#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 

#SHRM16, Career, Working in People & Culture

A Kiwi Who Lives in Oz Takes on America!

I’ve had an amazing time in the USA (just like last time) – but there are some things that I just can’t get used to. Nothing negative, but there certainly are some differences between the USA and Australia/New Zealand!

I’m here for the #SHRM16 conference, some work and also holidaying with family – so I’m getting to see a bit of this awesome country.

 

Things that have made me, or those around me, face palm:

  • Where is the coffee I’m used to? I’m now detoxing.
  • Why is everyone so nice? It makes me feel uncomfortable when everyone you meet is so darned helpful!
  • Californians texting/facebooking/on the phone while they drive! (Definitely is a negative for me).
  • Drying everything in a clothes dryer – don’t your clothes shrink? And you miss out on the feeling of air-dried clothes which is the best!
  • Alcohol is so cheap in the USA (scratch that: everything is cheaper).
  • Tipping – it’s a constant struggle for me to math it up.
  • Australian/NZ humour is much drier, I’m constantly tripping myself up saying things I think are clearly jokes but are not translating so well.
  • Kiwi’s earn 42% less (but also spend 63% less on healthcare, 72% less likely to be in prison and experience 19% less of a class divide (CIA World Fact Book).

 

And the things that remind me of home:

  • The beaches in California – mmmm the smell of the sea!
  • Hotel rooms look the same everywhere #corporateart
  • Sometimes in Australia I can’t understand what people say if they’ve got a thick accent, it’s still true in the USA!

 

I have to admit… I was dubious about how I would find the USA – but I love it. The people are lovely, the place is beautiful, and the ultimate seal of approval? I love how many dogs I got to pat, because everyone seems to have one, in California.

 

Career, Social Media & Learning, Working in People & Culture

From Melbourne Australia to Washington D.C. for #SHRM16

If you cannot feel it radiating through your screen, let me tell you, I’m pretty excited!  In a matter of weeks, I’ll be arriving to Washington, D.C. with possibly the best cohort of people you could ever want to conference with. No sarcasm: HR people are the best – we make a difference in people’s lives, we get to work in every industry, and we get to contribute to easily the most interesting part of work – the people! We share, we get energized by improving things, we challenge each other and we’re open to doing things differently.
Whether you hail from the U.S. or not, you need to know that those of us that don’t hear a lot about HR in America. Google any hot topic employment issue, and there’s a company in Silicon Valley dealing with it in a gobsmackingly creative way. Google the ‘death of HR’, and you’ll find a plethora of passionate HR bloggers who, mostly from the USA, are debating how we continue to evolve and shape the world around us. What about Twitter? Where are the best tweetchats happening? Well SHRM are running them! Google paid maternity leave… ok… maybe not a good example?

Obviously the impressive line-up of speakers is a big draw card for the conference.  And because of this, one of my most challenging tasks is going to be deciding what I must attend versus what I really, really, really want to attend. If I start sharing my list at this stage, it’s actually just a transcript of the whole line up – proving for once and all that I still need to do some serious reviewing of the seemingly thousands of sessions on offer before my arrival.

This will be my first SHRM Conference this year, and the anticipating is killing me – meeting the other bloggers and SHRM-ers will be excellent! The amount of collaboration and sharing that happens within the HR community on social media is true warm-fuzzy material. A few of the bloggers are even doing a fantastic seminar on social media strategies for HR and business goals (it’s an additional session on the Saturday run by Sharlyn Lauby, Jonathan A. Segal, Craig Fisher, and Aliah D. Wright). I highly recommend this one if you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the water on social media or just want to learn from the best.

The SHRM community and its international impact have been highlighted for me through Steve Browne who has connected many of us internationals with the great minds at SHRM (a big hi to Andrew, Mary, John & team!). The global network this event enables is mind-blowing – the opportunity to interact with other attendees is fantastic. HR is so broad! We work in so many places and industries, have different approaches to strategy and delivery.  And yet the common experience means that when you meet anyone in our industry, you instantly have 10 similar issues and opportunities – and the great thing about HR people is they’re willing to share and help each other out.

Along these lines – please do approach me and other bloggers at the conference – we’ll be furiously mashing a keyboard with one hand, having a phone in the other (possibly also pockets full of chocolate), while manically sharing and interacting with others on social media. But if you want to discuss how to engage and better access this wonderful online community, I’m sure every single one of us would love to share our passion with you.

I’m looking forward to meeting you in June – now just to prepare my cork hat, my pet kangaroo and pack the bags! (Just kidding. I’m actually a Kiwi living in Australia, so it will be bringing a rugby ball and hobbit slippers.)

Happy conferencing!

 

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For more information and to attend SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition, visit www.annual.shrm.org.

This article was first published at SHRM

 

Leadership, Working in People & Culture

A Conversation With #SHRM16 Speaker Craig Briscoe

HR’s ‘seat at the table’ is something that is often waxed lyrical about, again, and again, and again. We’re given 10,000 reasons why we should already be there, why we’ll never get there, what you’re doing wrong, what your CEO is doing wrong and why we need a HR revolution to get there.

Quietly though, some organisations are evolving towards the Holy Grail of HR bloggers: a genuine seat at the table. If you’re heading to #SHRM16 you’ll be lucky enough to hear from one organisation where HR can confidently say that they’re ahead of the curve. They wouldn’t though, the lovely Craig Briscoe (VP, Human Resources – Commercial Sales and Enterprise Solutions at Dell) is delightfully humble when discussing the Dell HR team’s critical role in strategic partnership at the 110,000 strong company, emphasizing that the journey to real strategic partner is always evolving.

Craig is speaking with David Cabrera (Regional HR Director and HR Business partner at the ‘Role of HR in Dell’s Multiple Business Transformations’ session at the annual SHRM conference.

Craig describes himself as “more of a business leader with an HR bent” which I believe is exactly why he has been in a position to play such a key role in the multiple business transformations at Dell over the past 15 years. Dell itself has undergone a huge amount of change during that time – from a US centric company of around 25,000, through an IPO, privatisation and now through the biggest tech merger in history (changing its name to Dell Technologies) with the acquisition of EMC.

The process of going through multiple acquisitions, considering cultural change, determining what is important (ethics, says Craig) and what isn’t (you can keep the BBQ in your staff room) has meant that Dell is continuously learning from their experiences. These acquisitions have also meant that the HR team has fine-tuned their ability to accurately assess talent as it walks in the door. Craig says there’s been “no shortage of learning opportunities” from these experiences and the team has been able to constantly improve their approach.

Perhaps the thing that resonated with me most when hearing Craig speak about his experiences at Dell, is the fact that he doesn’t see ‘having a seat at the table’ being a choice we have to make in sacrificing great traditional HR. Rather it’s something that the HR team gets to add on top of fantastic HR consulting, generalist and specialist support. Craig describes with real respect an excellent HR leader that he works with who can strategize with the best of them, but is as equally comfortable working in the detail when required. This ability to balance between specialist/traditional HR and strategic insight results in well-rounded HR experts who have the respect of their peers and stakeholders. Craig emphasises the value of giving HR Generalists opportunities to develop in the strategic space, he says that many of our best and brightest excel in this space but are never given the opportunity to because they’re swamped with administration and the policy/procedure aspects of the role.

It is because of this that Dell have placed huge value on getting the HR structure right, being one of the first to implement a BP model with specialist centres of excellence. Craig is quick to emphasise that this is about the liberation of talented people from the transactional and it has resulted in real dividends for the business in allowing Business Partners to focus on value adds. Business Partners are often the first in the room when big decisions are being discussed, well prior to when the people implications are being sorted through. Craig takes time to keep coming back to the fact that there is no position on the HR team where it’s just thinking and being brilliant – it’s not an either or. He and other senior HR team members are in and out of spreadsheets every day, it’s a key part of their role to know the business inside out and it’s important for the team to never get too far from their roots.

Dell’s emphasis on being a great business partner to their clients has influenced its ability to harness the strategic potential of HR. In transitioning to becoming a business partner (rather than the company you just buy your server from) emphasis has been focused on the transition being in their people – because 90% of this change is in hiring and developing the right ones. This change has resulted in Dell changing how it screens for leaders differently – and Craig emphasises that HR is continually learning and evolving in this space. This has been particularly felt in high level recruitment in their worldwide operations – Dell has moved towards hiring and developing experts in the market rather than relying on expats with the technical skill set having to acclimatise to the market.

I’m so excited to hear Craig speak about these (and more) lessons he’s learned in his time at Dell. The lessons of a team who are successfully rationalizing their ‘seat at the table’ fills me with confidence that we don’t have to choose between ‘new’ and ‘old’ HR, we just have to keep learning, growing and evolving so we can make sure that we offer the best service we possibly can to the organisations we work with.

 

Originally published at the 2016 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition site: http://blog.shrm.org/blog/a-conversation-with-shrm16-speaker-craig-briscoe

Career, Thinking differently, Working in People & Culture

How I Got My Dream Job

This is going to come across as a complete humblebrag but bear with me (interestingly this is spelled ‘bear’ rather than ‘bare’ – Google it – makes for a good read)…

How many of you genuinely work somewhere (or for those of you that consult, with clients) that really align to your values?

Not just corporate speak “oh honesty and excellence, well yeah I totally agree with those in theory” – but, right in your bones, you get to work somewhere that you’re genuinely proud of?

I get to. It wasn’t an accident. I’ve worked a few places where that wasn’t true (and one where is was the polar opposite of true). I purposefully sought somewhere where I could hand-on-heart say that I believe in what we do, why we do it and how we do it. It was a bit scary at first.

The role I began at my current organisation (OK – YMCA Victoria – it’s all over my LinkedIn and Twitter anyway :)) could have been seen as a ‘step down’ career wise. I took a role with less pay and a less impressive sounding job title – but it felt 100% right.

Why?

  • When I met with the manager of the team where I’d work I genuinely felt like he was there for the right reasons and I’d be able to learn from him.
  • When I looked into the work that YMCA Victoria do, I realised they are an organisation of action (impressively so and across a huge range of areas).
  • When I interviewed the team interviewing me where really passionate about their work. It came across really clearly and I also had a sense from both my key stakeholders (that were involved in all stages of the interview process) that they loved what they do.
  • I felt that there was potential with this organisation for future opportunities and growth.

I was hugely nervous about this decision. Actually ‘hugely nervous’ doesn’t even begin to convey just how terrified I was about the decision to leave a great job. But the payoff was worth it.

Very quickly I had confirmation that I’d made the right decision. The team I worked with was great, I was mentored by some really talented people and my primary operational stakeholder group consistently gave me extra time (while never making me feel like I was imposing) to really help me understand their world.

When I attend events or talk with my peers at other organisations I regularly feel out of place for loving what I do and where I work so much. But I shouldn’t.

I realise the economic realities and the hugely privileged position I was in to take my time in finding the right role – and being educated and skilled in an area where I can find my dream job. In saying that, I did take my time. My husband and I moved to Australia with 3 suitcases and I’ve had some shocking work experiences along the way, in both Australia and New Zealand. But being purposeful and taking a long term view has meant that I now work with people that I genuinely hope I continue to work with for 5 (or, gasp, even 10,) years.

Can everyone work in their dream job? Probably not. The way the world works means for many that holding on to a job, any job, that puts food on the table may be the driving objective.

But if you can, if there’s any way you can chase your dream job, or dream company. Do it. I cannot tell you how much my life has changed since taking a role somewhere where I’m proud to work.

 

Formal learning, Working in People & Culture

It’s February?!

It’s February!! (?) I don’t know how this has happened.

I returned to work last Wednesday after 10 days holidaying in New Zealand, which consisted of visiting family and friends, threatening to kidnap my nephew and bring him to Australia as carry-on luggage. Normal family stuff.

It was wonderful to reset myself – I didn’t take a real break over Christmas/New Year’s and by January 16 my brain was crying out for some holiday time. There was a couple of times that I realised I was near to stabbing an innocent colleague with a fork (and not a particularly sharp one) just because I needed some downtime so bad. (No need to worry, really the worst it would have gotten was a passive-aggressive sulk in my office while I stewed on a transgression like stapling a document in the wrong place, serious stuff.)

I, like many People & Culture people, am really excellent at reminding others they need a break from work. Some reset time with family and friends to give your mind a chance to recalibrate. I, also like most People & Culture people, am terrible at taking my own advice.

This time I did it and while it did take me 3 good days to get my brain back in the game I feel like a whole new person.

As much as it feels like you can just keep going because you love your job (I know the feeling). Don’t. It’s not until you have a real break that you realise how much you needed it.

During my time off I also made some life decisions – I’m going to re-enter the world of studentdom to complete my Masters – I only have one double semester paper to go, but I can’t figure out yet if this is an incredibly silly or brave move on my part when I’m only 4 months into my new role.

But it’s the year of the rocket! And I’m defining it with being kinder to myself (I have two lots of leave booked before July. TWO!) and getting back on the study bus. Clearly I’m not defining it with excellent English (study bus?) – but perhaps 2017 will be the year of expanding my vocabulary.

image

The picture is taken from the Taranaki coast in the North Island of NZ

#humblebrag #proudkiwi

Thinking differently, Working in People & Culture

Mediocracy? Or Disruption?

Let’s be honest. Nearly all of us in the ‘people’ space (whether that’s HR, recruitment, learning or management) like to think we can effect some real change.
No one wants to go to work day after day and feel like they haven’t accomplished anything.
But lots of us do just that.
We like to think that we think like disruptors, but actually we are a bit more like lemmings… we think about big change but then when it comes down to it and it all gets too hard we just follow the pack.
For this reason, the people and organisations that actually do disrupt make noise! There’s a reason why tech start ups get so much press in the employment space – the ones we hear about are doing big things, disrupting industries and changing the game both in their field and in the employment space.
You have to have heard of Zappos & it’s holacracy, Google & its benefits, Virgin & their unlimited leave… it’s forward thinking companies like these that are changing the norm, and the expectations of potential employees.
But for more organisations to move in this direction – where the ‘norm’ doesn’t dictate expectations? More disruptors are needed.
You don’t have to be working at Google to be a disruptor. But you do need to be motivated, reflective (and self-aware) and have the ability to think outside the box.
Recently I attended a 99U Local event in Melbourne hosted by Dr Jason Fox & the Centre for Workplace Leadership – it was pretty amazing. And it was filled with disruptors who were looking to activate in the creative space.
I picked up some great tips for how I might become more effective at what I do, the highlights for me were:
  • Get up early – my brain is in the best space then
  • Make my important decisions in the morning, the sooner the better
  • Get out and do it. Commit. Be prepared to back myself.
My challenge to you is: How do you want to effect change? What will make you a better disruptor to create that change? Write it down, key in a buddy who has their own goals and will help you stay accountable to yours.
What have we got to loose? Mediocracy? lemmings
Leadership, Personal brand, Working in People & Culture

The Balancing Act of Work/Life Balance in the World of HR

I wear many hats as a people & culture professional: strategic advisor, problem solver, sounding board, behaviour changer… but I’m also a friend, a partner, a daughter, a sister. There – I said it. I have a life outside of work!

While I love the variety my chosen profession brings sometimes it is really tiring. Tiring because in people & culture you can feel like you’re a million things to a million people, and it’s impossible to meet all of their needs all of the time. Then, at the end of a day filled with 10 urgent matters and 20 incredibly important ones, I roll on home to my family and try and switch my brain to At-Home-Renée (note: she doesn’t get as much done as At-Work-Renée).

I often have this conversation with other people in our industry – just how do you balance the two when it is so easy to prioritise a job you love over everything else? We are the best at preaching the importance of work/life balance but in my experience we are often the worst at balancing the two.

I’ve gone over to the dark side a few times, getting obsessed with checking emails from the time I wake to when I went to sleep, that little ‘ping’ sound sending shivers up my spine. But I came to a realisation that I did not do my best work when thinking about the office all day every day, I didn’t lead by example, insisting on responding to weekend emails the second they arrived, scheduling work travel in the weekends so not to impinge on my ‘productive’ time. I do my best work when I’m happy, when I can dedicate the time required to important projects and be honest with my colleagues about what I can, and cannot, reasonably take on.

I meditate (I know, it sounds terribly new-agey but I swear by it), I exercise, I don’t have my email notifications ‘pop up’ on my phone and I’m getting better about working reasonable hours. And do you know what I’ve noticed? I’m more productive, I produce better results and I’m a nicer person to work with.

It is really hard to fight the urge to ‘just’ do a few extra hours – because as we all know that is a perfectly reasonable, even required, thing to do occasionally – but as soon as it becomes the norm, then I know I’m straying in to dangerous territory.

How can I extol the virtues to the managers I work with of the importance of happy, healthy employees if I myself am not one? How to I promote the idea of encouraging employees to normally work a regular work day if I can’t do it myself?

I don’t believe being overworked is just dangerous to the person (increased risk of cardiovascular disease anyone?) – but it is also dangerous to role model this behaviour, particularly if you’re the guardian of good workplace practice in your organisation.

I’m always looking for ways to both increase my understanding of how I manage this balance and how I can promote this balance within my organisation which is one of the reasons I am looking forward to Dr Adam Fraser’s presentation at the AHRI National Convention on HR: Loving What You Do. Dr Fraser’s presentation promises to give HR professionals practical tools to switch between different roles and environments with less anxiety and friction.
The author will be a guest of the AHRI National Convention and has been asked to write up their thoughts on the event.

This article was originally published on the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) website.

Working in People & Culture

Why Work in HR?

Guest post from Helen Sabell

The Benefits Of Working in Human Resources

A career in Human Resources can offer a wealth of opportunities within all business sectors. The HR industry has undergone a significant transformation, it is competitive and an essential part to any successful organisation. HR professionals are often involved in the execution of fundamental business change and on a daily basis liaise with senior management to coordinate their company’s performance.

Talent Development

There is a mentality within HR to be continuously growing and learning new skills and techniques. You will take pride in creating new training initiatives that you and your affiliates will utilise in order to maximise your professional skills in key performance sectors.

Challenging

Companies and their models are constantly evolving. As our workforce progresses, businesses are being required to attract and engage with new generations of employees. Human resources handles this area in order to ensure the business is continuously developing and employing proficient professionals. The HR department has a crucial role in implementing changes whenever a business goes through major developments, such as restructuring or mergers.

Variety of Tasks

This of course depends on the size of the company but you will be working on a variety of different tasks. These could include training and recruiting, interviewing, pensions, resource management, benefits analysis, payroll, redundancy, compensation to implementing employment law.

Workplace Opportunities

Ultimately, this gives you an opportunity to find the best workplace best fit for your personality but also career goals. You could work for schools, to small business firms, or major corporations as they all have a high need for HR professionals. Once you have the experience and essential skills you can take them to any organisation worldwide.

Working With People

Most significantly this job role requires a great level of interpersonal skills. You will be required to work with new hires to the leaderships teams meaning your communication skills will be utilised on a daily basis. So, why do you want to work in HR? The motivation is usually working with people. Employers look for candidates who are good with people and this quality is crucial in Human Resources. It is paramount that you genuinely care about the well-being and development of your employer’s employees which results in close working relationships with people across the whole business.

Author Bio

Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas. Helen also works with a select group of organisations consulting in People Management & Development, Education and Change.