Grass Roots !!

With Spring now fully upon us, I’ve been tempted to get out into my yard. The harsh winter took it’s toll, and I’m definitely going to have to get out there soon and do some work. There are patches of my lawn that have become bare. These areas will get the most attention and I’m eager to plant new grass.

Growing grass isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you just toss the seed on the ground hoping that it will come to life, you’ll have little to no success. Once you get the dirt broken up and the seed dispersed, you need to make sure it’s covered and regularly watered. After hours of work and days of waiting, you’ll start to see wisps of green starting to come to life. It takes attention, patience and a bit of faith to get even the smallest bare patches covered once again.

When I look at HR, I see bare patches as well. I don’t want to point out areas that I view as “wrong” because that is too much of a generalization without context. I’m not in your organizations, but I’m sure you see areas that need some attention. The question is – Do you want to tend to them? Are you willing to get out there and work the ground, spread some seed and nurture things to life?

I think people see bare patches and want to do the work, but they are overwhelmed with the distractions that are taking up the majority of their daily focus. In HR, you are pulled 500 ways in the same day. This isn’t a complaint, it’s a reality. You rarely have a day where you can plan it all out and have the situations you face play out accordingly. That honestly keeps HR exciting for me, but I understand how it can be exhausting.

grassI want to propose a solution that is Grass Roots in nature to revolutionize who we are and what we do. The best movements in HR start as grass roots efforts. That’s true when Social Media came about as well as places where HR pros gather at events and conferences. The idea I have isn’t revolutionary, but the effort to make it happen will be.

The bare patch I see is that we continue to be separated as a community. There are pockets of people who are close and connected, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Many HR practitioners continue to work in isolation. When you try to reach out and connect with them, they feel either that they don’t have enough time, or that their work won’t allow them to do this.

This just isn’t the case. Having meaningful HR professional connections will make you able to get to resources you didn’t even know existed. This is more than being connected on Social Media forums or reading someone’s blog !! The connections that can, and should, happen take time to plant, water and grow. The result is that you’ll have people that you can reach out to that understand what you do, what you go through in your role and how to encourage you and lift you up to succeed in HR.

I’ve been “working the ground” on this for years and years and I continue to plan on doing that. Will you join me? Will you be willing to reach out and connect with other HR pros and build your community? Will you make these connections flourish and not let them be a flash in the pan from when you met at a conference?

People want to be connected. This is especially true for HR folks. Join me in making the dream of a vibrant, integrated HR community come to life !! Be part of the grass roots !!

Time to Reignite !!

Many people are trying to shake the winter doldrums in the hope that spring will renew them. This happens every year and is very predictable behavior. Instead of enjoying the season we’re in, we keep looking forward to a rebirth in the next season to come. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the thaw that is finally upon us and am glad to see the snow start to dissipate.

I think many HR pros look at their career with the same anticipation they have with the changing of the seasons. There seems to be a push that ANYTHING would be better than the situation they currently find themselves facing. There is also a feeling of professional isolationism because they feel that no one is experiencing the levels of disgust, frustration and angst that they are. When I hear stories of despair I get concerned. I’m concerned because if that is how you are approaching your role, it will reflect in your performance and with the employees that work alongside you.

There are seemingly countless stories and sentiments of HR pros who are just flat burnt out. They can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  In fact, all they see is the tunnel and it keeps getting deeper and darker. This isn’t healthy in any way whatsoever. Why would you continue to go back to a difficult HR environment just to be a martyr everyday?

It’s time for HR practitioners to come to terms with a reality in our careers. There is only one person who’s responsible for how Human Resources is in your role and that’s YOU !! Your career may be influenced by others around you, but in the end, you are the only person who can impact who you are and what you do.

Has the fire gone out for you?  Or, has the fire consumed you and eaten away at what you think HR should be in your company?

Lit Matches in a rowTake a different approach intentionally and reignite the fire of passion around Human Resources !! Everyday you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the people around you and also add value to the growth and success of your company. You can, and must, be the model of making this happen in your culture. Believe me when I say that this isn’t a pep talk to motivate you.  Motivation is internal and you alone can build that energy up. You could spice in a great rock tune, say something from AC/DC, to get you jacked up, but this isn’t a peak and valley approach. Once your passion is reignited, you need to fan the flame so that others around you start catching this fire.

I’ve recently been talking with some friends who either just changed HR roles, or want to. In every case they expressed that they want an HR role where they can flourish and make a difference in what they do. This needs to be the expectation of everyone in HR !!  The conversations I had weren’t somber or melancholy. They were a chance to share some encouragement and give them a nudge to no longer settle for mediocrity in what they do. The companies they work(ed) for didn’t view HR in a positive, integrated and broad way. That’s fine if companies want to limit HR – but YOU don’t have to be a part of that !!

People wonder if my level of passion and excitement is some shtick for some on-line persona. You can trust me, it’s not. It took me several years to understand that HR can be on fire all the time. It also took some searching to find a role and a company that was as passionate and excited about what they did so that this ignited form of HR could grow and exist.

So, if you’re burnt out – rekindle !! If you’re an ember that’s just barely holding on and smoldering – add fuel and energy !!  If you’re in a role where HR cannot be exciting and passionate, then maybe it’s time to find a place that let’s you rock it out !! Reignite yourself and radiate great HR in all that you say and do !! It’s really the only way to practice.

I Am Groot !!

I am an avowed HR Nerd. This is something I embrace and have since my high school days.  Growing up I collected comic books (unfortunately my mother thought they took up “too much space” . . .) and I loved them.  I couldn’t get enough of the action, the heroes, the villains and the stories.  I’ve kept that hobby going with my son.  He has a collection of comic books too, and we’ve been able to share something else – comic book movies !!

Whenever a Marvel or DC movie comes out, we are at the theater on opening night. This past summer we absolutely had to see Guardians of the Galaxy !!  It was phenomenal from start to finish (and my amazing wife bought the DVD for my birthday). If you don’t even finish this post, you should make sure you see this movie !!

I Am GrootMy favorite character by far is Groot. You’ve never seen anything like him because he’s like a giant tree and the only thing he can say is, “I am Groot.”  It doesn’t matter what the situation is he doesn’t have any other vocabulary.  In the movie he is the most empathetic individual in the group.  He is caring, heroic and even sacrificial in his friendship.  In one scene he protects the other Guardians and when his partner protests, he says, “WE are Groot.”

And this ties into HR how ??

I went to an Ohio SHRM State Council meeting at the Capitol Square Sheraton in Columbus, Ohio recently. When I arrived in our meeting room, there was George one of the Sheraton staff.  He turned quickly and said, “Steve !!” and hugged me.  “I was hoping you’d be here. Where were you last time?”  I explained that I just couldn’t make it and was sorry to miss seeing him. George left the room to tell Theresa and Mike that I had made the meeting.  Theresa shared with me that at the end of December she was named Employee of the Month for the hotel and Employee of the Year for the chain regionally.  We hugged.  Mike came out on a break to tell me about his family and we hugged.  The meeting went well and then Sammy came to the room after we had finished for the day just to say, “Hi !!” and said he couldn’t miss seeing me.  We hugged.

This is humbling in ways that are hard to express.  These great folks aren’t my employees and I see them at most three times a year for less than a few minutes each time. It is always great to see the staff at the Sheraton because we are Groot !!

Too often we get caught up in HR focusing on the people who are only within arm’s reach. Many HR practitioners I know struggle to make connections with people they work with, and that is tough.  I understand that it’s hard to encourage you to take in people who are outside your day-to-day environment, but I’d like to have you consider something different.

We can “practice” HR wherever we are and whoever we interact with.  This is because people are the basis for who we are and what we do.  You don’t have to limit yourself to the systems that you feel you control.  People all around you desperately want someone to connect with them, notice them and understand that what they do has value.

You can be that person who reaches out.  You can be the person who takes a few minutes to make sure someone isn’t missed.  You can be the person who people miss if they expected you to be there.  You can be the hug someone melts in because it came at the right time.

This week, take a look and see who is around you.  Take the step to be different and reach out.  I know this works and I know you have it in you because in HR – We are Groot !!

Carnival of HR: Make HR Better Edition !!

It’s time once again for the Carnival of HR !!  I asked people to submit posts and give their thoughts on “HR would be better it . . .”

I was honestly overwhelmed by the incredible response !!  This edition contains posts from some HR bloggers you see on a regular basis as well as some that are “new” voices that you need to take in. (Make sure you scroll through the whole page so you don’t miss any of them !!)

Before I list the links to these fab posts, I want to share how I’d make HR better . . .

Idea LightsIt’s simple and the Carnival is a great example.  I have this audacious goal to connect all HR people together around the world.  A great way to do this is to share other’s work on a regular basis as well as connect with the bloggers on purpose.  So, as you read the works included, follow the authors on Twitter, look for them on Linked In and connect with them going forward.  I enjoy each of the folks who submitted and hope you do as well !! Let’s see how they would make HR better !!

Gem Reucroft (@HR_Gem on Twitter) stuck straight with the theme and I dig that !! HR would be better if . . .

Doug Shaw (@dougshaw1 on Twitter) keeps things simple, yet profound with Three Little Words.

Keith Gulliver (@KeithGulliver on Twitter) follows suit with simplicity in Better If . . .

Kristina Minyard (@HRecruit on Twitter) encourages us to see if our perspective on HR is positive or negative in Pride and Perspective.

Heather Kinzie (@LeadingSolution on Twitter) jumps alongside and asks us to be committed in her How I Would Make HR Better post.

Justin Harris (@UnlikelyHRGuy on Twitter) asks folks to Recruit Different.

David Kovacovich (@DavidKovacovich on Twitter) wants us to have perspective on how policies affect HR in Is Policy the Enemy of Trust?

David D’Souza (@dds180 on Twitter) offers insight if you’re starting out your career in HR with Making HR Better (or not making it worse)

Mary Faulkner (@mfaulkner43 on Twitter) wants all of us to join in Making (HR) Leaders Better !!

John Sumser’s (@JohnSumser on Twitter) HR Examiner always has forward thinking posts like this one from Neil McCormick – My 2015 wishes for HR.

Jonathan Segal (@Jonathan_HR_Law on Twitter) shares his 8 New Year’s Resolutions for HR.

Maggie Frye (@Maggie_frye on Twitter) gave a step forward with the theme with her post HR Would Be Better If . . .

Dwane Lay (@DwaneLay on Twitter) moves us on the continuum of Resolution, Evolution, Revolution.

Nathan Hopper (@nathanhopper on Twitter) gives the theme a twist with HR – The New 4 Letter Word.

Robin Rothman (@robinlrothman on Twitter) adds great thoughts for Happy New Year 2015 and beyond for HR.

Jennifer Payne (@JennyJensHR on Twitter) is the facilitator of the fab Women of HR blog and she also has a look forward with 2015 . . .Welcome to the Future.

Julie Waddell (@jawaddell on Twitter) shares her insightful thoughts on I Would Make HR Better By . . .

Michael Carty (@MJCarty on Twitter) wants to see HR get more social on HR Directors need to up their game on data and social media

Neil Morrison (@neilmorrison on Twitter) about owning who we are in his post – It’s Not You, It’s Me

Joe Gerstandt (@joegerstandt on Twitter) asks us to be reflective on Start First With What You Believe

Heather Bussing (@heatherbussing on Twitter) shares resources and a broader perspective with 5 Books to Make HR (and Everything) Better

Sarah Williams (@TheBuzzonHR on Twitter) shares her view on How I Would Make HR Better

Ernie Tamayo (@ErnieTamayo on Twitter) breaks our filters with I’d Make HR Better . . . By Dropping the Millennial Stereotypes

Craig Farrell, a person looking to get into HR, shares HR Would Be Better If . . .

Chantal Bechervaise (@CBechervaise on Twitter) asks us to also simplify what we do with Back to Basics: Treating People As People

One of my fellow HR rockers, Peter Cook (@AcademyofRock on Twitter) puts a great musical spin on the theme with Punk Rock HR – A Manifesto for Better HR Strategy and Practice

Barb Buckner (@BarbBuckner on Twitter) shares really cool thoughts on her take on  HR Would Be Better If . . .

Liz daRosa (@lizdaRosa on Twitter) adds a positive spin on things with Let’s #MakeHRBetter

Joe Abusamra (@Joe Abusamra on Twitter) takes a talent angle with his post Stir the Talent Warehouse Pot – Nuture, Engage and Prosper

Lisa Rosendahl (@lisarosendahl on Twitter) wants us to look at things differently with Changing the HR Story

Neil Usher (@workessence on Twitter) has a manifesto that we all could follow !! – A manifesto for everyone

Elizabeth Lalli-Reese (@TXStrategicHR on Twitter) gives our theme a healthy spin with Start the New Year Right: Workplace Wellness

Mike Haberman (@MikeHabweman on Twitter) gives some succinct advice to us with Advice for HR to Live by: Just Stop It!

Ian Welsh (@ianclive on Twitter) looks at this year and ahead with How Can We Make HR Better for 2015 and Beyond?

Sabrina Baker (@SabrinaLBaker on Twitter) has an optimistic take on things with The Biggest Opportunity Facing HR in 2015

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell on Twitter) offers a great approach with Be a Lean, Mean, Creative Recruiting Machine in 2015

A fun and creative look at HR from Liz d’Aloia (@HRVirtuoso on Twitter) with Lead Like Carol Burnett

Robin Schooling (@RobinSchooling on Twitter) comes with one of our fave catch phrases with I’m from HR. And I’m Here to Help.

Broc Edwards (@brocedwards on Twitter) asks if it’s possible for Making HR Better?

Melissa Fairman (@HrRemix on Twitter) gives us The Only Quote You Need in 2015

Ben Eubanks (@beneubanks on Twitter) encourages us to Develop an HR State of the Union Address

Tanveer Naseer (@TanveerNaseer on Twitter) asks Did We Succeed in Putting Our Employees First?

Sharlyn Lauby (@hrbartender on Twitter) wants HR to Embrace Organizational Outsiders

Love Ben Martinez’s (@HRHound on Twitter) approach with 3 Words to Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions

Kyle Jones (@KyleMJ6977 on Twitter) wants us to Be Better Than Yesterday

Fun and different outlook from Peggy Hogan (@PurpleInkHR on Twitter) with HR Would Be Better If It Was Purple

Brad Galin (@bradgalin on Twitter) keeps things down to earth with Improvement begins at home!

A unique opportunity for HR from Steve Brewer from Burrt Jones & Brewer (@honestdesign on Twitter) – Why doesn’t the HR Department have more of a role in workplace design?

And to wrap this great compilation for this Carnival of HR, Carlos Escobar (@cescobar on Twitter) with an environmental twist We Need More Plants in Our Buildings

Make sure you connect with all of these great HR folks !!  I’ll be checking to see if you do because I want all of us to Make HR Better !!

 

 

 

 

Lorax HR !!

I don’t know about you, but I have always been a huge Dr. Suess fan !! When I was young I remember my mom reading me Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish among many others.  He was able to rhyme and bring things to life in an incredibly simple way.  I’m sure his books helped me learn to read as he has for thousands of others.

He also opened my imagination.  If he didn’t have a word that others traditionally used, he made them up.  The worlds he created were colorful and also believable.  It didn’t seem impossible that an entire civilization could live on the bloom of a flower, or that an elephant could hear them.  He was a contrarian who defined new rules and did it in a way to educate people. He was also an activist who wanted to bring messages like the materialism of Christmas or the destruction of our environment to people’s attention.  He did in a timeless way so that generations could continue to learn from his tales.

The Lorax Book CoverMy absolute fave by far was The Lorax.  Here is a story that resonates with me even today in the world of HR.  You see, when the Lorax spoke he said, “I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.” He spoke up for them because they could not speak for themselves.  The trees were being destroyed so that a company could make Thneeds for people to wear and everyone wanted them.  The trees were being harvested left and right and it didn’t matter that they were disappearing completely because the company had to have the material to make their product.

The “trees” we have in our organizations are our employees.  I’m not saying we’re destroying them, or using them to make sure the company moves forward at all costs.  But we need to be the ones who speak for them.  You see, if you ask Management who HR represents, they would say “Management.”  And, if you asked employees who HR represent, they’d say . . . “Management.”  So, how do they get a voice?

It’s time for us to realize that we are there for all people – both Management and employees.  We have to be the voice of reason that listens to all sides of situations and act as the bridge between those sides to bring resolution.  I get concerned that we often sway to the Management side only because we feel that’s where HR “should” be.  It’s true that we should look out for the best interest of our organizations, but that should include all employees !!

As this new year starts, take some time to evaluate who you spend the most time with.  Are you balanced and work with all staff?  If not, what’s keeping you from doing that?  We need to be the Lorax in our company.  We need to stand up and be vocal about our people.  By doing this we can help drive our culture and make sure that people aren’t silent.

So, as you start this week keep this quote in front of you – ” I am HR and I speak for employees !! ” You’ll be glad you do !!

Go Against the Flow !!

This weekend I had to get my HR Nerd on and go see The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. It was phenomenal and you should absolutely see it in the theater for the best experience.  You may not be a Middle-Earth/Lord of the Rings fan, but I think the movies did a great job capturing the essence of the books that I have read multiple times.

In the final Hobbit, the main character, Bilbo Baggins, is in an uncomfortable predicament because he has the key to make everything “right,” but he keeps the treasured jewel that the King wants to himself.  Now, don’t panic.  This isn’t an in-depth review filled with a myriad of fantasy terms and characters.

During a key scene in the movie, Bilbo stands up against Thorin, the King, and tells him that the reason there is conflict is because of the King’s behavior. This was not a popular stance to take in the least.  In fact, Thorin threatens to throw Bilbo over the castle wall to his death !!

individual goldfishIn HR we are in a unique position that others don’t share. We need to remember that we represent both management and employees.  Too often, it is perceived that we only represent management.  This perception is from employees who only see us take the side of senior management.  In many cases, companies only want us to represent management.  This is where you should go against the flow !!

Our role is to represent the Company.  That means that there may  be times where you will be like Bilbo and confront the “King.”  It’s not easy to be the person who stands up to management, and it doesn’t make you popular.  The key to deciding if you should make a stand is that your action is to make sure that the company is doing the right thing.

It’s an incredible position to be in by being able to represent both management and employees. It shouldn’t be daunting, but it usually is.  We fear that if we take a position that is contrary to the normal flow of things, it will damage our status within the company or we could even lose our jobs.  I’m not here to encourage you to take a stand regardless of your fear, but you should take a look at how management is treating HR.  If you aren’t able to have those tough conversations when they’re needed, then I contend that HR will be limited in its effectiveness.

As we wrap up another year, you have a chance to reflect and see if you are someone who goes with the flow, or if you are someone willing to go against it.  When I’ve had those tough conversations, I actually gained more access to the senior management.  They are looking for us to give them an objective viewpoint so that decisions can be made for the greater good of the company and also the situations you’re facing.

It’s not easy to be a contrarian, and it’s not something you have to do all the time.  Just be willing to step in when you need to.  It will be uncomfortable when you’re in the midst of tough conversations, but in the end you, and the company, will be better for it.

Build Your Own Model !!

Now that we are getting closer to Christmas and my kids are really young adults, I miss the days when toys were exciting !!  The days when you hoped and hoped for something that was truly special, and that you couldn’t get for yourself.

I have always been fascinated with models. I loved getting a kit and pulling out the one sheet plans with the miniscule drawings and instructions.  I’d take the pieces out to make sure they were all there and then spread everything out on a card table.  First, I started with snap together models which were fairly simple.  I grew into trying easier models where you had to glue pieces together and even paint some things.  I made super hero models, models of cars, planes, and my favorite . . . battleships !!

Revell BattleshipSomething you may not have known, I am a huge history buff.  In fact, I have a minor in History from Ohio University.  So, building a model of something that had existed gave me a rush every time I even saw a kit on the shelf of the local drugstore in my hometown.

One Christmas, I got a model of the Bismarck and was physically giddy !!  This was one of the most famous battleships from World War II and I couldn’t believe that it was in my hands.  It took me several days and hours of concentration to bring the small, gray pieces to life.  It was fantastic and I made sure it had a visible place in my bedroom.

At this time of year, there are countless blog posts that recap the year in HR and give you a set number of steps (3,5,7 or 10) that you can implement in 2015 to make your role better.  I have a different suggestion.  Instead of following the models that everyone else tells you to follow – build your own !!

You take the components that matter to you in your current role and build the model that works.  Now, just like the toy models I built, I would encourage you to make your model come to life and also position yourself to make history !!

Too many people in HR float along with the various ebbs and flows of organizations.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great characteristic to be adaptable.  But, it’s another thing to let HR be relegated to the outskirts of an organization. By having a model that works for you, that doesn’t have to be who you are.

There are some key things you’ll need in building your model.  First of all, you need to build one that reflects you personally and also fits where your organization wants HR to go.  Secondly, you need to be intentional.  Your model will remain like pieces in the box that never come together if you don’t have a plan. Finally, picture what your model will look like and what it will do.  It shouldn’t be a model like the ones I built as a child that sat on a shelf.  It should be something that grows and evolves over time.

So, this year, I hope that under your HR tree is a beautifully wrapped present that you can’t wait to open and put together !!  I am going to be adding to my model, and I’d love to hear from you about yours !!

It Only Takes 3 Chords !!

I don’t know if many people were as excited as I was about some music news this week, but I was Geeked !! Rock giants, AC/DC, released their seventeenth album called Rock or Bust.  I’ve heard a few tracks and it sounds much like their whole catalog.

You may not be a fan of these Metal legends, but I found myself immersed in them because the Classic Rock station on Sirius XM was “taken over” as AC/DC radio.  Members of the band shared their past experiences and their excitement over their new work.

AC/DC is one of those bands who people have been critical about because they follow a simple three chord method to their songs.  It’s true that their songs don’t have a ton of musical variety, but they have released songs that will be played for generations to come.

So, what does this shout-out to one of my fave bands have to do with HR ??  Everything, but it takes you looking at something that is missing and how this can fix it !!

I continue to come across HR people who are in transition.  I am surprised that the first time I meet them is when they are looking for a job.  It is disappointing because I have this crazy goal that I want to be connected with as many HR people as I can.  I don’t want to see anyone who isn’t a part of a greater HR community.

I don’t understand it.  I don’t understand how you can be in HR and not be intentionally connected to others in our field.  These connections are so much more than a method to find another HR gig.  They result in strong, life-long relationships filled with resources and knowledge that you can’t get on your own.  It’s just not possible.

Three Chords ShirtI don’t feel that everyone should try to have as many contacts as someone else, but you should have three !!  You see, I believe in the power of mentoring.  I don’t follow the definition that you find in many HR circles stating that you set up a mentoring relationships for a set period of time and then it should fade away.  I think that this approach often turns out one sided and focuses on someone’s specific need instead of looking at the whole.

So, here’s the model I do follow !! You can’t have a mentor unless you mentor someone yourself.  The three “chord” model makes sure that you are giving as well as learning from someone else.

I also feel that you should seek out these triads intentionally.  I have a few mentors who I’ve been with for decades and I have a few mentees who have been with me for many years as well.  I also make sure that the relationships are as deep as needed.  The mentor/mentee relationships I have vary from somewhat more on the surface to others that know no end to their depth !!

In fact, I just reached out to a friend to ask if I could have him be a mentor and work with him in 2015.  His response was awesome – “color me intrigued and honored.”  I’m excited to see where it goes.

So, I ask you to join me and set up your trio of connections !!  Remember it only takes three chords to make a band !!  To get you started, I leave you with this . . . (you’re welcome.)

Image courtesy of Old Skool Hooligan Tees

Thankful.

This past week my family, along with many others, celebrated Thanksgiving.  I am still a traditionalist when it comes to the holidays and their order.  Gathering together over food is always a good thing, but what drives it home for me is that we normally do it around people. These people may include relatives, friends or even acquaintances.  More often than not we feel recharged and refreshed after spending time with each other.

Then, we return to work and that level of enjoyment and intimacy dissipates so fast that it can’t even be tracked.  We are surrounded with another group of people who drive home the mantra of “get things done.”  Don’t get me wrong, productivity is essential for the success of businesses and our own personal careers.  But getting things “done” almost completely eliminates the interaction of the people around us.  We skim across the surface of everyone picking the one or two items needed to move our work and projects forward because spending time with them personally would be viewed as inefficient.

Don’t believe me?  There are entire books and conferences dedicated to this.  People flock to these forums and love the “take aways” they get from power points, flash drives or tool kits.  However, the best resources they could have found were sitting next to them.  Those resources were ignored because they are people we don’t know, and we could be seen as too forward if we reached out to get to know them.

I happened to check an e-mail while I was off for the holiday from a friend and it crushed me.  She wrote me to tell me that she was thankful for me because I had made an introduction to her back in 2009 that literally saved her business as a sole proprietor.  I couldn’t believe it.  She went on to say that this connection has continued to lead to business opportunities to this day.  She didn’t want to miss the opportunity to say thanks.

It led to me to think this . . .  Who we affect is far more important than what we get done !!

In HR we have the chance, and the obligation, to positively affect all of the people around us and not just wait for the holidays to recharge ourselves around those we know better.  We can dive past the façade of surfaces and spend time to get to know the people who make work come to life and drive productivity.  It’s time for us to remember that work happens through people and not in spite of them.

ThankfulSo, I’d like to start something that I hope you take forward.

I’m thankful for YOU !!  I’m thankful that you’ve chosen to read this blog.  I’m hopeful that we are connected, and if we aren’t, I’m hopeful that we can become connected.

I’m thankful that you’re involved in some way with HR and people.  It is a challenging field, but it is also one of the most fulfilling careers a person could ever pursue.  You have the chance to interact with humans everyday, and you never know how your interaction may deeply impact them.

Here’s how to move this forward.  Be like my friend and thank someone who has impacted you.  Don’t wait for the perfect moment or a particular setting.  Reach out today with a note, a phone call, an e-mail, or something you know will matter to them.  Watch what happens.  See how you will be recharged each and every day.  You won’t have to wait for that next holiday.  You’ll see that being Thankful is a fantastic state to be in all the time !!

Advancing HR !!

I spent the last week at the SHRM Volunteer Leader Summit in Washington, DC.  It is one of my favorite events because the attendees are some of the most active and engaged members that SHRM has.  It’s also very cool in that people come from all fifty states and also US territories.

I am a SHRMmie and am proud of being involved and connected.  I know that this can cause angst amongst my peers, but I’ve found that the more I’ve become involved, the more encouraged I am that SHRM is listening and moving in the right direction.  For those of you kind enough to read my blog, you may not be involved in SHRM, but I would ask that you read on to see how they are taking steps that are positive.

Here are the themes that came across as well as some observations . . .

SHRM Certification – I was able to take the Pathway Tutorial to see how the SHRM Competency Model is defined and answered sample questions that are like those that will be on the exam starting in 2015.  The tutorial is impressive and shows that this model is focusing on a person’s professional development and how to recognize and utilize the competencies in your HR role.  You complete a self-assessment to see which competencies you should consider bulking up.

I received my SHRM-SCP by doing this and there were 480 folks who received their certification in total.  It’s very cool to have both designations now.

I know that the ongoing argument about the tutorial vs. an exam will continue, but let me give you an alternative approach.  SHRM has chosen to recognize the work that I, and those also currently certified.  They aren’t discrediting my current certification in any way.  I’m proud to have my SHRM-SCP and plan to support the ongoing evolution of the program.

Member Connection – There are two great aspects I saw in regards to connecting with others.  The SHRM Leadership Team and the SHRM Board of Directors made a visible change than what I’ve experienced in the past.  They were actively connecting with Volunteer Leaders throughout the summit in sessions and during meals.  This may not seem big, but they’ve heard the feedback about being disconnected and they are taking steps to improve that.

There was also more intentional connections occurring between States and Regions.  The MAC has set the example that we are a profession first and reside in locations second.  We’re ALL in HR !!  We should do more and more to blur the lines of isolation and look at ways to bring everyone together.  I spent time with people from all over the country and built more and more relationships.  It’s starting to make a difference that will only make us stronger.

Forward#AdvancingHR – The most encouraging theme I saw throughout the event is that the focus of SHRM is looking past the “seat at the . . .” approach, and is looking at how to advance the profession through integrating HR throughout business.  It’s great to see that we’re taking a broader view of what HR can, and should be.  They launched a new SHRM TV commercial showing the direction, and this is just the start of the marketing efforts. I’m geeked that advancing the profession overall is what we’re doing.

Now, I know there is always room to improve.  You have to know that your voice is being shared with Leadership and they are responding in tangible ways.  I also know that there will be detractors and skeptics.

I choose to connect instead. By being involved intentionally myself, I can add my feedback and the feedback of others.  I have seen results and I think you’ll continue to see them too !! I hope you’ll check things out, get involved and get connected so we can all Advance HR !!