Career, Human Resources, Parenting, Working in People & Culture

How NOT to lose your employees to a competitor while they’re on parental leave

Lately there’s been more and more discussion around parental leave. Who legally has to offer it. Who goes above and beyond. Who pays for it. Who doesn’t.

But what isn’t often discussed is the risk you face of losing your employees while they’re on parental leave. Not just to full-time parenthood – but to your competitors. This isn’t just something to think about in terms of women who work for you – 50% of men say they’ve passed up work opportunities or switched jobs after they’ve had kids.

There are few times within a person’s career when they’re more susceptible to being approached than when they’re in the new fog of parenthood. People are disconnected from their role and organisation – even when engagement is high. During this time people are far more likely to be revaluating their priorities, what they enjoy, and what they want to be doing when they’re ready to re-join the workforce.

Last year I went on parental leave to have my first baby. Despite working in HR for many years, I wasn’t quite prepared for the up-ending that taking a break from my role would mean for me in how I saw myself and my career going forward.

My former employers did a great job of trying to keep me engaged. They were accommodating in my hours of work as I worked through severe ‘morning sickness’ (the name of it which still makes me laugh). They were very thoughtful when sending me off from my role. They agreed to me coming in for meetings now and again (at my request) with my baby, so I could stay connected with my team.

So why did I accept a role at another organisation when approached as I neared the end of my leave? (And what made me consider this role, rather than the offers I had prior to going on parental leave?)

Changes were happening, and they made me uneasy

While I was on leave there were some major changes within our leadership team, including a couple of people leaving who I worked with closely. I found out about these changes on the grapevine, rather than directly from my team. This made me nervous – were my role and key objectives going to change on my return? When would I know more?

I wanted career progression when others assumed I’d want to put my career on hold

Not linear career progression, but new projects, challenges and opportunities. I started to feel (whether this was rooted in any truth was irrelevant) that my new role as a ‘New Mother’ was defining me in my interactions with some people at work (please note, this was not true of the organisation as a whole, but it was true enough with some people that I felt limited).

I had originally intended to take a relatively short break of 7 months; however, I was approached by my current company who wanted to meet me in relation to a role they had come up. I initially said no but due to a superb recruiter I came and met her and the reporting Executive. It was (professional) love at first sight.

  • They reassured me they knew what it was like to juggle babies and work
  • They had created a role that had heaps of opportunity to deliver on outcomes – and help shape the focus of HR
  • The role was an excellent career step for me
  • They were unbelievably awesome at what they did (people say people leave managers? I would challenge you to think about that flipped – I joined because of a manager).

In the end, my decision to leave my role came down to quite a few reasons – and I must be honest, there were a couple of times when I regretted making such a big change at the time that I did.

If you’re thinking about how to keep your people engaged when they’re on parental leave, steal some tips from employers that do it brilliantly:

  • Remember that different employees may want different things – no matter your approach be clear that you can accommodate individuals wants and needs accordingly
  • Utilize technology – you don’t have to just rely on emails and phone calls – Pinterest & Reddit both offer employees access to parenting app Cleo and there are other similar things out there
  • Be inclusive – families come in many different forms and it pays to run a critical eye over any materials/advice you’re circulating. Don’t assume the primary carer is a woman, remember same-sex parents, and don’t accidentally not include adoptive parents – they need accommodations too!
  • Find out more about organisations similar to yours who are ranked highly in terms of appeal to parents – Fortune Magazine has a list of the best 50 workplaces for parents and you can also check out lists of employers that promote gender equity (as often a factor in calculating this is recognising flexibility for any parent rather than just women)
  • The best advice though? ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES! What do they value? What benefits/approach would they appreciate. Being a great employer for new parents doesn’t necessarily need to cost big dollars – workplace flexibility is priceless!

 

#SoMe, Career, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, Social Media & Learning, Working in People & Culture

The #HRTribe – they open doors like you wouldn’t believe!

Next month I’m on my way to the Illinois SHRM and Ohio SHRM Conferences to speak about HR in Australia & the lessons I’ve learned along the way. How this opportunity to speak outside Australia has come about is an excellent example of the collaborative nature of the international HR community (for which I am forever thankful).

A few years ago I had a brilliant conversation with a guy called Steve Browne. You might know him, he’s one of the Board Members at SHRM, he’s an all-round nice guy and he’s an active promoter of everything that’s good in HR. I’d been blogging a bit and was thinking about my professional development and what might be a good investment in my career and had decided that I’d like to apply to be a part of the SHRM Blogging team for 2016.

Well it all happened. And it changed my career and the way I think about HR exponentially.

While I’ve worked across different countries, was a member of SHRM and an avid reader of international HR & business blogs I was not at all prepared for the shift in my thinking that resulted from becoming a part of the SHRM community.

Since attending that first conference, not only have I been lucky enough to attend some phenomenal conferences and see some true thought leaders in the HR/management space (not lame, self-proclaimed ‘thought leaders’ that I think we’re ALL sick of), but I found my tribe (#HRTribeTM) AND became a part of an incredibly community that seeks to progress our profession and help us adapt to the new world of work as people-people aka HR professionals.

Two years after that first SHRM Conference I’ve now been a part of the Official SHRM Blogging team twice and this September I’m heading to the Illinois SHRM and Ohio SHRM Conferences to speak – what a roller-coaster!

The way HR is evolving internationally is so exciting because I believe it makes us confront what is unique and special about our profession, rather than resting on our laurals as the rule-makers and police. It’s forcing us to consider what those assumptions that may have been holding us back. Gone are the days (well… hopefully) where we are a primarily an administrative function. Having the opportunity to speak to people about what works well in different countries – and what doesn’t – is an incredible gift and one I’m looking forward to sharing an Australian perspective on this September. I’ve loved practising HR in Australia over the past 5 years and think that the quirks of employment law and common practice here definitely have some (interesting) lessons for those operating in different environments!

I owe a huge debt to Steve Brown, Dave Ryan, Andrew Morton, Mary Kaylor & the whole SHRM community (especially the bloggers!) for their generosity in time, guidance & mentoring over the past few years. I sincerely believe that as we further collaborate and learn more from each other we will only serve to further cement HR as a function that is seen as indispensable and valuable to organisations as we all believe it is.

 

#SHRM #SHRMBlogger #Speaker #HRTribe #Gday

AHRI, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, SHRM18, Working in People & Culture

Reflections on the Global HR Community #SHRM18

An interview with Lyn Goodear, AHRI CEO, on SHRM18 & the WFPMA Conference in Chicago, Illinois

lyn goodear

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.

 

Human Resources, SHRM18, Working in People & Culture

Q&A with #SHRM18 Speaker, LinkedIn’s Eric Owski

Eric Owski, self-confessed sports nut, a voracious reader, traveler and above all else, a committed dad to his eight-year-old boy, leads Talent Brand & Talent Insights for LinkedIn – before that incredibly impressive role Eric was an executive at Bright (acquired by LinkedIn) where he led sales and marketing. Eric is leading the #SHRM18 session ‘Talent Intelligence: Building the Workforce of the Future’ which is getting into the detail of what we all know – your company’s cutting edge isn’t product, tech or services – it’s your people.

Eric’s passion for getting talent right comes across easily and I for one am excited to hear him speak – particularly for the passion that comes across when he discusses companies which get talent intelligence right!

Eric-Owski

What makes you tick? 

First and foremost, I’m a dad to a wonderful and curious eight-year-old boy. When I’m not hanging out with him or at LinkedIn HQ, you can find me watching a game, rooting on the Tigers, Lions, or Pistons (I’m a diehard Detroit fan, win or lose) or somewhere reading a good book. Some of my recent favorites include The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa. Traveling is also on top of my list of favorite things to do. I love to discover new places and often seek out the art these cities have to offer.

 

What work experience has influenced your career path the most?

At my first professional job, I held six different positions in six years. It allowed me to learn many different sides of business, and to see the whole strategic picture. What I learned during that time has helped inform decisions to this day.

 

What company (other than LinkedIn) do you think uses talent intelligence the best? Why?

Using talent intelligence means that companies are leveraging real-time insights about the movement and development of talent to inform strategic talent decisions. On average, LinkedIn sees about 10,000 requests per year for insights on talent pools, competitors, and more as the pressure to leverage data to make smarter decisions, is on.  As data reaches a maturity level where even more analytics are possible, we see companies making great progress with their talent intelligence strategies.

Take Intel for example. They were facing a shortage of software engineers at Intel’s offices in Gdansk, Poland. When searching for specialized tech talent, LinkedIn Talent Insights revealed large populations of this talent pool in neighboring cities Krakow and Warsaw. Competitive insights further revealed that professionals in Warsaw were working across many different companies, whereas in Krakow it was largely concentrated in a few top organizations. Using these insights, Intel built a strategy to run a highly targeted billboard campaign in Krakow and received buy-in from engineering leadership. This campaign, coupled with a recruitment event in the area, led to a 20 percent increase in visits to Intel’s careers site.

Atlassian is another great example. Their talent marketing team was tasked with developing recruitment campaigns that target both designers and developers. Atlassian wanted to understand the size of their talent pool in desired locations, so the team turned to LinkedIn Talent Insights. They learned that for every 25 developers in the markets they were targeting, only one designer was available. Using this insight, the team was able to recommend investing a greater amount of money in a talent brand campaign targeting the designer talent pool, in order to hit their hiring goals.

 

Do you think what Intel and Atlassian have created is transferable?

Absolutely.  Over the past year, I’ve talked to a few hundred talent leaders and the questions I hear are universal. We’ve talked about using data in talent so much that we’ve almost mythologized it. The reality is, every talent leader wants to make more informed decisions. When you’re trying to figure out where to open an office, no one wants to be endlessly debating the merits of each stakeholder’s anecdotal evidence. The right insights can quickly prove or disprove someone’s thesis and it leads to more efficient and more confident decision making. I think the vast majority of talent organizations are on their way there.

 

What do you think attendees will get the most excited by with your session?

The HR industry is feeling the pressure to use data and insights in their decisions, whether that be finding talent, or retaining and understanding the talent they currently have. Ultimately, talent intelligence can help empower talent acquisition teams to tackle both the simplest and the most complex issues. Attendees will walk away understanding how they can dig into their own data and use these insights to help build and deliver a winning talent strategy.

 

You can hear Eric speak at #SHRM18, in Chicago June 17-20 (Tuesday 19th June 2.15pm). I’ll see you there!

Human Resources, SHRM, SHRM18, Working in People & Culture

Is Global HR Still Relevant? A Q&A With Brad Boyson

Brad Boyson is the Executive Director of SHRM’s Dubai office and has an impressive career history including the Mitsubishi Corporation, Royal Caribbean International and Hamptons/Emaar. In short? Brad is global HR.

Brad Boyson.jpg

Brad is a self-confessed deep diver… 8 months after being introduced to triathlons and hearing that the gold standard for the sport is the Ironman, he completed his first one in Hawaii. This “jump-and-backfill” approach to learning has stretched him careerwise as well, during the 1990s, he was fascinated by the Japanese way of doing business, so Brad studied Japanese (history, language and culture), moved to Japan and eventually ended up working for the Mitsubishi Corporation. While working in his next job for a ‘dotcom’, he concurrently completed 60% of a bachelor degree in computer science.

So it’s fair to say when Brad gets interested in something, he fully commits. This is why I’m looking forward to hearing Brad speak about whether global HR is still relevant. I’m one of the many international attendees that the SHRM Conference & Exposition attracts each year and it seems more and more that with migration and technology, HR expertise is becoming a more mobile profession.

Where does your passion for HR come from?

My passion for HR comes from my very first job as a teenager when I worked in a unionized supermarket back in Canada. When you are that age you are devoid of workplace politics and other more ‘adult’ issues. Nevertheless, the younger version of me was asking myself:  why was the union and management so fixated on each other while the key stakeholder, in my humble opinion, was the customer who was paying my salary?  I was a strange kid who subscribed to and would read the Harvard Business Review cover to cover even though, at the time, I was just a high school graduate.

What made you decide to join SHRM?

I think like a lot of people, SHRM becomes a part of your bloodstream once you take the red pill and decide that HR is your career not just a job.  I first ‘discovered’ SHRM in 1998 when, as a Canadian living and working in Canada, I decided to look outside the national HR box for career and professional development.  I quickly realized that SHRM was doing the most of any HR association in the world to advance and promote the HR profession. I proceeded to earn my SPHR in 1999.

A few years later I started to actively volunteer with SHRM in 2007 after participating in the SHRM delegation to China. In 2012 there was an opportunity to set up a SHRM office in Dubai and, as you might expect, I jumped at that opportunity.

What do you think of the current commentary in the global HR space?

I don’t want to give too much away about my session at this year’s conference, but the eureka moment seed was planted in my head when I was traveling through Heathrow airport last year and there was a book on display in the bookstore with a title that immediately grabbed my attention: From Global to Local – the making of things and the end of Globalization.  It reminded me of the book by Francis Fukuyama entitled, The End of History and the Last Man.  And I asked myself, are we really at the end of globalization? If so, what’s next, what’s next for HR?

Again, I’m hesitant to give away too much, but let me say I think we’ve made a big mistake by all too often framing HR as having two-worlds: one is an inward looking ‘domestic’ HR, and the other is an outward looking ‘global’ HR. At the highest-strategic level other professions don’t do this. You don’t have US-medicine or Canadian-law or Australian-finance, those are technical or lower order differences which do not define the ‘profession’, they define the local practices. In contrast, the profession is defined as the profession: medicine is medicine, law is law, finance is finance and … HR is HR. If ‘We’ choose to emphasize the technical aspects of HR at the expense of the higher level strategic aspects of HR, then we deserve the outcome we have always gotten: HR perceived as a secondary profession or worse yet, merely a management function.

How has your experience been working in Dubai? Has it shifted your thoughts on global HR?

I live and work in one of the most unique cities in the world – Dubai in the country United Arab Emirates (UAE). And as someone who has travelled most of the world, I’m confident of my assertation that Dubai is a real-world case study in what’s next. Imagine a place where 90% of the workforce is on a temporary work visa (akin to an H1B), imagine how that fact would change the work environment?  It might work a lot like an economy where the vast majority of workers are gig-economy, project to project, dependent-contractors. I think that’s the workplace of the future – a new category of work that fits in between the more traditional notions of employee and self-employed; a bit both.

What are you hoping to get out of the SHRM18 conference?

At the risk of oversimplifying, I always learn something at SHRM’s annual conference I and hope that trend continues.  As an employee of SHRM, most of our hours are allocated to supporting the event and hosting our coveted attendees, but if I can find time to sneak away and catch one or two concurrent sessions, I will be better for having had that experience.  And I really look forward to the international reception and encourage anyone attending from outside the US to mark that event on your daily planner. My experience has been that event is one of the best single opportunities to connect and network with all our international delegates.

Brad is speaking at #SHRM18 in Chicago this June, make sure you get along to see him:

SHRM18 Conference & Exposition

June 17-20

Brad’s session on ‘Is Global HR Still Relevant?’ 4-5.15pm Tuesday 19 June (concurrent)

Career, Formal learning, Human Resources, SHRM, Uncategorized, Working in People & Culture

Investing in Yourself

L’Oréal says ‘you’re worth it’

Nike says ‘just do it’

And I say ‘what they said’.

 

It’s easy to go through life, be content in your job, hope for something better to work out one day but think ‘it’ll happen in time’. But it’s not that easy. Good things don’t always come to those who wait. Sometimes you need to back yourself – because if you don’t, other won’t either.

This week I spoke as a part of a panel to a fantastic group of university students about transitioning from university to their career of choice. These students had made the admirable decision to invest in themselves, and put in the hard work (and expense) and attain a graduate or post graduate degree.

Formal university education is often what we think of in relation to getting the career we want, but in a competitive employment market, it is never enough. In my years in HR it has never been the letters at the end of an applicants name that have stood out. It’s when I can clearly see how much they’ve prioritised their own learning and development, beyond what is offered in tertiary study or as a part of their employment.

When giving advice to new graduates and people looking to take the next step in their career, my advice is always similar:

  1. Study can be your friend. But consider all options.

    Many hiring managers highly value the right letters from the right school – and without knocking that, I think it’s important to consider your industry, where it’s headed and what your goals are. Want to be seen as an employment law expert? Then a Masters in HR with law as a major might be for you. If you’re not sure and just think it will be easier to land a job with an MBA? Proceed with caution.

  2. Don’t undervalue your professional association.

    I’m a big advocate of professional associations, upon relocating to Australia from New Zealand five years ago AHRI was a magic bag of opportunity and learning. Likewise, over the past 3 years I’ve been a member of SHRM I’ve been exposed to a HUGE amount of learning and professional development. Don’t forget, it’s not just the professional development you may have access to, or the certification you may achieve (both worthy elements though) – but it’s the people who will share with you and help you grow that I think are the most valuable element of a good professional association.

  3. Use social!

    You’re reading a blog right? There are so many better ones out there than this! I’m an (enthusiastic) amateur, I’ve learned so much from people in my field who share freely and offer advice, support – and sometimes even resources. The beauty of the internet? You don’t even have to attend a conference to be able to learn from it and connect with the attendees thanks to Twitter.

  4. Get outside your comfort zone.

    Scared of public speaking? Think you can’t hack a secondment within the operations of your organisation? Afraid to put yourself out there by writing an article on LinkedIn? Just do it. Getting outside of your comfort zone is the perfect way to learn new things, whether you succeed or ‘fail’ (read: learn an important lesson about how to be more effective next time).

  5. Chase brilliant people.

    The times that I’ve learned the most? When I’ve been partnered with great minds on pieces of work – an experienced nonprofit executive, a dynamic CEO, a GM who ran rings around everyone they worked with. Grab hold of roles and opportunities where you are surrounded by people who know their stuff. Because their smarts do rub off!

  6. Most importantly – provide opportunities for others.

    Good things come to those who put their money where their mouths are. Want to take the next step? Provide assistance to someone who needs theirs. My most successful moments can all be traced back to someone else believing in me, offering my advice or an opportunity (and I’ll forever be grateful).

 

 

Book review, Leadership, Working in People & Culture

Your Pet Project Is Probably Going to Fail

….but there might be some things you can do to avoid it.

 

The successful execution of a project, like the creation of any effective work environment, is reliant on the leadership of the group. In a project’s case, this falls heavily on the Project Manager (PM) and Project Sponsor.

Colin D Ellis’ first book The Conscious Project Leader is an excellent guide for effective project management, and his new book, ‘The Project Rots from the Head’ really hits the nail on the head in regards to the issues with projects today and provides a guide for how project sponsors can avoid theirs ending up with the majority of projects that fail.

What Ellis gets right, that many in the project management space do not, is that projects are primarily about people – and successful projects are fruitful because of great leadership, not budgets or task lists. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ellis speak, and like his presentation style, the book is lively and entertaining, as well as clearly knowing demonstrating that Ellis knows his stuff. He’s passionate about people being front of mind when managing, or sponsoring a project, as it’s the people that will make it a success (or not).

Far too many times I’ve seen projects that should have been a slam dunk fail because the PM is not adequately supported by their sponsor, or worse, the sponsor has inadvertently undermined the PM’s effectiveness due to a lack of understanding of their role.

As I read the book with an HR lens, I found the lessons glaring, considering the types of projects that happen within our space, and the negative impact on the people within a workplace when they don’t go to plan (missed pays or badly planned restructures anyone?).

Ellis’ book though is not written with an HR audience specifically in mind, the lessons are universal, and due to Ellis’ easy-to-read style, also simple to absorb and apply.

Shockingly, 71% of projects fail, the Project Management Institute estimates that $3 trillion is spent annually on projects –that’s $2.13 trillion going towards failed ones each year! ‘The Project Rots from the Head’ is an excellent how-to guide, to help those that have senior leadership roles and stewardship over projects a practical way to avoid the negative statistics. The book is broken into the three key areas of project sponsorship: stewardship, decisions and results.

Ellis states unequivocally that “without strong accountability a project will fail at the first sign of trouble, time and time again.”

If you’re wondering whether this book is for you (or perhaps a gloriously suggestive New Year gift for your senior leadership team), pose yourself the following questions – which project sponsors should be able to answer:

1. What is the project vision?
2. What stage of the project are you in? (or sprint if it’s an agile project)
3. What are the outstanding decisions that need to be made?
4. What is the biggest risk to the project?
5. What is the projected cost of the project and how different is this to the business case?
6. What are the reasons for the difference?
7. What is the projected live date of the project and how different is this to the plan?
8. What are the reasons for the difference?
9. Will the benefits stated in the business case be realized?
10. If not, why not? Should the project be stopped?

#SHRM17, Career, Human Resources, Working in People & Culture

Heading to #SHRM17 as an International Attendee?

Last year I attended SHRM for the first time – it was spectacular!

Attending as an international delegate, the scale of the conference was mind-blowing – much bigger than anything I’ve attended in Australia or New Zealand. I was surprised with the number of international participants, but to be honest the biggest takeaway for me was the calibre of attendees and speakers alike.

This year the conference is in New Orleans – somewhere that would be amazing to get to!

SHRM17StreetSignLOGO

It wasn’t just the keynotes either (although they were pretty spectacular all round) – the value I got from the other attendees – in particular, the organisers, volunteers, bloggers and the people I met in the lunch lines was the absolute highlight. Being able to share in their enthusiasm for rethinking how we engage with people in our organisations and witness the evolution of HR was career changing.

As a first time attendee I relied a huge amount on the SHRM Blogger articles and the guides published on the conference website. The scale being much bigger than anything I’d interacted with before was a little (edit: a lot) daunting: multiple streams, concurrent sessions, a large venue, all meant that relying on advice from the experts in planning my time was invaluable.

Things to consider for international attendees?

  1. Check out the international lounge – you will meet a huge variety of people and it’s nice to have a ‘base’ to work from.
  2. Read up on the SHRM Blogger articles. These are the people to take advice from, veteran SHRM attendees and new additions alike, they’ve scoped some of the hottest speakers and expo attendees and will point you towards all the hidden treasures of the conference.
  3. The Smart Stage is absolutely the place to be when you’ve found yourself with a bit of time (and there’s undoubtedly a number of speakers that you want to schedule into your conference time too) – but the ‘aha!’ moments I had when just sitting down for half an hour were some of the highlights of my SHRM16 time.
  4. Plan plan plan! No you don’t have to plan down to every minute (unless that’s your thing – then go nuts!) but make sure you’ve had a good look through the schedule and find your top picks – the venue is big and if you have a must-see you don’t want to miss out because that session was at the other end of the venue or you got lost (see step 5 for getting lost).
  5. Make use of the friendly volunteers. Unless you’re a conference location savant you will be thanking your lucky stars for the hundreds of volunteers who will point you towards the bathrooms with the smallest lines, direct you to your next session and let you know where the lost property stash is for that bag you left behind!
  6. Get on to the message boards – there are the official SHRM ones you get access to with your ticket, but there will also be numerous Facebook groups spring up where people will organise dinners and you’ll hear about events happening over the time of the conference. If you’re not one to normally get out of your shell make this the exception – I’ve never met such a welcoming group of people as at these events, some who have become wonderful friends.

The most important thing to do though? Have fun! Open your mind and listen to a few speakers that have different points of view than you. Make it a mission to speak to as many different people as you can and make the most of what will be one of the best professional learning experiences you can hope for.

 

This blog post was first published at the SHRM blog for the #SHRM17 conference.

#SoMe, Human Resources, Social Media & Learning, Working in People & Culture

12 good egg HR & people people to follow

New to HR or new to the wonderful world of free resources that is the net? I was introduced to the wonderful online community of HR & people professionals on the net about four years ago and can’t even tell you what a difference it’s made to my own professional practice.

From keeping up to date on the latest trends (and sometimes hearing about why they’re a load of rubbish) to having a ready-made community who are always keen to help out with a challenging scenario or provide you with a different perspective, I’ve gained so much from this generous online community.

A bit overwhelmed? Wondering where to start? Check out these amazing people! (in alphabetical order, because who on earth could possibly begin to play favourites with these legends???).

 

  1. Colin Ellis @colindellis
    At first glance you might not think you need to be following a project management guru. You do. Colin is phenomenal. If you can ever hear him speak in person do not miss the chance. If that’s not in your near future check out Colin at www.ColinDEllis.com (and sign up for his newsletter, its fantastic), so you can apply great leadership to projects and initiatives that you manage.

 

  1. Dave Ryan @DaveTheHRCzar
    Dave is the Director of HR at Mel-O-Cream Donuts and also an avid cyclist (don’t hold that against him). More importantly though, Dave is a SHRM fountain of knowledge, and is a great sharer of employment law (USA) that makes for excellent reading.

 

  1. Dr Jason Fox @drjasonfox
    Head of www.cleverness.com Jason is a wonderful author, speaker (youtube him and you’ll see what I mean) and is probably the most engaging ‘business’ speaker I’ve ever had the pleasure of engaging with. I say ‘business’ because invariably, people that label themselves this way are overly exaggerated and ineffectual, but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t heard Jason speak who doesn’t think he’s the bees knees. #bumblebeescanfly

 

  1. Greg Savage @greg_savage
    Want to hear about recruitment from someone who has been there, done that and done it better than anyone else? Look Greg up. You can read his take on the world of work at www.gregsavage.com.au and I’d also highly recommend a twitter follow as what he shares is fantastic.

 

  1. Jeff Waldman @jeffwaldmanHR
    Jeff is the founder of @SocialHRCamp and a massive advocate of HR, social HR, recruiting (the smart way) and employer branding. On top of all this (because he needs to be great at more things?) Jeff is a riveting speaker, if you ever see him on a conference line up make sure to get along to hear what he has to say!

 

  1. Jessica Merrell @jmillermerrell
    Jessica is the founder of @Workology and is an awesome source for a tonne of business & HR related thinking. On top of this Jessica is an absolute love and the website www.workology.com is a great source of a range of different writers discussing all things work & HR.

 

  1. Joey V Price @joeyvpriceHR
    Joey is an absolute HR superstar, he’s smart, entertaining (you can also catch his podcast @bizlifecoffee via goo.gl/PEJZ1S or via iTunes) and has a wealth of HR knowledge specially catered for a small business audience. On top of all this Joey is also a big advocate of inspiring the next generation of HR pros and his quick videos are always worth a view.

 

  1. Lars Schmidt @Lars
    Lars is a contributor for Fast Company, Forbes and Tech Co HQ, Lars has written the book (literally) on employer branding (Employer Branding for Dummies), he’s an advocate for the creation of great workplaces (not just workplaces that just sound great), and another fascinating person to follow!

 

  1. Sharlyn Lauby @sharlyn_lauby @hrbartender
    Sharlyn was one of the first people I ever followed in the online world of HR and I must say I find her content to still be amongst the best there is. Sharlyn is all about setting up managers for success in HR and the management of people. She always has practical, easy to understand advice and assistance ready for what seems like a million different scenarios. Highly, highly recommend.

 

  1. SHRM Research @SHRM_Research
    I love SHRM! And SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) Research is the best place to get your latest HR news. There’s a lot of US-specific information there, but if you’re not practising in the USA don’t let that put you off, there’s also a wealth of employment research and great transferable studies that you can apply no matter where you work. On top of that, www.shrm.org is a fantastic resource, and they put on the best HR conferences in the world!

 

  1. Steve Browne @sbrownehr
    Steve! What can I say? If you want to connect with the person that, without a doubt, knows the most people globally in the world of HR, is possibly the nicest guy on the planet and also has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things HR then make sure you follow Steve. He’s definitely not one to brag but he’s one of the most wonderful speakers and sharers (is that even a word?) of HR knowledge I’ve ever met. To top it off, Steve also produces HR Net, a weekly HR newsletter (available from www.sbrownehr.com), which is a great source of HR know-how.

 

  1. TLNT @TLNT_com
    Interested in what’s new in the world of HR? www.tlnt.com is the spot to find well-written articles on every aspect of the profession, from culture to remuneration and benefits, it’s all here. You also get a great spectrum of writers so you may find some new bloggers to follow too!

 

If you have any other must-follows I’d love to hear about them – the amount of my own professional development that is purely from the generosity and sharing of others online I am truly thankful for.

 

 

 

#SHRM16, #SoMe, Reflective practice, Social Media & Learning, Working in People & Culture

The HR World is Becoming More Connected

I have LOVED the #SHRM16 conference and it has really forced me to get out and meet some fantastic people – both ones that I’ve had the opportunity to connect with online and also some completely new friends.

That’s the amazing thing about our HR world becoming more and more connected. Having worked across Australia and New Zealand it was the advent of social media allowing professionals to share and collaborate that really changed the game for me. All of a sudden, it wasn’t just the few having access to information about HR in other organisations and countries through printed journals, conferences and site visits. The many can now collaborate, share and create together, coming together on Twitter, LinkedIn, through blogs and vertical platforms (and many other ways) to work across industries and oceans.

The effect this is having on HR is massive. Our employees were already globalising through migration – but now our HR approach is globalising. We’re being able to access information about state of the art employee attraction schemes happening in the USA, learning and development taking a front seat in the UK and I’m able to talk to the creators of such things through Twitter, Skype and a host of other social platforms. People, and companies, are sharing more: the session from Craig Briscoe and Jenn Saavedra from Dell was a testament to that, an excellent example of a large company inviting others to learn from their journey.

It is through social media that I connected with the good folks at SHRM and had the opportunity to get closer to a whole new world of ways to approach people at work. I had initially used social media professionally as tool to observe – I began to follow some prolific HR and learning experts on Twitter and the more they shared the more engaged in this community I became. I began to share content that was relevant to me and then began to blog myself, I also engaged in tweetchats, LinkedIn groups, discovered more great resources and authors and also began to share this knowledge and my own journey in real life.

Often the ‘social media role’ is, by default, given to a millennial. What is critical to remember is that while these technological changes may be most associated with millennials it does not mean they’re the most expert in the subject, nor that those changes aren’t impacting other generations just as much. In fact, one of the most prolific tweeters I know in Australia is a baby boomer L&D professional who has taught me a huge amount about the value of social media in learning.

My breakthrough HR moment from SHRM16? It, without a doubt, has been that technology has the power to change the world for the positive. Sal Kahn moved every single person present in the closing keynote describing the impact that Kahn Academy has had on people the world over. I was very misty eyed (OK, I was tearing up) when Kahn described the emailed letters of impact from his students from children and their parents around the word. This man has changed the world with his “delusional optimism” and I’m so happy that the world has embraced his message.

Don’t be scared of technology. Don’t think it is something that you can’t learn because you’re of a certain generation or the couple of times you’ve dipped your toe in the water you’ve found it confusing. The power to connect is incredibly powerful and technology is a great way for you to access a world of people who are willing to help you, your organisation and your employees develop.

Just try it.

SHRM connected.png

 

This article was first published at https://blog.shrm.org/blog/the-hr-world-is-becoming-more-connected-shrm16