Archive for June, 2012
Most people who participated in #SHRMChat in June wanted to skip the first two questions – what will SHRM do for your state/local – and dig right into the third- what should SHRM do?
But in discussing the things that SHRM chatters felt that the national organization should do to for and with the local and state organizations, one theme or idea drove all of the specific suggestions:
The SHRM national organization is out of touch with what is happening at the state and local level.
So what did our chatters suggest SHRM could do to improve this situation? Some ideas:
- Send more SHRM staff to state and local functions. Right now, this responsibility seems to be born entirely by the field staff.
- Do more to collect data and information on local practices. Make these databases available online so other chapters and councils can view them. Extend online accessibility to those databases that SHRM already maintains on the locals.
- Help more to provide quality speakers and programs. One tweeter even suggested a public feedback mechanism – Yelp for SHRM.
- Allow locals and states to tap into conference enhancements that SHRM is already utilizing. The smart phone app being used by SHRM for its annual conference was used as an example of the kind of service that could be shared in some way with states and locals, even if there was a need to pay a fee, if the service was competitively priced.
- Make social media a Core Leadership Area. Identify social media as a CLA and then give locals and states the resources to develop that area the way other CLAs are. At least one chatter also suggested the inclusion of Conference Director as a CLA.
Finally, there was also a robust discussion about certification credits through the Human Resources Certification Institute. I am not going to summarize that discussion here, though, because I think that HRCI credits is deserving of its own special chat, so I will save the HRCI recap for a future chat. I also promise to try very hard at SHRM 12 to get someone from HRCI to commit to attending that chat.
Unfortunately, logistics prevented us from doing the second part of the June chat live from Atlanta and the annual SHRM conference. However, we may be able to get some staffers to answer questions formulated around the June chat and recap and post them in blog format. So if you have questions to ask, leave them in the comments for submission to SHRM.
The next #SHRMChat will be on JULY 10th at 8pm EST/7pm CST. We will be discussing all things conference – annual, state, and local. JOIN US!
I guess it was bound to happen sometime, but I really didn’t expect it to happen to me. After all, I have this small, focused blog about HR and the workplace, which is not exactly exciting to the general population. My monthly readership barely gets into four figures. I didn’t think anyone would care enough to bother.
But last week, it did happen to me. This blog was copied in its entirety and placed on another site. Yes, I was credited and a link back to my original post was placed at the very end. But these were my words, not theirs, although you can hardly tell by looking at their site. It’s called a copyright violation.
At first I tried to shrug it off, claiming that it wasn’t worth worrying about, and it’s flattering when someone else likes your work enough to use it.
But the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I was especially angry because the site that took my blog is full of ads from Ad Choices. When my work is copied and pasted on this site – they get the monetary benefit through their advertisers, not me.
I think that ads on most blogs are inherently a conflict of interest. Pet stores want to advertise on pet blogging sites. But what if you really don’t like the pet store? Do you take their money and keep quiet? Do you subconsciously choose your words differently so you don’t offend your advertisers?
I turned down two offers from advertisers before I allowed The Starr Conspiracy’s HR Blogger Network, partnering with ReTargeter, to advertise on my blog. Yes – there is an advertisement on this blog, in the right column underneath the social media icons. See it? I agreed to allow HR Blogger Network to advertise because, (1) their ads are inconspicuous and unobtrusive, (2) they target HR practitioners only, which is my basic audience, (3) there is no potential conflict of interest, and (4) I know and trust their marketing guru totally. I earn the cost of about 7 cups of Starbucks Shaken Iced Tea – black, no syrup – monthly. They are awesome and I am happy.
But when other sites take my work without permission and repost it, they are basically feeding their own advertisers instead of mine. They are stealing my earning potential, as well as the earning potential of my advertiser. If they had asked me, I would probably have offered to write an intro and then linked back to my original site. For free.
But they didn’t ask and now I’m pissed off. Finally.
What should I do? Write them a nasty letter? (I know how to write a cease and desist!) Tell off their advertisers? Have another cup of Starbuck’s Iced Tea?
What would you do?
I didn’t have the opportunity to attend professional conferences for a long time, because small business often can’t afford the fees or loss of services from the employee. So I have a kind of bee in my bonnet when I see people waste what I think is a privelege because of their own attitudes. Here are 3 that I often see that should disappear:
1. “I’m only here for credits.” Many professions have some kind of continuing education requirement, including HR and the law, the two I am directly involved in. So I absolutely understand the need to keep those credits rolling in. But if getting credits is the only reason for attending a conference or choosing a session, you might as well stay home and get your credits from the web, where you can sleep or do other things without anyone knowing. Instead, choose sessions or conferences that engage you or spark your imagination. Or spend time at your next conference networking. You won’t get credit for networking, but you will get a valuable career experience that is just as important. But if the only reason you walked into the door was for the credit, you have already closed your mind and limited your ability to learn.
2. “This doesn’t apply to my organization.” If you listen to a speaker discuss a topic and then spend time deciding how it can’t or won’t work in your organization, you have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have taken a call to action and turned it into inaction, simply by believing it’s not actionable. The name of the children’s story is not ”The Little Engine That Couldn’t”. You will have a much better conference experience if you think of how it can work, instead of how it can’t.
3. “I don’t need to know anything about this topic.” You may think that you don’t need to know anything about marketing if you are an HR pro, or tech issues if you are a lawyer. But so what? It’s the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that helps us innovate and creatively solve problems that we do encounter. And you never know when something that is said in one of those supposedly non-essential conferences will spark the idea that pushes your career to the next level.
Are there any more attitudes that hold you back from using conferences to maximize your development? Let me know in the comments.
(Most of you know that I will be attending the massive upcoming conference of human resources pros held by the Society for Human Resource Management – SHRM. Most of my posts for the next month will probably be about this conference. Caveat emptor. But you never know, so you may want to keeping peeking in, just in case.)
Jennifer McClure, a marvelous speaker and wonderful person, is presenting a Mega Session at SHRM called “From HR Leader To Business Leader” at 7:00 am on Monday, June 25th at SHRM 12. She’s a great speaker, and you won’t be disappointed if you get up and go listen.
I’m not going to be there, though.
I will be at a legal/compliance session on workplace privacy. And I’m just not awesome enough to be at two different places at the same time.
You see, I asked members of my local SHRM what they would like to learn about if they were at SHRM 12, and legal information was the majority answer. I also offered to let members of my local choose sessions to send me to and blog about, so you will even see me blog about compensation issues somewhere along the line. My agenda as an attendee and blogger is largely being dictated by others.
I think this is how it should be. Like the vast majority of the HR pros out there, I’ve never been to a SHRM national before because the time and cost involved is just too great. So being allowed to attend as a blogger is truly a gift. And what better thing to do with a gift than to pay it forward and give something back that acknowledges how fortunate you really are?
I think other bloggers believe in this as well. Charlie Judy, in a cautionary tale about over-emphasizing vendors, said, ” . . . you should be sharing some of the really juicy morsels likely to come from the sessions and their presenters . . .” And Dave Ryan, in a post called Social Media Mission Impossible , encouraged SHRM12 bloggers to bust out of the echo chamber. Part of that echo chamber is created by HR bloggers and tweeters attending sessions of everyone else in the chamber.
So my challenge to SHRM 12 bloggers is to do some blogging about sessions or topics that might not be on your personal radar, or aren’t being presented by personal friends, or by other people in the online HR community that we all already know and love.
Think about the HR generalist at the 200 person company in your hometown, who has to deal with boring wage and hour issues whether they want to or not. Help them learn something, because they can’t afford to be in your shoes.
This month SHRM hosts its annual mega-conference in Atlanta, June 24-27 (SHRM12). In order to take advantage of the opportunity to have SHRM staffers together in one room to participate in our chat during Atlanta, it has been decided to have two chats around one topic.
Our topic is SHRM – What It Can, Will, and Should Do For Your Chapter or Council.
During our regular 2nd Tuesday chat time on June 12, we will have a preliminary-type chat, without guests. The purpose is to discuss this topic and decide which questions or issues are most important. Then we will use the first discussion to firm up the questions and issues, and live chat from the SHRM conference with the appropriate SHRM staff guests. By doing this in two parts, we have to opportunity to find SHRM members who are best able to address our specific concerns. It also allows people who are not able to be present at one or the other to have the opportunity to participate in the topic.
Here is a general outline of questions for #SHRMChat on Tuesday, June 12, 8 pm EST/7 pm CST:
1. Name a program, service, or initiative that SHRM can do for your state or local. Is it something you have used to your benefit? Is it a service you know they have but haven’t tried yet? What can SHRM do that others may not know about? What do they do best?
2. Maybe it’s not a formal service or program, but have you had experience with SHRM doing something when you asked or sought specific help? Can you provide an example of something that SHRM will do?
3. The relationship between SHRM and its state and local affiliates is critical. Is there a service or program that you have really needed but haven’t been able to get from SHRM? What should they do?
After the June 12 chat, we will announce the time for the live chat from Atlanta, so be sure to stay tuned!
Suppose for a moment that someone in your small business workplace – a manager, perhaps – entered the empty building on the weekend, locked their office door and committed suicide by hanging. S/he was discovered by another manager on Monday morning. Can you imagine what would happen to your business and its employees?
I can tell you what would not happen: the partners or people in charge would not send everyone home, and then sit around for several hours with the body waiting for “the coroner” to come and “cut the body down”, while the office and corpse remained undisturbed. Then two more partners or managers would show up and decide to force their way into the office to cut the body down themselves.
But this is precisely what happened on the last episode of Mad Men, that popular television series about the personal and professional lives of a small group of people at a fictional New York advertising agency in the 1960′s. Junior partner Lane Pryce hung himself in his office after having embezzled company money and gotten fired for it. His body was discovered by others looking over the top of the wall partition into his office; it was blocking the door so no one could enter.
There was no chaos, no police presence, no investigation. When other partners broke into his office, they cut down the body and also found the resignation letter he was asked to write. It was all very controlled and neat and quiet.
And it was all bullshit.
Anyone who has ever experienced a violent death in the workplace knows that it’s messy. It means calling the police. It means further disruption of your business while the police conducts an investigation, often making other workers sit around waiting for the police to interview and release them. Then the police call the coroner (or medical examiner, depending on jurisdiction) and there is more waiting. After the body is finally removed, the police decide whether to preserve the scene as a crime scene or release it.
Workplace violence actually started to rise to prominence in the 1960′s, although the focus back then was on outsiders or non-employees who were assaulting workers. Today, workplace violence is so prevalent that around 2 million people every year are victims. It is one of the leading causes of work related death in the country. And sometime it is just not preventable, despite OSHA education and suggestions to the contrary.
I recall an incident in my former Detroit suburban neighborhood where a man walked into the dental office where his estranged wife worked and shot and killed her. Ugly and messy? Of course it was. Preventable? Not really. Ultimately, that business was forced to close because it could never recover.
There have been other incidents of workplace violence on this show, notably a fistfight that took place between the now deceased Lane Pryce and Peter Campbell. But that incident, and others, were intended to be comical so the trivial attitude was softened. And I know that Mad Men is a fictional world, and the creative genius behind the show, Matthew Weiner, has no duty to tell his stories realistically.
But for a TV series that prides itself on realism, this trivialization of the devastation of a workplace suicide, and the total refusal to deal with what really occurs after it happens, missed the mark. Big time.