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!

Don’t Make Me Unfriend You

Sharing a post from the archives today.  I was reminded of it when a friend recently told me she was dealing with some really unsavory “friends” online and she had to do a cleanse of her so-called friends online.  Could you benefit from cleansing some of these people from your life?

unfriendGrowing up, my parents would steer me away from friends who had undesirable behavior.  Now that I’m a mom, I find myself doing the same thing with my children. Why?  Today’s lesson is a simple one…  you are the company you keep.

  • If you surround yourself with people of good reputation, you will be viewed positively.
  • If you associate with accomplished professionals, you will pick up on what makes them successful.
  • If you affiliate with people who have good values, you will be perceived in the same light.

It frustrates me to see people who surround themselves with people of questionable character.  If you align yourself with people who are arrogant, rude, negative, bossy, demeaning or unmotivated you will be perceived similarly.  That is a FACT. 

To bring some social media perspective to this, it also applies to your online relationships.  Late night host Jimmy Kimmel recently started a campaign for National Unfriend Day.  While I’m confident that the friends I keep online reflect the quality of people I associate with, I’m thinking this could be a good time for anyone who uses social media to take a hard look at the company they keep.

So, take a good look in the mirror today.  Then, take a look at your contacts online and in your day-to-day life.  If there are people of questionable character, now is your chance to unfollow, unfriend, or dis-associate from them.   You don’t have to associate with negativity.  After all, you ARE the company you keep.

What Makes Technology “Sticky”?

technologyI was looking for something and came across a post I wrote back in 2010 called Mobile Technologies You’ll Want.  In the post, I mention several technologies that were still fairly new back then.  It was exciting to hear about them and I tried all three, however, four years later and I am no longer using any of them.  Fast forward to today and I’ve tried some new apps such as Whisper, Secret and Yo!  I may have lasted a day or two at most on these before I became bored and could not see the value of daily use.

So what makes some apps and technologies “sticky” to users while others are not?

The commonalties I see are:

  • Visually appealing-  The first step is creating a site or app that is visually compelling to the audience.  There are plenty of apps or technologies that can do a task or process but are so plain or inconsistently designed that potential users won’t waste their time.  Colors that compliment or enhance the content are best.  Dashboards or other structural design elements are also important.
  • Intuitive- No one likes to have to read through lengthy instructions.  The app or technology needs to give users the ability to pick it up and use it.  People are on the go with their smart phones and don’t want to have to participate in hours of training.  The other thing is that you need some basic instructions easily visible with one click.  That gives a quick glimpse or how-to should people need it.
  • Makes you want to tell others to use- I remember when I really figured out how to use Twitter for business.  It was back in 2009 and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.  I wanted to teach colleagues, share it with all my friends and stop strangers on the street to tell them how it could change their networking.  A great app will be one you’ll want to spread the word about.
  • Understood Value-  This is where many of the apps and technologies fall apart.  Take Yo! for example.  It was colorful and easy to start using.  I just never figured out why people would use it.  If you’re not familiar, the app allows you to send the word “yo” to your contacts.  That’s it.  Then, they can send it back to you.  I guess it’s like the old FaceBook poke or like waving at someone across the room.  So a friend says “yo” at me…now what?  I still prefer a text, tweet or other method where I can use more than one word.

The last thing that I see as a value is a little more personal and certainly all opinion.  I think apps or technologies that do well long term also are not intended to be used for harming someone.  Some of the new apps being created encourage users to be passive aggressive, or even aggressive, in tearing down others.  As a parent, I am even more sensitive to those apps.  All social media can be used in this way, but some are specifically designed for this purpose.

What makes an app or new site “sticky” from your perspective?  What apps are you using regularly that we should all know about?  Be sure to share in the comments.

 

 

What Gave You Pride in 2014?

2014-pale-blue-beautiful-clip-art-reflection_0Well, there is no getting around the fact that as the year draws to a close, it’s a time of reflection.  I like to look back to see what I did that was expected and what changed.  I’ve been blessed this year to have more good than bad, and even with a few health setbacks, I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish, participate in, and the people I’ve been able to help and collaborate with.

I’m grateful to have tried a new aspect of the HCM profession, to have the ability to travel to too many locations to list, and to meet and spend time with some of the most interesting people.  I’m proud to have a career that is not only challenging but gives me the opportunity to work with people I really like and respect.

Two HR-related things that continue to make me proud are my involvement with HRevolution and HR Happy Hour radio show.  Both have been part of my life for over five years and I have grown as a person because of my interactions through both ventures.  

I have the best partners in both projects.  In 2015, I expect that both HRevolution and HR Happy Hour will take on new direction and that is an exciting feeling I can share with my collaborators Ben Eubanks, Matt Stollak and Steve Boese.  We hope you’ll continue to join us for the ride.

From a work perspective, the thing I’m most proud of is taking on new challenges.  One of those, HCMx Radio, has been some of the best learning for me.  Brandon Hall Group leaders decided we wanted to start a podcast in the HCM space that is different from all the rest.  HCMx Radio accomplishes that by incorporating research into every episode.  We’re the first to make that commitment.

If you haven’t checked out the new show, I hope you will and then add it to your favorites.  We post shows twice a month so it’s the perfect way to add small bites of HCM learning to your month.  Here are the recent episodes:

I am excited to see what 2015 holds.  In the mean time, tell me what you did that made you most proud in 2014….

Becoming a HR Influencer- 4 Skills to Help You Do It

puppet_masterI’ve been called a HR Influencer.  I’ve been called a lot of things.  In fact, there always seems to be confusion in the HR industry about what we call people: influencer, blogger, expert, guru, advisor, analyst, leader.  The list goes on.  In reality, you can (and will) wear multiple hats and titles in your industry as you interact with different groups of people.

I thought I’d share my thoughts on what it really means to be an influencer in the HR space, or in any space really.  First, you need a common definition of what being able to influence really means.  Being an influencer definitely does NOT mean being the puppet-master.

I  like the definition that Dorien Morin (@MoreInMedia) gave in her recent article on Social Media Today.  In her article How to Increase Your Influence on Twitter, Dorien said, “An influencer affects someone. As in- the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen.  So without telling people what to do exactly, or without specific instructions, the actions of the influencer affects the actions of the person being influenced.”

I see many people trying to influence other people to buy things, to start or stop doing something or to be part of something specific.  I’m guilty of all those things.  It’s not bad to do that, but that doesn’t mean you are influential.  I think the fine line you walk in becoming influential involves several less-tangible skills:

  • Sincerity- Being able to tell people what you like and really meaning it.  Not promoting things, products, vendors or people that you don’t believe in.
  • Sharing- In order to be considered an influencer, you must share content.  This means that you not only have to share links to content, but you also need to share your analysis on what the stories mean for your industry.  Whether you read an article then incorporate that into your own blog or whether you just add comments to the article and via sites like Twitter or LinkedIn, you must be sharing your opinion.  Another point that helped me gain status as an influencer is that you have to share (give) more than you receive.  You do this for free, any chance you get.
  • Constant curiosity- You need to ensure that you read a TON on other industries.  When people ask me how I do it, I recommend reading science sites, psychology and/or sociology journals, design books, magazines on specific cities or other areas of interest you’d never naturally connect directly to HR.  You need to start thinking about how your curiosity about other topics impacts your approach to HR.
  • Consistency- This is the most important skill in my opinion.  You MUST be visible consistently.  You must share your knowledge and opinions consistently.  You must give back to your larger community and be helpful consistently.  If you do any of those things on an inconsistent basis, you will either never gain influencer status or if you have it, you will lose it.

If you approach connecting with other professionals in your industry in a manner that is helpful, sincere and consistent, you will gain friends and followers organically.  These relationships will lead to business opportunities as well as true friendships that you would have never made otherwise.

I encourage you to read all of Dorien’s tips in her article because they can be applied to building your influence skills on Twitter as well as other sites.  Good luck and let me know if I can be helpful as you create your own influence in our market.

12 Minutes: Learn Social or Business During Your Drive Time

trafficI took my car to my dealership this week for a Xylon treatment.  It’s one of those things that is great to have done, but the hassle of having to drop my car off, on a weekday at 9:00 am, and pick up a rental car was something I didn’t look forward to.

The dealership had great service and the rental car was ready for me, but the idea of having to drive a car I’m not familiar with as the forecast called for snow and ice didn’t make me feel very confident.  At any rate, about twenty minutes after arriving, I was on my way in a 2011 Cadillac DTS. Sweet ride…..but felt larger than driving a bus.  This was not exactly my idea of fun.

So, away I go in my caddy and I’m trying to find something on the XM radio.  Only, it’s not activated.  I try to remember some local stations so that I can find something good to listen to on my way to work.  I settle in on a station that has a song I know, but it quickly ends.  Now it’s commercial time.  I sat through twelve minutes of commercials before the next song!

I don’t have time to sit through twelve minutes of commercials.

I felt like I was completely wasting my time.  I sat there cursing the local radio and hating the fact I couldn’t get any news or information of value.  That’s when I realized that there are many people who still don’t purchase their radio experience.  They listen to local radio.  These are some of the same people who argue that they don’t have time to learn social media, to read a blog, to learn a new tool or technology.  But like me that day, they get those same twelve minutes stolen from them all the time.

Making Good Use of Your Drive Time

 

  • Download podcasts that you can listen to on your iPod or other device.  Shows such as HR Happy Hour can be found on BlogTalk radio.  You can learn about the latest HR, recruiting and leadership information.
  • Listen to audio books that relate to self improvement or business acumen.
  • Use your smartphone to listen to “how to” videos on YouTube.


What are some other ways to spend your time in the car to make better use of it than listening to commercials?  Share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Use Your Drive Time to Your Advantage

I took my car to my dealership this week for a Xylon treatment.  It’s one of those things that is great to have done, but the hassle of having to drop my car off, on a weekday at 9:00 am, and pick up a rental car was something I didn’t look forward to.  The dealership had great service and the rental car was ready for me, but the idea of having to drive a car I’m not familiar with as the forecast called for snow and ice didn’t make me feel very confident.  At any rate, about twenty minutes after arriving, I was on my way in a 2011 Cadillac DTS. Sweet ride…..but felt larger than driving a bus.  This was not exactly my idea of fun.

So, away I go in my caddy and I’m trying to find something on the XM radio.  Only, it’s not activated.  I try to remember some local stations so that I can find something good to listen to on my way to work.  I settle in on a station that has a song I know, but it quickly ends.  Now it’s commercial time.  I sat through twelve minutes of commercials before the next song!

I don’t have time to sit through twelve minutes of commercials.  I felt like I was completely wasting my time.  I sat there cursing the local radio and hating the fact I couldn’t get any news or information of value.  That’s when I realized that there are many people who still don’t purchase their radio experience.  They listen to local radio.

These are some of the same people who argue that they don’t have time to learn social media, to read a blog, to learn a new tool or technology.  But like me that day, they get those same twelve minutes stolen from them all the time.  I hope that I can use this example in the future when I hear the argument of not having time to learn.  I’m thinking I can give examples of other things they can do with their drive time rather than listen to the excessive commercial time on local radio.

Making Good Use of Your Drive Time

  • Download podcasts that you can listen to on your iPod or other device.  Shows such as HR Happy Hour, DriveThru HR, and other industry  radio shows can be found on BlogTalk radio.
  • Listen to audio books that relate to self improvement or business acumen.
  • Use your smartphone to listen to “how to” videos on YouTube.

What are some other ways to spend your time in the car to make better use of it than listening to commercials?  Share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Why Come to #HRevolution? To See a Wedding, Of Course!

When my blog posts slow down this time of year you can rest assured it’s because of one thing…

HRevolution

HRevolution is happening at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on October 6th.

HRevolution Official Logo blackI love planning this event in my free time.  It takes away from my writing time for a bit, but it’s well worth it.  Since it’s start four years ago, this event has been one of the best networking events in the HR space.  We’ve partnered, learned, shared, laughed and even cried.  But, a wedding?  What could that mean?

If you’ve never attended HRevolution before, I need to back-track and explain.  Back in 2009 when this event was a mere string of tweets taking shape into a gathering, we said the real purpose was networking in person with other smart business pros.  That first night in Louisville, KY, fifty people gathered.  At this point, none of us had met.  Not even the planning committee.  Any relationships we had were purely virtual.

It was at this event that we all first met Frank Zupan and Tammy Colson.  I distinctly remember meeting them both separately.  Frank was living in Ohio, Tammy was on the east coast.  Well, that first event came and went and many friendships were started.  The next year at HRevolution, Frank and Tammy attended separately again.  But this time, romance must have been in the air.  By the third year of HRevolution, they were a couple.  Now here we are, four years in, and since we’ll be in Las Vegas, there will be a wedding.  The first wedding of a couple that met at HRevolution.  We couldn’t be happier for them!

Will you find love at HRevolution?  Maybe.

What I know you WILL definitely find:

  • New colleagues who may be CEOs, COOs, HR practitioners, consultants, recruiters, people who work in HR technology, and more.

  • Sessions where YOU are part of the discussion.

  • Debate on issues impacting our field.

Most importantly, connection.  Connection with people you will want to work with in the future.  People you will be friends with for years.

So, why should you come to HRevoltuion?  There are many good reasons, but my TOP reason this year is to watch two of our HRevolution family get married.  So, get your ticket today HERE.

Congratulations Tammy and Frank.  We love you and can’t wait to see you start this chapter of your lives!

Thanks to our sponsor, Sum Total for making this event possible. SUMTOTAL-LOGO-final-color-CMYK_TM