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.

A Positive State of Mind !!

Lately, the HR Blog world has had a negative vibe.  I understand that what we do in Human Resources can be challenging, frustrating and even overwhelming.  We are dealing with people.  I think it actually could be the definition of “human being.”

The other trend I’ve noticed is that most of HR is focused on fixing what’s wrong.  The real limitation of this is that the majority of the things that are truly “wrong” with people makes up only about 10% of the folks you work with.  However, that makes up 90% of our focus.  It results in programs, policies, and efforts that miss the best employees all together !!

Honestly, it tires me out.  Doesn’t it tire you out?  I try my best to be positive every day and in every situation.  Whenever I’ve brought this approach out, it gets looked at as being somewhat of a Pollyanna.  Someone who doesn’t recognize the reality of the swirl of day-to-day life and negativity that tries to swallow us whole.

Stay PositiveI don’t see positivity as a “way of life.”  I see it as a choice.  I can choose to fill myself with those things that are good and uplifting.  I can choose to surround myself with people who look for the best in themselves and in others.  I can choose to believe that EVERYONE has value !!  And, I can also choose to be positive with others when I interact with them.

Sure, that’s also challenging !!  I’m not naive.  In fact, I know that I’m probably seen as challenging to others, have had blue funk days, and am quite sure that I’ve disappointed others for a variety of reasons.  Having setbacks don’t lessen a positive outlook.  In fact, the ability to face the peaks and valleys of life is a necessity.  Again, you face a choice.

I’m going to look for, and highlight, #PositiveHR when I see it.  I think it’s time to turn the tide in the field and in Social Media forums.  It doesn’t mean we can’t be critical.  We should be. It doesn’t mean that things shouldn’t improve.  They should.  HOW those things are done is the difference !!

People want positive things around them and in their lives.  Everyday.  Honestly, they’re yearning for it personally and in their workplaces.  They’re especially looking for it in, and from, HR !!

You’re starting a new week.  I’m sure the week ahead is full of all kinds of opportunities and obstacles.  You have a choice.  Will it be positive ??  I can tall you what my approach will be.

An Opportunity you Can Kick In !!

One week from now I get the chance to attend the SHRM National Conference in Chicago !!  It’s an incredible event for professional development, networking and connecting with HR pros from around the globe !!

It’s also an opportunity to make a difference.  I dig being active and visible in Social Media.  I have to be very honest and clear about that because too often HR people who aren’t active think that what we do is out of reach or not feasible for them.  What difference does it make to just be out “in the space” ??

What people lose sight of is that the folks who are active in Social Media aren’t just talking (or typing) heads.  They’re very real and folks who push the boundaries and take action.  That’s why I love to be included with this crew !!

No Kid Hungry LogoThis year a group of us are getting together at SHRM13 to play kickball !!  (That’s great Steve – what does that have to do with anything ??)  Good question.  You see, we’re playing for charity to raise money and awareness for No Kid Hungry.  They’re a phenomenal organization who’s making a real difference in ending hunger for children in America.

You have an opportunity to help us out in our efforts even though you might not be playing.  We’re taking donations until we play next Sunday night.  You can do by clicking on this link that goes to our  fundraising page – SHRM 13 Kickball.

The thought of a bunch of adults reaching back to our childhood to have a friendly game from all of our memories gets me geeked !!  We should never lose that time when we freely played, used our imaginations and thought there were no boundaries that we would ever face.

It’s humbling that I get to be involved in such a cool service and outreach effort.  I hope you can take this opportunity to connect, give and take action as well.  Your donation will help children eat – something we often take for granted.

For those of you on Twitter – for every Tweet on Tuesday using the hashtag #SHRMKickball there are two sponsors who will donate $1.00 per tweet up to $1,000 !!  That is sweet !!

People ask me if HR can ever make a difference – Here’s a chance to show you can !!

Make sure you check out No Kid Hungry going forward as well.  This may be something that your employees families are facing, and you don’t even know it.  To get you in the “mood” I leave you with a song that talks about “opportunities” with that HR tie.  Enjoy and thanks for considering this !!

Why Can’t We Be Friends ??

In a few weeks I’m going to SHRM13 !!  The National HR Conference is always a great event.  It’s so cool to be surrounded by thousands of HR pros from literally all over the world.

It will be great to see friends, but I’m also looking forward to meeting new folks.  This is sometimes a challenge because many attendees are in a mad rush to get to sessions for their credits, or they stick with people from their own geographic region.  I get this because I was like that when I first started going to SHRM Conferences.  I thought the event was more important than the people who were right there with me.

That’s changed over the years and now my goal is to try and connect with as many HR peers as I can.  I think we have the opportunity to take these types of forums and reach across boundaries to be a better profession !!  Recently, Hank Jackson, SHRM CEO, shared that he wants SHRM to be seen as a Professional Society vs. a Membership Organization.  When I heard this, I was geeked !!  I’d love to see this transformation truly occur because the majority of messaging from SHRM over the past few years has been focused on membership.

Meeting OthersIt’s time for us, as HR professionals though to pave the way for this to occur.  The best way for SHRM to move forward is for us to show the way and reach out to each other.  It’s never going to shift much unless we move first.

I know this takes some risk, but it’s worth it.  I know that by stepping out, I’ve met great people from literally around the world !!  It meant taking the first step in most instances, but it’s always resulted in great relationships and even better resources.  You have to remember that you share a common bond because of HR !!  You’ll always have something to talk about.

So, if you’re going to be at SHRM13, let’s make sure to connect.  It will rock and we’ll start setting the standard for others to follow !!

 

Dissolve the layers !!

The field of HR is vast.  I dig that.  You can seek a career in HR and going in many different ways.  Not many other fields can do that.  The ironic thing about this breadth though is that we don’t embrace it.  In fact, we do our best to have massive barriers built between the different areas so that each one can place its stake in its respective ground.

Here’s an example . . . vendors.

HR people don’t like vendors.  Vendors, in turn, don’t like HR people.  However, we need each other in order to do our job well.  But, instead of embracing each other and seeing each other as resources, we tend to tell each group to stay in their camp.

Another one . . . Sr. HR Executives.

I know I’m heading into treacherous water in calling this out.  But, when did Sr. HR pros forget that they weren’t always Senior ??  Is there an apex in our profession where we can avoid those “below us” because we don’t deal in the transactional work that lower level HR people have to address?

DissolveI don’t get it and I refuse to.  I have a different approach that I’d like us all to consider.  Let’s dissolve the layers that separate our profession and work together as talented parts of an amazing whole !!  I’m not asking us to become an HR commune.  I’m asking us to truly be strategic and understand that each part of our profession brings a strength and value to what we bring to the business community.

Last week I spoke at a very small HR chapter along which had four students from a SHRM Student chapter.  An a “Sr. HR professional,” I could have taken the stance that I wasn’t with those “of my kind” and that this was a waste of time.  Or, I could see it as an opportunity to meet great new HR folks that I didn’t know and maybe, just maybe, one of those students could meet someone that remembered how hard it was to start in HR and give them my time and attention.

So, let’s rally together !!  Vendors, recruiters, OD, Training, Consultants, Generalists, Comp & Bens folks, HR Admins, HR Analysts and Executives.  Together we make up HR.  Let’s quit trying to splinter our field.  Let’s be the example of how together we are a vital, relevant and strategic business entity !!

Be a Giant Slayer !!

This weekend my whole family went to see Jack The Giant Slayer.  We love going to movies in general, and I have to say that I enjoyed this take on an old fairy tale because it gave it a new spin.  Jack was truly involved in the tale as a hero with character and not someone who was out to dupe the giant.

It got me thinking about HR because EVERYTHING can be tied back to HR !!  So often I find myself, and my peers, getting stuck on the minute and minuscule things at work.  We spend endless time and effort on something that gives us angst, but has little to do with the scheme of things in general.

Why is that?  Why does our focus jump to something so insignificant?  Do we feel that if we address whatever it is, we’ll be free and unfettered to do something amazing?  No, in most cases we jump to the next small item.

Giant SlayerIn the movie Jack and the princess “long for adventure” in their lives.  Both feel that there is something out across the horizon that will bring excitement, thrills all mixed with the knowledge that the “unknown” is driving them.  That’s what I long for as well !!

HR should never been mundane or minimized !!  Seriously, when you have the chance to work with people, the landscape of what can happen is truly endless.  What would happen to your perspective if you saw every day as an adventure and that there were giants out there for you to go after and slay?  I’m telling you that you would be geeked and couldn’t wait until the next challenge showed up !!

Many HR people I meet are exasperated with their work and they don’t understand why HR truly invigorates me.  I honestly don’t know if I can explain it.  It’s just the way I’ve always approached it.  I’m not naive.  I know there are daunting aspects to HR.  But, to me they’re an adventure !!

So, this week see where your adventure can begin.  Identify the giants that are in your path and seek them out instead of avoiding them.   Take hold of your corner of the HR kingdom and jump in with both feet !!  When you do, our paths may cross because I am already seeing what’s next on the unknown horizon !!

It might be good for your soul.  Take a note from the great group They Might Be Giants !!

Image courtesy of Film.com

 

Eat. Sleep. Do HR.

Hey HR folks !!  Is the first word that comes out of your mouth when you head into work – “Ugh !!”  Seriously, does the dawning of a new day in your corner of the HR universe generate excitement and anticipation, or drudgery and a loathsome feeling?

The answer most people reading this would say – “It depends on the day !!”

You know, that’s fair.  The question you have to ask youself is what mood, or tone, do you regularly set as an HR pro?  As a department?  Do people like interacting with you, or do they do the classic, “Shhhh, it’s HR !!”

The are approximately 4 zillion posts on HR and engagement out there on the Internet now.  I suppose that even as I type, more are being typed and posted.  Rarely, however, do I see a post asking if HR is engaged.

Eat Sleep Do HRLet’s go back to how you approach this field that deals with people.  A friend of mine recently gave me this fabulous button.  ( I collect buttons, by the way.  Great hobby !!)

When I saw it, I just had to add it to my collection !!  I wear this button along with my “HR Rocks !!” button on my coat.  When Team Members see them, they either snicker or roll their eyes.  I’m actually cool with that because I want to get a reaction from them.  I ask them why they give the reaction they do, and the answer I get the most is “You sure are an HR geek !!”  Sweet !!

The other reason I got this button is to turn those of my peers who see our field as a giant mire pit of one problem leading to the next.  If any of you reading this feel this way, it’s time to reflect and see if this is the field for you.

I don’t want anyone to ever leave HR, but if any profession is defined by a black cloud or black hole approach, then you should get out of it.  I think HR is dynamic, challeging, uplifting, passionate and messy !!  How many fields can say that?  I don’t want HR to be soft and fluffy.  I don’t want HR to fall into the stereotypes that people often tie to us.

I do want HR to be inclusive, intentional and individualistic !!  We should meet people where they are – not where we think they should be !!

Recently, I met with a Team Member for the first time to recognize her for her 5 year anniversary.  We have over 1,200 Team Members who work various shifts on various days.  I wish I could know all of them personally, but that’s very difficult.  When she met with me her eyes were huge and she was anxious because she was meeting the head of HR.  When I explained that I was there to recognize and thank her for her 5 years of service, she burst into tears and gave me a bear hug !! “I love what I do !!  Thank you so much for this !!” Messy and emotional.  HR at it’s finest !!

So, this week as you get ready to jump back into the mix.  You have to ask yourself – am I going to just DO HR – or am I going to ROCK IT ??!!  I think you know the answer I hope we ALL say . . .