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.

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…