow you to stay fresh! You will also learn from talking with your fellow conference goers so realize the value in connecting with your fellow HR pros!

Meet with some vendors. Not just enter to win. I recommend really looking at the vendor list before you get there and deciding who you may utilize (whether it be for now or in the future) at your organization and make the most of your time at the conference. You never know what you may learn from a vendor or what idea it can spark. And after all, without vendors we really wouldn’t have as great of a conference. So pick 2 or 3 that you like and start from there.

Take notes. Really take notes that you can take back to your organization and present. Make this conference a resource for your organization, not just for yourself.

RSVP to some parties! I worked as a waitress for a LONG time and I always said servers had the best parties. Boy was I wrong; HR people know how to party! I had a blast! Don’t party? Still go! Network! Get free food! Ditch the place before too many drinks have been consumed! 🙂

Last, but certainly not least, if you sign up now for #SHRM14 in Orlando you can save yourself (or your company) some dollars! Pop on over to the shrm.org website and check it out!

Some of my super cool HR network. Check out Angelas comfy shoes!
Some of my super cool HR buddies! Check out Angela’s comfy shoes!

Do you have any “prepping for annual conference” tips? Leave them in the comments!

I told you so!

i told you soSometimes I lack a filter and it’s okay, I embrace it mostly. Sometimes my lack of filter gets me in trouble… and that’s okay too. It ultimately means that I learned a lot of lessons the hard way (for example, maybe you shouldn’t call someone at corporate an @$hole in an email to the VP? ehhh… that’s not really a good example because I didn’t really get in trouble for that one. I do however, realize that probably wasn’t my best idea). What I struggle with the most, filter wise, is the “I told you so”. Pretty much my entire adult life has been spent as a recruiter, yet a lot of times my knowledge and abilities are underestimated. For a lot of reasons like I’m a young, adorable female; my experience is mostly in the staffing industry and that industry as a whole is under valued and because I have no filter. I can tell you all day why I’m good at recruiting and I can even teach you how to recruit-the truth is, I know my #@!%, so when someone goes against one of my hiring recommendations the majority of the time I’m going to get an opportunity to say I told you so. I realize this isn’t always the case, I am aware that I am not 100% right. The point isn’t that I rock, the point is that I’ve also learned the hard way to not say I told you so. The recruiter version of me 6 years ago took every opportunity to say I told you so, the recruiter I am now knows better. I can’t expect the [customers] to respect my experience and recommendations if I don’t respect their perspective. I have to step back and look at things from all angles and to think of how I would want the news delivered to me. When I go against a hiring decision I provide the reasons why, all of them, and document them. I also find out as much information as I can as to why they want to hire this particular person and ask do their likes outweigh my dislikes. When a hire goes south we revisit that file and see what I saw and how it relates to where the hire went wrong. I help the customer see what I saw just like they help me sort through the job description and determine what is necessary/important to them and what isn’t in the beginning of the process. You not only have to be able to communicate this information, you have to be able to communicate it across generations and communicate it well.

Some important lessons that I’ve learned from my “I told you so” moments:
-Someone will always be around to also tell YOU “I told you so”
-No one likes a know-it-all
-It’s immature
-It’s not worth it

Taking Charge vs Leading

Did you know there is a difference? Once upon a time I didn’t know and when I say once upon a time I pretty much mean most of my life. I can think back as far as a 3rd grade group science project that I was in charge of and how little patience I had for two of the kids in my group that didn’t “get it.” Oy vey! Just thinking about it now messes with my blood pressure-it wasn’t a hard project (yep, I can remember the project exactly too!).

I just know what you should be doing...
I just know what you should be doing…

Anyway, at my last position I had many trials and tribulations in the area of leading… mostly because I have an obvious lack of patience and a low bs tolerance, but I learned a lot!  So my aha! moment came one Thursday night after work when I was sitting at my desk with absolute shock and anger at the fact that my staff wouldn’t do their jobs the right way, CMON MAN! And I was called to the carpet that very day for being short with them… My response to that was just blank stares and a lot of “REALLY?”… [what an amateur response right?] So I dial-up one of my allies in the company just to get some perspective and kind of vent, SOOOOO NOT expecting this person to give me an aha! moment. He asks me what happened and what I said so I begin to tell him… he stops me in mid-story and says “THERE, RIGHT THERE!” What? Right there what? “If someone said that to you, you would be so offended…” You know what, I would’ve been, but my defense counteracted with a smart aleck “No one would have to say that to me for me to get offended because I would be doing it already!” Well sass-pants that’s not the point now is it? The point is you can’t talk to people like that and expect them to respond… So the back part of the aha! moment was this: I’ve got to stop talking to my staff like I’m a co-worker and start talking to them like I’m their leader. When I say that I talked like a co-worker, I think many times I did & it’s similar to when a parent tries to play the role of a friend and not necessarily the role of a parent – it’s confusing. I was pretty much creating my own problems because I wouldn’t let go of my stubbornness because “If I can understand it why can’t they?” was a staple in my reasoning.

So after a few days of licking my wounded ego and pretending I wasn’t in the wrong I started a change, a change that wasn’t as evident then as it is now, in how I talk to people not just staff. It started with little steps like replacing some words in a request with nicer words, becoming sincere, practicing patience of course and trying to understand why it is that someone doesn’t understand what I feel I easily understand. Some of these were steps that I already knew I should-be doing, I was just too stubborn and some if it is advice from my great group of HR peeps and of course a book or two helped guide me. It’s exciting for me to see the difference in how people respond to requests from me and I feel like I’m really back on track to getting this leadership thing down. Taking charge of a project has always come easy for me, but leading a project, I know now, is way more enjoyable!

Just for fun...
Just for fun…