Back In the Saddle: SHRM17

Sometimes there is value in taking a break.  I don’t mean taking a break in the sense of relaxation, but in removing yourself from some activity or situation.  Sometimes it is intentional and sometimes it is beyond your control.  Either way, it offers the ability to gain new perspective on the value of what you’re missing.  I took a break from SHRM annual last year due to a client commitment.  Now, I’m back at SHRM’s annual exposition and conference and it feels good.

Attending so many times in the past, I see that I was taking it for granted.  I moved from being an awe-struck practitioner who gained valuable work insights, to speaking at the event.  It was certainly electrifying and valuable in a new way, but I moved past seeing the real value in the whole experience.  I became so focused on my own presentation, attending sessions just so I could blog or tweet, attending parties and receptions, and overbooking my schedule before the event even started.  This year is different.

I am attending now as what I will call a “floater by choice”.  I am lucky to speak on the Smart Stage and as a Take10 speaker, but plan to keep it casual and informative, not formal and over-prepared.  I am intentionally not booking meetings and planning all the sessions I will attend.  I am playing it by ear… taking it as it comes and following what seems interesting in the moment.  I hope to find that this new perspective will ultimately bring me new, unique experiences and learning here.  I will share all of that with you.

I’m back in the saddle, but it’s a different ride this time.  Stay tuned for what I see and hear on my unstructured journey and follow #SHRM17 on Twitter for all the latest on sessions, learning and fun at the event.  If you’re “back in the saddle” at SHRM17, find me and let’s meet or catch up.

*Thanks to Andrew Morton and Mary Kaylor for inviting me.  Go to www.SHRM.org for more information on becoming a member, registering for next year’s event, or purchasing this year’s sessions On Demand.

 

 

Busting the Most Common Myths in HR Technology

Last week was a great week.  It was my fifth time attending SHRM Annual and my fourth time presenting.  It’s always an honor to be there sharing information and to hear some of the great speakers that talk about what is next for human resources.  This year I presented with my HR Happy Hour host, Steve Boese.  Steve and I led a session on HR technology implementation.  I’m passionate on the topic as someone who has bought and implemented different technologies.  It was nice to see that we had 300+ attendees show up for our 7 am session!  Not an easy feat in Las Vegas.

The size of the crowd, the high level of attendee enthusiasm and engagement, and the really long line of folks who came up to chat after the session was completed was a great indicator of the continuing and increasing importance of technology to the HR professional.

The slide deck we shared is up on Slideshare and also embedded below, (Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through).

The big messages that Steve and I shared were a few – that even in the age of modern SaaS technology platforms the fundamentals of great project management remain important. Executive support, a dedicated project team, intentional attention to change management, and making sure the ‘right’ users at all levels of the organization are appropriately engaged in the implementation project are just as important in 2015 as they were in 1995.

This was a fun session to present, and we want to thank everyone who came out as well as the folks at SHRM for allowing us to be a part of the event.

We’d love any thoughts, comments, suggestions any one has on this deck as well!

2015 Guide to Conquering SHRM Annual- Las Vegas

Las-Vega-300x132We’re just a few weeks away from the biggest collection of HR professionals in the world….. the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition.  It’s one of those events where you’ll find HR pros in all phases of their careers, from all parts of the world, who work for every type of company under the sun.  Where better to put this collection of diversity but in Las Vegas!

Personally, I hate when events are in Vegas. Somehow the sights like people dragging their oxygen tanks around with them from one slot machine to another at 4 am, people on the street trying to flip nudie business cards at me, and hookers picking up Johns as I walk by the hotel registration desk just does not scream “HR Conference” to me.  But I digress.

The fact is that no matter the location, SHRM is one of the most valuable events for practitioners.  As a seasoned conference goer, I thought I’d share some tips to guide you through this year’s event whether it’s your first time or your twentieth.

1.  Attend my session.  Ok, maybe this shouldn’t be tip #1 but you have to admit that if I didn’t tell you to come to the session that Steve Boese and I are doing about HR technology implementation, I’d be remiss.  Seriously, be there on Tuesday morning bright and early for a session that will give you practical insights on implementing technology.

2.  Attend all the 7 am sessions.  I am not kidding. I get that it’s Vegas Baby! and that you’re thinking you won’t be able to get your party on if you have to be at a 7 am session.  Trust me….those are the great ones. Great topics. Great presenters.  Be there.

3.  Don’t stay where everyone else stays.  This is true for any SHRM conference.  It’s the only way you can have any real down-time, away from the conference mayhem.  Vegas is prime territory for finding a nice hotel like the Cosmopolitan or Aria where you can have great views and make time to hit the pool or spa.

4.  Diversify.  Break out of your routine and comfort zone.  Don’t just attend sessions.  Don’t just hang around people you know.  Plan to walk the expo floor and talk to at least 2- 3 new people each day of the conference.  Attend at least 2 sessions that you think sound completely irrelevant to your current job.  You’ll surprise yourself by learning something you normally wouldn’t.

5.  Network like a champ.  I mean it….I don’t want to hear that you’re an introvert.  Think of me like your mother telling you to eat all the food on your plate because of the starving children in China.  If you are fortunate enough to be at SHRM Annual, think of the thousands of your HR comrades who will NEVER have this opportunity.  I used to be that practitioner.  You’re there so be brave and introduce yourself to anyone who walks by you with a name badge.

6.  Know when to take off the name badge.  Earlier I mentioned partying  and if you’re the type that just needs to do that, remember to not wear your name out and about.  Nothing good can happen with your badge on after 5 pm.  It may even be a good idea to have an aka if you’re going out.  Just saying.

7.  Make notes.  Not just notes in sessions, but each time you return to your room, sit down and write a quick one page summary of what the takeaways were from that day.  You’ll be experiencing so much in a short amount of time so make the most of remembering what is important for when you return to your office.

8.  Take care of number One.  I used to be guilty of going to conferences and not eating properly.  Make sure you eat and sleep enough.  Also, it’s Vegas, so it’s dry.  Lather yourself in lotion constantly so your skin will love you and drink water at least 3 times as much as you would at home.  You’ll thank me later.

9.  Follow it all on social.  If you’re on social, you know the drill.  If you are not, at least get on LinkedIn and follow what people are saying about the event.  You’ll get good tips in real time of what is going on, where to be, etc.

10.  Have fun.  Seems it would go without saying but don’t just worry about sessions and notes.  Have a memorable trip.

Oh, and just to recap, come to my session on Tueday morning.  Can’t wait to see you there!

#HRHappyHour 186 – A Look Back, A Look Forward

On our most recent HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and I talked about the recently concluded SHRM Annual Conference, shared some information about our session about HR Technology selection and evaluation, and looked back over the last few years of the HR Happy Hour Show.

You can listen to the show on the show page here, or using the widget player below:

Discover Business Internet Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

The mid-year timing made it a good time to reflect back a little on some of our favorite shows, as well as talk about what the rest of 2014 has in store for the show. Also, new listeners to the HR Happy Hour Show can spend some time digging back through the show archives and play on-demand some of the shows that Steve and Trish mentioned, including ones with guests like Dave UlrichSherry TurkleMatt Stillman‘Live from Gettysburg’, and plenty more.

Additionally, you can subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or for Android device users, from a free app called Stitcher Radio. In both cases just search for ‘HR Happy Hour’ and add the show to your podcast subscription list. 

This was a fun look back and look forward for us, so we hope you enjoy it as well. Stay tuned, (and make sure you subscribe to the show/podcast) for more fun to come in the second half of the year.

The SHRM and HRCI Battle Is Not Critical to Good HR

I love HR
If you’re in the HR industry, unless you’ve been hiding in a cave the last couple weeks, I’m sure you’ve read countless posts about the fallout between SHRM and HRCI regarding HR certification.  While SHRM has always promoted HRCI as the place to go for HR certification (PHR, SPHR and GPHR), it has suddenly done an about-face and now announces that they will provide their own certification.

This whole debacle has left thousands of HRCI certified HR professionals in a bind- not knowing whether they should continue to keep up their HRCI credits or switch to what SHRM offers.  In either case, the part of the discussion, or lack of, that gets me is that there are hundreds of thousands of successful HR professionals who actively choose NOT to be certified. For those like me who have made this decision, it’s interesting to read posts by SPHR’s thumbing their noses at us, saying they wouldn’t hire us.  They say that without “demonstrating a body of knowledge” we are not able to progress and also that people like me are choosing not to stay up to date.

I have a news flash for those that think like this…

I personally know many people who stay up to date without HRCI certification.  After all, some of us are the very people that SHRM and other conferences call in to teach you so that you can get your credits.

Now, I do greatly respect anyone who has become certified.  My personal reasons for not getting it are just as valid as the reasons some people get it.  It has never hurt me from doing a good job, it has never stopped me from being promoted, it has never kept me from getting a job at a higher level at a new company, it has never prevented me from being the head of HR.  It has never stopped me from being chosen to speak at SHRM annual nor many other state SHRM conferences.  In fact, it has never kept me from being completely current in my chosen profession.

For me, the point is not to judge people who want to be HRCI certified.  It shows their dedication to being the best in HR they can be.  We also should not judge the people who are very excited about the idea of a new way to train, measure and certify HR through SHRM’s certification program.  They too have very high aspirations of being the best HR professionals.  Oh, and of course, not judge those who are doing it on our own, our own way.  We too are doing all we can to learn and stay ahead of the curve so that we can drive the profession forward.  All three types of HR pro are really going after the same result.  We want to be able to provide the best knowledge and advice to our leaders and employees.

Spend the time and energy on ensuring you are comfortable with your course of action instead of worrying about whether someone communicated something the “right” way or not.  We’ll all be better HR pros for it.

The 10 Conference Commandments

*Sharing from the dusty archives as conference season heats up…

I’ve been a speaker and attendee at more conferences than I can count.  One thing I’ve learned is that in order to get the most value out of your time and money is to set yourself up for success with a little pre-conference planning.

Here are 10 ways you can boost your conference experience as well as improve your networking:

1.  Study the Agenda.

When I began going to conferences, I rarely looked at all the session options.  Now, I study the agenda and have a loose plan that contains:

  • Sessions that will help me immediately at work
  • Sessions that challenge how I think
  • At least one that is unrelated to my current role
  • Time built in so that I can add a few “on the fly” when I’m there

Having room for spontaneity may lead to one of the best sessions you never would have planned on attending.

2. Connect with people on LinkedIn or follow new people on Twitter.

Start by looking up the speakers of the sessions you plan to attend.  If they are on LinkedIn, send a brief but personal message stating that you’re looking forward to their upcoming session.  Next, go on Twitter and search the conference name or, if you know it, the hashtag (i.e. #SHRM12, #ILSHRM, #HRevolution).  You will be able to follow people who are talking about the conference online before the event.  Reach out to a few of them and chat about what they are looking forward to at the conference, what sessions they are attending, etc.

3. Read blogs.

If there is a vendor hosted blog, blogs written by speakers, or other industry blogs covering the event, be sure to read them in the weeks immediately before the event.  It’s a good way to find tips that will help you have a better conference experience.

4. Meet the Speakers/ Session Leaders.

Plan to stay a few moments after the session to speak to the session leader.  Most work very hard to prepare and love to hear your feedback.  It’s also a good time to meet if you’ve previously connected on LinkedIn or Twitter. If they are not using social media, don’t forget to ask for their business card.  The biggest mistake I see professionals make today is not bringing any cards with them to conferences.  It’s still a leading way to connect after an event.

5. Arrange to meet at least 3 people in person that you connected with via LinkedIn or Twitter.

There have been many times I’ve been to an event where I did not know anyone.  It would have been easy to attend a few sessions and go back to my room, but I would never have some of the great business connections I do now if I had done that.  Even if you are shy, force yourself to be a little bit outgoing.  Using LinkedIn or Twitter to learn about someone first makes it much easier to meet them in person.  Take advantage of that.  By having a handful of people you know at least a little, your networking results should multiply as they are able to introduce you to their contacts.

6. Attend at least one session you think you may never use at work.

I used to focus only on sessions that I saw as beneficial to what I was trying to do at work.  Once I began branching out, I actually found that many of the issues and situations I learned about came in handy years later.  People tend to gravitate to what we already know so by taking this approach you are forcing yourself to open up to a different topic or way of approaching work situations.

7. Participate in arranged ice breakers or meet ups.

Anyone who has gone to a conference knows there are always the ice breakers or events that lean on the corny side.  Plaster a smile on your face and jump in with a good attitude.  I’ve found that by doing that and making sure I’m not just hanging around the people I already know, I’ve been able to meet some outstanding professionals I would have never been exposed to.

8. Take notes.

Whether you take notes in a journal or using your netbook, iPad or smartphone, find a way to document those ideas you may need to tuck away for future use.  I can’t tell you how many times I attend conferences and see professionals just sitting and listening or checking their email.  If you are going to take your valuable time and spend the funds to attend, make sure you at least have several takeaways.

9. Think of at least a handful of “to do’s” inspired by the event, then DO them and document the results.

I’ll raise my hand as “guilty” of coming back to work after an event and not doing anything productive that I learned at the event.  What a waste!  For the last three years, I write down ideas as I fly home and then over the next few months, I attempt to incorporate them into my daily job.  Sometimes something clicks and I have great results and sometimes it’s something that doesn’t stick.  Either way, I’m approaching my work with a creative and innovative spirit and using knowledge gained at the conference.

10: Have fun!  Get out an experience life in the town you’re visiting.

Grab some of your new found friends or some you’ve had for years and hit a restaurant that only locals typically haunt.  Take tons of pictures then share them on Flickr or FaceBook so you can keep the conversation going when you’re back home.  By interacting with business professionals in the more formal daytime setting and also getting to know them better in casual settings too, you’ll strengthen the networking results by forming a closer bond than if you were to just attend sessions and head back to your room to “work” each night.

Remember, there are many reasons professionals attend conferences.  The reason with the most benefit is networking.  By trying new ways to boost your networking skills and opportunities you will come home knowing you had a successful event!

If you’ll be at the upcoming SHRM Annual Conference in Atlanta, the IL SHRM Conference or HRevolution/ The HR Technology Conference in the fall, you can connect with me on Twitter (@TrishMcFarlane), through my blog or via email atTrishaM89@gmail.com.

I hope to meet you there!

Live Blogging from #ILSHRM10 (IL State SHRM Conference)

The leadership of IL SHRM brought me to their state conference this week (thank you John Jorgerson and Dave Ryan) and I decided to live blog one of the keynote sessions. Cy Wakefield is the speaker and she helps organizations recreate their mindsets in order to achieve business success.  Be sure to check out her site http://cywakeman.com for more information about her.  I highly recommend her as a speaker because she is knowledgeable,  entertaining, and engages the audience.

Although there have been many nuggets of wisdom that have come from her lips today, here is one point she made that caught my attention in a big way.

Your value of the employee is not current performance.  It should also include future potential as part of the calculation.  What is the emotional expense?  SO, the employee value equation becomes:

employee value= Current performance + future potential- emotional expense

Right now, we hire an employee to come to work and do a job.  We agree on what we will pay them for that work.  Then, for some reason, we allow them to come to us at the end of that year after they have done the work and try to negotiate (or we give) an increase.  Why?  Why don’t we just pay what we agreed?  Because we are adding on the pay for the future potential of that employee.  The loss however, and there IS a loss, comes in the emotional expense that it takes to manage that employee.
Instead of focusing as much on paying employees who are either resistant to the company mission or ideas or on paying for performance on employees who are just maintaining the status quo, let’s put our efforts on really paying those with VISION to move the organization forward.
Do you agree?  Why or why not?  Share it in the comments.