Archive for June 29, 2011

The HR Nightclub – #SHRM11

Culture.  Passion.  The sweet spot. Understanding the unique culture of your workplace.  A common theme here at SHRM11. 

It’s something I’ve been spending a lot of time working through lately.  Organizational values that lay that foundation for every aspect of business operations and business excellence.  Ensuring those values are apparent to new employees and resonate with existing staff.   Values which drive how things are done.  Values that are not a mystery. 


So because I’m an awesome SHRM11 attendee I decided it was important to take advantage of the entire conference experience as it unfolded in Las Vegas.  And no trip to Vegas would be complete without a trip to one of the nightclubs that pay ridiculously obscene amounts of money to have Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears show up and model spanx spandex lovely cocktail dresses.  The world of:

* Velvet Ropes

* Hand stamps

* Secret handshakes and folded bills to get access to the top floor/side door/VIP area

* And one HR chick rockin’ her SHRM conference bag. (Rock on baby!)


There were cultural codes.  Social spheres-within-the-spheres.  I watched and observed.  Figured out where I could walk; what section of the club I could pass through without the ginormous bouncer blocking me.

As the night went on, the crowd changed.  New people came in.  Groups switched spots on the dance floor.  The vibe in the space transformed with every new song that came pumping over the speakers. Newbies walking in, who were not the typical club-goers, scanned the room, checked the space and determined where they could fit.

That nightclub was a vibrant, pulsating, ever-evolving organism. Like your organization.  And mine.

Are your people walking in the door with a sense of knowing where they fit?  Do they understand where to go – – – and how to get there?

#SHRM11 – Day 397

People…this goes on forever doesn’t it?

But in a good way.

The conference is jam-packed with hundreds of hours of HR content.   And in years past I’ve seen people running around trying to decide which session to attend based on whether it had HRCI strategic or general credit. Which always kinda pissed me off. 

Go to a session because the content/message/speaker compels you to attend.  That can be FMLA, ADA or SHAM-WOW for all I care.  But please, I implore you, don’t just go because it’s classified as strategic vs. general (and for the non HR folks who read this, well, just gloss over that part because it only matters to HR peeps).


It’s endless.  My feet hurt.  It’s SHRM-tastic.

Just go home with something to make you take action. Not just something that lets you ‘check off’ 6.75 hour HRCI credit earned.”


Who Knows Next? Do We?

As I live through the experience that is the SHRM Annual Conference, I always find that a common theme emerges for me as the days unfold.  Culture, culture and more culture seems to be the biggie this year.

The largest gathering of HR peeps in the world certainly gives us a collective glimpse of next steps for the larger HR community.   And then the snatches of conversation in the halls, comments from speakers, and chit chat with peeps just hanging out provide me with personal next steps. 

As you may know, SHRM tells us that “We Know Next” – and they’ve poured a lot of time, effort and cash into this baby.  The content and program is set to get the word out to the larger business community about HR’s unique expertise (their words, not mine) in helping to navigate trends in the workplace.

There’s some good content there and it’s worth checking out.  It’s definitely a resource for HR professionals as well as other leaders. There’s value to spreading the word about great HR and our role in managing great workplaces.

But telling everyone that we can do things isn’t enough.  We need to deliver.  We need to deliver on the basics of operational excellence, without question and without fail.  And then we need to do what’s NEXT.  Deliver to our CEOs, our leaders, our employees, our shareholders and our communities.  Define what’s important; gather the evidence around it and take some opportunities to take those next steps.

Have you defined that NEXT step for your HR group..and yourself?  If you do, in fact, know next…are you prepared to deliver on it?

I get all fired up when I hang with other HR professionals.  I listen and talk and get new ideas for my next steps.  Coming to the SHRM Annual Conference has once again struck the match and the water is starting to simmer.

p.s. and yes, that Monster party was truly EPIC.

HR and Transparency – #shrm11

There’s been a skirmish battle behind-the-scenes story brewing for quite some time.  While the group started working together earlier last year,, it was in the fall, shortly before the SHRM Leadership Conference that the story broke over at TLNT.  You can read all about the SHRM Members for Transparency group here.

For the last number of months the comments have flown back and forth with each side maintaining that the other side is not being quite accurate and forthcoming.  Although I have no particular insider knowledge, I imagine that the reality lies somewhere in between.

But I was interested in hearing, in person, from the SMFT group, so I attended their press conference/briefing today.  There was a pretty impressive bunch of people assembled, including very active SHRM members (some of 40 years standing), SHRM volunteer leaders, former board members, Board chairs, and even former CEO Mike Losey.  In addition, a handful of bloggers and members of the press were on hand.

I picked up a few tidbits:

  • The group has a number of active participants; with 52 members of the steering committee
  • The group has continued its efforts to share its message, including contacting (via email) groups of SHRM volunteer leaders, including all State Council Directors.  As cited today, approximately 6 of those State Directors have asked to be removed from the mailing list.
  • As announced earlier today on TLNT, yesterday the SMFT group received notice that the SHRM Board of Directors has voted and agreed to meet with them.


I think the issues are important.  As an active SHRM volunteer and former chapter President, I’ve always felt that the heart of SHRM was the sense of grass-roots (for want of a better word) leadership and volunteerism that has propelled the organization forward.  Unfortunately, as with any organization, as SHRM has gotten larger and larger and larger, the disconnect between the Board and Executives and the rank-and-file membership has grown.  It’s a common theme that arises whenever SHRM volunteer leaders are surveyed; that the folks at SHRM HQ don’t “listen to” the chapters.

But does the average member care?  Does it matter to Trixie in Tupelo if the board members receive compensation for the service?  Does she spend a lot of time thinking about this?  Did she even realize that Lon O’Neill resigned as CEO last year and that the Board has been spending a year searching for his replacement? (Announcing today, of course, that Hank Jackson is the new CEO).

One comment that stuck with me from today’s SMFT conference was this from Gerry Crispin:

“I’m not just a member; I’m an owner (of SHRM)”

So fellow SHRM’ites – are you a member? Or an owner?