I’ve been a member of ASTD for a number of years now. I started attending Baton Rouge chapter meetings now and again circa 2005 and found the content and flow of the meetings, not to mention the level of membership engagement, to be in sharp contrast to what went on at our SHRM chapter meetings. Instead of stodgy sessions from attorneys like “Crafting the Latest Foolproof Policy so you can WIN Every Hearing/Court Case!” we enjoyed monthly speakers focused on topics like developing the capabilities of our leaders or increasing the involvement of employees in their own performance.
Monthly meeting attendance hovered around the 40-person mark so one VERY quickly got to know the 100-or-so chapter members. In contrast to the HR crowd, which tended to want their speakers to just talk-to-them and give handouts, the ASTD presenters did lots of interactive stuff. I’m not always the world’s biggest fan of activities-for-the-sake-of-activities but … it always seemed to work. “I’ll be damned,” I thought to myself, “these training and development people know what’s going on.”
So I joined the chapter. And the national organization. When I became President-Elect of my SHRM chapter I forged a partnership with the ASTD chapter that continues to this day; each November we hold a ‘joint meeting’ – GBRSHRM handles the logistics (like good HR people) and ASDTBR plans the program and selects the speaker. Awesome.
And then, for a few years, I served on the ASTDBR Board. I handled Membership for a while and then Communications before making a graceful exit and wrapping up some volunteer duties by serving on the Nominating Committee. Succession planning, ya know?
Yesterday we had our monthly ASTD chapter meeting which featured Roundtable Discussions. We had 7 tables going and as we enjoyed our jambalaya and fried catfish and shrimp (yes, this is what we eat for lunch meetings in south Louisiana), we shared and chatted and learned from each other. Conversations included:
- To retain or grow corporate (internal) knowledge, it’s important to engage with your HIPOs and find ways to keep knowledge transfer alive
- When incorporating social media channels internally, make sure to bring Sr. Leaders on board early and address concerns about ‘control’
- L&D/HR professionals need to ensure there’s a climate for top leaders to interact/engage with employees – and vice versa
- Everyone who trains deals with the need to handle classroom distractions. Simple solutions include use of a ‘parking lot’ and finding ways to redirect attendees/employees. Don’t fight the distraction; let these folks share within limits.
p.s. thanks to Amanda for capturing notes from the discussions
I remember back when I first got involved with ASTDBR and I brought the concept of the ‘joint meeting’ to the GBRSHRM board. I was so pumped and enthused and excited to connect the energy and people-centered-focus of the Learning & Development professionals with the (often but not always) serious and rule-policy-focus of the Human Resources professionals.
I’ll never forget that one GBRSHRM board member said to me “I don’t see why we would need to get involved with that group since we have nothing in common. Those ASTD people don’t focus on anything similar to what we do in HR.”
So how’s that viewpoint working out for you Ms. HR?