#SHRMChat – February Recap and March Preview



In February, SHRMChat happened to fall on the evening of the State of the Union address, so we teamed up with SHRM’s Governmental Advocacy Team, who was already holding its own #GATChat around that topic. We were fortunate to have Chantral Bibral from SHRM as our guest, and we posted these three questions:

  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 not going to separate the discussion for each question, because the summary of the evening’s chat is simple: SHRM members – at least those represented by chatters who attended – don’t care about advocacy. The answer to question #1 was a definitive “no” – chapters/councils are not engaged because there is not enough time and interest in this area to do anything meaningful. In fact, the word apathy could be used to describe our entire February chat, as well as the attitude toward the topic by those brave few who participated.  I think this topic might be revisited in the future if things change a bit.

I would like to thank Chantral again for being our guest, though. It has been hard for SHRM to embrace unfiltered and uncontrolled social media from outsiders, but they were there and willing in February.

March 2013 Preview

In February, SHRM holds a Regional Leadership Summit for State Council Directors, so while their memories are fresh, I have asked Steve Browne, Ohio State Council Director, and Donna Rogers, SHRM Membership Advisory Comittee (MAC), to be our guests on SHRMChat to discuss issues that may have been brought forward during this summit. Based on that, our March topic will be “What role does and should SHRM and its state and local affiliates occupy in the HR profession?”

These are the questions:

  1. SHRM national wants to be a professional society and not a membership association. Which is it to your affiliate?
  2. What are the benefits, if any, of a “professional society”? Are they different for a mere membership association?
  3. Should SHRM and your chapter embrace the middle, or stretch the boundaries of the HR profession as a whole?
  4. How can one association meet the needs of the CHRO and the HR administrator?  Should they?


Join the #SHRMChat discussion on Twitter – Tuesday, March 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!

Baby Steps Are For Infants, Not HR Organizations

It’s been almost 4 years since I fully embraced social media, and 3 years since I started blogging. One of the things I loved about social media from the start was the ability to hook up with a lot of really smart people and hear their thoughts and ideas about business.

One of the recurring themes that I have heard repeatedly during this social media journey is that innovation and movement, whether personal or professional,  requires taking risks and willingness to fail. People in the social media business space are fond of quoting other smart people like Wayne Gretzky (“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”), Frederick Wilcox (“Progress always involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”), or Jim McMahon (“Yes, risk-taking is inherently failure prone. Otherwise it would be called ‘sure-thing taking.’ “)

So why do we make exceptions when it comes to HR and the adoption of social media? I have been told many times that the adoption of social media requires baby steps, and that I am wrong to suggest that we push our associations and HR business units harder to adopt effective social strategies.


Real change and innovation in companies, organizations, and associations doesn’t come from acting like a baby who does not have the physical or mental ability to leap. It comes from leaders who are not afraid to leap when it is necessary, knowing that failure is possible but that any failure will bring even more opportunities to learn and change.

Today, Curtis Midkiff, Director of Social Engagement for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), announced that SHRM was a finalist for a 2012 Social Media Leadership Award.  SHRM isn’t a finalist for this award because Curtis took baby-steps to introduce social networking in tiny increments – he took giant leaps since taking his job with SHRM in 2010. Yes, he had some help from volunteers, as he acknowledges in this Facebook post,  but the vision and execution – and risk – was his. From 5 bloggers at the annual conference in 2010, he moved to a massive social media team in 2012, with 100 bloggers, a dedicated space where attendees could get social media training, knowledge, and networking, and a special website specifically for social media news, blogs, and Twitter  before, during, and after the conference.

Those were the decisive moves of a leader, not the tottering steps of an infant who is going to fall down many times, while we all smile and take pictures.

HR and its related organizations should be following this type of leadership, and not making claims that baby steps are a more appropriate strategy.