There was a great panel this morning at the SHRM Leadership Conference about some of the “hot” HR issues, including Diversity and Inclusion, Workplace Flexibility, and Social Media. Check out the short video below where I talk about some of the interesting quotes I heard.

(When I tested the video, it played without the lag between the visual and the audio. But them someone told me it was showing weird for them. Sorry about that if it’s broken, but just listen. As always, it’s the content that counts!)

Video Notes:

  • Eric Petersen-importance of separating the things  a 20 year old does and the things that make a generation different.
  • Lisa Horn-workplace flexibility isn\’t just for women. Yeah.
  • Curtis Midkiff-Continuing the conversation after a conference is one of the best uses for social media.

Yeah, it’s not exactly what I came here for, but I thought they were interesting enough to share. :-)

Why would I take a few days away from my precious family to attend the SHRM Leadership Conference? It\’s simple, really. I wanted to see and hear from other people in the SHRM volunteer community. I created the SHRM Volunteer Leaders LinkedIn group to help connect and collaborate with these people. But that was just the first step. Now the Rock Your Chapter eBook is out there and I want to keep the conversation going about how to make chapters better.

I\’m looking bigger than my own little chapter. Yes, I\’m dedicated to helping them and have already set aside 2011 to serve as the Social Media Coordinator/Webmaster for NASHRM, but I want to connect with other leaders to learn and grow (them and me).

A few good examples

The LinkedIn Group: Mark Christensen initiated a discussion about having a time to talk about state best practices during the Leadership Conference. The discussion received a lot of comments, and (surprise surprise!) SHRM then added some time to talk about it. If that doesn\’t make you feel good that they are paying attention (somewhat, anyway), then I don\’t know what will.

Chapter director collaboration: My friend Bobbi Wilson found out recently that she was going to be the Certification Director at NASHRM for 2011. In an effort to help her get started on the right foot, I reached out to my network to find other certification professionals at other chapters. I gathered some names and email addresses and passed them along to Bobbi.

Now tell me this. If this is her first time as our chapter\’s certification person, do you think she\’ll do a better or worse job now that she has 5-10 people to brainstorm with? Yeah. That\’s a micro example of what my eventual goal is with this SHRM volunteer leader stuff.

Connecting isn’t optional

LinkedIn connections HR

I tweeted this last night during a conversation, and it started a great discussion with some of the people I was sitting with. At one point earlier today, someone actually said the words: “I\’m connected enough.” I had to roll my eyes at that. There\’s no such thing. Just because you can do what you do now without a solid network in place doesn\’t mean you\’ll always be able to handle what comes your way.

Networking is a great way to prepare for those “Ahhh! What do I do?” events. Just like in the job search, by the time you\’ve lost your job it\’s too late to start networking. Same with this. Don\’t wait. Join in. Use some of the tools and see what you can do. Need a hand? Here\’s a social media mentoring program.

Let\’s stop living in our little bubbles. It just doesn\’t cut it anymore.

So… I finally finished the Rock Your Chapter eBook! It’s been a long time coming, but I hope it’s really useful to the volunteer chapter leaders out there. Know someone who’s in a leadership position with a local chapter or state council? Share this guide with them. I’d appreciate it and so will they. :-) I’m passionate about helping our volunteer leadership with leading and growing their chapters, and this guide is just a small piece of what I’d like to do overall. Thank you to everyone for your support!

click to downloadClick here to download.

Want to help?

I love giving these things away for free. The best part for me is knowing that it’s helping a person somewhere that I don’t even know, simply because someone like you shared it with them. Here are a few ways you can help me (and other chapters in your area):

Testimonials for Rock Your Chapter

Ben hits the nail on the head. “Rock Your Chapter” rocks!!
Posted by Lori Goldsmith, SPHR, GPHR
Thanks for putting your ideas on paper and working to make us all better.
(Cincinnati HR)
Posted by Julie Johnson
Hey Ben – nice work!
Posted by Michael VanDervort
This is great stuff! I will share with the Guam and Saipan chapters and let you know the results. Thank you for taking the time to put this together.
Posted by Katherine Gillespie Dote
Ben,
Nicely done. Finally had a chance to download and read. Will happily pass along to others as well!
Thanks!
Posted by Bradley Galin, SPHR
Great book Ben. I printed it, read it and have sent links to my Chapter Board Members. I also posted a link on both the Georgia SHRM State Council LinkedIn Group and the Georgia SHRMState Council Membership LinkedIn Group!
Posted by Kevin Smith, SPHR
Ben: Thank you. I am sharing with our Board (Charleston West Virginia) and State Council Director.
Posted by James Wells, SPHR, IPMA-CP
Great guide! I’ll be sharing with my board colleagues in the Volusia/Flagler Chapter (Daytona Beach, FL)
Posted by Cheryl Perreault

Your document “Rock Your Chapter” is excellent. Thank you. As the Charleston West Virginia Chapter 2011 – 2013 President I have shared with our Board, and as a West Virginia State Council District Director I have encouraged the State Council Director to share with each Chapter in our State. Thank you.
Jim

Congratulations on your production of a useful tool for chapters.  Many of your ideas will fit any non-profit organization. Thank you for your efforts.
Mike

Good stuff. I\’ll be sharing with my local ASTD chapter during our board retreat in December.
Traci Cuthbertson

Just finished a podcast about the SHRM Leadership Conference with my good friend Bryan Wempen of DriveThruHR. We talked about local SHRM chapters, the volunteers that make up the backbone of the organization, and my sweet little babies. :-) Click the button below to listen to the show.

Listen Now

Also, my good friend Dave Ryan had a go with Bryan on the show just before I got a chance to get on. Dave’s interview can be found at this link. Big shout out to Dave for allowing me to share his hotel room for SHRM Leadership. I offered to sleep in the floor, but he got his room changed to have a second bed just for me. I promised him blogging assistance in return. :-)

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. In a week I’ll be venturing to Washington, DC in order to attend the SHRM Leadership Conference. It’s geared towards SHRM Volunteer Leaders, and I definitely have an interest in becoming one. Much of what I do now isn’t exactly in the spotlight when it comes to helping SHRM leaders learn and grow. Things like the SHRM chapter leadership guide are pretty unobtrusive, but they can really help chapter leaders to think about things critically instead of running their chapter “the way it’s always been done.”

I pushed hard to attend, talking with my local chapter, reading up on the requirements, and even going so far as to pitch the idea to SHRM to help me get there (yeah, right, but I still had to try). In the end my local chapter backed me up (as they always seem to) and the big boys at SHRM didn’t (as they always seem to). I thought the pitch was a good one. I’ve included the text of it below.

I have heard so many great things about the leadership conference, but the problem is that it has all been from word of mouth. I’ve never read another blogger really dig deep into what happens there and how they benefited from attending the event. While I spend a considerable amount of time volunteering with my local chapter, my position as webmaster/social media coordinator doesn’t qualify me for a ticket to the event. Bottom line: I would love to have the opportunity to share about the event and promote it to my audience and network.

I know it is more of a niche event, but I believe it has the potential to radically change how SHRM reaches and guides its volunteer leaders. I so strongly believe in the idea of bringing volunteer leaders together that I have created a LinkedIn group to gather feedback and form some close ties to the SHRM leaders in the field.

Because I’m also involved with the HRYP committee with Chuck, I’d love to find a way to help reach the young volunteers and help bring them into the leadership conference experience. WIthout them seeing the value in attending, the event will be losing a lot of attendees in the coming years.

I’d like to write about the leadership conference from several angles:

  • First, from that of a first-time attendee. What’s it all about and is it even worth the trip?
  • Second, from the young volunteer leader’s perspective. Is this a tool that can provide me and my chapter with value?
  • Third, from my blogging persona. This event really is where a lot of connections and changes are made that other people never even have the opportunity to observe. I want to push bloggers to learn more about SHRM and share how their experiences have influenced their careers and organizations, because this is where the magic happens.

See? Not really a hard sell, but it has a lot of potential if they want to prove the value to the young HR professionals and other new and future SHRM volunteer leaders around the country (world?). Anyway, like I said, my local SHRM chapter made it happen for me, so I’ll be going and focusing on ideas to really help them in the coming year. I have a lot of ideas on my mind already, and I’ll be traveling with our president-elect, so there will be some deep discussions on chapter strategy on the trip to DC. If you’re going, shoot me an email. I’d love to meet you there!

By the way, my friend Dave Ryan did a little survey and realized that only 1.57% of the attendees for the event are active on Twitter. Not sure if that’s above or below the average, but I’m interested to see what happens when we get together.