Ohio HR: HR Rocks and I Make Pizza

My friend Tammy Colson calls Steve Browne an “insane genius”.  She is correct.

As the Director of the recently concluded Ohio HR  conference, he chose a fun theme – HR Rocks – and then had vendors, presenters, and attendees spend their time immersed in the theme, listening to, looking at, and even dressed like rock stars. Steve himself opened the show in wig and with guitar in hand. (See the video of his opening act here.) There was no way to confuse this conference with any other.

I spent most of my conference time sitting in on sessions that focused on HR as a business function, not as a compliance, benefits, or health care administration department. The best of these sessions were “Making A Business Case To the C-Suite”, by Mark Stelzner, and “Transform From HR Leader to Business Leader” by Jennifer McClure. Both speakers were excellent as they discussed HR pros as business people first and foremost, and how speaking business language, not HR language, was one of the keys to strategic business success.

The most important thing I heard during my 2 day experience came during Jennifer’s session. She was discussing the need for HR pros to look at themselves as business functionaries. She used Steve Browne as an example:  “Ask Steve what he does for a living. He won’t say, “I’m the Executive Director of HR for LaRosa’s. He says, ‘I make pizza.’ ” Jennifer’s point was, of course, that Steve helps run the business – which is a chain of pizzerias. Making pizza is the main function of LaRosa’s, and Steve’s function in the long run. That kind of thinking is what HR needs more of.

It also shows that Steve is a genius, with or without the insane.

HR Should Quit Fiddling With Social Media

When I was recently asked by a local SHRM chapter (not my own)  if I would be interested in speaking about “what’s new” in HR management, I politely declined. First, in my opinion there is not much new in HR management, and, second, it’s not what I want to talk about to HR peeps right now.

I did offer to speak about social media in HR, titling my presentation “Old Problems, New Tools”. In response, I received the following:

Our group has had a social media presentation before, and for some reason, our members just see it as “one more thing to do”.

Oh, snap.

After I quit banging my head against the table, I was reminded of a great article I had recently read at Human Resource Executive Online, titled “HR Fiddles While Organizations Burn“. If you haven’t read it, do so. Right now.

In the article, author Margaret Morford argues that the biggest problem with the HR profession is that it is overly mired in compliance, compensation, and benefits, paying little or no attention to the strategic needs of talent management and succession planning.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because I have heard many similar complaints from HR practitioners in the social media world since I had the good fortune to become involved almost 3 years ago.

In that same time period, though, I have seen very little evidence that the online HR community is making an effort to fix that problem. Sure, we blog and tweet and write endless words about strategic issues and say great things. But do we impact those people who need it most? Hardly.

Before we try to use social media to teach HR pros how to do their jobs better, we need to convince HR practitioners to use social media. They need to be persuaded that they will earn more professional respect with the knowledge they gain through social media. We need to quit fiddling around, and make a real, concerted effort to convert  HR practitioners to its use. All of the blog posts in the world are not going to change the profession if we don’t change who’s reading.

Think of the impact on the profession that could be made if everyone on Unbridled Talent‘s list of Top 100 HR & Recruiting Industry Pros To Follow On Twitter actually mentored and taught at least one HR practitioner how to use social media to the same extent they do. I don’t mean standing up and giving a presentation to 100 people and hoping for the best. I want them (you?) to find an HR practitioner who thinks social media is an administrative chore, and teach them otherwise. They’ll pay it forward.

Instead of fiddling, let’s build an entire orchestra.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why I- And You Should – Love Sponsors

Last week I went to a conference called the Institute for Continuing Legal Education‘s 35th Annual Labor and Employment Law Institute. Given that exasperatingly long name, I don’t think I have to tell you any more about what material the conference covered.  Hundreds of Michigan attorneys and HR pros descend on this conference every year to receive updates, information, and training related to employment and labor law developments.

Even though I have attended this conference several times in the past, this year I paid attention to something totally new.  Something that I either ignored, or, even worse, scoffed at during previous conferences.  This year I paid special attention to THE SPONSORS.

In conferences past, I paid no mind to sponsors.  I always thought that sponsors were money-hungry vultures, looking to make a buck from a captive audience that probably didn’t have a choice about whether or not they really wanted to hear the sponsor’s name or message. Look the other way and walk by fast – that was my motto.

I had a change of heart this year.  Several months ago I was asked to be a part of the planning committee for HRevolution, an unconference of cutting edge, forward-thinking HR topics.  I had been an attendee at the very first HRevolution last November, and I was thoroughly delighted by the experience.  I was humbled when asked to participate, and more than happy to help.

During these past few months of planning, I learned something very critical –  a conference, or even an unconference, costs a lot of money.  There is the facility cost, food costs, programming, signage, badges, perks or prizes (swag), and lots of little things that attendees have come to expect and that good planners want to provide.  The downside is that you can’t charge the full cost to the attendee, or they never would be able to afford to participate.  What can be done?  Ask a sponsor for donations to help defray your costs.

This is why I paid special attention to the sponsors at my employment law seminar last week- they gave money so that I could learn something new.  And this is why I am profusely thanking and loving the HRevolution sponsors.   They are giving money or items or food so that the attendees can gain knowledge and professional development.  They certainly hope for more business, but are not assured in any way of receiving it.  They are believers in the message and goals of HRevolution, and they are opening their hearts and pocket books to prove it.

Sponsors, I have learned, are the angels of the conference world.  The sponsors of HRevolution, shown below, are special angels.   If I ever need the kind of service they provide, I’m calling them first, because I already know they “get it.”   Join me if you can.

Unbridled Talent, LLC

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]