May 2013 #SHRMChat Cancelled

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.” – Jospeh Heller, Catch 22.

 

I’m beginning to think the gods really are after me. About a week and a half ago I explained a little about some physical limitations that were keeping me away from my keyboard. Since then, things like 6 days of no internet connectivity and sick dogs have conspired to keep me even further away. It is because of those issues that I am forced to cancel #SHRMChat, which should have been held tonight (May 14th). I plan on being back full force on June 11th at 8pm Eastern to discuss the annual SHRM conference. Forgive me now and join me then.

#SHRMChat – February Recap and March Preview

SleepingPolitician

 

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!

#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!

#SHRMChat – December Recap and January Preview

 

December Recap

 

Like many workplaces during the December holidays, SHRMChat was pretty quiet during December. We had the usual gang of suspects, but no newbies or novices. Hopefully we can attract more people from outside of the HR social media bubble in 2013. Tell your friends and acquaintances to join us!

That doesn’t mean that our questions weren’t discussed, because our regulars are never at a loss for words. Here are the questions posed, with a quick summary of the discussion that followed.

  •  Does your chapter or council do anything to recognize December holidays for their members? SHOULD THEY?

There were as many different responses to this question as there were people chatting. Some chapters take the month off, some have special holiday themed events, and some chapters focused on charity events. It was the general opinion of the chatters, though, that December should be a time for board, holiday, or recognition programs and charity-based works. Take the focus off chapter or council events during the holidays.

  •  People in the HR discussion space often call for HR to get out of the party-planning and gift-giving business.  Do you agree? If parties and gifts are not the responsibility of HR, who should be taking care of them?

Participants in the December SHRMChat were almost unanimous in their belief that holiday parties should not be an HR-only function. But they were split almost down the middle into two groups: (1)HR should jettison all parties, or (2) All work groups or departments should contribute in some way to holiday functions. What do you think HR should do – let me know in the comments for a future discussion.

  •  Other than cash or praise, what is the best or worst year-end gift you have ever received from an employer?

The majority of our December attendees didn’t receive any kind of year-end gift, so the best and worst answers were a little sparse. Here were a few of my favorites: Best (1) Getting off work early, and (2) Layoff notice from a hated job. Worst (1) Forced to work through Christmas party, and (2) a cheap plaque.

  •  Do you have a resolution for your chapter/council for 2013? What is the most important thing  your chapter/council should do in 2013?

Mostly our December chatters wanted more and better chapters – more members, a bigger and better conference, greater support to students, and a better system to find/rate speakers. Don’t forget to support the Wisconsin effort to rate speakers here!

 

January Preview – Thinking Outside of the Lines


Does your chapter or council focus your marketing and program attendance on members or potential members inside of your specific geographical area? Do you, as a SHRM member, confine your program attendance to your own state or local?  The January SHRMChat will discuss the potential benefits of attending and promoting outside of your geographical box or lines. Here are a few questions; feel free to add your own during the chat!

  • Q1. Does your state or local promote your conference or program to those who live outside of your boundaries? Why or why not?
  • Q2. Do you have specific strategies to suggest for promoting your conference to other states without creating internal jealousies or competition concerns?
  • Q3. Have you ever attended a conference outside of your state (not including SHRM national conferences)? Why?
  • Q4. What are the benefits or disadvantages of attending other conferences?
  • 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.

#SHRMChat is held on Twitter the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 8 pm EST/7pm CST. Join our next chat on January 8th!

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Go Beyond Random Acts in 2013

(I am having some technical problems with my blog, kids, including the inability to insert photos and links. I’m pretty techno-challenged, so please bear with me. I’ll fix it sooner. Or later. Maybe a lot later.)

By now you have probably heard about the 26 Random Acts of Kindness campaign, where people are being encouraged to do 26 acts in honor of the victims of the Newtown/Sandy Hook tragedy.

 Here is a small sampling of acts I found on Twitter, searching  #26acts:

  •  Helped an elderly woman with her luggage.
  • Sent books to troops.
  • Left a 100% tip at a restaurant.
  • Made hot chocolate for my uncle.
  • Donated money to [various causes].
  • Donated blood.
  • Paid the toll for the driver behind me.

While I applaud any kind of kindness done for whatever reason, I can’t help but look at some of these acts and think that they should not be random at all, but should be regular acts that we all perform for each other almost every day. Helping people with their physical burdens, donating blood and money, and supporting our troops should not wait to be done randomly when a national tragedy occurs, but should be woven into the fabric of all of our lives.

 So if you are considering a change in your life, as most of us tend to do at a new year, consider making this your resolution:

 I resolve to be a kinder person and do something every day that helps another.

In other words – ditch the “random”. And while you are making yourself a better person, consider adding one or both of these resolutions:

 Fix a mistake involving another person. 

We all have broken connections with people that we should mend – old friends or relatives that have been distanced by time or circumstances. Earlier this week a friend posted on Facebook that the only thing he wanted for Christmas – which he didn’t get –  was a call from someone from whom he was estranged. Now as never before we have tools to help us rebuild these connections; I search Facebook and other online social groups regularly for people with whom I have lost touch but whose presence would enrich my life if I could get them back. It was a mistake to lose touch in the first place – try hard to fix it. Don’t wait for the other person to come to you. Reach out – again and again if necessary.

 Volunteer your time to the disadvantaged.

Volunteering for professional organizations like SHRM is great, but if you really want to make an impact you should consider helping the truly unfortunate.  Giving money is nice, but giving your time is the most precious donation of all.  There is no shortage of organizations that could use your help – abused women and/or children, literacy programs, homeless advocacy, or animal rescue and foster (my personal passion). It’s unfortunate that our society has this kind of need, but it’s even worse that we all look to everyone else to fix the problem. Start being part of the solution by contributing your time and talent.

Don’t stop helping the elderly with their luggage or the mother struggling with packages and a stroller with the door. That help should become as regular and natural as breathing. And put some real effort into finding the people you have lost and helping those people and creatures that would be lost without you.

SHRMChat – November Recap and December Preview

NOVEMBER RECAP

Our November SHRMChat was all about programs. Here are the questions asked, followed by a brief recap of the discussion.

Q1.How do you determine programming for a year, and how far in advance are programs scheduled?

There was a lively discussion about how far in advance programs are planned, often a year or so before, and the need to be more responsive to current affairs and issues. Sometimes, our chatters thought, programs planned so far in advance become stale. It was then mentioned that people still tend to like old topics, which created a discussion around whether programs should be geared toward what attendees want or what planners think they need.

Q2. Do you pay for speakers, or other parts of your program, such as room rental or food?

The general consensus is that speakers are almost always free, and that other program costs, such as rooms and food, vary. This led to a discussion about the quality of free speakers, invoking the old saying, “you get what you pay for.”

Q3. Where do you find most of your speakers?  Do you actively recruit them?

Chatters stated that it is very hard for chapters and councils to find quality speakers. It has been mentioned before that there should be a database of dates/names/topics that chapters could access, perhaps maintained by SHRM. Matt Stollak, Director of Social Media for Wisconsin, called for a Yelp or Urban Spoon- type list of reviews for speakers. The name “WikiSpeaks” was suggested by a clever chatter. Matt decided to put his money where his mouth is and started a speaker list. You should visit it here and add your thoughts.

Q4. Are there other programs besides a traditional “speaker with power point” that you are doing?

The answer to this was a resounding ‘no”. Participants felt that the need for HRCI credits limited alternative programming.

Q.5. How do you evaluate the success of your programs?

Some groups are using Survey Monkey and some a printed evaluation form or email. Attendance numbers was also cited as a way to determine the success of a program.

DECEMBER PREVIEW – HOLIDAYS AND YEAR-END

December is the month of holiday and year-end celebrations, so SHRMChat will jump on that bandwagon and ride it along. In addition to asking about how your SHRM affiliated chapter or council deals with the holiday, we will talk about parties and celebrations in the broader HR world, too.

  • Q1. Does your chapter or council do anything to recognize December holidays for their members? SHOULD THEY?
  • Q2. People in the HR discussion space often call for HR to get out of the party-planning and gift-giving business.  Do you agree? If parties and gifts are not the responsibility of HR, who should be taking care of them?
  • Q3. Other than cash or praise, what is the best or worst year-end gift you have ever received from an employer?
  • Q4. Do you have a resolution for your chapter/council for 2013? What is the most important thing  your chapter/council should do in 2013?

#SHRMChat is found on Twitter the second Tuesday of every month at 8:00 pm Eastern/7:00 pm Central. Join us on December 11th!

 

 

#SHRMChat – October Recap and November Preview

Apologies for the two-fer post, but I have been galavanting around Europe without a reliable internet connection, and blog posts became difficult. Doing a recap and preview together is one way to try to catch up.

OCTOBER RECAP

Our October SHRMChat was about membership, and you can find the questions we asked here. Once again we had a small-ish turn out, but the dedication and knowledge of those who managed to stop by was top shelf (as always).

Paul Hebert participated in our October chat, and I need to give him special thanks. In case you don’t know, he is an incentive and recognition specialist, and his insights and suggestions about those areas – so crucial to membership recruitment and retention – were invaluable.  His blog is a great source of information if you want to know more.

Early in the conversation it was made clear that recruiting and retaining were two different sides of the membership coin, each group with different motivators, so the strategies and tools necessary to maximize each group are going to be different.  It was suggested that it may help your state and/or local to split the membership committee into two different pieces to effectively manage each group.

It was suggested that people join SHRM locals because they are looking to learn, network, and have fun – probably in that order. Making sure you promote and enhance those aspects of your chapter will help if you are looking to increase your membership numbers. As Paul Hebert stated (shown above), make sure you don’t have barriers to entry.

But keeping members seemed to be more difficult, and some “barriers to leaving” that were suggested were (1) more rewards for volunteers, (2) medals or levels based on longevity and engagement, (3) badges, points or other gaming recognition for attending or contributing. potentially redeemed for rewards.  Asking the members by way of survey is often used by chapters/councils to determine engagement levels, but it was cautioned that what members say and what actually works are not always the same thing.

 

NOVEMBER PREVIEW – PROGRAMS

Without learning programs of some kind, SHRM state and local chapters would cease to exist. Many groups ramp up their program efforts in the fall, after taking a summer break or at least slowing down for the summer. But finding the right kind of programs at the right price for many groups is difficult. So this month we are going to chat about programs – where to get them, how much they can/should cost, and what types work best. Here are the formal questions:

 

  1. How do you determine programming for a year, and how far in advance are programs scheduled?
  2. Do you pay for speakers, or other parts of your program, such as room rental or food?
  3. Where do you find most of your speakers?  Do you actively recruit them?
  4. Are there other programs besides a traditional “speaker with power point” that you are doing?
  5. How do you evaluate the success of your programs?
Join the November #SHRMChat on Twitter – Tuesday, November 13th at 8pm E/7pm C

 

 

 

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.

Bullshit.

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.

 

July SHRMChat Recap – Conferences

 

Once again we had an interesting and lively chat, this time on the subject of conferences. You can see the preview post here, but I am repeating all of the questions we asked because I am lazy and it makes it easier for me to write. 😉

Q1. Excluding content, what are the 3 most important ingredients for a successful conference?

There were a lot of thoughtful responses to this question. Facilities seemed to be the most frequent answer, if you consider that facilities can include a large number of considerations such as wireless, the physical ability to network, and food provision. Food, in fact, was the subject of many serious tweets about its importance. Also included in the discussion of facilities was a suggestion to include electronic enhancements like charging stations or electronic kiosks. The ability for attendees to get online and stay online was clearly thought to be a priority by the chatters.

Q2. Can there be a successful HR conference without social media? Why or why not?

The consensus answer to this question was “no,” although there was a short discussion of whether that was what the chatters wanted, or what they thought attendees wanted. This question also prompted many tweeters to recognize HR Florida and the recent annual SHRM as models of using social media to engage the attendees as well as promote the events. One of the advantage social media brings, it was noted, is an opportunity to invest in future conferences through pushing and involving the speakers. In fact, there was an entire spin-off discussion about speakers and vendors during this time, with tweeters discussing the need to get speakers and vendors more involved in the overall fabric of the conference.

My favorite tweet regarding this question came from Curtis Midkiff, Social Media guru for SHRM. He stated that when social media is used effectively at a conference, it can thread together all of the components, such as marketing, speakers, attendees, etc., into a cohesive whole.

Q3. Name the top 3 social media practices a conference should use.

Not surprisingly, Twitter showed up on the list of almost everyone who responded to this question. After that, chatters differed in their choices, naming video/You Tube, LinkedIn, blogs, and mobile apps. A social media educational center, such as The Hive at the annual SHRM conference, was also listed as a best practice in several tweets.

Q4. Are HRCI credits a must for a successful conference? If not, how do you attract attendees?

This question did not get much of a response, because everyone just said “yes”, credits are an absolute when it comes to running a SHRM-affiliated conference. There was a brief discussion about HRCI and SHRM stretching their credit requirements in a way that would allow fresher, newer content and programming. (Note: I am trying very hard to find someone from HRCI willing to guest on SHRMChat for a discussion about HRCI credits. Stay tuned.)

Q5. What are the 2 or 3 most important attributes of a successful conference director?

This question prompted a very passionate and lively discussion, as you might expect from HR pros. Some specific attributes that were mentioned:

  • Patience
  • Dedication
  • Insightful
  • Motivator
  • Leadership skills
  • Articulated vision
  • Ingenuity

What most chatters agreed on, though, was that the best conference director had the same attributes as any good manager – the ability to build an awesome team and get out of their way.

Join us for our next SHRMChat on August 14 at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST. Details soon!

(AUTHOR NOTE 07/27/12 – If you are involved in conference planning of any kind, you must check out this blog from Dice.com, outlining what they did at #SHRM12 and how it paid dividends to them as a sponsor. It was mentioned briefly in the discussion of Q2 above.)

 

July #SHRMChat Preview – Conferences

 

It’s time for another SHRMChat!

For newbies, SHRMChat is a monthly Twitter chat where we discuss issues affecting state and local affiliates of SHRM. There are different issues every month, and I preview and recap every month on my blog.

This month, SHRMChat will be discussing conferences. Many of us attended the recent Annual SHRM Conference & Exposition (SHRM12), where more than 13,000 people gathered to drink in all things HR. I belong to two different local SHRM affiliates, and both have hosted, or are preparing to host, one day conferences. And most state affiliates offer a conference.

So conferences are important to SHRM at every level. Other HR pros think so too, considering the rise of non-SHRM conferences like HRevolution and TLNT.com.

So let’s chat about what  needs to be done  to make an HR conference a success. To help us with this discussion, we will be joined by 3 special guests:

Mike VanDervort@MikeVanDervort – Mike is the social program strategist for HR FLorida, one of the largest state councils and conferences in the country. He also recently attended SHRM12 as an official blogger, and decided that SHRM has a formula for success through social media. Read about it here.

John Jorgenson@jkjhr – John is serving his 2nd year as director of the Illinois State Council conference, and was the State Director of ILSHRM prior to becoming conference director.

Steve Browne@sbrownehr – Steve was the conference director of HR Rocks, the 2011 Ohio State HR conference.

Here are the specific questions we will ask during the chat. The first question will be asked at 8:10 and each successive question will post on the 10’s.

  • Q1. Excluding content, what are the 3 most important ingredients for a successful conference?
  • Q2. Can there be a successful HR conference without social media? Why or why not?
  • Q3. Name the top 3 social media practices a conference should use.
  • Q4. Are HRCI credits a must for a successful conference? If not, how do you attract attendees?
  • Q5. What are the 2 or 3 most important attributes of a successful conference director?
As always, we encourage discussion around the topic even if a specific question isn’t asked.
Chat with us on Twitter, hashtag #SHRMChat, on TUESDAY, JULY 10  at 8 pm EST/7pm CST