What’s Your Sentence ??

As I write, I’m recovering from the Ohio SHRM State Conference. It was another incredible event full of learning, fun, laughter and engaged HR pros. Everyone there found something that they could use as a takeaway to improve their role back at the workplace.

Personally I was geeked to be able to give a presentation myself !! It is always a highlight for me when I get to speak to my peers. I also enjoyed participating in a Town Hall to update folks about the new SHRM Certification with Nancy Conway from SHRM.

I enjoy going to events like this because I seek out sessions that will stretch me and how I look at what I do. I want to hear new thoughts and approaches to see how I can approach HR in my organization in a fresh and relevant way. I was encouraged that the entire conference would have sessions like this when Bill Taylor opened as the conference’s first keynote. Taylor is the author of “Practically Radical” and I was intrigued as he shared real world stories from today’s companies that are differentiating themselves.

He also shared a story when John F. Kennedy was President and a noted female Republican member of Congress met with the young leader. She confronted the President and questioned his scattered approach to his job. She told him that he needed to be someone who would be remembered by what he did in one sentence.

Kennedy took that advice to heart and Taylor challenged the conference attendees to reflect on this advice as well. He asked what your sentence is for HR? What is the sentence for your company and what is your sentence for you?

I think it’s something that calls for you to set up your legacy, but I’d like to challenge you to make it your present approach to HR !! Think about it. You don’t have a legacy until after you’re finished. To get to that level of being positively remembered, your actions have to start now.

I think it starts by reflecting to see if how you’re practicing is genuine or manufactured. Are you putting on a facade which is fraught with stereotypes of HR and the myths of what others say about us? Are you putting on this shield over your clothes because you feel that’s how you are “supposed” to act?

Be Who You AreYou can’t expect others to be genuine if you aren’t willing to be genuine yourself. The fact is that if you’re genuine, you will be more attractive to the people around you. I’m not talking about your physical appearance. Genuine people are a draw and attract others. If you attract others, you can establish a relationship with them. If you have a relationship, you can talk about anything and influence the behavior and performance of others.

To get this going, I want to share with you my sentence. I hope that it comes true. I need to establish this in order to make it come to life. Here it is . . .

” I want to make a difference in people’s lives every single day.”

Not sure what that difference will be.  Not sure that I’ll even get to see it.  However, it’s what I can do that matters.  It can shape my attitude, my behavior and my approach.  It will keep me grounded and mindful that my actions affect others.

I’m glad I went to OHSHRM just for this.  Trust me, there was much more that I learned, but this will serve as a cornerstone for how I practice HR from now on.  I have my sentence.  Now you have to ask yourself – what’s yours ??

 

1st Time Handshake . . .

This past week I was fortunate to be the emcee for the second DisruptHR in Cincinnati !!  We had another great time and the presentations were unique, diverse and thought provoking.  The venue of Memorial Hall also added to the ambiance of the night.  The true highlight for me was seeing many familiar faces as well as a large number of new people.

It’s fascinating to me to see how people greet each other at HR events.  People look for people that they know first if they didn’t already come with someone they know.  If they don’t know people, they head to either a corner or the bar to get a view of the room and scope out how they’re going to maneuver around people before figuring a way to get to their seat with the fewest interactions possible.

If someone does introduce themselves they tend to keep a clear distance and reach for a business card as a force field to get the niceties out of the way.  There may be some small talk exchanged asking where someone works, why did they come to the event and what do they expect.  More often than not, the room is filled with more people you don’t know than it is people you do know.

I’m not trying to make fun, it’s just what I see.  I’m an extreme extrovert, and I know that isn’t common.  I thrive in a room full of people.  I can’t wait to meet as many people as I can.  I don’t want to just meet them, I want to get to know them.  In order to not have this be overwhelming, I’ve developed the following approach.

1st time handshake. 2nd time hug !!

Free HugsOkay, the hugging part may be overwhelming, but it’s necessary.  I mean it !!  People need to be hugged especially if they work in HR.  You’ve heard me say that working with people is challenging.  That is nothing new, but a genuine support system for HR is !!  HR people tend to want to move on their own and have bought into the myth that they shouldn’t be close to anyone.

Being isolated in our field is senseless and harmful.  It’s harmful because if you think you can foster engagement in employees, but you aren’t connected to other people on purpose youself, then you’re just trying to make something come to life you don’t believe in.  We need to care for each other and be up front about it.

I remember a few years ago, Joe Gerstandt came to speak at Ohio SHRM and I was the program chair.  We had never met in person at that time, only through social media.  When I saw him far across the room, I squealed and ran over to him and gave him a giant bear hug. (I skipped my 1st time rule.)  Joe pulled back a bit from me and said, “I guess brothers hug.”  Love that !!

Ironically, other HR people there chastized me for being loud and too excited.  You see, we want order and decorum in a world that is calling for empathy and compassion.  I choose hugs and will not shy away from it.  I’ve had too many people melt in an embrace because it hit them just at the right time.

This week, Ohio SHRM is happening once again and I will be giving out hugs as much as possible !!  To say I’m Geeked would be an understatement.  I will love seeing friends and meeting new ones.

If I see you there (or at other great HR and SHRM events), choose.  I’m good with a hug right off the bat.  You need to know someone cares about you and that you are in HR.  I’ll be looking for you !!

Calling All Disruptors !!

In December 2013,  a ripple in the HR continuum occurred when Disrupt HR was launched in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was a phenomenal event where 12 speakers took the stage at the Rhinegeist Brewery for their fast paced 5 minute talks using 20 slides each !!  I’ve been fortunate to be involved with this movement since the beginning along with Jennifer McClure from Unbridled Talent and Chris Ostich from BlackbookHR.  Our first time around was a wild success and we’ve seen other great events pop up around the country in Denver (twice) and Cleveland !!

Disrupt HR Logo 2The talks are invigorating, unconventional, high energy and provocative.  To get a feel for what has happened so far, check these sample talks out !!

We’re about to launch our 2nd Disrupt HR in Cincinnati on Wednesday, September 10th – and this is where we need you !!

You can get involved in two ways.  The first is the easiest and something that I’d encourage ALL HR folks within the Greater Cincinnati/Dayton/Northern Kentucky area to consider and that is to attend the event.  We are going to have this episode of Disrupt HR at the incomparable Memorial Hall !!  The tickets are free and you can get yours here.  It’s a great way to network and be a part of the greater HR community.  I truly hope to see you there.

The second way to get involved is to be a Disruptor and give a presentation.  I know this may seem daunting to most people, but I also know that there are many HR folks who have great opinions and thoughts that others can learn from.

I loved presenting the first time and look forward to being involved again.  I’d love to see you step out and make your voice heard.  We need a few more people to speak at our event – so take the leap and sign up on our site for the Cincinnati event here. (Click on the button on the bottom right hand side of the page where it asks you to “Sign Up to Disrupt.”  You’ll be glad you took the stage !!

HR can’t change unless we step up and make our voices heard.  I know that you’d welcome the chance for HR to be better and now you have a forum to do that.  So, here’s my best Paul Revere call to arms.  The future is coming and you can be part of the movement that will shape it !!  Be a Disruptor !!

What’s Your Approach ??

At times Human Resources feels like it moves at an amazingly fast pace !!  There may be some peaks and valleys, but each day is more likely a blur.  I know many folks who have to double-check their Outlook calendars just to remind them what day it is.

With things moving so quickly all the time, there is the possibility that the field we should love becomes the job that is more drudgery than joy.  If you don’t think this is true, go to an HR Conference and listen to the conversations in the crowds.  Most of them are not positive and are laced with unending frustration.

There’s a way out of this constant drain of negativity.  It does, however, take a huge intentional effort which many aren’t willing to do.  It’s not “hard” but it is different from the norm.

It’s all about your approach . . .

ApproachYour approach to your life.  Your approach to HR.  Your approach towards your employees.  And, your approach towards others around you.

Let me share an example that just happened.  We are entering the SHRM Conference season.  There are phenomenal regional and State events that you should check out and attend.  I just attended and spoke at the 48th Annual Northern Ohio HR Conference (NOHRC) in Cleveland.  It’s a great event full of great programs, business partners and, most importantly, HR pros.

Often when folks go to Conferences, they are much more focused and concerned with which sessions have Strategic Credit, where are the best seats, who should they go see and what is going to happen . . . every . . . single . . . minute.  They willingly walk past every other attendee to get to their session without even greeting each other.  The session is FAR MORE important than the other attendees.

Having experienced this more often than I like, I opened my session by asking all of the people who came to take 30 seconds and meet the people around them. The energy level in the room jumped !!  People started smiling and they shook off the full day of sessions and activities.  Their minds were clear, they were ready for something different and we launched.

I shared with everybody my observation that we struggle with HR because of how we approach it.  Just like the conference setting, we are so much more concerned and focused on systems, policies and procedures than we are the people who work with us.  People who come to work and want to do great work, be recognized for it by person-to-person feedback and also want to see their company succeed !!

The other example I shared at my session was that when I attend an HR conference, I spend my time almost primarily seeking out friends, meeting new people and getting connected to them.  I also attend sessions, but usually to meet others.  When people go to conferences with me they better get used to delays because I will get, and give, countless hugs, handshakes and hellos.

You see, PEOPLE are my approach !!

This isn’t an admonishment, it’s an opportunity.  People make us who we are as a profession and it’s the most fulfilling approach I know.  So, this week, drop one system.  Ignore one policy.  Skip one procedure.

But . . . approach EVERY person with a new view !!  I guarantee you’ll love it !!

Image courtesy of Dragyn Studios

My Fellow HRians !!

This past week the President of the United States gave the State of the Union address.  Regardless of where you stand politically, it amazes me that we live in a country where it’s leader addresses the nation with his plan for the coming year.  There are companies who never fully communicate the Strategic Plan for their company let alone an entire country !!

While the address occurred, there were several of us who participated in a chat on Twitter that was coordinated by Lisa Horn, SHRM Director of Congressional Affairs, and Chatrane Birbal, Sr. Advisor of Governmental Affairs for SHRM.  It was fascinating to hear people’s takes on things, but the underlying trend of the majority of the entire speech was . . . HR !!

Seriously !!  You can break it down like this – Employment and job creation (HR), Immigration (HR), Education and Training (HR), Retirement programs and MyRA (HR), Minimum Wage (HR), Equity in Pay (HR), and hiring the long-term unemployed and veterans (HR).

That’s amazing !!  When I read countless posts and articles about how HR is going to disappear or be irrelevant, I have to chuckle because we were the entire fabric of the COUNTRY !!

How much will get done?  Hard to say.  Will politicians get in the way and muck things up? Probably.  Do we have to fall into that same trap of inactivity and infighting ?? NO !!

Make Things Happen SignThis is a real chance for HR to have its voice heard within the walls of their companies, their local communities, their states and the US as a whole !!  If you aren’t advocating for these issues so they actually hear the perspective of HR professionals, then this is your chance to shine.  Look at what’s before you instead of sitting in the shadows and complaining about more things that are forced upon you due to regulations and legislation.  I’ve personally advocated at the State and Federal level and it’s invigorating !!  Legislators want to hear from people who actually do the work instead of only hearing from lobbyists.

The key you have to remember in all of this is that if you choose not to advocate or raise your voice, someone will who is on the opposite side of what you believe.  I’ve seen this personally happen.

You can be an example as well by modeling positive behavior in how you practice HR in your company !!

  • Look at how you compensate your employees.  If there is inequity, address it and be consistent.
  • Look at the long-term unemployed and veterans groups as pools of talent and experience versus thinking about what they “don’t have” for your company.  Investing in people who WANT to work for you is often more valuable then a  pretty resume !!
  • Be knowledgeable about the impact of immigration, minimum wage, retirement programs and training have on your organization.  Be the business voice to Sr. Management about these as an expert and stop waiting for someone to come to you.  Be proactive !!

I hope you can tell that this jacks me up !!  I hope you see the signs that are extremely visible in front of us.  The landscape is wide open and it’s a chance for us to step up, be heard and move an entire country forward.  I’m geeked and hope you join me, my fellow HRians !!

Take it All In !!

I’m glad to say that I’ve survived another phenomenal Ohio State SHRM HR Conference !!  It was spectacular from stuffing the conference bags and setting up the vendor booths all the way to the final session.  It truly is an exhausting week for many of us (by choice).

It’s fascinating to watch the interactions that happen at an HR conference.  I think this is mainly because HR folks love to be around others from their profession.  There’s camaraderie, laughter and a truly evident bonding that is needed at least once a year.  You have to know it’s fantastic to be around people who are working in very similar circumstances ranging from compliance to employee relations.

Another very interesting facet that I keep coming across is how involved people choose to be throughout the conference.  I get the fact that ALL of us are taking time away from our families, our workplaces and the projects that will be jumping to life come Monday morning once again.  Since this time is more focused around HR intentionally, it would make sense to me that you would fill every moment with everything you possibly could at the Conference.  Ironically, this doesn’t happen.  This isn’t to be critical – it’s an observation.

I think what is telling about this though is the issue of capacity.  People take in as much as they can handle in all areas of work, life and activities.  The question you have to ask yourself is – what is my capacity?  What if I could take in one more thing that may give me THE answer I need to do my role better?  What if I met one more person who could be THE one who connects me to resources, a career opportunity or other great HR pros who could make HR come alive?

SHRM CardAt the Conference we asked everyone to sign a birthday card for SHRM because it’s their 65th birthday this year. It was a simple thing to ask for a very small commitment. When people saw that their contribution was within reach, easy to accomplish and they had someone there to encourage them to do it – there was instant participation.  Once there was one signature, the next one seemed natural.  By the time one side of the card was filled, the next side began to take shape.  People wrote in all directions, sizes and locations.  No one argued and everyone joined in.  We even bled over to the back of the card because more and more people wanted to be included.

It was a card.  A piece of cardboard that still had room to take on more people. It hadn’t reached it’s capacity – and most of us haven’t either.

So, the next time you’re at an event – take in everything.  I mean it.  EVERYTHING !!  Don’t miss out on one moment. It is so fulfilling and you’ll take all that you’ve experienced and learned back to work and be an even greater HR person !!

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 !!

Spread the Word !!

Last week I was up before the sun rose and was driving in and around country roads in a small town in Ohio.  I was hoping that my GPS was guiding me to my destination, but it was truly a matter of faith because I wasn’t near anything that looked like a conference center or meeting place !!

As I turned in the driveway of a small, local office building, I was a bit wary because I was the only car in the parking lot.  After a few minutes, a familiar face pulled up and I was at ease.  I was there as a speaker for a SHRM chapter.  As the room began to fill up, I was getting more and more excited !!  I love the opportunity to meet new HR folks and talk about the positive aspects of our field.

Once everyone was seated, I looked around at the 13 smiling faces and launched into my presentation.

That’s right – 13 people.  I had traveled the night before for 2 1/2 hours to spend a night in a hotel away from my family to speak to 13 people.  We had a great time !!

Spread the WordI’ve been seeing a push for HR practitioners to speak at Conferences which would be awesome to see.  But, I think it goes much deeper than that !!  You see, I think it is the obligation of professionals in HR to spread the word about what we do.  This isn’t something we “ought” to do, it’s something imperative for the sustainability of our field.

We rely on a relatively few number of people to be voices of HR, and that could be for a variety of reasons.  The reality is that ALL HR pros need to share the information and resources they learn about with others around them !! It seems very limiting to think that we attend these great events like chapter meetings and conferences to only take things in and never share them with others.  How does that help others in your organization?

It’s time for all of us to shift our mindset and see how the things we learn can truly improve our role, our company and our field.  If you read a great blog – share it.  If you get information about how to do something better – share it. If you hear a great speaker, then tell others about the takeaways you have.

The more we share, the stronger we become.  There’s no reason – no reason – for us to be isolated in what we do !!

So be on the lookout !!  I’m going to continue to spread the word in what we do.  I may even be getting in my car right now to get the word out to a group of HR pros, no matter the size.  It’s in my DNA, and I hope it’s in yours too !!

You Have A Choice !!

As the work week begins . . . you have a choice !!

You can enter the parking lot of your workplace and release a heavy sigh (as most American workers do every day), or you can wake up and decide what opportunities lay before you and how YOU can be involved to make a difference !!

I’ve been working on this myself.  It’s easy to sit at a keyboard and jot down words to share.  I often wonder if what is written by people is practiced or espoused.  Is it great motivational insight only?  I can’t really handle that if it is.

You see I’ve made a choice myself.  I choose to live abundantly vs. die indifferently !!

There’s a true reason behind such a statement.  Too many people float around every day.  Their work is “just a job.”  They don’t feel what they do makes a difference.  It has to be an incredible burden to painfully slog through the day thinking that what you do has little to no impact.

I don’t buy it !!  I really don’t.

You see, even not making a choice is . . . in itself . . . a choice.  You can’t sit idly by and think you’re not impacting other people.  Therefore, you’re making a difference, but maybe not one you intended.  I can’t sit by and just waste away thinking that by coasting I won’t make waves.

Make A DifferenceI want to make waves !!  I want to be uncomfortable each and every day in what I do in all aspects of my life.  There is too much at stake and too many lives to be reached.

In HR I hear too many of my peers lamenting what they can’t do.  Or, how their organization doesn’t value their contribution or HR itself.  I know this happens.  But, what are you doing to make a difference ??  Do you even look to see if that is what you can do ??

We have an incredible opportunity each and every day.  We can take the people we work with and allow them to shine, contribute and make waves !!  I don’t feel that people want to just “exist” in the workplace.  I’m not talking engagement here.  I’m talking impact !!  Employees want to add value to the Company, not just put their time in.  I would challenge anyone who says that this isn’t the case.  If it is, or if that is the general vibe in your workplace, then evaluate yourself first to see if you’ve made the choice to change that attitude.

We can bring light to an organization !!  We don’t have to get stuck in the trenches in the darkness, mire and muck.  We should cut through the trenches with vitality, intentionality and strength !!  This goes beyond passion.

YOU make a difference everyday in all you do !!  This isn’t some rah, rah speech.  It’s a fact.  The question is, what difference are you making ??

It’s a new week.  You have a choice . . .

 

 

 

Do You Love Your Job ??

Today is a first for Everyday People !!  I’m away on vacation with my amazing family, so I decided to have a guest post.  This is the first guest post ever for my blog, so I only have the BEST person to break this barrier – Dr. Daniel Crosby, PhD !!

Daniel is a dear friend and an incredible resource.  He is doing great work with Suited Jobs that you MUST check out !!   Suited is a tool that provides fit scores for
your company culture, job and provides suggestions for work that might better
suit you. Now, for the good Dr. !!

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One-sided relationships never work. This maxim sounds true, yet too many of us think that it doesn’t apply to our jobs.

Being highly committed to your job not only helps your employer, it helps you. Researchers have pointed out several benefits:

  • You’ll go above and beyond to be innovative and creative in your work.
  • You’ll be more motivated.
  • You’ll take less stress home with you.
  • You’ll be more likely to be recognized for your work.

Take an honest look at your relationship with your job. When was the last time you did something for your job you didn’t have to do? When was the last time you went out of your way for your job and didn’t complain? When was the last time you woke up excited to spend time with your job?

If the fire is no longer burning, just take a lesson from James Ziemer and find reasons to be committed to your work.

Love Your JobJames Ziemer, the former CEO of Harley-Davidson, started with the company in 1969. Only he didn’t start as an executive. He entered the organization as a lowly freight elevator operator. In this job, he was responsible for hauling motorcycle equipment from floor to floor. Only he wasn’t hauling just any old parts. To Ziemer, they were the crown jewels of the company.  In the years that followed, Ziemer became familiar with the operations of other parts of the business; he later worked in the manufacturing, engineering, accounting, parts and accessories, and finance departments. All of these experiences, in one way or another, would prove instrumental as he took on an executive role. Ziemer’s early experiences with Harley-Davidson were inextricable from the perspective he held while sitting at the top of the company.

Remember Ziemer’s story when thinking about your own work day. This new perspective can change how you look at mundane tasks and help to rekindle the old flame. Think of your job tasks as paving the way to something bigger and better.

Making cold calls? Sales skills will come in handy when negotiating your first large-scale acquisition.

Crunching numbers? You’ll need that skill when calculating your own salary.

Remember to look at the big picture. You might not be sitting pretty with your trophy job at the moment, but you’ll be proving to yourself that you are ready for more than just another quick Hollywood-type fling.