An interview with Lyn Goodear, AHRI CEO, on SHRM18 & the WFPMA Conference in Chicago, Illinois
The global HR community is evolving, particularly as technology enables us to communicate and learn from our colleagues across borders. This year, the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA), of which Peter Wilson has been the Chairperson & President of for the past two years, met in Chicago, coinciding with the US Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) National Conference.
The combination of both conferences meant an audience and exhibitors totalling over 22,000 – which is a fair amount larger than any professional body conference anything on my side of the equator.
I caught up with Lyn Goodear, the CEO and Managing Director of AHRI (the Australian HR Institute), during the conference, to discuss HR challenges globally, and the value of being able to collaborate with other HR practitioners and take time out for professional development.
Lyn emphasizes that “as a profession we share the same aspiration to create better work and better workplaces” and that one of the highlights of attending events like the WFPMA and SHRM Conferences is seeing how different professional bodies approach issues affecting their membership base.
Culture permeated as an overarching theme of the conference (attendees from recent AHRI Conferences will recognise some real similarities) – Lyn credits Adam Grant as being one of the speakers who articulated this well in his keynote describing the importance of not getting lost looking for cultural fit, rather, focusing on cultural contribution.
The Australian Human Resources Institute’s CEO has a refreshing take on how she applies this to her own work, describing how she asks herself each day “What are you doing to lift the culture in the way you behave? We don’t often connect our actions to culture. If you’re not doing something overtly to lift the culture then you may be leaving it stagnant or pulling it down.”.
Prior to her current role as CEO, Lyn was formerly the National Manager of Professional Development of AHRI, which gives a whole other level of credibility to her assessment of the value, and approach of professional development opportunities for HR professionals. Lyn’s description of careers as lattices, saying that it’s not always about aspiring continuously upwards in a ladder motion. That not everything is linear was echoed when Sheryl Sandberg delivered her keynote where she also emphasized the importance of not just trying to grow your career in a linear path – if you just try and joint the dots you may well miss out on the best opportunities.
The advantage of course of being able to attend state, national and international conferences (and interacting with other HR professionals via the great idea exchange of the web) is that you can see that while we have many differing challenges between countries, there are many that are similar as well. Lyn is animated when she talks about the excitement of connecting with others who are passionate about advancing the field of HR. Her take on real career growth and development often comes back to developing peer to peer relationships and upwardly challenging your networks.
Lyn leaves me with an excellent challenge, one I hope that many other HR professionals will also take up – we need to applaud our profession for the progress that we’ve made, but we need to challenge ourselves at the same time. We cannot blame business for being confused about the value that HR can add if we haven’t created that clarity.