One of the greatest ways to get some great content at an affordable price (with regard to both travel and registration fees) is at a state-level HR conference. I’m attending the 2013 Alabama SHRM State Conference, and I can’t wait to see some phenomenal speakers, meet some fantastic people, and take copious notes on ways to improve the HR function for my employer.

2013 alabama shrm state conferenceIf you’re looking for me on Wednesday, May 15th, I’ll be busy! This will be my 3rd state conference to attend in Alabama, and I am looking forward to yet another well-run event that hums with excitement.

What I’m looking forward to at the 2013 Alabama SHRM State Conference

I’m still in the early stages of evaluating what sessions I’m planning to attend, but here are a few that look appealing to me:

  • Changing People Who Don’t Want to Change-Who in the HR industry couldn’t use some tips in this area? Looking for some tips to respond to a few challenges I’m currently facing.
  • Creating a Healthy Employee Marriage by Developing an Engagement Culture-I know the presenter and think this will be an intriguing session. I already work for a phenomenal company with a great culture, but maybe I can pick up some ideas that have worked for other companies as well.
  • The 9 Faces of HR-This sounds like a very interesting session, and I know the speaker here as well. I’m excited to see the illustrious Kris Dunn on stage, no matter what the topic!

I’m also working with our great state council and providing a Twitter 101 session in order to help everyone understand the tool better and how they can use it to spread the word about events, news, and other valuable information.

Anyone else planning to attend the 2013 Alabama SHRM State Conference? It should be fun!

 

Dale Dauten innovator labThis session at ALSHRM was amazing. It was unlike the rest of the day. No slides, just a conversation among the attendees and speaker, Dale Dauten. Below you’ll find a kind of stream-of-consciousness post full of great quotes and thought-provoking ideas. Enjoy!

Dale did a little prep work before the session by polling the attendees. That opened up some great discussions during his time with us, such as the poll question “What do you like least about your work/job?”

  • Too much work
  • Getting stuck as “the compliance person”
  • Left out of the loop on big decisions

That led to a chilling (and probably true) comment: What do executives say about HR when they are not in the room?

Nothing.

That’s because we are perceived as an overhead cost and “in the way” of real work.

Dale used the term “gradual day” to describe one we all face on a weekly basis. These are the days that wear and weaken our spirits due to steadily increasing problems and issues. These should not be the norm.

Next time you are buried under a mound of work with no end in sight and a manager walks into your office asking you to talk with one of his/her employees, refuse/redirect them. Don’t keep taking on work that is their job, because it will burn you out and you never get out of the same old rut you’re stuck in with too much work and too little time. If it’s remotely possible, refuse the problem. Yes, it’s crazy,  but it is necessary!

———-

Taking the time to critique someone and offer feedback shows that you care enough to invest time in them. Managers should remember this every single day. It might be a burden on you to take time to provide feedback to every one of your people, but it is what you get paid for. Want your people to feel appreciated? Pay attention to them in the form of positive critical feedback.

Help your managers get the most out of people. You don’t have to know how to do the employees’ jobs, you just need to know what to measure against. Find a credible standard for greatness and hold people to it.

———-

Quote of the day: HR gets two options when it comes to bad policies. Enforce it and be a jerk or ignore it and be a hypocrite. (Although I think there’s a third option, which is getting rid of bad policies altogether. But that’s a post for another day.)

My favorite part

If you know me at all, you know I’m a big fan of HR as the keeper of the culture at work. We nurture it, communicate it, and share it often (especially with new employees). One of Dale’s recommendations was to develop a list of touchstones (short sayings full of wisdom). HR should become the keeper of the touchstones in the organization. It lets you share wisdom across the board and make a lasting impact.

The concept is interesting, because I’ve been doing something similar already at work. We have little sayings in our vocabulary that I have started incorporating into the new hire orientations and onboarding process to help new employees learn more about what we value. I love HR as the keeper of the culture/touchstones, and I’m looking forward to writing more on it in the future.

All in all, it was an amazing session and I’m thrilled Dale came to speak with us!

This keynote session at ALSHRM led by Meaghan Johnson started out as many of these “generations” speeches do. The speaker asks the audience to start listing things about Gen Y that annoy them and the crowd goes wild ranting about the worst possible example they can think of (completely dismissing the dozens of others in the same demographic without all the flaws). I was sure it was going to be a dud, but then the speaker turned it around on the audience by pointing out that the characteristics were those of a specific age group, not a generation group. Almost everyone acts like a goof when they are 20 years old, whether it’s 1950 or 2011. Don’t blame it on “Gen Y” or something else. :-)

A few other pertinent points

  • Knowledge retention-The knowledge loss of boomers leaving the workforce should be the focus for this generation stuff, not complaining about Gen Y/Gen X/Boomers or how to cope with them at work.
  • Informal knowledge-Boomers know the intricate details of how the business works. They know who to talk to to get a problem solved under the radar. They know who to avoid on Monday mornings before they’ve had their coffee. They know those things that you won’t find in any process manual or employee handbook.
  • Teach ’em tech-Boomers aren’t scared of technology. They want to know how using technology makes work or life easier, not just using technology for its own sake.
  • A touch of nostalgia-Younger generations have something very special to offer the older ones: passion. Remind them why they started working in the job/company/industry in the first place. Renew their spirit. That’s been the success story for my own blog. I started writing to reach out to other people just getting started in their own HR careers, but I was found and followed by people with senior-level experience who enjoyed seeing the profession through my own fresh perspective.

All in all, it was a great session and prompted some interesting thoughts. While I get tired of the same old “generation conversation,” this one gave a few twists that really made it valuable for me.

I’m so excited about the upcoming AL SHRM State Conference on May 18, 2011.  We are expecting over 500 attendees.  As usual, we have very informative and timely sessions planned for our attendees this year.  In the past, we have did not have much time available for networking and socializing, this year I’m looking forward to our first pre-conference reception at Saks Fifth Avenue.  As an HR Professional, you cannot afford not to attend the AL SHRM State Conference. –Carmen Douglas, President of the Alabama State SHRM Council

SHRM AlabamaOne of the first blog posts I ever wrote back in 2009 was about ALSHRM. It was the first event I attended as a blogger and Twitter user, and I will never forget it. This year I am going back to cover the event at the request of the ALSHRM state council. I’m excited about content and connections.

Content

This is what I’m looking for as my plan for the day. Pumped!

  • Opening Keynote Session: From Boomsters to Linksters: Managing Friction Between Generations
  • Absolute Honesty: Building a Culture of Straight Talk and Integrity
  • Lunch Keynote Session – Just Like Fine Wine: Cultural Emotional Intelligence
  • The Laughing Warrior: How to Enjoy Killing the Status Quo
  • Closing General Session: How Aflac HR Impacts the Bottom Line

Connections

I have some old friends who will be present (@adowling, @thewitchinghr, @incblot, etc.), and it’s always great to catch up with them. I’m also excited about meeting some new people, including at least one of the speakers. Dale Dauten, author, speaker, and all around great guy is going to be talking about innovation, and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say.

If you’re following on Twitter, I’ll be on the #ALSHRM11 hashtag with some of the other attendees.

In short:

Cheap cost.

Valuable content.

Welcome to the Alabama SHRM State Conference.