A Little Piece of My Heart !!

This week has been one of transition.  My mother-in-law passed away at the age of 77 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.  Also, a dear friend of mine, who I sang alongside in our church choir, passed away gracefully at the age of 89.  I doubt that few who read this blog know these two great people who impacted my life in tangible, meaningful ways.  I am thankful that I can celebrate their lives and what they meant to me.

These two people also had an impact on my amazing wife, Debbie.  I don’t mention her much on social forums because she’d prefer to be in the background.  You see, she is a perfect reflection of the quote from Jerry Maguire – she completes me.  She and I are almost complete polar opposites and everything I do poorly, she does well.  I don’t know how my life would look without her.  I don’t think it would be nearly as positive and great as it is because she so gracefully and effortlessly fills the voids and blind spots I have.

The majority of the people who touch our lives are more like my wife, my mother-in law and my friend from church.  They are meaningful to us individually and the sphere of who they’re connected to varies greatly.  Even though I may be personally connected to them, I may not be connected to the other amazing people who they know and interact with.

I want to take the time this week to share something that you may not know.  Just like these three wonderful people – you have a piece of my heart !!

Too often, we downplay the impact EVERY single person in our lives has.  We keep thinking that people only make an impact if they have visibility, notoriety or celebrity.  Sadly, many people keep chasing those shallow attributes of our society thinking it will give more substance and meaning to their lives.

Piece of My HeartYou need to know that YOU matter – at least to me.  I don’t take any interaction I have with any person lightly.  It may be the one and only time we ever cross paths.  That matters.  I may not personally see how this affects either your life or mine.  But, I know that because you came across my path and in my life – you impacted me and made a difference.

I don’t view life in the manner that most people do.  To me, the “humans” are key because my life is not defined by my profession.  It’s just what I happen to do.

The losses I experienced this week reminded me that I don’t take enough time to let people who are in my life know how much I value them.  I guess I assume they know, but that is a missed opportunity.  This is something so critical to all of us as people to communicate how people touch our lives.

Make sure to notice everyone you come across this week !!  Don’t ignore, brush off or move past some ONE to some THING you think is more important.

I don’t take our connection lightly.  The fact that you would take the time to read this blog as well as connect in person and/or socially drives me and fuels my passion for people more than you know !!

I’m glad you are a piece of my heart !!  I know that I am better because of it !!

Image Courtesy of Deviantart.com

I Can’t Wait !!

ExcitementIn a few weeks, I will be heading to Orlando, Florida for the SHRM Annual Conference. To say that I’m Geeked would be an undersatement !!  It’s a chance to break away from the daily norms and be with 14,000+ of my HR peers.  Some may find that overwhelming while I see it as welcoming.

There are many reasons that are making this year’s conference even more intriguing.  The obvious item that will gather the most attention will be the next steps in the SHRM Certification transition.  I want to see where things will go and it will be great to see and hear things first hand.  I also have the great chance to meet with the SHRM Board of Directors as part of the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC).  I’m fortunate to be a part of a great team of other volunteer leaders from around the US who are seriously intentional and engaged HR pros.

To top all of this off, as if that wouldn’t be enough already, I get to speak !!  When I heard that was going to be a part of the program, I was humbled.  I truly was.  You see, giving the presentation will be a thrill in itself, but even more than that I’ll be talking to my peers.  I have been at many conferences and hear that HR folks want to hear from fellow practitioners.  Now I get the opportunity to do that.  Wow !!

Conferences give you a chance to meet great HR pros from all over, develop lasting professional relationships and get connected to resources that help you do your job better.  If you’re going to SHRM14, I’d love to see you and connect !!  I mean that.  I try to meet as many folks as I can because I find that I have learned more from these great people over the years than I ever would have on my own.

I know that there are several reasons why people go to conferences, but for me it truly is all the people.  It’s fascinating to realize that there are so many others who practice HR and have a chance to do it in various ways !!  I also plan to see other sessions from people that take a different look at HR.  I look for sessions that stretch and challenge me because I want to bring back items that will allow me to improve HR in my workplace.  I don’t want to settle for something or sit through a topic just because it gets a certain level of credit.

So, as my level of excitement continues to grow, I hope to see you !!  It would make my Conference to get to see you, meet you and experience it with you.  Geeked !!

Image courtesy of blogworld.com

 

Getting to Know You !!

This past week I was able to “return home” for Thanksgiving with my parents in the Village of Ada, Ohio !!  This booming metropolis of 5,900 people is my hometown.  I’ve been fortunate to live in many small towns throughout Ohio, but this is where I grew up.  I love coming back home because it is a mix of a small town surrounded by acres and acres of farmland.

We wanted to get out and do something instead of constantly eat, so we decided to take in a movie.  I thought we’d have to travel to Lima, Ohio (a mere 15 minutes away), but fate was smiling down on us.  The Ada Theatre in “downtown” Ada was showing Catching Fire which is what we wanted to see. I was geeked (as you could suspect) !!!

Ada TheatreI wanted my family to go experience the movie house that I grew up with.  It’s said that you can’t go back to your home, but that just isn’t true in Ada.  It’s a one-screen theater with wide rows and 300 red upholstered seats.  The admission was a staggering $4.00 per ticket !!  We decided to splurge for popcorn and a soda for another $4.25.

The whole experience was spectacular !!  The movie was great and the whole feel the entire time gave my family a small taste of the small town I was fortunate enough to call home.  People said, “Hi” even though they didn’t know you and no one was pushing or shoving in order to get their place.  Every seat was a great seat to watch the movie.

So, what does this tale from the Midwest have to do with anything ??  I think it’s very relevant to the whole social media “space.”

We spend countless hours on-line looking at posts, surfing Facebook to post all types of personal experiences, retweet items that we found interesting, etc.  But, we spend very little time getting to know the people we “follow” or “friend.”  I want to see that change.

You see, the more we get to know someone, then we can be confident in sharing their great content because we have more of a relationship with them.  I continue to see friends (real friends) who are becoming more and more sporadic on-line and I truly wonder how they’re doing.  When I get to connect with them, they’ll share how full and robust their lives are and I’m fine.  I want to get to know WHO you are and WHAT you do.

To me, the social media forums are a great way to share content and provide resources to the masses.  It’s essential that we do this intentionally and not just automatically.  Yes, it takes time to get to know folks – but what can be a better use of a person’s time than to get to know another human?

Seriously, what has more value than getting to know people better?  If you’re just about visibility and quantity, then you’re a persona and not a person.  Let’s change this.  Let’s make the forums we enjoy being on truly personal.

I think by doing this we’ll put out more thoughtful content, more insightful looks into things and be a stronger social community.  Don’t be surprised if I reach out to you to get to know you better.  I will take the time because I know it matters and makes a difference.

I hope sharing something happening in my life sets an example of how we can get to know each other better !! Now, I have to go !!  We’re heading over to Findlay, Ohio next to catch a basketball game.  I can’t wait !!

 

Connecting !!

This week is truly a week I eagerly anticipate every year !!  That is because I know when September rolls around, so does the annual Ohio State HR Conference !!  I get excited because it’s a chance to break away from the day-to-day and be with my peers.  I know this sounds HR Nerdish but I’m unapologetic about it.

The Conference has an intimate feel to it even though we’re approaching 900 attendees and 90+ vendors.  The theme this year is “HR – Making Connections that Count” and I really dig the feel of this.  The question is, will people step out and make connections?

One of the real challenges of HR is that we try to gut it out or go it alone.  I don’t know when this trend where  isolation is seen as a strength ever started, but it needs to end !!  Ironically, there will be attendees who come to this great event (and others like it) and will do little to no connecting whatsoever.  No connections with resource partners, no connections with peers and no connections with people who could make HR truly come alive for them !!  Why is that?

I don’t think it’s a matter of introversion or extraversion.  I think it’s a case of risk aversion !!  I’m amazed how the folks who are in the field of HUMANS are so hesitant to meet others.  Is it because we’re different and won’t have anything in common?  Is it because someone will meet you and immediately ask you some insanely hard HR question, and if you don’t know the right answer, they’ll kick you out of HR ??

Then what is it?  What continually keeps folks apart and not connecting?

I have a theory . . .

ButtonsYou see, I collect buttons.  I have loads of them and they don’t follow any particular pattern or grouping.  They range from Monty Python, to types of beer, to rock bands to hippie related ones, to classic cartoons, to HR ones, etc.  Here’s a quick pic of just a few of my collection.  I’m trying to organize them to show them off and enjoy them !!

So, what’s my theory?  Just like the buttons we are a mix of a million different interests, emotions, ideas, insights, viewpoints and approaches.  However, we either think others won’t find us interesting enough, or we think we won’t find people who share our interests.  And that my friends is sad !!

I LOVE that we’re different !!  How dreadfully boring would it be if we were all the same ??  Seriously.

So, I have a challenge for you this week.  I plan to connect with every (EVERY) single attendee and vendor at the Conference.  Not just meet them – connect with them.  I want to learn about who they are and see how we can be resources to each other.

Your challenge is to meet one (1) new person this week and connect with them.  I think that keeps things pretty balanced.  If you’re one of the 900 attending #OHSHRM13, I’m geeked to see you, meet you and connect with you.  Maybe . . . you’ll even be wearing a button !!

Load Your Quiver !!

Recenty a phenomenal effort to pull the HR blogging community came to a close – the HR Bloggers Network.  It was the brainchild of Laurie Reuttimann and I was fortunate to be included in this effort.

The highlight for me in this was to be attached to a group of incredible HR pros who regularly offer great content to the broader HR community.  I make sure to read each post these folks offer and utilize their wisdom, insight and advice in how I practice HR everyday !!

Too often, when people read your posts, they don’t take that next step to look at a blogroll or see what others are saying. I’m like most people and have my “faves,” but honestly, I try to take in as much information as possible because it allows me to be a better HR professional.  One can never learn enough . . . ever !!

QuiverI have an approach that I’d like to share with you.  I think HR people need to load their quiver.  This way you have the arrows needed in order to protect yourself, hunt for new opportunities and attack those things that need to be addressed.

HR Blogs are a great way to load that quiver !! So, this week I want to break out the authors who made up the HR Blogger Network and make sure you know who they are, what their blog is about and where to find it.  Please note that there are a myriad of other phenomenal HR bloggers out there, and I’m working on a way to feature them as well.

My goal is to reach the entire HR community !!  I know that’s a huge goal, but we are only better by being more connected.  Make sure to take this list of bloggers and share them with others.  Don’t just read this post and stop.  It’s time for us to arm everyone so that all our quivers are full !!

Now, the great folks (and friends) from the HR Blogger Network:

Laurie Ruettimann (@lruettimann on Twitter) – Social media pioneer who has an edgy look at our profession.  Always dig that she makes me stretch !! Her blog is The Cynical Girl.

Bonni Titgemeyer (@BonniToronto on Twitter) – Founder of the Employment Opportunities List and the TEPHR community. Great voice on getting employment right !! Find her at The EO List.

Elizabeth Lalli-Reese (@TXStrategicHR on Twitter) – Keeping HR strategic is always a good thing and Elizabeth offers a ton of insight and perspective on how to do this.  Her blog is Texas Strategic HR.

Lisa Rosendahl (@lisarosendahl on Twitter) – As an HR practitioner in the healthcare field, Lisa offers a grounded view on HR and on life !!  You can find her blog at Lisa Rosendahl.

Ben Eubanks (@beneubanks on Twitter) – Ben is the present and future of HR !! He offers incredible resources for younger people in the field.  His blog is aptly named Upstart HR.

Kimberly Patterson (@kimberly_patt on Twitter) – Kimberly truly takes a different look at HR.  She is very passionate about what we do and wants to make sure that we look at all angles of what we do.  Hence the blog title – UNconventional HR.

Joan Ginsberg (@JoanGinsberg on Twitter) – Joan is a truly genuine HR pro who always gives a genuine look at all that we do !!  That’s why it makes sense that her blog is titled Just Joan.

Bill Boorman (@BillBoorman2 on Twitter) – Bill is a futurist and the driving force behind UNconferences literally around the globe. He’s always looking for what’s next. His blog is Norton Folgate – The Recruiting Unblog.

Lars Schmidt (@ThisIsLars on Twitter) – Lars is all about recruiting, innovation and talent. He’s a compelling force on making workplaces better.  You can find him at Amplify Talent.

Melissa Fairman (@HrRemix on Twitter) – Melissa is a fellow HR practitioner who really has a solid handle on all facets of HR.  Her advice is practical and applicable in all industries. Her blog looks to mix it up at HR reMix.

Jennifer McClure (@JenniferMcClure on Twitter) – Jennifer has a great grasp on recruiting and integrating HR strategically throughout an organization.  She is contantly looking how to reach the HR community. Her blog is Unbridled Talent.

Victorio Milian (@Victorio_M on Twitter) – Victorio brings a cool vibe to all that he does.  He offers a great perspective to recruiting issues and opportunities mixed in with a great musical taste !! Find him at Creative Chaos HR.

Jennifer V. Miller (@JenniferVMiller on Twitter) – Jennifer has a focus on all aspects of Leadership, and she gets it right !!  Her insight is very applicable at all levels of an organization. Her blog answers The People-Equation.

Dan McCarthy (@greatleadership on Twitter) – Dan is another great voice in the Leadership arena.  His focus on making us GREAT is phenonmenal – and needed.  Connect with him on his blog Great Leadership.

Lance Haun (@thelance on Twitter) – Self-described “nut about Talent Management” and an avid NBA fan, Lance gives a broad perspective to all areas of talent in organizations.  His blog is Life Between the Brackets.

Matthew Stollak (@akaBruno on Twitter) – Matthew is one of the few HR voices from academia.  He is advancing the field and also training the folks of the future !! His insights can be found at True Faith HR.

Paul Hebert (@IncentIntel on Twitter) – Paul is one of the few solid, objective voices on the topic of recognition.  He doesn’t pull punches because he believes in the value of lifting others up !! You can find him at Symbolist.

Robin Schooling (@RobinSchooling on Twitter) – Robin always has a great tale of experience from her career in HR.  They are episodes that we all face at one time or another !! Learn from her at the HR Schoolhouse.

John Nykolaisyn (@CigarSPHR on Twitter) – John has a great background in both the hospitality and education arenas.  He likes to keep things fresh and turn others “on their head” in the workplace !! His blog is Fast Food HR.

Ron Thomas (@ronald_thomas on Twitter) – Ron is currently an ex-pat working in a senior HR role in Saudi Arabia.  He is a true global HR leader with an incredible look at all that HR does. You can find him at Strategy Focused HR.

Steve Boese (@SteveBoese on Twitter) – Steve is the strongest voice in HR Tech !!  In fact, he’s heading up the HR Tech Conference starting this year.  He also hosts the incredible HR Happy Hour blog radio show. Connect with him at Steve Boese’s HR Technology.

Tim Sackett (@TimSackett on Twitter) – Tim has a great viewpoint on HR in the field.  His no nonsense approach is refreshing and challenging. His blog is at The Tim Sackett Project.

Shauna Moerke (@HR_Minion on Twitter) – Shauna offers a bright, fresh look on life and HR !!  If you know her you’d see this is true from her infectious laugh to her healthy wit. Find her at HR Minion.

Tim Gardner (@TimJGardner on Twitter) – Tim brings a unique voice to the world of HR bloggers.  A self-proclaimed introvert, Tim has a thoughtful, in-depth viewpoint every time he writes. His blog is perfectly titled The HR Introvert.

 

Going Deep !!

The majority of our days are spent with people in some form or fashion.  In the workplace, you encounter people in many situations and often with different outcomes.  Even though we spend the bulk of our time at work, we don’t really have “deep” relationships.

This isn’t bad.  In fact, the reality taking relationships deeper at work can be tenuous.  The dynamics in the workplace need balance in order for them to be effective.  Collaboration comes from a healthy give and take with folks.  You can have very close friends you work with, but I think that leaves a gap that most of us want filled.

Do you have folks you can “get real” with?  Someone who really challenges you and makes you dissect your views, opinions, etc. to have you take time to be introspective.  Someone who doesn’t automatically agree with you.  If you don’t, you should.

Why do you need someone like this?

Going DeepIt’s necessary because the culture in most organizations strives for conformity.  Conformity of thought, actions, appearance, etc.  And, unfortunately, most HR people love this !!  The least resistance makes our jobs comfortable.  If people “fall in line,” then we think we’re being effective and doing our jobs.

The opposite is actually what should be our goal.  One of my great friends who makes me go deep just reminded me – “If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.”  So true !!  Having someone who you can bounce ideas off who isn’t in your organization is great because they don’t have the same filters and assumed culture that your workplace inherently has.

There are some key things to consider if you have someone to go deep with:

  • It has to be interactive and not one sided !! – This isn’t a forum or venue for someone to just be a sage, mentor or someone who espouses their opinions.  This is dialogue.  You both have to press each other.
  • It has to be intentional !! – You can set time aside to have conversations, but make sure it’s top of mind and timely.  This isn’t a therapy session.  It’s a chance to lock horns with someone when you need to hit them up.  Also, anything goes in these interactions.  You have to understand that you’re trying to be stretched here, but that it’s still safe.
  • It has to be genuine !! – Whenever I have these conversations, it’s raw, passionate and direct.  You never hear catch phrases or HRspeak – EVER !!  In fact, it’s how most people would love to express themselves in companies if they could.  You know that you can be open with the others involved because they have this expectation as well.
  • It has to be limited !! – I would limit the number of folks you engage in deep conversations.  Why?  Most people won’t do it well.  That’s a real shame, but most won’t take the time or really dive in when they talk.  People want to keep things at the surface level which is cool.  But, it also never fills the gap to stretch beyond your norms.

So, this week, if you don’t have someone you can go deep with, find somone.  If you have someone, give them a ring to talk to them.  This goes beyond electronic forms of communication and demands a relationship.  Trust me.  If you get a few of these folks around you, you will become the businessperson that your Company truly wants around !!

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

Being there !!

One of the coolest outcomes of being involved in social media is meeting the folks behind their avatars.  The vast majority of folks I’ve met rock and the “connection” we had on-line has turned into friendships that have relevance and meaning.

Paul HebertToday we are celebrating one of my dearest friendships that came from the various forums, and that is with Paul Hebert.  Last year a tradition of #TimSackettDay was started for the inimitable Tim Sackett. To have it be #PaulHebertDay this year is just as cool !!

Paul reached out one day when I mentioned that the HR Roundtable that I facilitate in Cincinnati was going to be on Incentives and Recognition.  For those of you who don’t yet know Paul – he is THE go to resource in this area in the country !!  (Not an embellishment.  It’s a fact !!)  He wanted to Skype in or call in to be part of the discussion.  I said that I hadn’t had that type of request before because it’s better as a live forum.  He asked when it was happening.  I told him and he said, ” I’ll be there !! ”

Now, the commute from Greenville, South Carolina to Cincinnati, Ohio takes a bit of time – say 6 1/2 hours or so.  He gets the prize for longest distance traveled to be at a Roundtable to date !!  When he popped out of the car, I ran to hug him because that’s what I do when I see a friend.  He was a bit taken aback for a sec, but he knew it was what brothers do.

First time we met in person.  First, now of many !!  We saw each other at HRevolution in Atlanta, SHRM National 2012, Ohio SHRM (where he rocked it as a speaker) and most recently at GCHRA in Cincinnati.  We always make time to catch up, share ideas and most importantly challenge each other !!

You see, I dig Paul because he’s very intentional about life – as am I.   I think that’s one of the key elements that ties us together.  Most people shy away from folks who are fully intentional, but not Paul.  He is always willing to mold thoughts, give various perspectives and hone our conversations.  I don’t get mad about this.  I CHERISH IT !!

He’s facing a serious health issue right now, and true to nature, he put up a blog to share about his experience and I love it.  In spite of the blog, I call him because talking to him is more intentional and that is what we’ve come to expect from each other.

He’s pulling through this challenge and then he’s launching into his new business relationship with Symbolist. I’m geeked for him and for the great work that is going to come from this partnership !!

When Paul wrote about coming to Cincy for the HR Roundtable, he used the Proclaimers fab one-hit wonder – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).  In the lyrics they state how the person would be there for his friend no matter what.  That’s what #PaulHebertDay is to me.

I will be there for him no matter what !!

Make sure you get to know Paul.  You’re life will be more intentional and only brighter because of it !!

My Christmas Wish !!

One of the best things about Christmas time is that people come together.  Whether it be families or friends, people make time out of their hectic lives to be with each other.  I know that I’m looking forward to our family’s “Big Christmas” where all of my
Aunts, Uncles and cousins gather in tiny Luckey, Ohio at the American Legion Hall.

We’ve been gathering as a family for over 50 years now and it is something that I treasure.  When all of us are in the same room, it is quite like a company.  Four generations are gathered, and the interests, skills and talents are all very diverse.  There are white collar, blue collar, small business, corporate, urban and rural representations.

Christmas WishThe key to all of it is that we have the common bond of being family.  This brings me to my “Christmas Wish.”

Our profession of HR is like my family.  We come from all generations, from all walks of life, from all types of industries and from all areas of Human Resources.  The gigantic difference is that we aren’t all together.  I honestly don’t understand that !!  There isn’t a good reason for us to be separated, isolated or divergent !!

So, help me by being a part of this wish.  I have this crazy, hairy goal to truly connect all HR pros from around the globe.  You may ask why someone would even desire something like this.

I see it this way . . .

We are only better if we’re together.  We can learn from each other.  We can come together on issues to make the workplace better for both employers and employees.  We can make our professional associations stronger and relevant.  Instead of rallying against them, let’s work together to make them better !!

With technology especially, we can be more and more connected.  I cherish the times to see and meet HR pros in real life because then the connection really takes on a new life of its own.

We can’t keep trying to improve HR being isolated.  It has never worked, and it won’t work in the future.  I also hear from friends who are stating that even HR blogs are lacking “new” ideas, or things that are fresh.

Let’s take our cue from my favorite Christmas song ever because of who did the duet.  It’s the Little Drummer Boy sung by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.  It happened on a 70’s Christmas special and I remember watching it live with my family.  My Dad asked who the “freak” was and I said, “Dad, you know that’s Bing Crosby !!”  After running away from him, we both sat down to listen and it was beautiful.

Here’s my challenge . . . Join in !!

Threre are great new efforts by Charlie Judy on HR Fishbowl and Paul Smith on Welcome to the Occupation for HR folks to share their voices. There are also great collaborative groups you can learn from like: XPertHR, Women of HR, Fistful of Talent, Performance I Create, The EO List and Talent Culture.

Instead of nodding at this post and saying that you’re in or supporting this effort to be more intentional and connect with other HR pros, write a comment on the blog to let me know it.

Seriously.  Step out (including you uber social folks who RT, but rarely comment) and join in.  If this was on Facebook, people would rally.  This takes a bit more of an effort.  Join in.  Be intentional and starting now and through 2013 – connect !!!

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 !!

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