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 for more information on becoming a member, registering for next year’s event, or purchasing this year’s sessions On Demand.



6 Years of HRringleader

Today marks the 6 year anniversary of HRringleader.  It’s been an amazing time, full of new ideas, opportunities and friends.  Truth be told, I started the blog as a way to learn about blogging so I could design a training about it for work.  I never thought it would turn into something that would change my life.  As I wrote more posts and shared my ideas, it became my personal journal that just happened to be public.

I don’t share everything I write, but I share most posts.  I don’t always have the time to dedicate to blogging every day as I once did, but even so, I hope that what I create is valuable to you and that you’ll continue to read and share.  I also enjoy when you share your ideas with me because that helps us all learn and grow

What I’ve learned from blogging is that nothing stays the same and that we all can use support as things develop and change.  I am grateful to each of you for helping me in that endeavor.  I once shared a poem by Robert Frost in a post and I’d like to do that again today as a reminder of the many changes to come in the next 6 years…

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Nothing Gold Can Stay, it is a tribute to innocence as well as to changes that we all go through.  So often as leaders and as human beings we are forced to lose our innocence little by little, situation by situation.  I’m reminded of a time of personal innocence when I first heard about this poem.  I was in junior high school and reading the book The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.  It is a story of a group of young teenage boys who are coming of age.  Through many trials and tribulations, several key characters die during the story.  One character, Johnny, tells the lead character, Ponyboy, to “stay gold”.

Whether recalling the prose of a brilliant poet or the inspired quote from an author who speaks to a younger generation, the message is clear.  As you are faced with change, do all you can to hang on to your innocence about things.  The purity.  The raw emotion.  After all, nothing gold can stay.

I thank you and hope you’ll continue this journey with me.


HR Happy Hour: Innovation In Communication, Collaboration and Coaching

This week in the first LIVE show of 2014 Steve Boese and I brought Sean Conrad, Senior Product Analyst & Sales Trainer at Halogen Software back to the show.  Sean and Halogen are both big supporters of the HR Happy Hour and we feel equally strong about what Halogen Software has added to the industry over the years.  In this episode, we talked about ways that organizations can improve their communication, collaboration and coaching techniques.

Halogen recently launched two new modules to address these needs.  Their new 1:1 Exchange meeting module and the Halogen Myers-Briggs module introduce innovative approaches to workforce improvements.  Listen in to the replay to learn more about the modules as well as other ways organizations can approach these challenges.



Current Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese on BlogTalkRadio

Giving Your Expertise (And Audience) Away

There is a part of  the world of blogging that is not openly discussed often.  The pay.

For hundreds of thousands of bloggers worldwide, blogging is a medium to use to share your thoughts and ideas without it being a paid position.  As a blogger, I can honestly share that when you begin, you’d write for free anytime, anywhere for as many reputable sites as you can find related to your industry or genre.  However, if you are fortunate enough to garner readers and start to have influence, these “opportunities” come out of the woodwork.  So do the offers of reviewing books, products, and providing free consulting advice.

Herein lies the problem.

At what point does a blogger gain enough credibility to require a fee for the time they spend writing, researching, and investing in growing their blog?  Is it with 10,000 views a month?  50,000?  200,000 or more?  There is no magic number and ask any paid blogger and you’ll receive a myriad of answers and opinions.  Well, now there is a lawsuit against the Huffington Post to test the waters on whether or not bloggers have a right to be paid. ran an article Unpaid Bloggers File Suit Against Huffington Post that is getting quite a bit of attention. There are more intricacies to the story so be sure to check it out.

I’ll be interested in how this evolves.  I’d also be interested in your thoughts on whether or not bloggers should receive something (money, expenses, products, etc) for our time and effort.  As a friend of mine, Kris Dunn recently wrote about when to work for free, “Work for free when you’re trying to build experience in any areas that you can’t get paid for until you reach proficiency, when you think you need a reference to get paying work for what you can already do well, or if the free work is going to be seen and commented on by the masses and serves as effective marketing.”

I personally get so many contacts from PR firms wanting me to do things for them that I could just run those requests 7 days a week.  Often, there is never any attempt to show me why it’s truly beneficial for my readers to see the information and also no reason it’s beneficial for me personally to use my space to share the information.  The pitches are only about what’s in it for their clients.   It’s a strange world because if you look at the mommy-blogging industry, those “paid” bloggers are receiving merchandise or services on a regular basis as part of the benefit of sharing information on the product or service.

I’m not buying into turning my space into a place where I ever share information I don’t believe in or that I don’t personally find interesting.  If I share information about a company, it’s because I believe in what they offer.   What do you think?  And, even if you don’t personally blog, what do you think about doing any type of work for free?  In your profession, are there times when you’ve provided pro-bono consulting or advice?  What were the benefits and pitfalls?

Pulling Back the Curtain on Bloggers

What is a blogger?  I have my own working definition in my head that I can spout off when someone asks me.  I have to admit that it is a definition that evolves as I, and my writing, evolve.  Here’s how Miriam Webster defines it:

blog– a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also : the contents of such a site

Ok, so they don’t exactly define blogger, but it’s the person that writes the online journal….yadda yadda.  One thing I find interesting is that people who do not blog are often curious about the process.  You’ve probably watched the Wizard of Oz, so you know that closer to the end of the movie, Dorothy and her crew pull back the curtain in the palace to find out that the great and powerful Oz is no more than a regular guy.  I don’t claim to be great and powerful, but I am just a regular girl.  I get a lot of questions and in the spirit of the Wizard of Oz, I thought I’d answer a few:

What made you start blogging? I worked at a company that offered a short video training on how to write a blog.  Since all employees had to go through our digital training, I did too.  I had been reading blogs for several years and it sounded like a good way for me to challenge myself to learn how to do something I knew nothing about.  Also, I did not see myself as a strong writer, so I thought that by writing for myself, I would get better at it.  Never once did I think that other people would really start following my blog.  I was so thrilled when that happened.

How did you learn the mechanics of having your own blog? Thankfully for me, WordPress has a great free blog platform with answers to many of the questions you have as you get started.  It was a breeze to set up and it was free.  After a couple months, I had connected with other bloggers and we share tips and tricks with each other.  Eventually I was forced with a hot poker up to my eye, I mean convinced by Ben Eubanks that I should switch to a self-hosted site.  That process was very challenging and as I made that move I learned much more about HTML code and how it all works.  When you have your own site, you can research online or get a trusted friend to help you with the administration.  Almost every blogger I know has someone to help him/ her with things on the site.  My guru is Ben Eubanks from UpStart HR.

How long does it take to write a post? It can take me anywhere from ten minutes to several hours depending on whether or not the idea just flows or needs thorough research.  I’d say on average that 30 minutes to an hour is pretty typical for me.  I tend to write after my kids go to bed, or I wake up around 5:00 am to write, like I’m doing today.

Where do you get your ideas? EVERYWHERE.  I jot observations about the world down on paper scraps, on napkins, and on my hand.  Sometimes I capture interesting things on my camera (phone) that spark something I’d like to write about.  Or, someone says something that I disagree with and that sparks a post idea.  I have many posts that are drafts.  Some will get published and others won’t.  Right now, I have 43 draft ideas just waiting for me to put more thought into them.

Do you think everyone should blog? Absolutely not.  That’s like saying that I think everyone should ride bulls or skip to work every day.  If you’re good at something, do it.  If not, spend your time doing something that you’re good at and you enjoy.  Writing should not make you feel like it’s a chore and that you’re too pressured.  I think great bloggers that I admire speak from their heart and keep it real.

Why do you keep writing? What started out as a way to find challenge when I wasn’t challenged in my last job has turned into a way for me to network, collaborate, make friends, get offered opportunities to travel and speak, and the list goes on.  Maintaining my blog is one of the best things I’ve done for my own self-development and that is very important to me.

What has been the best thing about having a blog? For me, it’s the collaboration.  My favorite time is when people comment and we can get a dialog going.  It’s also been great in giving me opportunities to travel and collaborate with people and organizations I would have never been exposed to.

So, that’s a taste of what I am asked.  I can’t speak for all bloggers and why or how they do things, but I’ve learned that many of us are similar in that we put the pressure on ourselves and we all have a ton of draft posts on the shelf that may or may not ever make it to being published on our blogs.  Feel free to ask me questions anytime, and not just about blogging.  Some I’ll answer in a post and most get answered via e-mail.  Just leave them in the comments.

Social Media: Your Key To Competitive Advantage

What comes to mind when you hear the words social media?  Do you think of sites that are popular today like Twitter, FaceBook, or LinkedIn?  Do you think it is just for teens or that it is just a tool to decrease employee productivity?  Or, can you see past all the negative hype and see how to exploit social media platforms for a competitive advantage?

That’s right, social media can be your key to competitive advantage.

It is a tool that can help you as an individual or as a business leader to stand head and shoulders above the rest.  Let’s be honest, in today’s lagging market, we need a way to stand out in a positive way and to reach our current and potential clients and customers.  So, how do we get there?  Social media. These are free tools that can be quickly learned and applied in ways that will communicate your brand.  If you’re like I was, then you just don’t make the connection how that is possible.  Let me share my story.

About two years ago, I participated in a webinar that demonstrated how to use Twitter.  I sat through it wondering how in the world this would pertain to me in my role as a human resources director.  I did not understand the concept of finding people with a certain background to follow.  I did not understand why someone would want to follow me and see what I’m doing moment by moment.  And so, like many, I signed off and did not touch it again.

Fast forward to a year ago.  I loved reading human resource blogs and started my own human resource blog.  I realized that many of the bloggers I was communicating with used Twitter so I signed back in.  I followed HR bloggers and other HR professionals and saw them sharing relevant HR articles on trends and core competencies . I began tweeting (sharing information in 140 characters via Twitter) each time I wrote a new post on my blog.  My followers would re-tweet it, meaning they would send it to all their followers.  I quickly saw my blog stats rise and simultaneously, my Twitter followers increased too.

I was marketing myself!

I fell into a situation where I quickly learned the power Twitter has to connect you with other like-minded professionals in your industry or with a certain market segment that you would like to reach.  The one caution I have is that the Twitter community is one not to take advantage of.  You have to be genuine and willing to share and communicate, not just push out your personal or company agenda.  Otherwise, you will be labeled a spammer and will quickly crash and burn.

Since that time, my blog has seen exponential growth, my personal brand as a HR professional has flourished and I have the opportunity to speak globally about the power of social media.

So, have I piqued your interest in getting involved with social media?  Add your questions or your own story in the comments.

Working Through Issues By Writing

journal-writingWhen I was a little girl, I kept a diary.  I loved it because it was yellow, it had Ziggy on the cover, and most of all because it had a lock and kept my thoughts private.  I was never any good at writing in it daily though and before long, I gave it up.  Fast forward to college and I rediscovered my love of writing.  This time, I realized that it’s not necessarily important to write every day, but to make sure I use writing as a way to work through my thoughts and ideas.

Since those college days, I’ve had many journals.  Then, I found blogging.  This medium works perfectly for me because I find that I like to share my ideas.  Through this sharing, I find support, challenge, new ways to look at the world and a way to meet people.  But, for every post I write that is public, I have my trusty journal that I still use to hand write all my ideas.

Sometimes, what I’m writing about is so personal, so hurtful or hard, that I do not share.  I say that now because when I have issues going on, it makes it really difficult to write HR or business-related posts here.  I’m having one of those times now.

I have been dealing with two very sick, elderly dogs at home.  One had throat cancer and the other had dementia.  I had to make the tough decision on Good Friday to put them to sleep.  Add that to some personal issues and it’s the perfect storm of being less inspired.  So, please hang in there with me as I get back in the writing saddle.

2012 Is A Women of HR Year!

We’re just days away from a new year.  I am not big on making New Year’s resolutions, however, I am committed to one thing in 2012 and that is greater contribution to the Women of HR site.  Several years ago, a group of women all tied in one way or another to the HR industry got together in Chicago.  One of the bi-products of that visit was the idea for Women of HR.

Women of HR is a site dedicated to the development of women in human resources and business. It is a place to find information and discuss topics on a wide variety of issues that impact the lives of women.  It’s a place to find community and collaboration.  I’d like to share three of my favorite posts from Q4:

Hard Work Alone Will Not Get You Noticed by Debbie Brown

Bully Boss or Tough Boss?  How To Tell the Difference by Jennifer Miller

Toxic Behaviors in Human Resources by Jennifer Payne

As we roll into 2012, I’d like you to consider becoming a contributor at Women of HR.  We have male and female writers who are practitioners in the industry and welcome new and interesting thoughts to be shared.

For more information, email me at

Happy Reading!