Monday, December 24, 2012

HR A Good Place to Be

Today we have post from John Hudson.  John has agreed to be a  regular contributor here on the Illinois SHRM Blog Site. We are pleased to have him with us.  

John Hudson is currently an HR Manager with Discovery Communications and Harpo Studios in Chicago and has over 15 years of experience in the Human Resources field.  He provides consultation and expertise in the areas of performance management, employee development, employee relations, compensation and recruiting.   John has also worked in the insurance and consumer products environments supporting various departments including IT, Finance and Operations.  John has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Indiana University and the SPHR certification. Follow him @johnphudson on Twitter

There have been some days when I want to leave the Human Resources field. Dealing with an extremely administrative process or working through a string of sticky employee relations issues can drive one to question this. But there have been many days that reinforce the reasons I stay.

I had a conversation with an HR friend recently about some of the projects I was working on. There may have been a hint of venting or complaining as we spoke. At the end of my explanation, he said, “Yes, but you enjoy what you do and you are good at it.” At first, I chuckled in my typical sarcastic way, but then I thought about it. I really do enjoy what I do.

It's that intern I hired that blossoms into that next great leader. The stretch promotion that turns out to be the right move. The little bit of advice that brings a smile to the employees face or the mentorship that guides a new HR professional along the way.

Another colleague shared an email with me the other day.  It was from a recent hire thanking her for the warm welcome and great onboarding experience she received. What may seem like a mundane, every day part of your job can have a lasting impression on an employee and set the tone for their experience with the organization.

For some of the bad parts of the job, there is still a sense of fulfillment knowing the employee was treated with respect. Decisions are made daily, negatively impacting a person, department or organization and HR must make sure these are treated with care and compassion and common sense.

There are going to be aspects of the job that suck. There are parts of every profession that do. Go ask any department head in your organization and they will probably tell you more than you really want to know. I see things every day, though that reminds me why I enjoy what I do. Now, back to planning the monthly birthday celebrations. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mark Edwards and Gabby Giffords at SHRM13

So I got the email yesterday from the mothership, announcing one of the keynoters for #SHRM13 in Chicago.   With all the fanfare an email can muster, SHRM proudly proclaimed that one of  key note presentations is going to be from Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords.

Just in case you have been off of the planet for a year or two, Gabby was the U.S. Congress Member who was shot in the head in Arizona.  Mark Kelly is her husband.  However, he has had a very illustrious career himself.  Mr.Kelly has been with NASA for many years.  He is also a Gulf War veteran, having flown a number of bombing missions over Iraq.   I actually know a lot more about his career than you might think I shoud, and I didn't look him up on Wikipedia.

I had the good fortune to hear Mark Kelly speak in May of this year. He was the commencement speaker for my son's graduation at SIU Carbondale.   His presentation was phenomenal.  You could hear a pin drop in the area during his entire presentation - even with the all the little ones in attendance.

Now add in his wife who must have the courage and  perseverance of a Saint and this should be a knock your socks off wife your eyes presentation.

Hope to see you there

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Pilgrimage to SHRMLead

While I did not see any turkey’s on this Pilgrimage it was one that I will remember for a lifetime.  If you were from any other state than Illinois at the annual SHRM Leadership Conference in National Harbor, MD last week you would have seen the sea of red shirts and thought it was a “wow-look at the masses that made the trip (Pilgrimage) from half way across the country too. Again this year (3rd in a row) all attendees from the ILSHRM board and chapter board members were offered a red shirt to wear for two reason: 1) Take a group photo and 2) show our team/state spirit.  The latter was the more important of the two because no one felt alone.  They had others to turn to and felt included which is extremely important to me as a leader in this state.  In the “Strengths Finder” assessment one of my top five is “INCLUDER” and if this is the only legacy I leave for my time in a leadership role, I am ecstatic, because when I was a chapter leader, I had no idea what the State Council was let alone the massive amount of energy you feel at an event like #SHRMLead.
The ILSHRM Red Shirt brigade.
The red shirts, however, was not the thing that impressed me at all.  I was impressed by almost 40 individuals who gave up part of their week at work and with family to attend this event.  We had a little over 30 people who attended our now traditional Thursday night networking dinner.  
ILSHRM Networking Dinner

Here we introduce ourselves because often we communicate across the state via email but never have a chance to meet people in person (F2F or IRL).  Have a to a name means all the difference and for some who commit to multi-year roles they will see each other again at this conference and hopefully the ILSHRM leadership conference in January.  Having attended this conference now for twelve years as a chapter then state council I have had the opportunity to bond and long term relationships with people all over state as well as the country and with SHRM staff.
The ILSHRM gang ready to hit The Hill

While this pilgrimage was impressive, the most moving for me was the amount of representation Illinois had on Capitol Hill this year.  When I first started attending the SHRM A Team hill visits about five years ago, first at SHRM Leadership and at the annual SHRM Legislative Conference, we consistently had no more than a handful of visitors.  However, in the past few years the number of representatives has increased to the point that it put tears in my eyes as I looked around the room. 
This is the time for Thanksgiving and while I am definitely looking forward to passing the gavel, I cannot tell you how deeply thankful and humble I am to have had the opportunity to serve such a dedicated group of individuals who put their profession at the forefront and HaveAVoice for all those in our state.  It has been a fantastic honor and I know the future is in good hands with Cathy Plouzek and Connie Wolgemuth at the helm.
Donna, Cathy and Connie (L to R)

Happy Holidays to all and if you’re an HR pro in this great state, please join me in thanking those who attended this conference and the hill visit to make a difference for each of us on the job back home!  ILSHRM & SHRM Chapter Volunteers ROCK!

Donna Rogers Chair - ISC SHRM

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Vacation at SHRM Leadership

Our guest blogger is Danny Ryan. Danny is on a mission to more effectively educate and empower principled leaders. As such, he is currently employed for the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity (PIKE) as the Director of Online Education and Innovation. He graduated from the Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, Missouri with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is an avid runner, golfer, and ice hockey player. He currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee with his long-time girlfriend Shahd and their long-haired, miniature dachshund, Zeppelin. You can find him on LinkedIn or Twitter .

Not many folks would take a vacation to a Human Resources conference, yet I was a “tourist,” in every sense of the word, for the Wednesday and Thursday of the 2012 SHRM Leadership Conference. Since I work for a membership-based organization that is similar to SHRM, it was much like a visit to another country.  Luckily I had a “local,” my father, Dave Ryan, who could help show me the sights and sounds during my journey. These are a few of my observations (relative to my own experiences with membership-based organizations) while diving into the unknown world of HR professionals.

Danny in front of the Gaylord National - the Conference Hotel.
The venues used to entertain the SHRMites were unbelievable! The hotel that hosted the event was extravagant beyond belief. I have been to numerous conferences before but the size and scope of the Gaylord National took conference hosting to another level. I could not tell at first whether the conference attendees demanded a place with such extravagance or if it was simply a way for SHRM headquarters (the equivalent of “Fraternity Nationals” in the world that I work) to reward volunteer leaders, because this was the conference for those in leadership positions, but as I met more attendees I started to believe the latter more than the former.

Moving on, the SHRM headquarters was a site to see in its own right. The headquarters was a substantial five story office building that looked very new and housed numerous employees, which I did not quite expect from my experience in non-profit membership organizations. It was great getting to explore the headquarters because it allowed attendees to not only view the grounds, but, thanks to some added flare, advertising the upcoming SHRM national conference in Chicago, it also put some personality to the SHRM staff, which is rare in my experience.

In addition to visiting SHRM headquarters, I was also able to attend a few other sessions on the action-packed conference agenda. A highlight of the agenda was visits to Capitol Hill for groups to meet with their state representatives and senators. Despite me skipping this occurrence to be a tourist in our nation’s capital, the visits seemed well-organized and heavily attended. I was not unfamiliar with these visits since my industry organizes similar trips, but it did make me question the effectiveness of these visits since the politicians are more than likely bombarded with different visits weekly, if not daily. I suppose that it cannot hurt to continually fight for their attention though.

The opening session was very typical of conference openings with the excitement and array of introductions, but it also offered an opportunity for conference attendees to network. Granted the grouping of people by regions limited the initial networking and the rock-paper-scissors exercise later did not really produce actionable networking conversations, the fact that networking was incorporated into the first session was something that I had never seen. While I am on the topic of networking, I want to discuss the best part of the conference – the attendees. All of the “locals” were more than welcoming to me as an outsider. They brought me in as one of their own and allowed me to participate in everything. It was great getting the opportunity to meet so many people who are driven to excel in their profession. I noticed that the more successful/driven people were in their field, the more likely they were to have the most during the conference. I am unsure what each of the individuals is like in a normal day but it seemed like most of the people were so excited to be at the conference to be around others who have the same passion and drive (aka they drink the kool-aid) for their profession that they simply wanted to celebrate – and that they certainly did. I like to call this a “work hard, play hard” mentality that I believe is consistent within most volunteer organizations.

This was interesting but not surprising to me; at least not as surprising to me as the lack of my fellow young professionals (yuppies). It may be because this was the SHRM Leadership conference, or because most attendees of these types of conferences are established in their career, or perhaps because everyone my age is still struggling to find their profession but there was an apparent lack of young professionals at the conference. I am not sure how to fix this but it was certainly something that caught my attention, and I am sure the staff at SHRM headquarters is working to address that issue.

In addition to that surprise, I was also surprised about the language barrier. The attendees spoke the same language as me, yet they seemed to communicate in a very different manner. Many of the attendees seemed to be glued to their phones. They had much to say but it was as though the “natives” could only communicate via Twitter. And if that weren’t enough to confuse me since I am not a heavy Twitter user, I felt like a tourist frantically flipping through his pocket dictionary trying to translate the HR language as I experienced tchat (should that be hashtagged?). Needless to say, I hope I am able to correct my language inefficiency prior to my next HR conference.

Overall, the SHRM Leadership Conference was a tremendous experience. It went by too fast and I wish I could have experienced more, but I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience it, and, more importantly, meet, what my mother calls, my father’s “imaginary friends” he frequently talks about. I am unsure if and when I will attend another SHRM conference but I will certainly not forget the relationships I made. I will not list everyone I met but I cannot thank you all enough for making my journey into the HR world unforgettable.

Monday, November 19, 2012

SHRM Leadership No. 2

This year's version of The SHRM Leadership conference is in the bag. I touched on the facts and figures in the the first post.  So in this post I want to talk about the content, the mood and the interaction between the parent organization and the Councils and Chapters. What follows is my opinion and does not reflect the views or anyone other than me the author. They are observation based upon comments, conversations and other interactions that took place during the conference.

Being  a member of the Board of ILSHMR I attended mostly breakout session for state councils and not for chapters.  Two events to be exact.  In fairness,  the first session was supposed to be hosted by our own Martha Ramirez . Unfortunately Martha took ill and was unable to attend.  We had a couple stand-ins for Martha  but I did not sense their connection to the group of State Council members  At one point I tweeted, anarchy was about to ensue.  if you know me, you know my sarcastic sense of humor and understand I often characterize things to get a laugh or a reaction.  While such was not truly the case, as issues were discussed the conversation sprung up from all over the room.  The SHRM representatives were not prepared and did not have answers for the questions that were being posed.

On the next day, we continued this conversation.  Now is when it gets funky.  I think there were many different agendas for what needed to be discussed.  Not all of the agendas were legit, necessarily.   After about 15 minutes worth of discussion Hank, Jose and Betty dropped in to chat with us.  They did do a little Q and A,  and it appeared that there was a lot more Q than A.

I may be cynical but board members tend to answer question like accountants and politicians.  This means most of the time you don't get a real answer.  You get the things like, "we're working on it,"  "or we understand your concerns."   What we seldom here is what would you like us to do or how can we make this better for you the volunteers. The frustration to these answers was palbable in the room.

On a lighter note, most of the other meetings were pretty typical and professionally done.   The Pinnacle Awards dinner was very nice. All of the winners were most deserving.  The other general sessions were good,  it is not SHRM's fault that I have seen their stable of speaker, do their thing on numerous occasions.  I heard very positive comments about the general session.   Regarding one of the presenters, I have heard speak  Cy Wakeman speak 4 or 5 times in the last two year.  You might think that would elicit some snarky remakrs.  On the contrary Cy is fantastic - always- I am sure I would be enlightened and entertained even if I heard her a dozen times a year.

This year brought  a new venue.   The Gaylord National is just across the river in Maryland .  The property itself was magnificent.  There were 2-3 conferences going on while us SHRMers were there.  So it is an immense facility and very astetically pleasing.   Besides the hotel a whole little community of shops, bars and restaurants has sprung up within walking distance of the hotel, to support all of the people occupying the property.  Harrigan's, an Irish Pub very close by was adopted by the social media crowd.  Steve Browne held court there Friday and Saturday nights.

The food at The Gaylord was ok.  The Friday dinner was the best meal attendees got. I did not hear anyone rave about the food, but neither did I hear anyone rail on it either.  I will say that all of the service staff at the hotel was top shelf. My room was well cared for and all of the service staff was most competent and very pleasant.

One other thing that seemed apparent to me is  that 2012 seemed to be a changing of the guard year.  Some of the regulars like Matt Stollak, John Jorgensen and Mike VanDervort were conspicuous by their absence.  Steve Browne seemed to be one of the volunteer leaders who people were looking to for a voice.  Not only were they looking to Steve for a voice, he was also made to perform.

Friday night after dinner and the Pinnacle Awards the attendees were treated to a performance by The Water Coolers..   At one point they called for some audience participation and whose name should surface other than Steve Browne and Patti Blosse. While I did not get the entire Steve show, I did get about 5 minutes of it on video and have included it in this here.

Part of the ILSHRM delegation with U.S. Rep Aaron Schock
The Capitol Hill visit was a huge sucess by any measure.  While I have not confirmed this, it was said that 380 HR Professionals went to The Hill and presented SHRM's position on Section 127 and Section 125 benefits.  We asked them to continue or make permanent both of these items.  There was a contingent of nearly 20 Illinois SHRM members who visited Senators Durbin and Kirk's offices.  Following that I went with another group of 5 and we visited with our Congressman Aaron Schock - in person.

The tour of the SHRM building was very nice as it always is.  When you go there you do sense the pride that all of the SHRM staff has. They truly do want to welcome us their volunteer leaders.   The food and drink there was superb.

And this year's visit to Headquarters was a little more special for me.  My oldest son Danny happened to hook up with his Dad in the DC Area.  The SHRM folks were gracious enough to let him join us for The Hill Breakfast, and motorcoach rides to and from The Hill.  At Headquarters he got to see first hand all of the SHRM stuff the old man has been involved with for such a long time.  He was most impressed, as he too works in an association based type business.

Danny also got to meet many of his dad's HR friends from Illinois and other areas, like Ohio - Steve Browne's name surfaces again.  It was an interesting experience for Danny.  I have asked him to share his thoughts on the two days in a guest post. This should be along later in the week.

Lastly, I wanted to comment on meeting up with and making new friends in the biz.  I think the truth is this, that is what I most enjoy about attending conferences and events is meeting people face to face for the first time.  These are the folks who I first come in contact with via social media.  Then you get to meet them face to face. It is truly a joy, and for me an nearly indescribable pleasure,

None of comments were intended to be negative or reflect poorly on the SHRM organization as a whole.  I am a died in the wool suporter.  We can always do better.   These are my opinions and lord knows I am not always right; just ask one of my kids - they will tell you.

-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM

Friday, November 16, 2012

SHRMLead Update

This is day two of the Leadership Conference.  We are a new location this year and there is a  different feel, a different vibe here.  The property, The Gaylord is nothing less than magnificent, the facility is huge and there are other events of equal size going on here.  You can almost get the feel of a three ring circus - just a lot going on here.

Thursday gave us the obligatory sad to see you go for outgoing Chair Jose Berrios.  Hank Jackson also addressed the group and was well received. In total I understand there are about 1000 attendees.  Nearly 400 made the trip to Capitol Hill on Lobby Day.  
The  huge hotel atrium overlooking the Potomac River.

While the sessions have been good I have heard negative comments about the food, the heating, the front desk billing issues and I hate to say it but the complete lack of wi-fi service in any of the conference rooms. Not that we  ever had that at the Crystal Gateway - but I keep hoping someday that as much as SHMR purports to be social media friendly, that they would have free and open wi-fi at ALL OF THEIR EVENTS..

Another thing that I have been made aware of is the seeming lack of young people in chapter leadership positions.  I don't know how or why this is, but it appears to be evident, as this was pointed out to me by a young attendee.

Now with all of that said, the conference is GREAT.  This is a wonderful time to get together with other volunteer leaders and share information, practices, stories and maybe a few drinks. I will be following up with a couple posts on the hill visit, a couple conference session and what the collective take always for the largest contingent of Illinois HR pros to ever attend the event.  My count had 40+ red shirts at the event - perhaps the largest group from any state.

The closing dinner is yet to come, so there will be more from the Pinnacle Awards and the Saturday's closing sessions.  I hoped to give those not in attendance a little flavor of the event.   If you are on-site please comment on my observations. I would like to know if others agree or disagree.

-More to come...

Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Want to Write For ILSHRM

Anything for the team -John !

To: Members and Friends of ILSHRM

From: ILSHRM Board

We want you. Where is a picture of Dave the HR Czar pointing at you when you need one? (What, we do have one?) We are putting together our Winter edition of your ILSHRM Magazine and are looking for

For those of you unfamiliar with the ILSHRM Magazine, it is publication that ILSHRM puts out a few times a year. It is not your typical newsletter but a full blown real deal magazine. It is distributed to HR professionals throughout the state of Illinois and a few sneak out nationally. Our press run is around
10000 copies.

The “theme” of our next issue is on the elections (state, local or Federal) will affect HR and the workplace. As you can imagine, the outcome could have vast implications on how we operate as a profession and in business in general. If you have opinions or thoughts that you would like to share, please let us know. All entries will be considered and the best will be used, especially if we get a nice mix of both local and national topics. This is not limited to ILSHRM members but they might get first
priority if we run out of space.

There is a deadline of November 28, 2012 so we can choose and forward to our publisher. If you are interested, notify me and I can get you the details for the articles. I know a bunch of you who will read this post have plenty of great thoughts and writing skills. Let’s put both to good use.

John Jorgensen

Monday, November 5, 2012

SHRM Leadership 2012

It is November.  In SHRM circles it is time for the annual pilgrimage - or at least that's what it seems like. Every year in November SHRM holds its annual SHRM Leadership Conference. Hundreds and sometime more that 1000 SHRM volunteers from all over the globe travel to the Washington D.C. area and hear what it's all about. I have been fortunate to attend this event a number of times, in my different roles as an active SHRM Volunteer.  So for me each year the conference always offers something old and something new.

This year, for the first time in a long time the event itself is going to be held in a different location.  For many years the event was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City, VA. I always found the place to be very nice. You can board the Metro, shop underground or dine without going outside from the hotel. I always thought that was kind of neat.  Nonetheless, this year's event is going to be held at a new facility The Gaylord National Harbor Hotel and Convention Center, which looks like a pretty swanky place from what I can tell.

I used to thing the The Leadership Conference was really a single purpose event where SHRM Leaders welcomed and thanked their loyal volunteers for their work, and then showed them the way; by explaining in  a deep rich way who SHRM really is, what their mission is and how each person in their role as a volunteer is a vital link in the chain.  While this is still true, as a sage veteran I have also come to understand that there is something else equally important as a part of the conference. That part of the conference is SHRM Lobby Day.

Congressman Schock touring our production facility.
Last year was the first time that I had participated in this event. What is SHRM Lobby Day - in short it is a large contingent (2011 was 400+)of SHRM members descending on Capitol Hill, meeting and greeting with our elected representatives in our roles as HR Professionals.  We were well prepped at breakfast, by the SHRM Legislative Affairs team,   then given our mission,  We went to the hill and  met and spoke to the legislators and their staffs, on issues important to SHRM.   (If you want more detail you can read a post from last year.)

I am participating in SHRM Lobby Day again this year.  In fact, that one visit has lead to me developing a solid relationship, and a visit to my workplace with my Congressman Aaron Shock.  I strongly urge anyone who is planning on attending to participate in SHRM Lobby Day, it will be good for you, your employer and for SHRM.

Lastly as an "old dog" I really enjoy getting to the mothership (SHRM Headquarters) and seeing all of the people who have I become really good friends with over the years and who have helped me succeed in my volunteer SHRM roles. So watch out Mr. Midkiff and Ms. Hughes, I will be looking for you when I am in town.

- Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Social Media ROI

What value is there in Social Media for Illinois SHRM?  Are we getting return on investment?  Why should our organization spend money to support social media?  Is it really worthwhile?
Image courtesy Olivier Blanchard’s Basics of Social Media ROI

All of these questions have been posed to me at one time or another.  Typically my answer is we do not spend much money on it. Nearly  all of the resources, we use "socially" are free (Blogger, You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Picasso, and Vimeo) - at least so far. We do pay for website hosting and some administration. In a typical  year a volunteer organization such as Illinois SHRM spends very little money on the workings of Social Media.

We have spent money on people - the people behind the message. Over the last three years our largest expenditures have been for Social Media conference attendees travel and accommodations.  So the question remains where is the ROI?  HR not PR is where most of my expertise lies, so I am not well suited to eloquently speak to this issue.  So, I looked around to see what I could find on - you guessed it - Social Media.

One piece I found is called 10 Reasons to Invest in Your Brands Social Media Presence. Blogger Kalli Meisler makes some very good points with cited sources. Kalli makes some good points, but my biggest take away from her piece is this.  An organization can ill afford NOT to have a social media presence.  If you don't you will be overtaken by competitors.

At the National level SHRM has embraced Social Media. SHRM has spent a lot of time and effort on this years Presidential election coverage, and attempted to leverage this coverage via Social Media (Twitter and Facebook to be specific). Therefore Illinois SHRM, as a part of the larger organization is simply following the lead of our parent organization. Additionally,  I can also proudly state that we are doing a very good job of it here in Illinois.  In a recent conference call with out SHRM Regional Representative Martha Ramirez, recognized the Illinois SHRM State Council for our efforts and doing an outstanding job with social media.  To that I must say this has been a collective effort of a core group of about 2 dozen social media users.  I am not going to list them, as  I might leave some folks out -but you know who you are.

So is the investment in social media worthwhile, I would respond with an unequivocal ABSOLUTELY. Is it absolutely demonstrable?  No not always, but let's liken social media to safety. Just because we can't measure the cost of NOT having accidents at work, we don't throw it out the window. We support and spend money on safety and know that it is a good thing.  It's just going to take a little longer for some folks to get up to speed on social media.

-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM

Saturday, October 6, 2012

SHRMStrat Day 3

Yesterday was the final day of the SHRM Strategy Conference for 2012 which ended on a deep note in my opinion.  The world famous Deepak Chopra discussed topics like Karma, positive intention, and psychological implications to value added leadership.  He began with a touching story about an incident that happened when he was only seven years old related to a rose his mother had received that thousands came to see and pay deep respect to.  When the rose finally dried out his mother had a party with her closest friends to distribute a pedal to them which they all valued as if it were diamonds.  Weeks later, young Deepak asked his mother what was so important about the rose and she told him they were the soul of India.  The impact of that story has had a profound effect on his life and mission ever since.

Mr. Chopra is actually an MD but learned early in life that in order to achieve well being one needs to well inside and out.  He is actually known as the Dr. of body, soul and mind.  During his session he asked us to do several exercises that allowed you to think about the suggestions her was sharing and at one point made people realize that it is our soul that is present and not our mind.  For example, the soul may be listening to him but the mind may be thing king "why did I not go to the ladies room before I sat down".  The purpose for all this deep discussion and understanding what to set the stage for what is necessary in leadership to help individuals manifest their dreams. It's all about being intentional every day and being present with that person which includes not looking down at your iPhone all the time.  The most important person in your life is the one in front of you and the most important moment is the one you are in right here and now.

Trust, Stability, Hope & Compassion are components of stories leaders must tell just like the one he started the program with at this session.  There were so many jewels he shared that it is difficult to put them all down here but one famous acronym he shared using the word leaders is this:

Look and listen
Emotional bonding

He went on to explain what he meant with each of the above words or phrases and ended with both a call to action and a suggestion that our next phase of human evolution will be survival of the wisest instead of prior survival of the fittest.  It takes intention to be wise about how to increase other well being on a day to day basis.  Ultimately, you will increase your own well being by intentionally waking up each day with the mindset to consistently be positive and uplifting to others which will in turn increase the well being of those around you.

In addition to the well being of individuals within the company that Mr. Chopra spoke of, I also had the opportunity to attend a session the focused on a cultural aspect that is very important now and into the future for companies to be successful.  Workflex was the focus of Cali Williams Yost session titled HR and Business as Strategic co-owners of Flexibility.  The biggest takeaway from this session is that workplace flexibility cannot be a policy or program that HR writes and expects the leaders to implement.  Like other sessions this week there must be a common element among all stakeholders which is trust.  This element along with others create a culture of workplace flexibility where ultimately employees are trusted to get the job done while they flexibly manage other aspects of their life. 

Surveys had cited workplace flexibility, when employees have it, as a top reason they stay with the organization.  It is more important than pay as employees would give up 8.6% of their compensation just to have the option of workflex.  The forecast for 2020 in tech journals say 26% of the workforce will be working remotely.  That is just covering technical positions while I have personally heard statistics that say 68% of our overall workforce will be working from home at least part of the time by as early as 2016.  This is very promising as I have lost excellent employees over the years who wanted flexible schedules so they could be home with their new babies more.  I started my company 11 years ago so I could be home with my son more when he was younger because I missed so much of my daughters younger years.  This whole concept supports our opening speaker Linda Rottenberg's comment about how you can be an employee for a short time but a mommy forever.  Ms. Yost has a blog about the topic called work+life fit, inc with some very important tips for organizations who want to move in this direction.

In addition, SHRM has moved in this direction providing resources and information about this topic for a couple years now partnering with Families and Work Institute.  The second annual SHRM Workflex conference will be held in Chicago later this month.

All in all this conference was a hit and I know many are looking forward to next years strategy conference which will be October 1-3 in Scottdale, Arizona so they can earn another nine plus hours of strategic HRCI credit, network with some awesome practitioners, and takeaway valuable ideas to help their employees move forward.

by Donna Rogers, SPHR, ILSHRM Director

Friday, October 5, 2012

SHRMStrat Day 2

The second day of the SHRM Strategy Conference was packed with incredible takeaways from two awesome keynotes David Novak and Aaron Dignan.  Both of these gentleman had very unique and interesting ideas for engaging, motivating, and driving performance in the organization.  Not only that they were excellent speakers and I would personally highly recommend either one of them for any conference.

David Novak who is honored as the worlds 30 Best CEO's according to Barron's sported props during his presentation such as a rubber chicken, cheese hat, and standing teeth.  His point with these crazy looking props was that regardless of what it is you use in your organization you should reward employees for doing a good job at work.  Positive reinforcement is key in driving performance and he used the 3 R's to emphasize this point (RECOGNIZE, RECOGNIZE, RECOGNIZE).

Aaron Dignan will be a leader my son's generation will support in a heartbeat because he totally supported the positive side of what our younger generations are getting out of gaming.  I have always recognized what he has been learning while gaming even at his early ages.  He is only 11 now and has a very strong understanding of geography, history, and random facts that I am constantly learning from him.  Aaron suggests that we think about how gaming affects our brain activity, drive, and desire to compete and design jobs in the same way games are designed that are not boring or don't become boring to the employee.  He used examples of cashiers at Target who are scored on the level of speed that they can check someone out.  I personally appreciate this because I have been through check outs before and been frustrated that the employee didn't have any respect for my time and just took their sweet time checking me out.  I wanted to give them a grade as a frustrated customer.

All in all both of these keynotes both inspired me and taught me ideas to take back and incorporate in my teaching, consulting, and inspiration of other aspiring HR professionals.  The concurrent sessions reinforced information I already knew as I attended a session on Metrics and Engagement.  Finally, I had the opportunity to see what was new with both SHRM HR research where Mark Schmit talked about the results of the 2010 Job Satisfaction Survey.


On a lighter side we ended the day with a closing party outside by the pool which was spectacular with music and lighted palm trees.  It was a fabulous way to network with other HR professionals but the most  interesting outcome was that a SHRM staff member met a conference attendee earlier in the day in a session and later connected at this evening event.  Both are from the east coast and having randomly met in the west coast they discovered they both graduated from the same high school within a couple years of each other and knew several of the same people having grown up in the same town.  So for them the closing party turned into a high school reunion conversation for at least a couple of hours.  How awesome is that!  It truly is a small world!

Finally, I also had an opportunity to hear Jon Pon, SHRM CHRO, who is also the conference emcee talk about the future of HR.  Enjoy!

by Donna Rogers, SPHR, ILSHRM Director

Thursday, October 4, 2012

SHRMStrat Day 1

The first day of the SHRM Strategy Conference went off without a hitch!  Several hundred HR pros gathered at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa to hear first from none other than the CHRO of SHRM, Jeff T. H. Pon, PhD who is referred to on Twitter as SHRMJeff.  He is our emcee for the week and I'm looking forward to hearing more from him as he tries to avoid suggestions from 260k members about how he should handle HR at SHRM (his comment not mine).  The board chair, Jose Berrios, followed with the state of the workforce before the highlight of the entire day to took the stage, Linda Rottenberg, CEO and co-founder of Endeavor.

My overall reaction to Linda's keynote is "she gets it"!  That is not because she praised the HR profession more than once, but because she explained many specific experiences of both her own and the entrepreneurs that her non-profit organization, Endeavor, works so hard to assist that demonstrated her thorough understanding of how HR has a huge impact on the bottom line of any organization.  The organization that started with inspiration that came from three cab rides.  It was her third cab ride where the driver shared that he had a PhD in Engineering but had taken the job because he couldn't find anything else due to the economy.  She thought to herself, whey doesn't he start his own company, and realized resources were limited for individuals who may have a desire when the economy doesn't support our working for others.  As an entrepreneur myself for 11 years now, I totally understand the cab drivers predicament and was inspired by Linda's drive and determination to make a difference.

Aside from the details of running a worldwide organization and sharing all the HR and general business related experiences and challenges, we learned she was very human and not just super woman.  She shared a personal story about having to tell her staff about her commitment to her husband and family values when he was initially diagnosed with cancer.  The staff let her know that they appreciated her humanness after years of seeing her go nonstop and had gained a new found respect for her as a person.  The lesson she learned from that experience was invaluable.  She ended with a powerful statement about how we get a chance to make a difference in our profession for a short part of our lifetime but she is a mom forever.  Family values are extremely important and work flexibility is not just a generational issue it is a workplace issue and we all need to do what we can to make it ok for people to take care of what matters most.

I had a chance to interview, Vince Caldwell, who shared the book store highlights related to Strategic HRM which you can watch here:

There where four afternoon sessions to chose from and I chose a table at the front of the Using Social Media to Increase Collaboration, Productivity and Engagement session which was unfortunately a disappointment because it was simply too basic.  However,  I didn't feel comfortable enough to leave having been right up front.  I was not the only one as I discovered during the presidential debates later in the evening.  The reason I felt this way which is really a message to all conference speakers was because she didn't know her audience or perhaps she assumed from the low online participation up to and during the conference that everyone in the room was needing the basics.  For me I was looking at the title and description thought we would get into some case studies about how companies were actually using it to collaborate and engage employees.  We heard from Linda Rottinger earlier that her company uses internally to increase productivity, collaboration, and engagement and that was not even her topic.  I was expecting more examples and software ideas.  However, after reviewing the description there was one word that answered my misunderstanding of expectations (LEAP).  It says "by taking the leap and introducing social media into your organization".  She focused on that one word by "selling" all the reasons for using social media in the organization.

Getting back to knowing your audience.  I get that this group is on the trailing end of actually using social media which is evident online and by what one of the participants stood up and mentioned about how more of the attendees should have been there.  They should have been in there indeed to hear the basic message she had but for those of us who already get it and was in the room I believe we were looking for more.  The lady sitting next to me was using a program similar to chatter to engage all 800 employees all over the country.  I be the group would have liked to hear more about here experience implementing, etc.  With all this said she absolutely was engaging and well spoken.

Finally, the evening could not have ended any better than seeing how important the social issues in this country are to the HR professionals in attendance by the turnout for the big screen debate showing and cash bar with appetizers that each participant paid for themselves.  Personal commitment to staying informed as a voter was evident by e approximately 100 person turnout between both rooms.

by Donna Rogers, SPHR, ILSHRM Director

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two Tips for HR Conference Planners

In the last two months I have attended more then my fair share of Human Resources Conferences. For this I am thankful, although the HRCI credits are worthless, as I have way too many already and my certification doesn't run out until February of 2013.  At every event I have attended, I was treated exceedingly well, at so it pains me to make what may be perceived as some negative remarks.

For the record I am not the first, nor will I be the last to re-state this issue. Point number one is this - If you are going to have a Human Resources Conference especially where you are trying to get people to interact YOU MUST PROVIDE FREE and OPEN WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE.   Sorry - I feel there are no ifs, ands or buts about this.   I have been involved in quite a bit of conference planning and here is what I know.  Providing internet service is damned expensive, but it is also damned essential. In fact it can run into the thousands of dollars, and if it does you had better build it into your budget, it's essential.

The next point is directed at conference planners who are trying to promote social media.  We can not continue to give a forum to lawyers who want cap and control social media in the workplace.  I understand that we as employers do need to have rules, and have a plan to deal with social media and all of the issues that it can bring about in the workplace.  However, we need to do this in a realistic fashion.  Most workplaces have rules against people bringing guns to work and shooting their co-workers.  Yet the shootings still continue,  do we need more effective policies to prevent this?  In my opinion no policy can stop this.  I see the social media issue in a similar vein.

Dealing with social media is a problem that is going to require employee interaction, discussion and dialogue  Further, in my opinion, to continue  to write policies that are going to change because of technology or an NLRB ruling, and be passe or outmoded upon their publication is ludicrous.  I am consistently drawn back to a policy stated by my friend William Tincup.  Regarding workplace use of social media, William says the policy is this, "Use Common Sense."

Now in fairness to the legal profession, not all of them share the view that social media is something that can dealt with completely through the implementation of Company policy. So let find these folks and share our forum with them.

I very much enjoy the conference scene and everyone involved with all of them, so this is my way of trying to make the overall experience a better one.

- Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BNHRC -These Guys Are Good

ILSHRM's Tech Team Angel Rachel & Dave Ryan at ILSHRM11
performing as room monitors and designated tweeters at a session.
Wednesday September 26th, 2012 is not too far away.  I am looking forward to this day... why?  I have a bunch of reasons.  The first and foremost reason is I have been invited to be a guest at The Bloomington-Normal Human Resources program Social Media Strategies for Human Resources.  You too can come - just click here.

I have been involved with SHRM at many levels for a long time. In that time, I have met a lot of great SHRM folks.  Angela Rachel and I have become good friends because of SHRM and social media.  Last year at SHRM Leadership I met Casey Radliff too.  And now, Angela has invited me at attend and be part of an upcoming event with her chapter. I am humbled.

The 2012 BNHRC Board
So in preparing to attend, I, of course took a look at BNHRC website. After I perused the site, it was apparent to me that here is a chapter in Central Illinois that is doing a whole bunch of things right.  On the website I very prominately see the three legs (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) of an effective social social media strategy for a SHRM chapter.  As the Director of Social Media for the Illinois State Council I say kudos BNHRC!  You are walking the walk and talking the talk - AND you are hosting a program dedicated to Social Media and HR.  This is so enlightened to me. There are chapters (who shall remain nameless) that could do a seminar called Social Media for HR - Coming out of the Closet Soon. You guys have chosen to embrace it.  I think that is spectacular. I think BNHRC is very progressive and should be recognized for their work; because it is a lot of work to stay on top of things. Casey you have a great team I hope you tell them that.

Jennifer McClure on the big stage, sharing her passion and longevity
to the field of what we now call HR at SHRM12 ATL.
Now, a few words about the meeting itself. Jennifer McClure is going to be the Keynote Speaker.  Honestly that is worth the price of admission. I have known Jennifer for a while now - and yes we met first through social media.  I have seen her speak at least five times (maybe more) and she is always fabulous.  Most recently I saw her present at SHRM National in Atlanta, where she filled a room of  500-700 at 7 AM the first day of the conference. Jennifer has advised me too, on how to use social media in hiring - and it worked. I will be there tweeting away.

Regarding the break out sessions that follow, I can't speak to them too much as I do not know the presenters - but I will after the program. Judging by the titles The Employer Brand in a Social World and Social Networking and the Law either program would provide some great dialogue.

During the lunch hour, there is going to be a panel discussion about Finding the Right People Through Social Networks.  Angela has graciously asked me to be part of the panel.  BNHRC has also asked Nathan Gildrow, Emilie Shoop, Autumn McReynolds and Lew Steinbach to participate on the panel as well. The discussion will be moderated by Ms. McClure.  Hopefully this topic will give each of the attendees some takeaways that they can implement immediately.

And then BNHRC will wrap this up and have you out of the meeting at 1:30 pm, packing 4 hours of HRCI credit.  Sounds like a good day to me, the only question for me is do I head back to the office, or just hang around Bloomington  and kill the rest of the day at one of the local golf courses.  Decisions, decisions, at least I have a few day before I must make up my mind.  Hope to meet you there!

--Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHMR

Monday, September 17, 2012

Can’t Attend #SHRMStrat Follow ILSHRM Rep

The annual SHRM Strategy conference is just around the corner October 3-5 in Palm Springs, CA.  Last year was a first experience for this conference as I had previously attended all the others at one point or another over my career except the new one on workfit.  As with all SHRM conferences you had your usual suspects like SHRM Store, Meet to Eat and other popular attractions but what I was most impressed with was the topics discussed as well as the caliber of people who were attending.  This year’s conference promises to be just as rewarding with the following keynotes.

ILSHRM will be represented again on the press team and I invite you to follow along via twitter and this blog site.  If you have questions for me to ask the speakers, feel free to tweet those to me at any time.  I look forward to doing what I can for those who can’t attend so you too can share in the experience and learning during the event.

--Donna Rogers ISC SHRM Chair

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thoughts from a Job Fair

Last week I attended a job fair sponsored by our local Chamber of Commerce. It is an annual event.  While it has never been marketed as such, the job fair has become one, of many entry level positions and near minimum wage jobs.  As I stood behind my table and watched the wave of job seekers overtake the room I was really disappointed to see the same thing again this year.

It appears that so many of the young folks who attend at an entry level event are part of what academics call structurally unemployed.  While this may be brash or arrogant of me to say this, it appears that these folks lack the skill to get an interview, let alone land the job, if they were fortunate enough to get called for an interview.  Speciffically what was I seeing that led me to believe this,,,

  • Don't smoke pot before coming to a job fair (I know what it smells like)
  • Don't be a 20 something young lady in a halter top carrying a child and pushing another one (wanting to talk to employers, you are screaming I have child care issues
  • Ball caps - take them off 
  • Young men - pull your pants up, I don't want to see your underwear (it's the food plant thing) 
  • Look at me (in the eyes) when we are conversing (not off into the distance)
  • Don't travel in packs  - I want to hire individuals not groups of people
  • If you bring one of your parents - don't let them talk for you
  • Take the metal out of your face, the holes are ok - I get it that you have piercings
  • Do something to make sure you don't have bad breath

My bullet point lists reminds me of one of my son's favorite sayings.  He works for the parent organization of a College Fraternity.  He always tell the young fraternity gentlemen, "You get one chance at first impressions."  I think that is profound.

OR - I am I missing the whole thing?  Should I change my attire and style to look, dress and act like these folks?

As I mull that over, I have one last final observation from the job fair.  For the first time in my life I started to get creeped-out by shaking someones hand.  I observed an individual sneezing. After covering their mouth with their hand, they then extended their hand to me,  So I am thinking great, I am going to directly get whatever germs they have rolling around in their system. But I hung tuff and shook their hand anyway.

I am thinking of pushing a new concept at job fairs. Rather than shake hands, I think we (employers) should follow suit from our friends in Asia; Japan, Korea, Viet Nam etc. and bow our heads at each other, when we meet someone new. This would show respect and not spread germs.   That would probably be the most respect I would be shown as a recruiter, at a job fair.

-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thank you...better late than never.

The 13th Annual Illinois State SHRM Conference ended two weeks ago today (that is if I finish this in time to be posted Tuesday morning) and I am just getting around to saying thanks.  I feel bad that it is taking me so long to write this but a couple of days to decompress, answer e-mail and resume other projects went a little too long.  But it is better late than never to say:  THANK YOU!

Thank you to the staff at Drury Lane, MCS and NIU Outreach.  Even though we do pay for your services, the cooperation and customer service that you deliver far outreach our initial agreements.  It is such a pleasure working with all three of your organizations, it makes running ILSHRM almost fun….ok, it is fun.

Thank you to our exhibitors and sponsors.  Without your support, we would not be able to offer such a great conference at such an affordable price.  In return, I hope you made some great new contacts that will bring in new business that will along you remain successful until we meet again next year.

Thank you to our speakers, both concurrent and keynote.  Because of your tremendous knowledge, speaking ability and congeniality, you have allowed our attendees to obtain new, valuable information and obtain new ideas that will allow them to continue to be a success in their current jobs and to launch new and innovative programs in their work places.

Thank you to our Social Media team.  You traveled across the country, and in a few cases, country borders to help us let the HR social media world know what a great event we have in terms of content and networking.

Thank you to the ILSHRM volunteers, ISC Board members and SHRM Staff.  All of you (well, most of you) are volunteers and go way above and beyond the call of duty in making the Conference a huge success.  I must point out one person in particular.  Sabrina Baker has been my right hand person for the last two year in running this conference and I have all the faith that she will continue to make this conference evolve and grow in her two year term as Conference Director.  I could not have done it without her.

Finally, Thank you to the people we do this for, our attendees.  You are the reason we’ve done this for the last 13 years and will continue to do it into the future.  Part of SHRM’s “motto” is to Serve The Profession.  We feel one of the best ways to serve it is to provide great programming and networking that will continue to allow the HR field to grow at the rate it has over the last decade or so.  Thank you for coming and supporting us in that ideal and we hope to continue to see a lot of familiar faces next year on August 18-20, 2013 at Drury Lane for the 14th Annual Illinois SHRM Conference. 

Even though my tenure as Conference Director is over, I will see you next year.  Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

-John Jorgensen SPHR, 2011 and 2012 ILSHRM Conference Director

Another SHRM State Conference - Interested?

The Drury Lane Theater - Home of ILSHRM.
With our own version of the SHRM State Conference (ILSHRM12) in the bag for year, I can safely now talk about, and promote other SHRM state Conferences. There are some good ones coming up here in the SHRM North Central Region. While these are not in all of our backyards, for some folks another state conference is not all that far away.

As a board member of ILSHRM I have had the good fortune to attend a few events outside the Land of Lincoln. I enjoyed them immensely.  For the most part you are almost guaranteed NOT to know anyone, so you could not craft that any better as a networking event?  It is also most interesting to see the different hot button issues in the nearby states. Interested?  Take a little virtual shopping trip below...

Catch me in Orlando

Now those are the conferences close by.  Me, I am gonna take a little different approach for attending an out of state SHRM conference.  I am headed to the Mother of all State Conferences. What's that you ask... HR FLORIDA. It has been going on for the last 50 years... well maybe not that long, but this year is rumored to be their 30th SHRM State Conference.  On my trip, I plan to investigating the roots of social media and its use at SHRM conferences.  I understand HRFlorida has helped shape this landscape, and I hope to get some details on this.   HRFlorida has also been a leader in attendance. Their conferences typically draw around 1500 attendees each year. I am hopeful to find out what they do so well, and share that.  They create this monster show every year and I want to see if first hand.

There will no doubt be a lively stream flowing out on twitter under the #HRFL12 hashtag.  I will adding to that stream, sharing what I can learn about HRFlorida and it's success.

Now if you can't make HR Florida please take a look at our neighbors in the North Central Region - they too have much to offer!

Dave Ryan - Director of Social Media ISC SHRM   

Monday, August 13, 2012

SHRM, Schock and Relationships

Either we have some pretty smart cookies doing our bidding for us out at the Mothership on Duke street, or they are scamming us big time - at least based upon my findings.  The crew at SHRM Government Affairs have been working diligently to get their members (you and me and anybody else reading this) to become more active in government affairs.  One thing they do every year at the SHRM Leadership Conference is called Lobby Day.  This is where they very quickly and efficiently teach members who to go Capitol Hill how to become advocates for SHRM and HR issues.  It's fairly easy and not all that intimidating. I did  it last year.

Now part of the effort is to introduce legislators to SHRM members. Another part, bigger picture is to  have these SHRM members build relationships with their elected officials.  Last year on my trip, I did get to meet with my U.S. Representative Aaron Schock (R-Peoria, IL).  He seemed like an articulate, congenial, intelligent young man - wise beyond his 31 years.

Last November when I met with him as part of Lobby Day, I extended him an invitation to, "stop by and see us if you are in the neighborhood."   Really it just seemed like the cordial thing to do. Quite frankly I viewed it like inviting someone to the party that you are almost certain will not show up. Well in late July I got a call from one of the Congressman's staffers asking if he could come by and see our operation on August 9. What...he's want to take me up on this- really. Uhmm... we would love to have the Congressman come by, to see what we do, see and hear about some of our challenges and left unsaid build our relationship.

U.S. Representative Aaron Schock (left) touring our food plant. 
On the appointed day Representative Schock dropped in met our Company President, CFO and toured our facility.  I work in manufacturing so I had the gentleman who runs that department tour with Represtative Schock.  It was quick tour.

Nonetheless, we did get to discuss with Representative Schock some issues that our Company was facing, and put faces with names.  As the discussions wrapped up, I suggested to his Chief of Staff that I was a pretty sharp HR guy and would love to be included in any discussion that they were having on legislative matters that involved Human Resources.  She said she would be happy to contact me about those issues.

So there it is.  Once you get the relationship started the SHRM formula seems to be working.  I wonder if all those Government Affairs people at SHRM are really super smart and earning an honest living, or that if very few SHRM members have actually taken the time and made the effort to build a relationship with an elected official, in an effort to advocate for Human Resources/SHRM and business related matters.

The true answer is this; Mr. Aitken, Ms. Horn, Mr. Layman, and Mr. Lusk all do one heck of a job for SHRM and their members and it is because of their planning and forethought, I have had this opportunity to develop a relationship with my elected official. So thanks guys!   I Hope that I have the good fortune to attend SHRM Lobby Day 2012.

-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM