Join the Carnival !!

This is the “post before the post” for this week.  I am hosting the Carnival of HR for January this coming Wednesday 1/14/15.

For those of you who are HR bloggers, this is a request for you to help me set a new standard for this great forum !!  Shauna Griffis (@HR_Minion on Twitter) has been the faithful behind the scenes facilitator of the Carnival for years.  She asks people to host and I’m GEEKED to do it once again !!

I have a theme I’d like you to follow, and it’s this.  Write a post on “HR would be better if . . .”

To participate do the following:

  1. Write a post, or share one from your site, that fits this theme.
  2. Think of how you’d like to see HR get better !!
  3. E-mail me a link to your site at: sbrowne@larosas.com and I’ll make sure you’re included !!
  4. Use the hashtag #makeHRbetter when sharing this month’s Carnival.

Now, here’s where I want to set a new standard !!

HR BlogsI think people are great at sharing their own posts, but we don’t share the work of others as much as we could.  I am a HUGE fan of other’s HR Blogs.  My Feedly reader has 150+ blogs that I read and share regularly.

I have a wild, audacious goal of connecting every HR professional in the world, and I’m going to get there someday.  So, I’d love to feature YOU and your site to the HR community.  I’d like to have the most posts ever for this month’s carnival, and I’d like to hear from my blogging friends from around the globe !!

I’ll be watching my inbox to look for your submission !!  Join me and join this carnival.  It’s time to curate and create community and I want YOU to be included !!

Lorax HR !!

I don’t know about you, but I have always been a huge Dr. Suess fan !! When I was young I remember my mom reading me Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish among many others.  He was able to rhyme and bring things to life in an incredibly simple way.  I’m sure his books helped me learn to read as he has for thousands of others.

He also opened my imagination.  If he didn’t have a word that others traditionally used, he made them up.  The worlds he created were colorful and also believable.  It didn’t seem impossible that an entire civilization could live on the bloom of a flower, or that an elephant could hear them.  He was a contrarian who defined new rules and did it in a way to educate people. He was also an activist who wanted to bring messages like the materialism of Christmas or the destruction of our environment to people’s attention.  He did in a timeless way so that generations could continue to learn from his tales.

The Lorax Book CoverMy absolute fave by far was The Lorax.  Here is a story that resonates with me even today in the world of HR.  You see, when the Lorax spoke he said, “I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.” He spoke up for them because they could not speak for themselves.  The trees were being destroyed so that a company could make Thneeds for people to wear and everyone wanted them.  The trees were being harvested left and right and it didn’t matter that they were disappearing completely because the company had to have the material to make their product.

The “trees” we have in our organizations are our employees.  I’m not saying we’re destroying them, or using them to make sure the company moves forward at all costs.  But we need to be the ones who speak for them.  You see, if you ask Management who HR represents, they would say “Management.”  And, if you asked employees who HR represent, they’d say . . . “Management.”  So, how do they get a voice?

It’s time for us to realize that we are there for all people – both Management and employees.  We have to be the voice of reason that listens to all sides of situations and act as the bridge between those sides to bring resolution.  I get concerned that we often sway to the Management side only because we feel that’s where HR “should” be.  It’s true that we should look out for the best interest of our organizations, but that should include all employees !!

As this new year starts, take some time to evaluate who you spend the most time with.  Are you balanced and work with all staff?  If not, what’s keeping you from doing that?  We need to be the Lorax in our company.  We need to stand up and be vocal about our people.  By doing this we can help drive our culture and make sure that people aren’t silent.

So, as you start this week keep this quote in front of you – ” I am HR and I speak for employees !! ” You’ll be glad you do !!

The Real #FF !!

As 2014 draws to a close, we take time to reflect on what was and what will possibly be for the coming year.

For those of you who are active on Twitter, there has been a hashtag called #FF which stands for “Follow Friday.”  It’s where people recommend others that are on Twitter for you to consider following.  When Twitter was in its infancy, this was huge every Friday and you’d see tweets flying so quickly that your head would spin.  People were excited to connect and see who else was out on the social platform.

Inevitably, you’d see the same names week after week because, like any system, there is a bell curve of activity.  There are many who are very visible, active and they do a great job of posting their material and the material of others.  There are also many who “lurk” and watch what people write and post.  Nothing wrong with lurking because I’m assuming that you are trying to see what has value to you and this allows you to filter what information you like and avoid that which you don’t.

There is also a significant group of people who dabble in social media because someone encouraged them to, but they lose interest quickly. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t capture enough of their attention to merit ongoing effort.  They may show up in a #FF once in a while, but they rarely reciprocate.

Friends and FamilyThis isn’t specifically a post about Social Media though.  You see this past week during the holidays was filled with the Real FF – Friends and Family !!  People gathered from all over to make sure to see each other and catch up.  These times of seeing people in person has immeasurable value.  It’s great to hear new stories or relive old memories surrounded by warmth and laughter.

In my case, these gatherings are also generational.  There are Grandparents, Aunt, Uncles, and cousins of various ages and from various backgrounds.  They live in urban settings, rural settings and suburban settings.  It’s a broad spectrum that continues to grow as the families grow.

Getting together with people in person is energizing for me. To take the time to get to connect with friends is something I look forward to every time I get to go to an event.  I am a big proponent of the #FF movement on Twitter and try my best to keep active because I believe these electronic introductions can lead to meaningful connections and friendships.

Going into to 2015, I hope to make more of the #FF that I do socially come to life in person.  I believe that the more intentional we are in making these connections become a reality, we experience that “friends and family” high of getting to know one another.

So, be on the lookout !!  I plan to make sure to rekindle existing friendships as well as develop new ones.  I hope that you are one of those #FF folks who truly becomes a friend.  Don’t be surprised when I find you !!  It will be magnificent !!

Go Against the Flow !!

This weekend I had to get my HR Nerd on and go see The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. It was phenomenal and you should absolutely see it in the theater for the best experience.  You may not be a Middle-Earth/Lord of the Rings fan, but I think the movies did a great job capturing the essence of the books that I have read multiple times.

In the final Hobbit, the main character, Bilbo Baggins, is in an uncomfortable predicament because he has the key to make everything “right,” but he keeps the treasured jewel that the King wants to himself.  Now, don’t panic.  This isn’t an in-depth review filled with a myriad of fantasy terms and characters.

During a key scene in the movie, Bilbo stands up against Thorin, the King, and tells him that the reason there is conflict is because of the King’s behavior. This was not a popular stance to take in the least.  In fact, Thorin threatens to throw Bilbo over the castle wall to his death !!

individual goldfishIn HR we are in a unique position that others don’t share. We need to remember that we represent both management and employees.  Too often, it is perceived that we only represent management.  This perception is from employees who only see us take the side of senior management.  In many cases, companies only want us to represent management.  This is where you should go against the flow !!

Our role is to represent the Company.  That means that there may  be times where you will be like Bilbo and confront the “King.”  It’s not easy to be the person who stands up to management, and it doesn’t make you popular.  The key to deciding if you should make a stand is that your action is to make sure that the company is doing the right thing.

It’s an incredible position to be in by being able to represent both management and employees. It shouldn’t be daunting, but it usually is.  We fear that if we take a position that is contrary to the normal flow of things, it will damage our status within the company or we could even lose our jobs.  I’m not here to encourage you to take a stand regardless of your fear, but you should take a look at how management is treating HR.  If you aren’t able to have those tough conversations when they’re needed, then I contend that HR will be limited in its effectiveness.

As we wrap up another year, you have a chance to reflect and see if you are someone who goes with the flow, or if you are someone willing to go against it.  When I’ve had those tough conversations, I actually gained more access to the senior management.  They are looking for us to give them an objective viewpoint so that decisions can be made for the greater good of the company and also the situations you’re facing.

It’s not easy to be a contrarian, and it’s not something you have to do all the time.  Just be willing to step in when you need to.  It will be uncomfortable when you’re in the midst of tough conversations, but in the end you, and the company, will be better for it.

Build Your Own Model !!

Now that we are getting closer to Christmas and my kids are really young adults, I miss the days when toys were exciting !!  The days when you hoped and hoped for something that was truly special, and that you couldn’t get for yourself.

I have always been fascinated with models. I loved getting a kit and pulling out the one sheet plans with the miniscule drawings and instructions.  I’d take the pieces out to make sure they were all there and then spread everything out on a card table.  First, I started with snap together models which were fairly simple.  I grew into trying easier models where you had to glue pieces together and even paint some things.  I made super hero models, models of cars, planes, and my favorite . . . battleships !!

Revell BattleshipSomething you may not have known, I am a huge history buff.  In fact, I have a minor in History from Ohio University.  So, building a model of something that had existed gave me a rush every time I even saw a kit on the shelf of the local drugstore in my hometown.

One Christmas, I got a model of the Bismarck and was physically giddy !!  This was one of the most famous battleships from World War II and I couldn’t believe that it was in my hands.  It took me several days and hours of concentration to bring the small, gray pieces to life.  It was fantastic and I made sure it had a visible place in my bedroom.

At this time of year, there are countless blog posts that recap the year in HR and give you a set number of steps (3,5,7 or 10) that you can implement in 2015 to make your role better.  I have a different suggestion.  Instead of following the models that everyone else tells you to follow – build your own !!

You take the components that matter to you in your current role and build the model that works.  Now, just like the toy models I built, I would encourage you to make your model come to life and also position yourself to make history !!

Too many people in HR float along with the various ebbs and flows of organizations.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great characteristic to be adaptable.  But, it’s another thing to let HR be relegated to the outskirts of an organization. By having a model that works for you, that doesn’t have to be who you are.

There are some key things you’ll need in building your model.  First of all, you need to build one that reflects you personally and also fits where your organization wants HR to go.  Secondly, you need to be intentional.  Your model will remain like pieces in the box that never come together if you don’t have a plan. Finally, picture what your model will look like and what it will do.  It shouldn’t be a model like the ones I built as a child that sat on a shelf.  It should be something that grows and evolves over time.

So, this year, I hope that under your HR tree is a beautifully wrapped present that you can’t wait to open and put together !!  I am going to be adding to my model, and I’d love to hear from you about yours !!

It Only Takes 3 Chords !!

I don’t know if many people were as excited as I was about some music news this week, but I was Geeked !! Rock giants, AC/DC, released their seventeenth album called Rock or Bust.  I’ve heard a few tracks and it sounds much like their whole catalog.

You may not be a fan of these Metal legends, but I found myself immersed in them because the Classic Rock station on Sirius XM was “taken over” as AC/DC radio.  Members of the band shared their past experiences and their excitement over their new work.

AC/DC is one of those bands who people have been critical about because they follow a simple three chord method to their songs.  It’s true that their songs don’t have a ton of musical variety, but they have released songs that will be played for generations to come.

So, what does this shout-out to one of my fave bands have to do with HR ??  Everything, but it takes you looking at something that is missing and how this can fix it !!

I continue to come across HR people who are in transition.  I am surprised that the first time I meet them is when they are looking for a job.  It is disappointing because I have this crazy goal that I want to be connected with as many HR people as I can.  I don’t want to see anyone who isn’t a part of a greater HR community.

I don’t understand it.  I don’t understand how you can be in HR and not be intentionally connected to others in our field.  These connections are so much more than a method to find another HR gig.  They result in strong, life-long relationships filled with resources and knowledge that you can’t get on your own.  It’s just not possible.

Three Chords ShirtI don’t feel that everyone should try to have as many contacts as someone else, but you should have three !!  You see, I believe in the power of mentoring.  I don’t follow the definition that you find in many HR circles stating that you set up a mentoring relationships for a set period of time and then it should fade away.  I think that this approach often turns out one sided and focuses on someone’s specific need instead of looking at the whole.

So, here’s the model I do follow !! You can’t have a mentor unless you mentor someone yourself.  The three “chord” model makes sure that you are giving as well as learning from someone else.

I also feel that you should seek out these triads intentionally.  I have a few mentors who I’ve been with for decades and I have a few mentees who have been with me for many years as well.  I also make sure that the relationships are as deep as needed.  The mentor/mentee relationships I have vary from somewhat more on the surface to others that know no end to their depth !!

In fact, I just reached out to a friend to ask if I could have him be a mentor and work with him in 2015.  His response was awesome – “color me intrigued and honored.”  I’m excited to see where it goes.

So, I ask you to join me and set up your trio of connections !!  Remember it only takes three chords to make a band !!  To get you started, I leave you with this . . . (you’re welcome.)

Image courtesy of Old Skool Hooligan Tees

Thankful.

This past week my family, along with many others, celebrated Thanksgiving.  I am still a traditionalist when it comes to the holidays and their order.  Gathering together over food is always a good thing, but what drives it home for me is that we normally do it around people. These people may include relatives, friends or even acquaintances.  More often than not we feel recharged and refreshed after spending time with each other.

Then, we return to work and that level of enjoyment and intimacy dissipates so fast that it can’t even be tracked.  We are surrounded with another group of people who drive home the mantra of “get things done.”  Don’t get me wrong, productivity is essential for the success of businesses and our own personal careers.  But getting things “done” almost completely eliminates the interaction of the people around us.  We skim across the surface of everyone picking the one or two items needed to move our work and projects forward because spending time with them personally would be viewed as inefficient.

Don’t believe me?  There are entire books and conferences dedicated to this.  People flock to these forums and love the “take aways” they get from power points, flash drives or tool kits.  However, the best resources they could have found were sitting next to them.  Those resources were ignored because they are people we don’t know, and we could be seen as too forward if we reached out to get to know them.

I happened to check an e-mail while I was off for the holiday from a friend and it crushed me.  She wrote me to tell me that she was thankful for me because I had made an introduction to her back in 2009 that literally saved her business as a sole proprietor.  I couldn’t believe it.  She went on to say that this connection has continued to lead to business opportunities to this day.  She didn’t want to miss the opportunity to say thanks.

It led to me to think this . . .  Who we affect is far more important than what we get done !!

In HR we have the chance, and the obligation, to positively affect all of the people around us and not just wait for the holidays to recharge ourselves around those we know better.  We can dive past the façade of surfaces and spend time to get to know the people who make work come to life and drive productivity.  It’s time for us to remember that work happens through people and not in spite of them.

ThankfulSo, I’d like to start something that I hope you take forward.

I’m thankful for YOU !!  I’m thankful that you’ve chosen to read this blog.  I’m hopeful that we are connected, and if we aren’t, I’m hopeful that we can become connected.

I’m thankful that you’re involved in some way with HR and people.  It is a challenging field, but it is also one of the most fulfilling careers a person could ever pursue.  You have the chance to interact with humans everyday, and you never know how your interaction may deeply impact them.

Here’s how to move this forward.  Be like my friend and thank someone who has impacted you.  Don’t wait for the perfect moment or a particular setting.  Reach out today with a note, a phone call, an e-mail, or something you know will matter to them.  Watch what happens.  See how you will be recharged each and every day.  You won’t have to wait for that next holiday.  You’ll see that being Thankful is a fantastic state to be in all the time !!

Advancing HR !!

I spent the last week at the SHRM Volunteer Leader Summit in Washington, DC.  It is one of my favorite events because the attendees are some of the most active and engaged members that SHRM has.  It’s also very cool in that people come from all fifty states and also US territories.

I am a SHRMmie and am proud of being involved and connected.  I know that this can cause angst amongst my peers, but I’ve found that the more I’ve become involved, the more encouraged I am that SHRM is listening and moving in the right direction.  For those of you kind enough to read my blog, you may not be involved in SHRM, but I would ask that you read on to see how they are taking steps that are positive.

Here are the themes that came across as well as some observations . . .

SHRM Certification – I was able to take the Pathway Tutorial to see how the SHRM Competency Model is defined and answered sample questions that are like those that will be on the exam starting in 2015.  The tutorial is impressive and shows that this model is focusing on a person’s professional development and how to recognize and utilize the competencies in your HR role.  You complete a self-assessment to see which competencies you should consider bulking up.

I received my SHRM-SCP by doing this and there were 480 folks who received their certification in total.  It’s very cool to have both designations now.

I know that the ongoing argument about the tutorial vs. an exam will continue, but let me give you an alternative approach.  SHRM has chosen to recognize the work that I, and those also currently certified.  They aren’t discrediting my current certification in any way.  I’m proud to have my SHRM-SCP and plan to support the ongoing evolution of the program.

Member Connection – There are two great aspects I saw in regards to connecting with others.  The SHRM Leadership Team and the SHRM Board of Directors made a visible change than what I’ve experienced in the past.  They were actively connecting with Volunteer Leaders throughout the summit in sessions and during meals.  This may not seem big, but they’ve heard the feedback about being disconnected and they are taking steps to improve that.

There was also more intentional connections occurring between States and Regions.  The MAC has set the example that we are a profession first and reside in locations second.  We’re ALL in HR !!  We should do more and more to blur the lines of isolation and look at ways to bring everyone together.  I spent time with people from all over the country and built more and more relationships.  It’s starting to make a difference that will only make us stronger.

Forward#AdvancingHR – The most encouraging theme I saw throughout the event is that the focus of SHRM is looking past the “seat at the . . .” approach, and is looking at how to advance the profession through integrating HR throughout business.  It’s great to see that we’re taking a broader view of what HR can, and should be.  They launched a new SHRM TV commercial showing the direction, and this is just the start of the marketing efforts. I’m geeked that advancing the profession overall is what we’re doing.

Now, I know there is always room to improve.  You have to know that your voice is being shared with Leadership and they are responding in tangible ways.  I also know that there will be detractors and skeptics.

I choose to connect instead. By being involved intentionally myself, I can add my feedback and the feedback of others.  I have seen results and I think you’ll continue to see them too !! I hope you’ll check things out, get involved and get connected so we can all Advance HR !!

 

Squeals of Joy !!

This past week I got to do something that I haven’t done often over the past few years.  I was interviewing potential candidates to become Team Members for one of our pizzerias.

Typically, our great Managers interview, but I got to help this week because we had a bigger hiring need.  It was energizing to sit across the table to learn about people who are interested in joining us.  One thing I forgot about interviewing was the nerves, anxiety and anticipation of the candidate. Each person I spoke to was eager to give answers and share their experience.  A few of them were worried they’d give the “wrong” answer, and a few were very confident with every response.

At the end of the interview we decide whether to make an offer or not.  That’s when it happened. When I offered a job to some of the candidates, they actually squealed !!  They were so excited that they were going to get a job that they couldn’t help but express their joy.

I guess I’ve been in HR too long because I lost the experience and thrill of what it meant to offer someone a job. I think that’s true for most of us especially when I hear people speak more about metrics and not people.  The majority of how our focus in recruiting and hiring has come down to statistics like “time to hire” or “cost per hire.”  Where is the statistic – changed my life ??

Think about it.  When you make a hiring decision, you trust that the person you just interviewed is someone who will add value to your company.  You have been given the responsibility to identify and meet someone who is going to bring their lives, experience and talent to your organization !!  Isn’t that more important than a report or making sure that your next job requisition comes off the board?

JoyWhen we hire someone, we change their lives.  They are so excited to have this new opportunity.  We miss this squeal of joy because we’re so eager to move onto the next task, interview or project.

It’s time for us to step back and take in the fact that we are adding talent to our company.  If we are doing anything else, then we aren’t doing our job effectively because if the people we hire are just to alleviate pressure or ease some uneasiness in low staffing levels, then we’re missing the mark.

What if you approached hiring and job seekers with the same joy they hope to experience by landing a job?  What if you met each person with excitement, anxiety, nerves and anticipation about who you’re about to meet?  How do you think you’d view the “task” of recruiting and hiring with this type of attitude?

One of the people I hired asked if she could call her dad to tell him she had just landed her first job.  I said, “Of course,” and I listened as she shared the news.  It was a great wake up call for me.  What we do in HR is full of joy everyday in our lives, and potentially in the lives of others.  Let’s see if we can make that happen !!

Beyond the Exam !!

In a few weeks, I’m attending the SHRM Volunteer Leader Summit in Washington, DC.  I get to attend as one of the Membership Advisory Council (MAC) members.  I love volunteering in this capacity, and I just found out that I will be the MAC for the North Central Region again for 2015 !!  Very geeked about that !!

While I’m there, I’ll get a chance to take the tutorial and get the new SHRM-SCP certification.  I’m eager to see how this goes and add it as a certification along with my SPHR which I earned from HRCI.

As the new SHRM Certification comes to life, I’m seeing another wave of people making arguments for one certification versus another.  The discussions aren’t productive, in my opinion, because people are asking people to choose a side and discredit the other.

Here’s the side I choose.  I choose to be on the side of Human Resources.

My certifications are important to me.  I know how difficult it was to earn my SPHR and I value it – and will continue to.  People continue to focus on the exam, but certification is far more than that !!  The exam was important and a gateway to more opportunities.  The next step is on each of us personally.

Moving ForwardAs HR professionals, our focus needs to be on continuous professional development and moving HR forward.  To do this, each of us need to own our certification from each body we receive them from. These certifications don’t belong to SHRM or HRCI.  They belong to us !!

Secondly, we need to educate ourselves and choose why we belong and give our time towards any organization.  If you are a member of SHRM, ask yourself why you do this and if it adds value.  If you want to get certifications from SHRM, HRCI, or other bodies, ask yourself why you’re doing that and if it also adds value.

Stand up and own who you are as an HR professional !!  Don’t get caught up in the arguments.  Set a new norm of being excited about what HR does and what it will do in the future !!

You see, I’m very intentional.  I became certified because I chose to.  I joined a local SHRM chapter and took on a leadership role because I chose to.  The other roles I’ve been fortunate to hold are because I wanted to keep moving ahead in leadership to bring the HR community together at the local, regional, State and National level.

I continue to move beyond the exam and I want you to as well.  The present and future of HR excites me to no end !!  Rise above the discontentment and move forward.  It’s what we need to do now and make it our practice going forward !!