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