Social Media Concepts at #SHRM15

JoeRotella

Last year (#SHRM14) I wrote a blog about how far SHRM had come with its position on social media presentations since my original involvement in SHRM-related conferencing in 2010.

So I wasn’t exactly surprised this year when the sessions included one titled “Social Business: Social Media Concepts Throughout the Employment Life Cycle”. I had heard that the speaker, Joe Rotella (@JoeRotella) was particularly fun, so off I limped to listen to what he had to say. He had a lot to say, but here are the highlights.

MARKETING

I have been complaining about SHRM presentations that do not focus on marketing for quite a while now. I have also implored SHRM to have more sessions that specifically discussed marketing and other business areas for conference attendees. So when Joe asked how many people in the room were “HR pros” and then reprimanded them, indicating we should call ourselves “business pros with HR expertise”, I gave silent thanks.

He then launched into a discussion of how marketers listen and respond appropriately, the large numbers that actually use social advertising, how hard social marketing actually is, and the elusiveness of social media ROI to the marketer. He also mentioned some specific trends, such as image-centric networks, the rise of micro-video, and the use of LinkedIn for B2B growth.

But in the end, he asked the business pros in attendence to CARE about marketing and to think strategically, because otherwise HR ends up being “the department of sunshine and rainbows.” He made sure the attendees understood why marketers built brands and why it was in HR’s interest to do the same.

SOCIAL BUSINESS

Joe defined social business as that which a company needs to become, not a description of a feature or business function. It is not a business that addresses a social problem, but the “intentional creation of dynamic and socially calibrated systems, process, and culture.”

In support of the social business, Joe presented statistics from an MIT study which showed how social business sophistication directly impacts traditional HR concerns, such as hiring needs (57% of employees age 22-52 say social business is at least somewhat important in choice of employer), and improving leadership performance and talent management (83% of employers utilizing social in this area).

Joe predicts that social business is business of the future – “connected, adaptive, and intelligent.”

SOCIAL MEDIA AND HR

A large part of Joe’s presentation went through most of the areas of traditional HR functions, and how practitioners could use social media in developing and modernizing those functions. Joe presented specific examples in each of functions such as recruiting, onboarding, training and development, and evaluations. As a former police officer, here’s one of my favorites:

In addition to video, some of Joe’s examples used intranet, blogs, Pinterest, Yelp, and gamification in different areas of the employment life cycle.

By the end of the session, I was ready to jump up and run back to my employer and start adding social media to all of our business processes.

Wait . . . I already do that. But I walked out hoping that the attendees who do not were listening and saw the value of what Joe was saying and were ready to take it back to their business.

 

There’s A First Time For Everything, But ROI Helps You Get A Second Time

My first SHRM Annual Conference was supposed to be in 2011 in Las Vegas. The morning I was scheduled to depart, by husband became seriously ill and I missed it. (Gory details here.) But I can easily recall the anticipation and excitement that I felt.

One thing I didn’t feel, though, was intimidated, because in 2011 I was already highly connected –  through social media – with HR people from all over the country. I knew a lot of tips and tricks, because my friends had been talking about SHRM11 for weeks.

So I wasn’t thinking about intimidation and disconnection when I walked into the “First Time Attendee Meeting” at SHRM14 this morning. I went in to ask some first time attendees what their motivation was for attending this particular SHRM annual. I’ll discuss those responses in a minute.

But after talking to some of those first-timers, it is clear that there needs to be a better way to help them navigate. There is an app with all the sessions, but the first timers have no idea how to choose sessions, and are intimidated by the number of choices. They know they have to show their employers some ROI, but they are nervous about how they are going to do that. They want to learn more than where the restrooms are and what parties are important. They want to know where to go to ask questions about their concerns, because they haven’t read any of the blogs or tweets that might help them. They want tips that are more specific than “wear comfortable shoes”.

One of the first-timers suggested a special booth or small meeting space where first-time attendees can get specific advice on how to best meet their needs and goals. A smart bar for rookies. Are you listening, SHRM?

Wooing first-time attendees is important to SHRM, because they will drive attendance in the future, and attendance at SHRM14 is down from previous years.

So what motivated the first-timers to be here?

Based on my survey, the large majority of first-timers came because this was the first time their employer was willing to pay for their attendance. And by “large majority” I mean roughly 10 of the 15 people or so I spoke with. :-)

Attendance at SHRM annual is an expensive proposition, and it is nice to hear that there are more companies that are willing to invest money to get their employees there. But unless those employees can show that attendance was worth every dollar when they get back to work, they won’t be returning.

Before SHRM14, one of the social team asked some Facebook friends why they were NOT coming.  Most of the responses were the same: no ROI.

ROI. Return on Investment. SHRM needs to do more to help sure that attendees get it and show it.

 

 

 

A Lifetime Companion

This post originally appeared in the Women of HR Series:Random Encounters. Check out that site because, as the headline says, those writers have your back. I am re-posting it here as a personal tribute to the dog discussed in the post, who was euthanized last Friday. I will be back with fresh content very soon, including the return of #SHRMChat, so check back or sign up for email notifications.

 

JoanIke2

I used to be a lot of things: politically conservative, impatient, intolerant, and demanding.

I also used to be a shopaholic. To me, going to the mall or a shopping center was as necessary and important as breathing or eating. My husband hated doing errands with me because I would enter a man-centric store with him – like a hardware store – and never leave.

So going to a mall on a Saturday afternoon was not random at all. But on one particular Saturday in the fall of 1999, a trip to the mall changed my life.

I stopped in the pet store, which was near my usual entrance, just to look. I had a dog at home who had been adopted from the humane society, and I certainly wasn’t in the market for another. But I loved to look. Did I say I was just looking?

Inside of one of those cages was a Border Collie puppy.

Maybe it was because my daughters and I had really enjoyed the recent movie Babe  (which features BCs, as they are called), but the sight of that puppy excited me like no other dog ever had.  I called my youngest daughter and said, “Guess what? There’s a Border Collie puppy at the pet store!” She asked if I was going to buy it, and I said, “Of course not.” Then I left the store and went about my shopping.

But for one entire week I thought about that dog. Constantly.

By the following Saturday I couldn’t stand it any longer, and returned to the pet store with my two teenage daughters. I bought the dog (my husband was out of town, thank goodness) and took him home.

And he changed my life.

You have to understand a little about the BC to understand why.  BCs are considered the smartest dog in the world. Consequently, they need special attention – they need to be trained, encouraged, and engaged if they are going to be successful pets. (Yes, just like employees.) So I set out finding a job for my highly intelligent, driven boy.

What I found is flyball. And within flyball, I found a totally new world. It’s a dog-centric world, where the care and compassion for animals is overwhelming. It is a world where people cooperate and encourage each other – at least most of the time – in order to give their pets, and themselves, something special and rewarding.

Author Jon Katz writes about the “lifetime dog”. By his definition, it is a dog that touches your heart in a way no other animal can or does, often at a critical time or juncture.

Ike, as he was named, became a lifetime dog to me. I got him as my children were becoming adults and entering their own world. I was also at a professional crossroads, having left the practice of law and wondering what else I was suited for. Then he took me into the world of flyball, where I learned so much about dogs and animals – their need for care, compassion, tolerance, and their love of play, affection, and attention.

And that laundry list of me that started this post?  Ike, and his ultimate love of flyball, changed all of those things for the better.

The professional crossroads? That’s when I went into HR.

 Thanks to a random encounter of the most wonderful kind.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Reasons Why HR Pros Can Benefit From Candy Crush Saga

CCS

 

Last week some Facebook friends got into a conversation about the video game Candy Crush Saga (CCS). More specifically, their conversation was about spending money to play CCS.

It was very disheartening to me to see these friends – people who work in or around the HR space – make comments that were misguided, possibly malicious. At the very least they were highly judgmental.

 

FBCandyCrushEdit1

 

My first reaction was, “Hey! I don’t pay to play this game,” as if I needed to justify my playing habits to these friends based on their comments. But  then I realized that it really didn’t matter, because I have certainly paid-to-play other video games before. Did that make me “stupid” or an “idiot” as the comments suggest?

Of course not.

But that exchage did make me think about myself, my motives, and my reason for liking and playing CCS, even more than Angry Birds or Bejeweled Blitz (other games I have played a lot and enjoyed). And that reflection made me realize that CCS offers some real developmental benefits – four of them – that I wasn’t able to find in the same degree from other games. And I also realized that the reason I don’t pay-to-play CSS is because the first two reasons below get an even greater workout without the advantage that paid help gives.

1. Strategic Analysis and Implementation of Goals – Each level of CCS has a different primary goal (clear the jelly, fill the orders, bring down the ingredients, etc.), as well as the general goal of highest possible points. In order to successfully complete each level, it is important to consider the strategic movement of game pieces in order to achieve the goals, because the player is also working around obstacles such as limited number of moves, time bombs, and fudge (don’t ask). Those goals, and the strategies necessary to achieve them, are different -and harder – as player ascends each level. Developing strategic skills with an eye toward reaching specific goals is certainly something that all HR practitioners should work at.

2. Dedication and Perseverance – As the player ascends levels, CCS becomes increasingly hard. That, coupled with the fact that players have a limited number of “lives” – or chances to play – means that some levels take a very long time to complete. The only way to get to a new level is by successful completion of the previous level. If you get stuck trying to complete a level it could take weeks – or more – before you are successful. Teaching people to keep trying, over and over, until they reach their goal, is a valuable lesson.

3. Conversation Starter – HR bloggers often talk about the value of connections, and how important it is to make them. I agree! You can’t be successful at HR unless you are a person that likes to talk with people – in the line at the store or in an elevator. So how does CCS help? I often find myself playing CCS in waiting rooms or restaurants, because I live alone part-time and have only myself for company in public. But if I am playing CCS –  with the sound off – someone notices. And other players never hesitate to start the conversation. “Isn’t it fun? Addicting, isn’t it?” “So what level are you on?” At dinner a few nights ago I found myself in a robust conversation with 3 other people about strategies necessary for completion of higher levels. People pay a lot of money to go to HR conferences and have similar conversations. That’s why this comment is just wrong.

FBCandyCrushEdit2

 

4. Deepen Existing Connections  – CCS is really big on Facebook, although it can be played through their website and through mobile apps. I find myself talking to some Facebook friends about and through CCS that I don’t interact with as much by status updates or comments. It reminds me of the diversity of my friends and their different, but valid, interests. Developing deeper bonds with others through CCS acts as a constant reminder that connections are like a garden – they need to be properly tended to or they will wither and die.

Of course, an HR pro could spend a couple of thousand dollars at a major conference to be inspired to do these things, too. But be prepared for someone to say that you are stupid, a deadbeat, or just plain wasting your money. 😉

Do you play? Tell me how you feel about it. Not a player? Do you agree with the Facebook comments? I’m stuck on Level 213. Anyone have any strategies to share with me?

 

 

 

Does HR Have An Identity Crisis?

IdentityCrisis

 

When The Huffington Post recently published a blog by Vala Afshar titled “The Top 100 Most Social Human Resource Experts on Twitter” a small storm erupted about who – and who was not – on that list. But what caught my attention wasn’t the list itself, but the words used to describe some of the people the author included in that list: “organizational development, HR technologies, compensation and benefits, strategic talent development, recruiting, and future of work domain experts.”

In other words, it’s an HR list with a lot of people called something other than HR,  from someone who claims to believe that HR “is one of the most important functions in business.”  So why does he include so many different “areas” of HR? Or are they not areas at all – but different functions that are not really HR but do support it? Because if they are all HR – there’s no need to differentiate, is there?

Think of it this way – if you list the “Top 100 Most Social Dentists on Twitter”, you list dentists – not hygienists, receptionists, insurance billers, or the vendor who sold them their computer programs or polishing equipment. All of those people may be important to and supportive of the dentist and his/her dental practice, but they are not dentists. They have different occupations and titles.

So what is HR? Does it have an identity that we can qualify, or is it whatever hodge-podge of loosely related occupations we want it to be?

Here are a few things that I think make someone an HR pro, without any other label or job description. To be labeled HR, you should have at least one. The more you have, the more weight your HR status would be given.

 

  1. Certification SHRM and its affiliates invest a lot of time and effort into creating standards and tests that make sure  HR pros have at least some actual knowledge of what constitutes HR. Based on my experience with a bar exam and the SPHR exam, I can tell your for a personal certainty that the SPHR exam is hard. If someone took the time to prepare for and pass this exam, they are a pro in my book, regardless of what their actual job is.
  2. Education I’m not a believer in the idea that pros need to have a degree in HR., but I do believe that a college education is necessary. It proves that you have the ability to stay on task and to learn. Using that  lawyerly term again – the kind of degree goes to the weight of your status, not the existence of HR status itself.
  3. Experience – Even if you are not certified or don’t have a degree, you can still be an HR pro if you have done some real HR work for a business that is paying you money to do it. Like fired someone. Or held open enrollment. Maybe counseled and/or trained a manager.  Whatever the experience, it needs to be real experience that HR pros really deal with and learn from (so as to help others). No debates about whether or not HR should be the perfume or body odor police. They often are, so their experience counts. You don’t have to be #TrenchHR now – if you were at one time.

Of course, if you want to be a social HR pro, then your qualifications should be listed or otherwise discoverable through social media. And it doesn’t matter if you are  a pundit, professor, or practitioner, you’ve earned your HR stripes.

Please tell me what you think! What makes someone an HR practitioner, without need for further explanation or title?

From #SHRM13 – Wellness Is Not Negotiable (Revisited)

Wellness#7

 (Special thanks to Dr. Don Powell of the American Institute for Preventative Medicine for his generous permission to reproduce his pictures/slides.)

Last year I wrote a blog with a similar title about the death of Whitney Houston. In that blog, I argued that wellness was not just the absence of disease, but included the spiritual and emotional well-being of the individual. And I stated – and still believe – that our nation’s employers tend not to care about the mental and social health of their employees unless it somehow helps decrease benefit costs.

But wellness has been on my mind a lot recently, because a lot of my friends have been getting sick or dying – and it scares the shit out of me. Yes, I know I am middle-aged – with a very generous definition of what constitutes the “middle” – so a large proportion of my friends are between 40 and death, like me. But they shouldn’t be getting cancer. Or having heart attacks. Not yet.

But they are – and so are a boatload of other Americans. In fact, more than 4 times as many Americans die from heart disease or cancer – the two leading causes of death -than the 3rd leading cause of death.

This happens because many of us have this attitude that it won’t happen to us. Or we are too worried about the present to think about the future. So we do really stupid things that increase our risk. Things like

  •  Smoking
  • Overeating and/or eating an unhealthy diet
  • Failure to exercise or physical inactivity

Every one of those things increases risk of both cancer and heart disease. There are so many risks that the individual cannot control – things like environment and genetics – that it seems incredible that we would actually pile on more.

I’m not excluding myself, either.  I still struggle to eat properly.  I have to calendar my exercise sometimes, or I will just conveniently “forget” to do it. Or I try to negotiate with myself – telling myself I will do better tomorrow, or next week, or next month.

But when it comes to wellness, there is no negotiating. Either you do it right, or you risk dying much earlier than you should.

So what are businesses doing to promote wellness – mental, spiritual, and physical?

During my recent trip to the massive HR conference known as SHRM Annual (#SHRM13), I decided to see if the sellers of wellness programs – who are also the wellness-related speakers at conference learning sessions – actually bought into and promoted  the idea that (1) wellness includes more than the absence of disease and encompasses mental and spiritual well-being, and (2) American companies bear more responsibility to make wellness a priority for their employees.

To do this, I chose to attend a session called “The 20 Essential Characteristics of Successful Worksite Wellness Programs”.  I reasoned that both 1 and 2 above were pretty essential characteristics, and if they weren’t included, then all of the wellness programs in the country were doomed to failure.

The session was led by Dr. Don Powell of the American Institute for Preventative Medicine, and he started off  by telling the attendees his personal road to wellness, starting with his cigarette habit. I liked his tongue-in-cheek discussion of wellness milestones that included this one:

Wellness#1

 

 

and this one:

Wellness#2

 

Then he launched into the things that HR wants to hear the most: the cost of insurance, unwell employees, and the correlation between benefit costs and employee health. Solid stuff, and important for the attendees to know. But I was still waiting for a discussion about mental or spiritual wellness, which I finally got at Essential Characteristic #11 . . .

 

Wellness#3

 

Wellness#4

 

. . . and #16. Number 16 was particularly relevant to me because Dr. Powell introduced the concept of well-being as a replacement for wellness, and urged attendees to consider that a whole-person approach, including spiritual health, was truly an essential characteristic of a company approach to employee wellness well-being.

Wellness#5

 

 

By this time I was pretty happy that Dr. Powell had gone beyond a cost benefit analysis of wellness programs to push the attendees into thinking of wellness in broader terms. But I had to wait until almost the end of his presentation to see if he would ask American companies to take a bigger lead in promoting employee health and well-being. It came in at #18:

Wellness#6

 

 

 

Culture may be a popular buzz word right now, but I think the point is the same – a company needs to take responsibility for walking the talk about well-being. Buying wellness programs to reduce benefit costs just isn’t enough.

What does your company do to promote healthy employees? Your comments appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From #SHRM13 – The Men of HR

SHRMKickball

 

Jeff Pon, Chief Human Resource Officer for SHRM, is a man of HR.

I had the pleasure of re-connecting with him on Sunday at SHRM13, and we had an interesting discussion about the demographics of SHRM members. According to Jeff, SHRM has large chunks of HR practitioners – those in their first 10 years of practice and those at the highest job classifications – who are noticeably absent from SHRM membership.

During the course of our discussion, Jeff also mentioned that 81% of attendees at the conference were women, reflecting the gender make-up of the profession.

But everyone knows – and comments – on the fact that HR is a female dominated profession, so his remarks didn’t surprise me at all. It wasn’t until a little later, reflecting on our conversation, that the proverbial lightbulb flashed on in my head:

I know lots more men in HR than I should, given the statistical domination of women in the space.

And the more I thought, the more I realized that the number of my professional HR contacts was almost evenly split between men and women. How could that be?

It didn’t take me long to figure out the reason: bloggers and SHRM volunteers.

Look at the picture above of the SHRM bloggers who played kickball for charity during the conference. Of those 25 people, 13 are men. Now you might argue that the numbers are a little bit skewed because the teams were designed to be split evenly between men and women. That misses the point that there was an equal number of men available to play, when logic seems to demand that the HR bloggers should be about 80% female.

But there is a pretty even split of men to women among HR bloggers, as you can see by looking at this more casual picture of SHRM bloggers working, and taken before I even had my discussion with Jeff Pon.

SHRM13BloggerLounge

 

I also know that membership in the two SHRM local affiliates I belong to is predominately women, running close to the expected 80-20 split. But the working volunteers and leaders who do more than pay dues (run committees, serve as board directors, etc.) has a much higher percentage of men.

The question that springs to my mind – as usual – is WHY?

When I asked some of my fellow bloggers this question, they thought it was because women were working practitioners with less time to be involved. I disagree with this, because a lot of the men – especially the active SHRM volunteers – are working practitioners, too.

My theory is that women tend to shy away from professional opportunities and development, because “cultural messages undermine their leadership”, as argued most recently by Sheryl Sandberg and her Lean In manifesto. So the “extra” work of blogging or volunteer leadership is dismissed by a large percentage of the female HR pros.

And while I love the conversations and connections I have with these smart and savvy men of HR who blog and those who work so tirelessly for SHRM and its affiliates,  I am a little dismayed that more women aren’t represented, given the larger number of working HR pros who are female.

What’s your theory?

 

 

 

 

 

From #SHRM13 – HR Pros Should Think Like Lawyers

 

Auguste Rodin The Thinker
Auguste Rodin The Thinker

When I was in law school, one of the directives I heard repeatedly from my professors was to “think like a lawyer”. When I became a law professor myself, I would implore my students to do the same.

“Thinking like a lawyer” isn’t an empty catchphrase used to humiliate law students. Search the term on Google and you will find how-to books written with that title, because it is a real skill that needs to be developed for law school – and eventual lawyering – success.

In its simplest form, thinking like a lawyer requires some basic steps:

  1. Pay attention to and analyze everything you see, hear, read and write.
  2. Think about the issue(s) or problem(s) that your analysis identifies.
  3. Use precise logic and specific evidence to support any conclusions about the resolution of the issue/problem.

Jumping through these mental hoops about everything is satisfying for the lawyer or law student, but it can make life frustrating for friends and loved ones who listen to the lawyer logically analyze even the simplest of situations.

But HR pros would be wise to use those lawyerly skills to help them sharpen their awareness of HR-related problems and issues, then using that awareness to confront and solve their HR challenges.

For example:

My first night in Chicago for #SHRM13 was last Saturday. A group of us went to dinner at a restaurant called Dick’s Last Resort. I didn’t know it before we got there, but it became evident early on that the entire staff at Dick’s was either irreverent or downright obnoxious and rude.

Because I was actively engaged in step #1 – analyze everything – it quickly became clear that the staff was behaving like this intentionally.  Thinking like lawyer then helped me identify the HR problem the staff behavior presented:  “How does this company hire obnoxious or rude servers to fit their culture?  Is this a training challenge or a hiring challenge or both?”

I haven’t gotten to step 3 yet, because that is going to take a little more research. But just analyzing the situation and discovering a problem helps me as an HR pro, because the existence of a corporate culture and how to identify it gets reinforced and I get reminded that hiring requires a big look at cultural fit.  By actively engaging in those thinking skills – while I was out having a nice dinner with friends – I can become a more thoughtful, aware HR pro. Researching their specific ways of hiring for cultural fit will give me a practical take-away.

Try practicing this critical thinking skill once every day until you find that you can understand and analyze a situation quickly and succinctly, and see the HR implications or issues presented. You will truly become a better HR pro.

Beware of voicing all of this to your dinner companions, though, because they may not want to eat with you any more. 😉

Sleeping With the Boss

Joan Harris Mad Men Season 5
Actor Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris

I’ll admit it – I’m a maddict. “Maddict” is the term that some sarcastic journalists have given to the die-hard, take no prisoners fans of the TV show Mad Men. “Like bordering on Trekkie.”

One of the many – and there ARE many – reasons I love this show is that it makes me think a lot about women in the workforce and their struggles. Some people dismiss those struggles as historical issues, because the show takes place in the 1960’s. But to believe that things are so different now is to deny that women still fight to overcome traditional attitudes about their abilities and suitability for the upper echelons of business.

Last season (“The Other Woman”, Season 5), one of the female characters was asked to sleep with a potential client in order to help her advertising firm land a lucrative account for Jaguar.  The character, Joan Holloway Harris, is the Director of Agency Operations at the ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, a title given to her for a lot of extra work, but with no additional pay, recognition, or reduction of her secretarial duties.

So despite her initial protestations that she was being asked to prostitute herself, Joan ultimately agreed to sleep with the client in exchange for a 5% voting partnership in the agency. She agreed because her marriage was crumbling, she had a young child to support, and she had been unsuccessful in her efforts to break free of the female chains that bound her to a continually subservient position at work, even though she had repeatedly demonstrated her business smarts and talent.

Initially, I was shocked. I didn’t believe the character Joan (one of my two favorites on the whole show) would have made that decision, and I was terribly judgmental about her sleeping with the ultimate boss – the client. In fact, Joan had already slept with one of the partners (Roger Sterling, father of her baby) with absolutely no positive impact on her career.

“Where’s her self-esteem?” I cried. “How could she possibly do this to herself?”

But the more I thought about her situation – it aired in May 2012 so I have been thinking a long time – I thought “who am I to judge this woman?”

This was not a case of sexual harassment, where negative employment consequences were going to rain down on her if she didn’t consent, presenting her with a false choice. Her career was already suffering because simply she was a female. Joan chose to use the best advantage she had to further a stalled career. She chose to do with her own body what she thought was best for her.

This was not a case of rape, like the recent Steubenville case where a teenaged girl did not have enough physical and mental capacity to consent, or make a choice.

If I believe that a woman has the right to make a choice NOT to use her sexuality and to maintain control over her own body, then I must – MUST – believe that she has the right to do the opposite. If I believe in the right of a woman to control her own body and have an abortion, then I must give her the right to control her body to sleep with her boss if she wants to, for whatever her reasons. I will feel sad for our working women that are still confronted with the sexism that makes these choices necessary, but I will no longer judge the woman for doing what she thinks it takes.

Her body, her choice.

It’s not a lot different than landing a job because your partner is in a position to influence the person doing the hiring. I went to work for my husband’s company, so I guess I got a job because I slept with the boss.

I was a good hire for my employer and good at my job – so who should care?

Not you.

 

 

 

#SHRMChat – January Recap and February Preview

TweetReachSHRMChatJan

JANUARY 2013 RECAP

Last month participants were asked to “think outside the lines.”  We wanted to know if chapters/councils attempted to promote programs and conferences outside of their specific geographical area, and if there were benefits or disadvantages to doing so. We asked

  • Q1. Does your state or local promote your conference or program to those who live outside of your boundaries? Why or why not?

Most of the participants did not actively promote their programs outside of their geographical area, although many relied on social media and word of mouth to do so in an informal way. Some felt that there were geographical disadvantages to doing this in their specific state and other chatters stated that they were met with some resistance from other councils when they asked to promote their conference. It was suggested that if some locals made an attempt to hold joint meetings, state councils and SHRM national might be able to interact with more chapters.

  • Q2. Do you have specific strategies to suggest for promoting your conference to other states without creating internal jealousies or competition concerns?

The chat participants were a little stumped by this question, not seeing why outside promotion of their programs and conferences would cause others to be concerned with competition.

  • Q3. Have you ever attended a conference outside of your state (not including SHRM national conferences)? Why?

Most of the chat participants, social media devotees that they are, had attended conferences outside of their state. They were quick to point out, though, that most people were limited in time, resources, and geography, limiting the likelihood of multiple-conference attendance.

  • Q4. What are the benefits or disadvantages of attending other conferences?

Cost, travel time, and missed work were mentioned repeatedly as disadvantages of attending conferences or programs outside of traditional boundaries. The most frequently mentioned advantages were networking and the building of personal relationships. I was surprised that the potential diversity of program offerings was not mentioned in this discussion, although I personally believe in that as a major advantage.

  • Q5. Based on tonight’s discussion, will you do ONE thing you will do to promote your program outside of the state or to change your attendance plans to include another state? Name it.

Most of the chatters agreed that there was sufficient advantage for them to invest in the concept to some degree. One chatter mentioned running announcements in neighboring states via LinkedIn. Another made a commitment to attend another state conference, and yet another participant vowed to promote their future state conference to neighboring states. Everyone agreed that social media can help chapters and councils think outside of their geographic lines.

FEBRUARY 2013 PREVIEW – Government Advocacy


SHRM National recognizes that it is at necessity for the human resources professional to be concerned about public policy. To that end, they have an Advocacy Team (the “A-Team”) to help create a relationship and dialog with legislators to help them understand relevant issues. But advocacy isn’t just a national issue – it means involving people at the state and local level, too. So we’ll discuss that issue this month, with special guest Chatrane Birbal, who is SHRM’s Senior Member Advocacy Specialist. Our suggested questions are:

  1. Are you currently engaged in advocacy activities on behalf of the HR profession? If not, why? If yes, what do you find most gratifying about your engagement in public policy?
  2. What challenges or road blocks do you face in your advocacy efforts? How can SHRM help your group become successful advocates on behalf of the HR profession?
  3. What HR public policy issues are most important to you and why?

I am only posting a few questions this month because after the 1st half-hour, I am going to add the hash-tag #GATChat to our discussion, which is the official chat hosted by the SHRM Advocacy Team during  the State of the Union address. We hope that our participants will stay for at least a while and join in the #GATChat.

 

Join the #SHRMChat discussion on Twitter – Tuesday, February 12th at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST.

Don’t forget to add a name or three to the “Crowdsourcing SHRM Speakers List here before then!