#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.


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.



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




Michigan SHRM State Conference – Rants and Raves

It’s been a while since I have done a rants and raves blog about a conference I’ve attended (this was the first), even though there have been several conferences I’ve been at that I could have ranted blogged about.

I can’t overlook the recent Michigan conference, held last week in Novi, MI, though. I have previously avoided attending the Michigan conference because I have felt that my personal professional development dollars were spent in better venues. But this year my home SHRM chapter, Detroit SHRM, was the conference sponsor, so I felt a little more obligated to be there. Plus, it was held about a 3 minute drive from my Michigan house (still unsold!) so travel arrangements were cheap and easy. Cheap and easy is a huge motivator sometimes. I was also able to volunteer during the conference, which always makes me feel more productive. So here are my thoughts about MISHRM12:


No social media presence – At least not much of one. To be fair, the organizers did create a blog site this year, but it contained nothing much but presenter or exhibitor advertisements for their session or booth. There was no useful content or information on the blog at all. There was no Facebook page at all. There were a few brave souls on Twitter (I was one of them). Here’s what one person sarcastically said about the MISHRM Twitter presence:

No, there weren’t even baby steps – more like a comatose baby in a crib. It makes me wonder if anyone from MISHRM even attends and understands their own sessions, since the always-wonderful Curtis Midkiff, Director of Social Engagement for SHRM (the national organization) gave a compelling session on why social media is important. Sad.

Sponsored sessions – MISHRM sold sponsorships of each learning session, so someone from the sponsor introduced each session speaker. BUT – not until after giving a little commercial for their company and why it was wonderful. I hated this with a passion. I didn’t think it was appropriate for people to be forced to listen to a sales pitch before they got what they paid and came for – learning. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

Nice theme, but poor execution – The theme of the conference was “The Difference is U”. It was all supposed to be about learning and college/university. A lot could have been done with the theme – encouraging everyone to wear their college logos or colors during the conference, cheerleaders with pom pons announcing things, and presenters and vendors getting into the act. It would have made the conference FUN. But attendees, presenters, and exhibitors still wore their business clothes, with the exception of a “Tailgate Party” at the end of the Thursday session day. Unfortunately, most people left the conference hall right after sessions ended – it was clearly a commuting group of locals who wanted to hightail it home. Allowing people to have more fun during the session day would have held a lot more of them there for evening festivities. Ask Steve Browne the marketing value of letting your theme set your tone, who started his 2011 “HR Rocks” conference in Ohio dressed as a rock star and lip syncing a rock song. People still talk about that conference.


Location – In a recent #SHRMChat about conferences, location and facilities was considered to be highly important when planning a conference. I loved this facility because the session rooms were fairly close together, the exhibitor hall was large and spacious with a lot of room to sit, and it was conveniently located right off an expressway. There was no attached hotel, but since I wasn’t staying at a hotel anyway it didn’t bother me a bit, and kept the walking to a minimum. The official hotel was only a few minutes away, and shuttle service was offered.

Location – There was WiFi capability, which put it ahead of many conferences I have attended, and was also rated as hugely important during the previously mentioned SHRMChat. I’m not sure many people were using it (see Rant #1), but it was there. Kudos. By the way, there was also a mobile conference app – which has nothing to do with location but shows that the organizers CAN be up-to-date if they want to be.

Location – Lots of available parking and food service was . . . serviceable. The biggest complaint from attendees was that there were no soft drinks, even during scheduled meals. Being a local, neighborhood girl, I was able to go out for meals and get back in plenty of time. That’s a rave in my book. 😉


A Special Two-Part June #SHRMChat

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!

Helping Non-HR Do HR – May #SHRMChat Recap


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.

March SHRMChat Recap: Collaboration = Innovation

Our topic for March was “is it in the interest of SHRM chapters and councils to embrace other HR groups?” The point of this topic was to discuss whether partnerships with these groups- particularly those groups who have emerged with the explosion of new media and offer conferences and other learning opportunities-  limited the ability of SHRM state councils and local chapters to attract members and conference registrants.

The discussion yielded a resounding “yes” for collaboration.

Most of the people chatting felt that SHRM chapters and councils risk stagnation if they fail to embrace  outside groups. While some of the chatters felt that stagnation was the result of a need for new leadership, many felt that collaboration with other groups helped overcome the tunnel vision that many current SHRM leaders possess, and offered the current SHRM leaders new insights, or innovation, into HR-related areas.

When faced with a tweeted concern that having outside groups provide knowledge might keep potential members from joining their local chapter, most of the chat participants claimed that the added value from effective collaboration would prevent an exodus of current members, and attract new ones.

So in the minds of the March chatters, collaboration also yields added value.

With the case for collaboration firmly made, we asked the chatters what groups SHRM states and locals should look to when developing some kind of partnership. One of the most frequently mentioned  partnerships was the Chamber of Commerce.  Not only do Chambers have an interest and need to promote business-related programming, they also help SHRM locals and states reach businesses that have no traditional HR presence.

Beyond that, it was felt that the groups that might be effective partners for SHRM chapters was highly dependent on the specific needs and focus of the chapter.

One of the best examples of SHRM affiliate and outside collaboration was revealed by guest Craig Fisher of Talent Net Live and John Jorgenson, Conference Director at Illinois State Council (and faithful #SHRMChat moderator), who announced that Talent Net Live was kicking off the 2012 Illinois SHRM state conference with a pre-conference session on social recruiting.

I also humbly added my own chapter as an example – in April, Human Resources Association of Greater Detroit (Detroit SHRM) is partnering with the Michigan Diversity Council to present renowned diversity speaker Joe Gerstandt.

So if you belong to a SHRM affiliated state or local chapter, make sure you take any opportunity you can to suggest collaborative partnerships with other HR related groups.

SHRMChat is held on Twitter the second Tuesday of every month from 8 – 9 pm Eastern. Join us for the next chat on April 10th. Details will be announced in an upcoming blog post.


SHRMChat – February Recap and March Theme

Tweet Reach February


Our question for February was: “Which programs or issues do you think are important and appropriate for a future SHRMChat?” That question was posed because it seemed clear that participants in SHRMChat wanted to be able to speak about all things SHRM, not just about social media.

But as we discussed different potential topics, it became clear that our audience preferred that the topics be focused on the state/local chapters, instead of being specifically concerned  with the intersection of national and its affiliates.

It was also suggested that we establish a committee or include more than one moderator – an idea that I was already pursuing and embrace totally. Again the topic of speakers or guests was brought up and it is clear that our participants are committed enough to SHRMChat to start inviting guests.

Finally, the age old issue of breaking the bubble was discussed, thanks to China Gorman who tweeted about “seeing the same old faces”. This discussion led to the suggestion that everyone who participates in SHRMChat should try to recruit one new participant each month. It was a great suggestion and I hope everyone tries to expand the group.


You suggested, I listened. Going forward, we now have 3 additional SHRMChat moderators: John Jorgensen, Dave Ryan, and Nicole Och. We will be working behind the scenes to create topics and obtain speakers, etc., so be sure to reach out to one of them, or me, if you want to suggest something. Also, after this month, I will be separating the recap and upcoming chats into two different posts.

For the March chat, our topic will be “the interaction of SHRM chapters with other HR or business related groups.” Social media has brought an explosion of these groups to the web,  especially groups that provide knowledge and education, like  Tlnt.com, HRevolution, and Talent Net Live. There are also more traditional alliances of SHRM chapters and other groups, such as Chambers of Commerce. Our questions are:

1. Is it in the interest of SHRM chapters to partner with or embrace other HR related groups? Why? Why not?

2. If SHRM chapters should pursue some kind of alliance, which groups would be best and why?

Join us for SHRMChat Tuesday, March 13th at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST, where our guest will be Craig Fisher of Talent Net Live and #TalentNet chat. REMEMBER TO TRY TO BRING AT LEAST ONE NEW TWEEP!



SHRM Chat – January 2012


The next monthly #SHRMchat – a Twitter chat to discuss using social media with state and local SHRM chapters – will be held on January 10th at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST. Here are the details:

During the November chat, I was impressed with a comment made by Steve Browne of Ohio, which I will paraphrase here:  Don’t use social media just as a bulletin board for chapter announcements. Use it to create and engage a community.

I’m still thinking about that message and wondering about the best ways to implement it. Consequently, the theme of the January chat will be PLATFORMS. Let’s discuss Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and blogs and how to use those platforms to build a community – since we all probably know how to make chapter announcements. Here are some specific questions to drive the discussion:

#1.  We all know that the different platforms have their own advantages. Can you identify one specific goal of your social media efforts (example: increase chapter membership) with one platform that works best for that goal?

#2. Which platform has the best time/return ratio? For example, do you find Facebook fast and easy with a high rate of engagement, or is it too cumbersome for the benefits it reaps?

#3. Have you been able to get others in your chapter excited about social media use? Which platform works best for individual member engagement and why?

#4. If you have found a particular chapter to be good at a specific social media site/platform, please share the URL,  account name, link etc.


Don’t forget to identify the specific question- Q1 or A1, for example – in your tweet so we can all follow along.

In February, we will move into a general discussion of how to broaden this chat beyond social media and into a discussion of SHRM chapter issues in general. Stay tuned!


SHRM Chat December – The Recap


As I mentioned in my last blog, I wanted to step back a little for the December SHRM Twitter Chat (our second) and start over. So, as announced, we began with a discussion of format, and which Twitter chat format would best facilitate communication among the participants.

Some people didn’t have any opinion at all, but those that did felt that the best format was the predetermined theme or subject, with 2-4 related questions. This was the same format I tried in the first (November) chat, but I am willing to give it another try. Hopefully, as people get used to the chat and the format, it will be comfortable for everyone.

Because it was suggested that we have a SHRM staff member present to answer questions, the discussion moved into one of SHRM and their social media efforts and assistance in general. Thank goodness that Curtis Midkiff,  SHRM Director of Social Engagement, was present at the chat and helped facilitate this portion of the discussion. He has been an invaluable part of SHRM Chat and will obviously continue to be.

The major points from this part of the chat were

  1. We all (volunteer leaders and SHRM staff) need to collaborate on collecting best practices to share with SHRM and chapters/councils that are social media newbies.
  2. Many volunteer leaders are highly resistant to social media and we need to get them more involved in activities (such as SHRM Chat).
  3. Making social media use a SHAPE requirement instead of an option would help increase social media use.
  4. SHRM field leaders need to be more proficient in social media if they are going to encourage and help their regions.
  5. SHRM needs to teach State councils the technical aspects of conference sharing such as live stream, and they need to be taught and understand why those sharing strategies would be a source of revenue and engagement.
Curtis did state that there was a SHRM social media guide in the works for 2012, which would be a mix of “how-to” and strategy for chapters looking to adopt social media.

One of the best comments on the whole subject of SHRM and social media came at the end of the discussion from John Jorgenson of ILSHRM: “We Know Next” needs to be more than a slogan.” Social media is clearly part of “the Next”, but SHRM seems to be behind when it comes to the knowing. It was agreed by all that Curtis is doing a great job, but he needs help. Let’s give it to him.

Please join us on January 10, 2012 at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central (same time the second Tuesday of every month) for our next SHRM Chat (Twitter hashtag #SHRMChat).