The Future Looks Bright !!

This past week I had a very cool experience !! I was one of the judges for the SHRM Student Case Study competition. I sat with two other great HR pros from the area as we heard graduate students from various schools give their take on an HR scenario. It was very cool to hear their approaches which ranged from a traditional HR viewpoint to some that were extremely creative.

I was so geeked to see so many students come in and share. It helped to continue to dispel the stereotype that the most recent generation is so “different” and just doesn’t “get it” like other generations. I wasn’t surprised because this isn’t new. There have always been generations in the workplace. The stigma that has been assigned to younger people is from older generations. We have fallen into the same trap that we said we would never fall into when older generations made broad generalizations about us. We hated it, but it hasn’t stopped us from doing the same thing.

I think we need to have a serious change of heart and be the generation that encourages and lifts up the newest folks. Let me ask you a question . . .

Do you remember when you got into HR?

Most people don’t start in HR, they fall into it. I’m one of those outliers who has been in HR for my entire career (on purpose). When I started though, I was pretty much on my own. I taught myself what I thought was correct, but to be honest, my efforts had to be limited because I didn’t look outside of what was within my reach. I must have missed areas. I did what I had to, but I could have done better.

I didn’t know having someone who was also in HR as a mentor was needed. The truth is, I didn’t think someone like that even existed. I was wrong on this account as well. When I finally reached out and connected with other HR pros, I found some great people who are still mentoring me to this day several years later.

Now, back to these students.

We can be the ones who reach out to them now to be their connections and mentors. They don’t have to “earn their stripes” in order to struggle as they enter HR. We can be the ones to share our experiences with them and make sure that they are not left to try and figure out this industry on their own.

Bright FutureWe have the chance to help shape not only the future of these great young people, but we can help shape the future of our profession !!

Wouldn’t it be great to help these kids who are interested in joining our field have a great experience coming into HR? How would they see our generation, and how would we see theirs, if we did more to build each other up instead of trying to focus on generational differences?

The future of HR is bright !! I was able to see this first hand. I plan to reach out to these students and connect with them now and going forward. I’d love to see them succeed now and become the leaders of HR to come. I want to break the cycle and not be the stereotype of my generation. Will you be willing to join me? I hope you will !!

 

Being Mortar !!

This weekend I had the chance to work on another Eagle Scout project for one of my scouts. I always enjoy working on these because I love to see the scout’s advance, do great work and it’s a chance to follow their lead. His project, like most of them, has a large scope. He’s building a new backstop for a High School girl’s softball team that his sister played for. It involved tons of digging, moving dirt and building a wall using concrete block and mortar.

MortarWe had some construction experts with us who laid the first course (layer) of block for the wall and they moved with grace and ease. As they continued down the row, they asked if someone wanted to “jump in” and clean up all the seams of the wall. I volunteered and I received instructions on what to do and given three tools to use – an edging trowel, a joiner and a brush. The goal was to use these three tools to make sure that excess mud (mortar) was removed as well as the seams were filled and then cleaned off to get ready for the next course of bricks.

Recently, I’ve seen a disturbing trend both in the workplace and in our profession. There are more and more efforts to split and tear down things. In the workplace we continue to develop systems that are punitive thinking that the more we keep people in check, the better they’ll perform. Personnel files grow and grow with reams of paper to document people’s missteps. I have seen notes hung up in workplaces stating that there will be consequences if people refuse to comply with this or that with the sentiment that the manager is communicating effectively.

In our profession, I keep seeing blogs and articles that tear us apart. I feel that it’s good to have a critical eye or point out how we can improve if something isn’t working. But, there are more and more blogs with labels that are derogatory and belittle aspects of HR. We need to understand that HR jobs follow a bell curve from those that are highly transactional to those that are highly strategic. One isn’t “better” than another, they are just in different stages. Companies may not want HR that is conceptual and strategic. I personally am bummed when I hear that, but I understand that it happens.

I have to be honest that I struggle when I see people who feel that negativity and cynicism will improve who we are and what we do. I read them and learn from views that are different from mine. It’s just an approach that is contrary to who I am. I’m surprised when people say that being positive is so hard and rare in HR and in the workplace.

I choose to be mortar instead. I want to see our field, and our workplaces, be places that come together to build a culture that moves a company forward. I want to use the tools that I have to join people together, remove the excess items they don’t need and offer a brush of empathy to reassure them that their contributions matter.

You may see this approach as naïve, utopian or unreasonable. The thing is, I’ll keep doing it anyway because I see it working. When I see notes, I tear them down. When I hear criticism, I look for possible solutions. When I see that things aren’t changing, I get involved on purpose.

The construction expert who taught me how to do mortar was encouraging and thought I could do well even though I had never done it before. He even said, “If you run into a problem, or don’t feel it’s going well, tell me and I’ll help you.” He believed in me and told me what to do. He was positive in his approach and thankful that someone was helping him with his work. The work was hard and I have sore muscles, torn up hands and scraped up knees. However, the mortar is placed and the first course is laid to be the foundation of what’s to come !!

Time to Reignite !!

Many people are trying to shake the winter doldrums in the hope that spring will renew them. This happens every year and is very predictable behavior. Instead of enjoying the season we’re in, we keep looking forward to a rebirth in the next season to come. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the thaw that is finally upon us and am glad to see the snow start to dissipate.

I think many HR pros look at their career with the same anticipation they have with the changing of the seasons. There seems to be a push that ANYTHING would be better than the situation they currently find themselves facing. There is also a feeling of professional isolationism because they feel that no one is experiencing the levels of disgust, frustration and angst that they are. When I hear stories of despair I get concerned. I’m concerned because if that is how you are approaching your role, it will reflect in your performance and with the employees that work alongside you.

There are seemingly countless stories and sentiments of HR pros who are just flat burnt out. They can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  In fact, all they see is the tunnel and it keeps getting deeper and darker. This isn’t healthy in any way whatsoever. Why would you continue to go back to a difficult HR environment just to be a martyr everyday?

It’s time for HR practitioners to come to terms with a reality in our careers. There is only one person who’s responsible for how Human Resources is in your role and that’s YOU !! Your career may be influenced by others around you, but in the end, you are the only person who can impact who you are and what you do.

Has the fire gone out for you?  Or, has the fire consumed you and eaten away at what you think HR should be in your company?

Lit Matches in a rowTake a different approach intentionally and reignite the fire of passion around Human Resources !! Everyday you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the people around you and also add value to the growth and success of your company. You can, and must, be the model of making this happen in your culture. Believe me when I say that this isn’t a pep talk to motivate you.  Motivation is internal and you alone can build that energy up. You could spice in a great rock tune, say something from AC/DC, to get you jacked up, but this isn’t a peak and valley approach. Once your passion is reignited, you need to fan the flame so that others around you start catching this fire.

I’ve recently been talking with some friends who either just changed HR roles, or want to. In every case they expressed that they want an HR role where they can flourish and make a difference in what they do. This needs to be the expectation of everyone in HR !!  The conversations I had weren’t somber or melancholy. They were a chance to share some encouragement and give them a nudge to no longer settle for mediocrity in what they do. The companies they work(ed) for didn’t view HR in a positive, integrated and broad way. That’s fine if companies want to limit HR – but YOU don’t have to be a part of that !!

People wonder if my level of passion and excitement is some shtick for some on-line persona. You can trust me, it’s not. It took me several years to understand that HR can be on fire all the time. It also took some searching to find a role and a company that was as passionate and excited about what they did so that this ignited form of HR could grow and exist.

So, if you’re burnt out – rekindle !! If you’re an ember that’s just barely holding on and smoldering – add fuel and energy !!  If you’re in a role where HR cannot be exciting and passionate, then maybe it’s time to find a place that let’s you rock it out !! Reignite yourself and radiate great HR in all that you say and do !! It’s really the only way to practice.

You Take Me Up !!

Encouragement.

It’s a simple word that carries incredible power.  When it occurs, you see people light up and respond in ways that they hadn’t mere moments from receiving it.

Encouragement.

It’s something we’re hesitant to do – especially in HR.  People tend to hesitate because we don’t know when you’re either doing it “enough” or “too much.”

Discouragement.

It’s the epicenter of human interaction.  It is more comfortable to tear down than to build up.  It’s what people have come to expect from their supervisors, their peers and even strangers.  Discouragement is the norm.  Don’t believe me?  Turn on the news whether it’s local, national, or a 24-hour feed.  We can’t get enough of the exposure of the most tragic events and the worst in human behavior.  Anything that has a positive tone to it is filler at best, and it’s rarely completely positive.  That’s too risky !!

Encouragement.

What would happen if you personally took the first step to not allow discouragement to be your filter?  What would the workplace look like if people saw HR approaching and they were eager to see you because they anticipated a positive experience?  What if you REFUSED to promote, spread or be connected to communication that tore others down?  How would work be for you, and others, if  encouragement was your benchmark and not your exception?

Courage.

In the middle of both words – Encouragement and Discouragement – is the word “Courage.”  When you are discouraging, it takes no effort whatsoever since people base most of their interactions on some level of discouragement.  To really encourage someone takes an intentional step out to make sure it happens.  It is challenging because people are skeptical.  They have experienced encouragement so inconsistently and also often wrapped in some hidden agenda.

You Lift Me UpEncouraging Courage.

I read too many HR posts that are also discouraging in nature.  In fact, I’ve had conversations that “negative things are what people want to hear” from fellow HR bloggers and practitioners.  That is unfortunate and I disagree with this preconception.

I want to encourage you !!

You are in HR for a reason, so make that a reason that has an impact on people intentionally.  If you are discouraged yourself, I would suggest a few things to consider:

  • Connect with an Encourager !! – There are positive people in HR.  I know a ton of them and I enjoy being with them and talking to them on a regular basis.  They may challenge how I see things, but in the end we lift each other up.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice !! – There are many ways to do this, but it won’t be easy.  Start a journal and list who you’d like to encourage, why you’d like to encourage them and then note how it went when you acted on it.
  • Know this matters !! – People are always looking for context and a “purpose” in what they do as a profession.  Being an encourager will turn the tide of your Company’s culture and even our industry !!
  • Never stop !! – There will be people who will be resistant no matter how encouraging you are.  It is tempting to quit encouraging others.  It is also tiring to be an encourager.  However, planting positive seeds in the lives of others around you will make a difference.

There may be people who read this and want to tear it down because I’m not being a realist in what they face each day.  That would be a bummer, but I would meet them and encourage them as well.  There is always something that can be lifted up in another’s life.  You just need to be willing to invest the time and effort in others to uncover that and bring it out.

You should know that I am unapologetic about willingly being in HR and in encouraging others.  I know you can do this and I will love hearing about what happens when it becomes your norm and no longer your exception !!

 

V is for Victorio !! #TimSackettDay

As you scan the HR Universe, you hear a ton of skepticism, negativity and angst.  It can be draining and you sometimes wonder if there are HR practitioners who actually enjoy what they do !!

Victorio MilianToday, we recognize someone who is not only an example of Positive HR, but he also gives us a cool vibe, a social consciousness and a sweet mix of creative chaos !!  That person is my friend, Victorio Milian.

I met Victorio a few years ago at the HRevolution event in Atlanta.  He introduced himself in his soft tone and made me feel at ease because it was my first time to attend.  I was drawn to him because it was obvious that Victorio took the time to get to know you when he met you.  We jumped past the small talk of initial introductions and dove into deeper conversations.  As I watched him interact with others throughout the weekend, I noted that this is how he approached every interaction.

I dig my friend because he chooses to truly take in life, hold it for a bit, review it and then describe his experience in meaningful ways.  This could be when he describes his beautiful family or his deep love for his beloved New York City.

Victorio is an amazing HR practitioner who cut his teeth on doing HR in the retail world.  There are many HR pros who steer clear of the retail/hospitality world because of the inherent challenges that this industry offers.  Not Victorio.  He was in his element.  He takes risks and looks at traditional HR and recruiting methods with a different view.  The key thing in how Victorio practices HR is that he focuses on people first – every time.

He’s an incredible writer, thoughtful conference speaker and serious music freak.  He was key in encouraging me to start the #HRMusicShare hashtag and we share musical choices on a regular basis.

For those of you out there wondering why the HR Social Media community is recognizing one of our own today, that is what #TimSackett day is all about.  It’s always cool to shine some light on those that make people, and our field, better.  Victorio is definitely someone who does both of those things.

My friend and I still have in-depth conversations on a regular basis just as we did when we met years ago.  He is someone I treasure and someone you should definitely listen to and connect with !!  He’s one of my must reads on his Creative Chaos HR blog.  Check him out.

I would be remiss if there wasn’t some music involved to wrap this post for my friend.  I picked a tune that oozes with creativity, peace and cool.  Happy #TimSackettDay V  !!  Cue the turntable . . .

 

Carnival of HR: Make HR Better Edition !!

It’s time once again for the Carnival of HR !!  I asked people to submit posts and give their thoughts on “HR would be better it . . .”

I was honestly overwhelmed by the incredible response !!  This edition contains posts from some HR bloggers you see on a regular basis as well as some that are “new” voices that you need to take in. (Make sure you scroll through the whole page so you don’t miss any of them !!)

Before I list the links to these fab posts, I want to share how I’d make HR better . . .

Idea LightsIt’s simple and the Carnival is a great example.  I have this audacious goal to connect all HR people together around the world.  A great way to do this is to share other’s work on a regular basis as well as connect with the bloggers on purpose.  So, as you read the works included, follow the authors on Twitter, look for them on Linked In and connect with them going forward.  I enjoy each of the folks who submitted and hope you do as well !! Let’s see how they would make HR better !!

Gem Reucroft (@HR_Gem on Twitter) stuck straight with the theme and I dig that !! HR would be better if . . .

Doug Shaw (@dougshaw1 on Twitter) keeps things simple, yet profound with Three Little Words.

Keith Gulliver (@KeithGulliver on Twitter) follows suit with simplicity in Better If . . .

Kristina Minyard (@HRecruit on Twitter) encourages us to see if our perspective on HR is positive or negative in Pride and Perspective.

Heather Kinzie (@LeadingSolution on Twitter) jumps alongside and asks us to be committed in her How I Would Make HR Better post.

Justin Harris (@UnlikelyHRGuy on Twitter) asks folks to Recruit Different.

David Kovacovich (@DavidKovacovich on Twitter) wants us to have perspective on how policies affect HR in Is Policy the Enemy of Trust?

David D’Souza (@dds180 on Twitter) offers insight if you’re starting out your career in HR with Making HR Better (or not making it worse)

Mary Faulkner (@mfaulkner43 on Twitter) wants all of us to join in Making (HR) Leaders Better !!

John Sumser’s (@JohnSumser on Twitter) HR Examiner always has forward thinking posts like this one from Neil McCormick – My 2015 wishes for HR.

Jonathan Segal (@Jonathan_HR_Law on Twitter) shares his 8 New Year’s Resolutions for HR.

Maggie Frye (@Maggie_frye on Twitter) gave a step forward with the theme with her post HR Would Be Better If . . .

Dwane Lay (@DwaneLay on Twitter) moves us on the continuum of Resolution, Evolution, Revolution.

Nathan Hopper (@nathanhopper on Twitter) gives the theme a twist with HR – The New 4 Letter Word.

Robin Rothman (@robinlrothman on Twitter) adds great thoughts for Happy New Year 2015 and beyond for HR.

Jennifer Payne (@JennyJensHR on Twitter) is the facilitator of the fab Women of HR blog and she also has a look forward with 2015 . . .Welcome to the Future.

Julie Waddell (@jawaddell on Twitter) shares her insightful thoughts on I Would Make HR Better By . . .

Michael Carty (@MJCarty on Twitter) wants to see HR get more social on HR Directors need to up their game on data and social media

Neil Morrison (@neilmorrison on Twitter) about owning who we are in his post – It’s Not You, It’s Me

Joe Gerstandt (@joegerstandt on Twitter) asks us to be reflective on Start First With What You Believe

Heather Bussing (@heatherbussing on Twitter) shares resources and a broader perspective with 5 Books to Make HR (and Everything) Better

Sarah Williams (@TheBuzzonHR on Twitter) shares her view on How I Would Make HR Better

Ernie Tamayo (@ErnieTamayo on Twitter) breaks our filters with I’d Make HR Better . . . By Dropping the Millennial Stereotypes

Craig Farrell, a person looking to get into HR, shares HR Would Be Better If . . .

Chantal Bechervaise (@CBechervaise on Twitter) asks us to also simplify what we do with Back to Basics: Treating People As People

One of my fellow HR rockers, Peter Cook (@AcademyofRock on Twitter) puts a great musical spin on the theme with Punk Rock HR – A Manifesto for Better HR Strategy and Practice

Barb Buckner (@BarbBuckner on Twitter) shares really cool thoughts on her take on  HR Would Be Better If . . .

Liz daRosa (@lizdaRosa on Twitter) adds a positive spin on things with Let’s #MakeHRBetter

Joe Abusamra (@Joe Abusamra on Twitter) takes a talent angle with his post Stir the Talent Warehouse Pot – Nuture, Engage and Prosper

Lisa Rosendahl (@lisarosendahl on Twitter) wants us to look at things differently with Changing the HR Story

Neil Usher (@workessence on Twitter) has a manifesto that we all could follow !! – A manifesto for everyone

Elizabeth Lalli-Reese (@TXStrategicHR on Twitter) gives our theme a healthy spin with Start the New Year Right: Workplace Wellness

Mike Haberman (@MikeHabweman on Twitter) gives some succinct advice to us with Advice for HR to Live by: Just Stop It!

Ian Welsh (@ianclive on Twitter) looks at this year and ahead with How Can We Make HR Better for 2015 and Beyond?

Sabrina Baker (@SabrinaLBaker on Twitter) has an optimistic take on things with The Biggest Opportunity Facing HR in 2015

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell on Twitter) offers a great approach with Be a Lean, Mean, Creative Recruiting Machine in 2015

A fun and creative look at HR from Liz d’Aloia (@HRVirtuoso on Twitter) with Lead Like Carol Burnett

Robin Schooling (@RobinSchooling on Twitter) comes with one of our fave catch phrases with I’m from HR. And I’m Here to Help.

Broc Edwards (@brocedwards on Twitter) asks if it’s possible for Making HR Better?

Melissa Fairman (@HrRemix on Twitter) gives us The Only Quote You Need in 2015

Ben Eubanks (@beneubanks on Twitter) encourages us to Develop an HR State of the Union Address

Tanveer Naseer (@TanveerNaseer on Twitter) asks Did We Succeed in Putting Our Employees First?

Sharlyn Lauby (@hrbartender on Twitter) wants HR to Embrace Organizational Outsiders

Love Ben Martinez’s (@HRHound on Twitter) approach with 3 Words to Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions

Kyle Jones (@KyleMJ6977 on Twitter) wants us to Be Better Than Yesterday

Fun and different outlook from Peggy Hogan (@PurpleInkHR on Twitter) with HR Would Be Better If It Was Purple

Brad Galin (@bradgalin on Twitter) keeps things down to earth with Improvement begins at home!

A unique opportunity for HR from Steve Brewer from Burrt Jones & Brewer (@honestdesign on Twitter) – Why doesn’t the HR Department have more of a role in workplace design?

And to wrap this great compilation for this Carnival of HR, Carlos Escobar (@cescobar on Twitter) with an environmental twist We Need More Plants in Our Buildings

Make sure you connect with all of these great HR folks !!  I’ll be checking to see if you do because I want all of us to Make HR Better !!

 

 

 

 

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 !!

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 !!