#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.

7 Things To Do When You Get Home From A Conference

1017244_10152959205545523_92643918_nIt’s been a few weeks since the 2013 SHRM Annual conference wrapped.  Of course there was a flurry of great posts about the event.  Check out a few here:

From hearing about the keynotes and other speakers to learning more about vendor progress in the HR space, there is no shortage of take-aways from this year’s event.

Then, there is the ever expanding social presence of SHRM in our industry.  Originally championed in 2009 by then COO, China Gorman, SHRM national has embraced making strides in social channels.  Current “SHRM Social Media Guy”, Curtis Midkiff, did an outstanding job of pulling together those active socially in the space.  From the HIVE where attendees could come to ask all their burning social questions to the hashtag attendees could follow to stay in tune with all that was going on (#SHRM13), there was a larger focus than ever on networking and connectivity.

There were also events such as the SHRM Kickball to raise money for No Kid Hungry.  We raised nearly $11,000 so far and if you’d like to contribute or find out more, it’s not too late to help feed kids here in the US that are in need.  There were vendor and executive dinners and even a night with DJ Jazzy Jeff hosted by Glassdoor.  It was an amazing several days full of learning, challenge and fun.

1250_10152959208015523_483375459_nRegardless if you attend a conference as part of a group or if you’re there on your own, the importance is what you do with the information you learned and how you apply it all when you get back to the day-to-day grind.

7 Key Steps to Take When You Return from a Conference

  1. Go through all the business cards you collected and send out connection requests via LinkedIn.  Networking and making connections is one of the largest benefits of conference attendance.
  2. Send a thank you note to any speaker you saw that made a difference in the way you think.  As a speaker at SHRM Annual and other conferences, I can tell you that people prepare for weeks or months to present.  Acknowledging their hard work is a nice way to make them feel appreciated for the time they spent with you.
  3. Write a summary for your boss on the value of attending.  Many employers do not understand the value of learning at a conference.  Make sure to spell it out.
  4. Follow people who tweeted using the #SHRM13 hashtag.  Having a list of people in the HR space at your finger tips is invaluable. Be sure to solidify those connections on Twitter.
  5. Give feedback to SHRM.  Hopefully you filled out session surveys or other conference surveys.  If not, go to the SHRM site and leave feedback.  They work hard each year to pull this togetether so share what really worked well and any suggestions for improvement.
  6. Send thank you notes to any vendor or HR pro you met that you want to keep in touch with.  This is an extra step.  A personal note is certainly a way to stand out and make yourself memorable to that person.
  7. Share pictures.  Who know that HR pros could be so fun?  Use social networks to share your pictures.  Speakers love to have pictures of themselves presenting, share the fun ones from charitable events and of course, the real “social” nightlife.

So there you have it- ways to wrap up an event and continue the value.  What do you do when you return home from a conference?  Share your story in the comments.

Monday Cornucopia: Reading for Your Week

As we enter into the summer heatwave here in the Midwest, I’m finding myself drawn to indoor activities, including writing.  Catch up on some of my posts written for SHRM (The Society for Human Resources Management).  I’ll be back here later in the week with more on leadership and what to do if you disagree with YOUR leader.

No Prescription for Your SHRM Experience-  What is the benefit of attending a conference if the sessions are not the major draw for you?  Find out in my latest post.

Change Your Paradigm: You Are Not the Dress Code Police-  Face it, managers want HR to be the bad guys when it comes to enforcing the company dress code.  But, what if you didn’t need a dress code.  Is this still relevant?  Does it really matter?  Weigh in on the topic here.

What To Do If the Session You Want Is Full-  We’ve all been to conferences or seminars where the session we want is full.  Here are some tips on what to do instead.

Be sure to check out the posts and leave any comments too!  Thanks



What To Do: The Conference Session You Want Is Full

Whether this is your first time attending the SHRM annual conference or your tenth, it never fails that a session you want to see is popular and you may have trouble finding a seat.  Most attendees scour the agenda in advance and plan ahead for sessions that will benefit them in their day job.   I’ve taken this same approach in the past, as recently as last year in Las Vegas, and been disappointed to run to a chosen session to find it as standing room only.

What do you do?  

Head over to the SHRM Buzz site to find out…

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!

Recruiting Tactics: Would You Move For A Better Job?

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Allied Van Lines, proud sponsor of the “2012 Workforce Mobility Survey”, designed to capture the voice of HR on topics related to workforce mobility. Allied has more than 75 years of experience in corporate, household and international relocation.)

What would it take for you to move in order to accept a new job?  Have you ever relocated in order to take a new job?

As an HR executive, I have had the good fortune to live in a city that afforded me opportunities to progress in my career without having to relocate my family.   There was a time, years ago, that I was offered the opportunity to relocate to the west coast.  The package was not too bad and the pay would have been good for the role in that market, but no one ever mentioned that I was a mother with young children.  Children that were nearing school-age.  For me, that was the only factor that kept me from making that move.

According to the 2012 Workforce Mobility Survey, “Two factors are most likely to increase a candidate’s willingness to relocate- higher salary (reported by 82% of HR professionals) and career advancement (reported by 79%).  Three factors are most likely to limit or restrict willingness to relocate:  spousal employment situation (80%), children’s plans/ schools (72%), and selling a home/ mortgage (69%).  (Chart 5)

Last week, following the release of the research, Kris Dunn shared his thoughts in How To Tell Whether Your Relocation Package or Your Closing Skills Suck.  It made me think back to the time when I did not make the move and why I chose not to move.  It was a combination of the HR pro not closing the deal and some of the missing pieces around how things would be handled with my family.

  • Would my husband leave his position he had held for his entire career?
  • How would we find him a new job that he would love?
  • Where would my children go to school and how would I find the perfect environment for them?
  • How would I find good quality child care, pediatricians, and a church?

HR professionals need to know that it is questions like these are running through your candidate’s head and that may prevent them from taking your job offer. In order to create a relocation package that sets your company apart, one of the key factors is considering these types of questions and providing the support the candidate needs.

Stand out from the crowd

  • Since only 2% of companies help with spousal employment, you can make your relocation package unique by offering unemployment assistance or job serach assistance for the candidate’s spouse or significant other.
  • While 16% of companies are offering to assume a loss for a recruit’s underwater mortgage, you can boost your chance of landing a candidate for a hard to fill position if you take the step of offering that type of assistance.
  • If only 39% of companies are offering information about the local community and schools, you can provide a packet of information or links to sites that support various communities in your area that a candidate would be interested in.  For families, focus on the school district and any extra-curricular activities available.  For families or singles who like to participate in activities like running, working out, etc., include community information on parks and trails they would find appealing.

Are you ready to make the difference to your organization’s ability to both attract and close the deal with your top candidates?  Start today.  To learn more, continue to check in to the Allied HR/IQ website for more results from the 2012 Workforce Mobility Survey.