Nuggets from SHRM16

Nugget

I recently read Tim Sackett’s post on topics that tend to repeat at SHRM Annual, basically saying that there was a lot of familiar content at SHRM16 as compared to recent past conferences, but ultimately recognizing the value in that. I get it. There are only so many big ideas for concurrent sessions that resonate in HR and are suitable for a broad audience. And some of the best speakers and most active SHRM leaders seem to have real jobs and don’t necessarily speak for a living, so if they are repeating their best material, that just allows people to soak it up again if they still need the message, or choose a rival session next time, of which there are many.

In addition to the topics that tend to boomerang, there were at least two other critical types of content at SHRM16 that need to be mentioned here. I am not talking about the general sessions, which are served up fresh and new each and every year. Every one of them was a complete knockout. I’m talking about:

  1. Small, interactive sessions on critical HR and business skills that we don’t typically get in other HR conferences and local events—an example is the great social media talk with Sabrina Baker and Michael VanDervort where we learned more about using different social media channels to implement specific strategies. I’m not a marketer, so it was a welcome conversation, after which Sabrina and Michael generously invited questions, then stayed to talk one on one with attendees to give them direction based on their own specific needs. Priceless!
  2. Nuts and bolts HR help that is up-to-the minute in nature-Mickey Silberman of Jackson Lewis gave a talk on pay equity legal compliance that was so fresh that the slides and even the title had been revised in the two weeks prior to the conference. Not only is Mickey a superior presenter, but the content was worth its weight in gold.

It was also super helpful to have all of the best vendors in HR gathered together in the SHRM16 expo. My clients are of the small to mid-size variety, and I was able to explore many different solutions for them in one place.

The other thing I grooved on at SHRM16 was the chance to meet people I interact with online and fellow SHRMies that work in other areas of the Southwest Central region. I also had fun getting to know international HR pros that feel like SHRM Annual is the best investment for their development dollar. I don’t meet them at the other conferences I attend, so that’s another great opportunity for me.

This was my first year at SHRM Annual, so naturally I feel like it was the best SHRM conference I’ve ever attended. There’s no question that it was well worth the investment for me. I’d love to be there for SHRM17, but since I’m the boss, first I need to make the money-speaking of which, it’s time to go do the real work of HR. See you in NOLA!

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Photo credit: “Nugget in the Back 40” by Kelly Marinelli

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Friday Facts: Self-Improvement Edition

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Today I am curious about the cottage industry of leadership development and coaching, and all of the nebulous advice I see out in social media telling us all how to have a better career. These are just a few representative articles of the type I see every day:

Ten Unexpected Things that Will Radically Improve Your Life

Nine Things Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Do

Five Traits of Successful Leaders

Want to Succeed at a Startup? Focus on These Five Qualities

Ten Secrets to Living a Vibrantly Happy, Healthy Life

Surprising Habits of Truly Powerful People

I’ve concluded that we are all starving for this kind of advice, because it’s so ubiquitous in the places where professionals gather, online and in person at conferences. We all are longing for a roadmap to personal and professional success. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an actual way to just follow the directions and do it right?

But this is just one piece of that puzzle. The rest has to be gained through experience, self-awareness, reflection, and, frankly, a willingness to be vulnerable and accept one’s own failures and learn from them. I know how to put on a mask of confidence, capability, understanding and leadership-but if I’m not genuine and trustworthy, you will sniff me out as a fraud and reject whatever it is I have to say, and you certainly won’t want to accept me as a genuine leader.

As much as I love sitting around reading these articles and thinking smugly, “mmmm, hmmm, I knew that,” it takes a lot more work to get to real emotional intelligence, recognition, respect, effective leadership and success than what I will read online or hear from even the most engaging speaker at a conference.

Guess I’ll keep reading, just in case. But I’ll make time to do a little thinking too.

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Photo credit: Unhindered by Talent via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

5 Ways SHRM Membership Makes You Shine as an HR Pro

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Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) membership is an investment in you. I will say that as someone who put her money where her mouth is and wrote the check for the SHRM Annual Conference out of her own funds. I did a happy dance around my kitchen when I got the confirmation email.

Recently, I completed a survey giving feedback on what I think of my SHRM membership, and sharing my ideas on what I think could be improved. It got me thinking about how many HR professionals may not realize what serious benefits are there for the taking in their SHRM memberships. Others may not understand what a great investment in their careers SHRM membership can be.

There are many more than five ways SHRM membership makes you look like a complete rock star in HR. But here are the top ones that come to mind:

  1. Substantive HR resources galore: forms, how-to guides, toolkits and even academic courses on human resources topics are all there for the taking, whenever you want or need them. Use them to learn or enhance your skills and be that go-to HR resource at your company.
  2. Keeping up on HR compliance: SHRM makes sure you never fail to hear about that upcoming change in the salary level for the white-collar FLSA exemption, or the ACA reporting requirements, or any other compliance need. They’ve got you covered with email reminders chock-full of detailed article links, so you’ll be ahead of the game with a strategy for responding.
  3. Webcasts on trending HR topics: participate in these free-for-members SHRM webcasts so you can be proactive about running your department, and know about what’s going on in HR before your senior leadership asks you about it.
  4. Build your portfolio of HR leadership experiences: I served as a volunteer case competition judge at a SHRM Case Competition and Career Summit this year, and it was so inspiring! I got the chance to share my expertise, support our future HR colleagues and give back the profession in a unique way.
  5. Network, network, network: your local SHRM chapter has events every month that give you the opportunity to meet other HR professionals just like you—they understand what challenges you face, and may have ideas for how to handle them. It’s fun, rewarding, and there are leadership opportunities there if you are interested. I highly recommend a local membership in addition to the SHRM national membership if you are interested in knowing what’s going on in your community.

Want to enhance your career, enjoy a virtual HR warehouse of information at your fingertips anytime you need it, have a blast and meet other HR pros? SHRM membership is for you. Join SHRM today!

My local SHRM chapter is BAHRA in Boulder, Colorado. Check them out too!

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4 Tips for Handling a Rattlesnake

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Today I was running on the trail at White Rock and was so deep in my thoughts that I almost stepped right on a five foot long snake that was sunning on the dirt trail. It had been quiet on that stretch, because one of the bridges was out (something I had yet to discover that that point) so the snake had found the spot just a fine place to hang out and warm up.

I, on the other hand, had a jolt of adrenaline from the split second when I thought I might tread on the snake and be bitten. I had the presence of mind to glance at the snake’s tail-no rattles. It was just a bull snake. But either rattler or bull snake will bite if startled. The difference is that the rattler will require a trip to the emergency room.

After running on past the snake, I was thinking about how both the rattlesnake and the bull snake will bite out of fear. So do people at work—they can react with a poisonous attitude when startled, or strike out when fearing your next move. A rattler at work will give you a serious bite with lingering venom, while a bull snake’s nip will fade quickly, so it’s best to be able to recognize which snake you are dealing with.

  1. A rattler will make a lot of noise, to you, your team, your manager, and others beyond your department. This has the potential to poison others against you if your reputation hasn’t been firmly established. The best way to handle this is to slowly retreat, but don’t turn your back.
  2. If you have come upon a rattlesnake, he may bite you before realizing you meant no harm. Even if he realizes later that you were not a threat, the venom still leaves lasting damage. Better to smooth over the problem and move on quickly, and don’t cross his path again if you can help it.
  3. A warning rattle may be heard before a snake strikes, but not always. Understand that if you startle a rattler, it may not always warn you before biting. Keep yourself aware of where you are stepping, especially in unknown territory.
  4. A rattlesnake can strike up to 2/3 of its length. So beware that if there is a full grown snake at the end of your conference table, it might be able to reach you at the other end. Best to stay out the meeting (and off the project) with any rattlesnake if possible.

A bull snake will bite, but it’s not all that painful and there’s no venom to hurt you. The magnanimous choice would be to forgive the bull snake, understanding that it only struck out of fear, after all. If you see a bull snake, try a little peace, love and understanding.

But the rattler? Best steer clear. It’s just in her nature to strike.

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Photo credit: Free Grunge Textures – www.freestock.cavia Foter.com / CC BY