gen y generation differences stereotypesOne thing I often look back and realize that I miss is the interaction and discussion in my college classes. The ones that I learned the most in were not just a professor spouting meaningless information from a podium. The really great classes had a lot of student interaction, and that was facilitated best by a good professor.

This has been on my mind in the past week as I\’ve followed the conversation on Gen Y, generations, and stereotypes in this post. The comments section is probably 3-4 times as long as the actual post, but it has some great discussions that I feel are necessary. Continue reading

shrm student chapterA few weeks back, I dropped by another NASHRM student chapter meeting. I was blown away by the amazing speaker. Tim Grey from AMCOM stopped by to give a short lecture on federal HR and its differences from the private sector. I must say that I was amazed. I probably looked like I was ignoring him, because I had my phone out typing on it most of the time. I was making notes as fast as I possibly could. It’s interesting, because that snuck up on me. I was sitting there listening and suddenly realized that he was passing out some golden truths that I shouldn’t be missing! Enough warm fuzzies, here are a few sound bytes from the session:

  • Policies are easy for private sector. Hate it? Change it!
  • Public sector is built on laws and any change is going to take a lot of work.
  • All federal employees have to take the oath of office. I had no idea.
  • We can hire someone off the street tomorrow if we need them to fill a position. The federal sector can’t.
  • “Right to work” doesn’t apply to federal employees.
  • In a weird twist, sometimes Tim gets calls from attorneys for legal advice pertaining to federal employment laws. (Can he bill them at $150 an hour?) :-D

Strategic planning? You better believe it. Make it happen or you’ll always be a clerk.

  • One of HR’s many roles: help managers know the rules so they can be effective (and legal).
  • If you want to have an impact on the future of your organization, you must know the mission and vision first.
  • The aging workforce is a big problem for the federal sector. 25% of employees could retire today, and 40% could by 2012.
  • If managers don’t know statistics like the one above, they could cripple the company by making choices that disregard the upcoming disaster.
  • Effective HR strategies can help to solve problems like the aging workforce.
  • Years ago, HR strategy looked up to 18 months into the future. Today that could be up to 10 years, depending on the size of your organization.
  • I know you may be technology-averse, but you have to see and understand technology changes, because you have to train employees to be ready to meet those challenges head on.
  • You need to be forecasting and planning ahead. Use the data you have. Even a 25 person company with 2-3 years of history can do something useful with the data.

HR is usually an afterthought. It’s actually one of the most important parts of the business. Demonstrate your value.

As you can plainly see, there was some good stuff going on at that lecture. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. There was also a great little story that Tim shared about a recruiting problem they were having at one location. I hope to be able to expand on it in a future post.

If you’re on Twitter, I usually use the #NASHRM tag when I’m tweeting from one of these SHRM student chapter events. Feel free to follow along.

SHRM Chapter Leadership Guide

Want to get mentored? Well, you’ll have to wait until next year. This year’s participants in the NASHRM mentor project were announced last week, and I am thrilled to be on that exclusive list. The mastermind of this project, Rusty Brand, passed along this comment:

We believe that the mentor program has the potential to bring tremendous value to the career development of our members.  NASHRM has been considering the idea for a few years and we are excited to get it off the ground in 2010 under the title of Mentor University.  The plan is to utilize a variety of approaches including group, peer, and flash mentoring as well as the more traditional approach.  HR Pros will have a chance to network and engage in a smaller forum and focus their time on areas/topics that are of interest to them, helping them to take the next step within their respective careers.  Its going to be a lot of fun!

Someone asked me the other day why I would use my own limited time and money for this project. My reply: why not?!? You probably know how hard it is to break into the HR field and advance through the ranks. This experience is going to put some of that hard-to-reach information at the fingertips of the next generation of HR leaders. If the others are as excited as I am about this, then it’s going to rock.

One thing that really excites me about NASHRM Mentor University is that the leaders have purposefully kept the group small enough to encourage discussion and interaction. That’s one thing I learned at HRevolution earlier this month. The smaller sessions encouraged a lot of ideas and chatting, but the larger groups were more subdued. The smaller the group is, the more people can absorb and interact. Look for some great posts to come from the interactions facilitated by Mentor University.

Last Thursday morning, I was plopped in a chair at the business administration building at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. No, I haven’t decided to return to school. But I have decided to get involved with our student chapter. Why? Because they need it.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was a recent graduate. Fresh from the college experience, I searched dutifully for my first HR position. Since we’re all professionals here, I’ll go ahead and say it: it’s pretty darn hard to get your first job in HR. Most jobs require experience, and experience only comes after you get a job. It’s a catch-22.

Anyway, back to the student chapter. They need some leadership. They need some mentoring. Because while some of them may have experience as interns, not every company treats their entry level workers as they should. And they are going to be the next generation of HR professionals.

It doesn’t take much time. Get in touch with your local SHRM chapter. Find out if you can mentor a student, speak at a student chapter meeting, or even act as the liaison between the professional and student chapters. Decide how much time you have to spare and go for it. I guarantee it will make you proud of your profession.

Want to leave a comment on this article? Click here!

SHRM Chapter Leadership Guide