Be the Change !!

SHRM17 just wrapped up this week in the midst of tropical storm Cindy knocking on the door as everyone finished the conference and headed home. Ironically, the energy that emanated from the event was almost as moving as the storm !! The vibe this year was positive, collaborative and you could feel a sense of togetherness throughout the entire week.

I had a lofty goal to meet every attendee, and I fell a bit short. It wasn’t for a lack of effort though. I was astonished how many people I observed that continued to move from session to session without meeting a single person. Please note that I don’t think people had to meet me, but I did hope that they’d connect with someone !!

I noticed this continued “eyes forward” approach while people were waiting to hear me present. As I saw this, I asked the AV folks to turn up my mic, and I implored the people who were kind enough to choose my session to look up from their phones and meet the people around them. The energy jumped through the roof, and I actually heard from someone later who said, “I appreciated the reminder to meet others because I was caught up in the stuff at work, and lost sight of others sitting right next to me. I liked meeting everyone.”

I may sound like a broken record, but, taking a page from Patrick Lencioni, I will keep reminding people of what seems simple – because people aren’t doing it. I find it so hard to grasp that HR pros almost refuse to meet their peers. They seem so set on getting to a class or training session to wait to see the person at the front of the room speak. I hope that those speakers rock and that you learn from each of them. But, what if the person sitting next to you was facing the same issues and challenges you were, and all you had to do was say, “Hi, my name’s ________. And you are?”

I closed my session this year with my most favorite quote from history. Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I don’t mean to overstate, or simplify this, but I truly want to see HR become a global community that is connected though people – on purpose !! I know that if this happens, then the desire for us to look at our field, and the people in it, positively won’t be some aspiration, it will be a fact.

I loved meeting the new folks that I did during SHRM17. The ranged from a room full of students and young professionals on Sunday, to HR folks who were from Cincinnati (where I’m from) whom I hadn’t met in the past, to people from Guam, Australia, Canada, India and Brazil. Each one of these HR pros is now a connection and I hope we stay connected for years to come !! In fact, I wish I had more time reconnecting with some of my friends who I get to see more regularly, but our paths didn’t cross as often as I’d hoped.

I ask those who attended SHRM17 to not let the energy and vibe of such a massive event slip by as we all return to our regular roles and duties. You experienced a shift and not it is up to YOU to be the change in your world. I plan to keep the movement going, and hope you join in !!

Grass Roots !!

With Spring now fully upon us, I’ve been tempted to get out into my yard. The harsh winter took it’s toll, and I’m definitely going to have to get out there soon and do some work. There are patches of my lawn that have become bare. These areas will get the most attention and I’m eager to plant new grass.

Growing grass isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you just toss the seed on the ground hoping that it will come to life, you’ll have little to no success. Once you get the dirt broken up and the seed dispersed, you need to make sure it’s covered and regularly watered. After hours of work and days of waiting, you’ll start to see wisps of green starting to come to life. It takes attention, patience and a bit of faith to get even the smallest bare patches covered once again.

When I look at HR, I see bare patches as well. I don’t want to point out areas that I view as “wrong” because that is too much of a generalization without context. I’m not in your organizations, but I’m sure you see areas that need some attention. The question is – Do you want to tend to them? Are you willing to get out there and work the ground, spread some seed and nurture things to life?

I think people see bare patches and want to do the work, but they are overwhelmed with the distractions that are taking up the majority of their daily focus. In HR, you are pulled 500 ways in the same day. This isn’t a complaint, it’s a reality. You rarely have a day where you can plan it all out and have the situations you face play out accordingly. That honestly keeps HR exciting for me, but I understand how it can be exhausting.

grassI want to propose a solution that is Grass Roots in nature to revolutionize who we are and what we do. The best movements in HR start as grass roots efforts. That’s true when Social Media came about as well as places where HR pros gather at events and conferences. The idea I have isn’t revolutionary, but the effort to make it happen will be.

The bare patch I see is that we continue to be separated as a community. There are pockets of people who are close and connected, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Many HR practitioners continue to work in isolation. When you try to reach out and connect with them, they feel either that they don’t have enough time, or that their work won’t allow them to do this.

This just isn’t the case. Having meaningful HR professional connections will make you able to get to resources you didn’t even know existed. This is more than being connected on Social Media forums or reading someone’s blog !! The connections that can, and should, happen take time to plant, water and grow. The result is that you’ll have people that you can reach out to that understand what you do, what you go through in your role and how to encourage you and lift you up to succeed in HR.

I’ve been “working the ground” on this for years and years and I continue to plan on doing that. Will you join me? Will you be willing to reach out and connect with other HR pros and build your community? Will you make these connections flourish and not let them be a flash in the pan from when you met at a conference?

People want to be connected. This is especially true for HR folks. Join me in making the dream of a vibrant, integrated HR community come to life !! Be part of the grass roots !!

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 !!

Better as a Whole !!

It seems like I’ve been in HR since the dawn of time.  Not really, but as a point of reference – there were no HR majors in college when I went and it was called “Personnel.”

Even though it’s been a long and exciting trip, I find that I get more and more excited the longer I’m in the field.  I read a troubling post lately from an Anonymous HR pro in the UK that my good friend Michael Carty posted called “Sincerely Yours, Deeply Disengaged.”  It is an all too familiar tale of how an HR pro is discouraged in how their company looks at and devalues HR. (You really should read this post and add your comments.)

It sounds like this HR pro feels isolated and on their own which is too often the case.  I’m amazed that HR people, who are in an occupation that calls for them to be among people, tend to be the most disconnected professionals out there.  This isn’t healthy !!  It leads to the factors noted in the post above and ultimately in a person who is discouraged about Human Resources who will, in all likelihood, leave the profession.

There are healthy ways to protect yourself from disengagement and discouragement !! One key component to being healthy in HR is to surround yourself with great peers and folks you can learn from.  People often tout the notion of “continuous learning” but few take the time to do it.  I see more and more people longing for connections, but not knowing how to make that leap.

Better TogetherI’m very fortunate in many ways.  I’ve always enjoyed being connected to people.  It’s genuinely deep in my DNA.  This isn’t unique, but there is a factor that is.  Great connections are intentional.  And being intentional makes us better together as a whole.

I’ve always believed in modeling the behavior you expect in others.  So, I’m involved in a community that keeps me grounded, encouraged and also gives me the opportunity to learn.  I’m a blogger as part of the Performance I Create team.  It’s a very diverse mix of HR practitioners, and I truly dig that.  Each member offers different perspectives, views and takes based on who they are and how they practice HR in their corner of the HR universe.  I love reading their work on their individual blogs and on the PIC site.

These folks – Jay Kuhns, Chris Ponder, Melissa Fairman, Tiffany Kuehl, Chris Fields, Sarah Williams, Justin Harris and Dave Ryan – are truly my “Everyday People.”  I encourage you to connect with each of them individually and as a whole team.

This isn’t just to highlight one group of HR pros vs. another.  I want to truly see you branch out and connect across the field.  There are countless amazing HR pros who will make the time and effort to see you learn, grow and succeed !!

Remember – we’re stronger together.  Make it happen !!

Image courtesy of tfisherart.com

HR in the Five One Three !!

This blog post is part of a collection created by various Human Resources professionals that was the brainchild of Victorio Milian (@Victorio_M). This “Carnival” of HR posts centers around the theme of HR and Home. To read the rest of the collection click here. You’ll be glad you did!

I am a Cincinnatian.  It’s not where I “started,” but having been here since 1986, I can say proudly it’s my home.  Being an HR pro in a conservative city has its advantages and disadvantages.  It’s safe and stable, for the most part.  But, the struggle for innovation took some time to blossom honestly.

You see, HR has deep roots in Cincinnati !!  Back when SHRM was the American Society for Personnel Administration, two local SHRM HR chapters gathered.  The Butler/Warren County SHRM chapter, just north of Cincy, has the designation of chapter “001” and the Greater Cincinnati HR Association (GCHRA) , my home chapter, is designee “008.”  So, we were in on the ground floor once chapters started forming.

Like most areas of SHRM, the chapters kept to themselves, but then a group of HR pros began stepping forward.  When you look at the history of the Ohio State Conference and the State Council of SHRM, you’ll find many Cincinnatians who were Conference Chairs, State Directors and Regional reps for SHRM.  These great folks laid the groundwork for what’s happening now in the Queen City.

You see, we started reaching out and connecting HR pros before Social Media came along.  We didn’t know that we were going to be “ahead of the curve,” but it appears that we were.  The HR Net was started through GCHRA back in 2001 to try and get HR pros more connected.  It started as a simple e-mail listserv tied to an internet message board with 200 people.  Now, in 2012 it reaches over 6,000 HR pros worldwide and allows them to post questions and events that are HR related.  Two things that differentiate this forum from most is that it’s free (and always has been) and each week people can sing along to a song parody about HR !!

As Social Media started to be born, Cincinnatians jumped in with both feet !!  It was like people were just waiting for the mechanism to get more connected.  Some of the early adopters (who are still active and visible) include Jennifer McClure (@JenniferMcClure), Margo Rose (@HRMargo) and Benjamin McCall (@BenjaminMcCall).  One of the things that “put us on the map” was when we “won” the most active HR community as the (513), our area code, on an episode of Steve Boese’s (@steveboese) great HR Happy Hour blog radio show !!

More and more HR practitioners and consultants from Cincinnati jumped into the Social Media HR space and began phenomenal blogs and started reaching out to become part of the larger HR community.  When I was asked to finally jump into the Social Media pool, I brought the platform of reaching HR pros that we started with me and then things exploded !!

One of the genuine positive outcomes of Social Media is that it has taken communities that only existed in their hometown and started intertwining them together.  Many of the great things we had done in Cincinnati were being done in other pockets around the country.  Being in Cincy, you are in a place that exudes that hometown feel.  We are doing our best to make others from around the Social Media space and the HR profession join us and make that hometown feel permeate throughout all we do !!

So, now I’d say, looking back at things that we have been innovative and the future only looks bright !!  I hope that we are a catalyst that continues to bring HR folks together for years and years to come !!

Image Courtesy of Zazzle