By Donna Rogers
Recently, I set up a booth at a one day ILChamber employer healthcare conference in Oak Brook and on the way back, I thought of several ways we at ILSHRMhave benefitedfrom this partnership. I also thought how other chapters and state councils may benefit from similar partnerships. Therefore, I wrote this blog post to share in case you (chapters & state councils) want to “borrow” this idea.
The history: about a year or two ago, I started developing a relationship (now a partnership) with the IL Chamber and more recently formed another partnership with ILCUPA-HR, which stands for College & Universities Professional Association-Human Resources. What I experienced at the recent ILChamber event wasreaffirmation that the decision to partner was definitely a WIN-WIN. As a result, I hope to continue to build more statewide HR related organizational relationships over time.
The partnership: ILSHRM only has two public events a year. We actually have three main events but one is private and it’s only for our chapter & ILSHRM board of directors.The first conference of the year is our state Legislative where we invite anyone who is interested in IL legislation &advocacy.
The second is our annual conference, we have been growing by leaps and bounds, because of some awesome leadership we have had in that area. With that growth we are expecting about 1000 this year. So with that being said, we can only do a partnership that gives us the ability to trade off two events. We are volunteers so we don’t have a full time staff to handle a lot of timeaway from our real jobs thus we try to make our commitment minimal.We also don’t have a lot to money so the partnership it is 100% non-cash trade.
With the ILChamber, we have given them the option to have attendee's man booths at both of them and in trade they do the same for us. Fortunately, I couldn’t get anyone else to volunteer to come up to the Oakbrook event but I’m glad it happened that way to get the experience and share it with everyone else, because it was such a huge benefit. I was not only able to share and brand ILSHRM while I was there with about 200 attendees, I shared what all of our chapters do, where they are at in the state, and some of the benefits of being a chapter member. In addition, SHRM actually sent me some brochures promoting chapter membership which was very helpful. I developed a one page sheet for those with an interest in a particular chapter to easily check where they work or live so the chapter leadership could follow up with them.
Another thing we talked about was the various types of people that came to the booth that were either PHR or SPHRcertified and/or were interested in how the chapters do study groups for the exam. A few people were interested in not only taking the test for the 1st time but actually going up to the next level tests like someone who has been a PHR now and wants to test for the SPHR and so on.
Our conferences were also a topic of conversation. This was a huge opportunity for me to not only talk one on one with people about our conference that is coming up in August. In addition, at the end of the day I was able to actually go up on stage and give out our prize while announcing who we were and what we were doing. That was an amazing opportunity in front of the entire crowd to let them know that we are partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shieldof Illinoisand that we give out wowie awards for wellness in the workplace, which was a perfect match for the conversation that was going on there since the conference was primary over healthcare.The speakers and how successful and popular was a side note I was able to slip into my announcement as well. That was a wonderful opportunity that we would never have had before the partnership.
I must say, this partnership with ILChamber has been a little more generous because they do have employees that work there every day, where as we are volunteers, we don’t have as many events nor do we have as much time to share. As a matter of fact we were invited to two other events in the Southern part of the state, because the director knows I am interested in developing chapters south of central Illinois. In Effingham and Collinsvillewe didn’t have a booth but we were able to speak to the crowd for about five minutes.Then there are two more events coming up that they would like us to have a booth at in September&October.
The thing is, this is not just a benefit for ILSHRM,ILChamber or ILCUPA-HR it is really an opportunity for whoever the volunteers are who man the event booths, because the volunteers personally have a chance to network and learn. There are certain times that are exhibitor times where you have to be at the booth and you should be, but the rest of it they can attend the conference to learn and also shop for speakers for their upcoming events.
If the Chapters were to get involved with their local Chambers for example, their local CUPA-HR, or their local medical HR groups or any other industry HR specific organization, I know they would benefit. I’ve been involved in local manufacturing groups in the past. If, the Chapters were able to build these partnerships, then they also, not only is their Chapter benefiting and potentially growing their membership, which was my ultimate goal in attending the event, but the individuals who are doing the work are also getting a day or two of HRCI credit, knowledge and skill development. What are you doing to build win-win relationships for your chapter or state council?
-Donna Rogers ISC SHRM State Director