There was one theme that the tweeters returned to frequently in the busy hour that was the May SHRMChat:
Marketing to and educating businesses without an HR function is a huge opportunity that is generally overlooked by most state and local SHRM affiliates.
Most of the chatters admitted that they have a healthy number of members or function attendees that are small business representatives and not specifically HR pros. Some chatters felt that their program offerings were targeted to generic business issues that would benefit everyone, even if their audience was not HR specific.
But more felt that their SHRM affiliate didn’t do enough to market to small business, and needed to reach out to them more specifically instead of waiting for the business to come to the chapter. Some of the suggestions for increasing non-hr attendance at events and programs were
- Direct marketing and announcements to Chambers of Commerce and local business schools
- Marketing and reach out efforts through local business press sources
- Meeting attendance incentives such as free guest attendance and free student admission
- E-books or other publications on basic HR topics for small business
- Make sure the Board and volunteer positions includes business pros who are not necessarily HR pros
There was also a robust discussion about the type of programs that would be of interest to small business without an HR function. One of the chatters, Alicia Arenas, a small business strategist, offered some specific suggestions regarding the types of topics or issues that small business wants to address
- How to have a performance discussion with employees
- How to motivate employees
- How to tell when an employee is lying
In short, chapters and councils need to think basic when considering how to attract and educate the business without a dedicated HR pro or consultant.
Finally, the chatters – ever vigilant about how to get their chapters to buy into increased involvement in the non-HR community, discussed how chapters tend to do things that get measured. SHAPE plans that require some type of initiative to reach small business was discussed. One of my favorite comments was that an initiative that focused on educating and engaging the small business community would be “ripe for a Pinnacle Award.”
Although it wasn’t the last discussion of the chat, this probably best sums up the feelings of the May SHRMchat participants:
Small business access to chapter and council initiatives doesn’t have to mean an increase in membership or revenue. Connecting to your community, and improving human resources business function should be the ultimate goal.
Join us for a special two-part June SHRMChat. Our June topic is “SHRM national – what can they, will they, and should they do for the state/local affiliate?” We will be chatting on Tuesday, June 12, at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST to flesh out these issues in preparation for a special live chat from the SHRM conference in Atlanta. The Atlanta date and time will be announced as soon as it is finalized.