SHRM Leadership Conference

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.

HRM Conference: Social Media with Kris Dunn and Dawn Hrdlica

Yes. I know how to use social media. But I want to be in the middle of a group of HR professionals who battle in the trenches every day and hear what they want to know about the social stuff. While I love doing what I do, I understand that there\’s a whole other world out there of people who could really use this stuff (if only they knew how or what to ask). That\’s why Project:Social was started.

By the way, I\’m coming to you from the Human Resources Management Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Check back for more coverage of the event!

The fun for me actually started before the actual session. I had the opportunity to share my lunch hour with Dawn and we talked on HRevolution, deep career issues, and blogging. Plus I got to show off pictures of my girls. Always fun. :-)

Killer Quotes

“[Why did I start using this stuff?] I just wanted to start learning about social media for recruiting.” Dawn Hrdlica-Burke

I\’ve received more than I\’ve given with social media/blogging. That\’s why I do what I do. -Kris Dunn

Your handbook is already there to help remove people who have a major error in judgment. Don\’t need a special social media policy. –KD

“Hey, nobody died” (in defense of asking forgiveness, not permission, for testing social tools). –KD

Who I follow in social media: not only people who put out content, but also people who share other resources that are not theirs that are helpful to people in the profession. –KD

I never trust a blog that blocks comments. Controlling the conversation doesn\’t work. –Dawn

social media + HR: Employer branding, recruiting, and career advancement for HR in a digital world

Ten reasons to use social tools

  1. Sucks to be a dinosaur (don\’t be leapfrogged on strategy)
  2. Rock and roll is dead (so is print)
  3. Elvis,Tony Soprano, and the internet (other generations thought they were fads)
  4. elearning is turning into ulearning (don\’t wait on content from SHRM/HRCI)
  5. Toby from the Office (show that you are growing/engaged)
  6. You\’re so vain (Have you googled yourself? What does it say about you?)
  7. I trust people I meet on the net (people with online brands)
  8. You can build professional authority without posting beer bong pics (it’s really not hard to keep it professional)
  9. Network/connections will drive knowledge transfer (be involved to observe what\’s going on)
  10. There\’s better food at the Marriot than at the Motel6 (market pays for rare skills (social media, for instance))

Pitfalls, Landmines, and other practical advice for HR rockstars in the trenches: You say you want a social media revolution

Ten barriers to social tool usage

  1. Don\’t have the access (54% are blocking completely, 90% blocking some)
  2. Don\’t have the tools (already have other stuff filling my work slate, is there room for another piece?)
  3. Underestimating the time (posting a job=5 minutes of work, building a network of social contacts=greater than 5 minutes)
  4. Being overwhelmed (start small—lurk/observe!)
  5. I don\’t get it (well, your grandma does)
  6. My company won\’t let me go public (go internal!)
  7. IT and marketing took over my world (be prepared and be a partner,  not a flunkie)
  8. Where\’s my ROI (time vs. dollars)
  9. I fought the law (don\’t be stupid)
  10. You, you control freak (can\’t control every other conversation, so don\’t try this either)

My thought: The fact that companies don\’t really trust end users/employees is where a lot of the friction (blocking social sites) comes from. If you didn\’t trust them, why in the world did you hire them?

How to run a one person HR department (HRM Conference)

how to run a small HR departmentThe first concurrent session I attended on day one of the 2010 Tuscaloosa HRM Conference was Team of One: HR Professionals Who Have to Do It All. A big plus (in my book) for this session was that it was a panel discussion and very informal. This sort of content is better covered by a group of people with varying experiences and backgrounds, because even when you’re running a one man (or woman) HR shop, it still can vary greatly due to industry, company size, etc. While I don’t currently work in a one-man HR shop, there’s always the chance that I could be doing that one day, so I want to stay on top of things. Plus, I’ve always been intrigued by those HR pros who can keep all those balls in the air on their own.

Here are some notes and tips from each of the panelists on resources and ways they were able to navigate the one man (or woman) human resources department. I’ve interspersed my own notes as well.

  • Jane Chandler-I used the SHRM hotline, participated in NASHRM meetings, and relied on my peers/colleagues to help me fill the gaps.
  • Bill Rush-I’m involved with my local SHRM chapter. I learned there’s a big difference in working in a one-man shop if you have a corporate headquarters offering support/resources than if you don’t. I used a state-run job skills center to help w/recruiting & retaining at one facility, and it was an astounding success. It’s quite a challenge falling under a general/administrative portion of a military contract, and it made it tough to work for a government contractor. One company I went to work for had 600 employees and I was the first HR person they’d ever had. The company founders basically said, “We\’re not sure about HR.” So I took it as a challenge! A big factor in your success in moving into one of these roles is you have to embrace the vision (can help shape it eventually, but you have to support it from the start) understand it and help it move forward. The first step if you’re leaping into a one-person operation is an HR audit to discover gaps and start making a plan.
    • One thing I learned quickly is the importance of identifying and developing capable supervisors. Most of the time HR does too much hand-holding to be effective in other areas.
    • If you want to make the case to management for some budget room for training/development, then you need to be able to show time and $ cost. Don’t just say, “I need money for skills development.” Be factual and specific and you’ll have a higher probability of success.
  • Melanie McNary-One of the biggest challenges I faced? Knowing when the HR department of one is no longer feasible. Another was gaining credibility by sharing the value of HR function. I did that by showing up at non-mandatory meetings and knowing the business inside out. I had to train my CEO that if he wanted me to focus on a specific thing, then I would be losing focus on x, y, and z (can’t do it all!). An important lesson for everyone: while your HR skills are transferable from job to job, you still have to learn/know the business and how it works to be effective as an HR professional. I learned not to implement policies/procedures just because(there was no attendance policy at one employer when I started, but it turned out to be unnecessary anyway).
    • Question from the audience: How know when one HR person is no longer effective enough? Make a list of everything you do and the time that takes. Then show it to your boss and explain the impact and how much it\’s costing you to do what you do with regard to time and missed opportunities for other projects due to busyness. Yes, it’s hard to slam on the brakes and sit to ponder this stuff when you\’re drowning in work, but it’s necessary.
    • Hard truth: If it\’s not going to happen and you can’t get a new person to help, then focus your work on business priorities and high-visibility projects and hold the other “nice to have” stuff for later. It’s hard to face it, but sometimes things just can’t be done. It doesn’t say anything about you as an HR pro if you’re working at capacity and can’t complete everything. Just make sure the C-level leaders understand your workload, because there’s a good chance they are underestimating it.
  • Melva Tate-My company’s leaders promised me they would keep the 1:100 ratio, but it never happened. I eventually moved to consulting to focus on “the pile that I was passionate about” instead of all the other stuff that I wasn’t. It’s hard moving into a small business role for several reasons: usually a new HR person is a result of a problem (litigation, etc.), and also it’s easy to fall into a “family” environment/culture and feel like an outsider to the others. Again, credibility is key if you want to be successful. I put a big emphasis on connections with other professionals.
    • Share/Trade training/development resources with other small organizations so you’re not all reinventing the wheel every single time something needs to be created or taught.

Quote of the day-Credibility

Question from a senior leader in the organization: What makes you qualified?

The response from a new person in the HR department: Nothing. But let\’s agree that if I am effective, then we’re okay. If not, then you\’ll talk to my manager and get me out of here.

Six success strategies for a HR team of one

Great handout from Melva Tate lists six success strategies for the HR team of one. My comments follow each strategy.

  1. Obtain your HR certification (you know I\’m loving that one)
  2. Know and commit to the six overarching HR competencies (tough for me, more on that later)
  3. Join local/national HR professional associations (I prefer local over national for people connections, national over local for research/info)
  4. Leverage relationships with other HR pros (if you’ve got ’em, use ’em!)
  5. Connect with social media (helps to build those connections you\’re going to be leveraging in #4)
  6. Using Google and other paper (gasp!) resources (this is more about staying excited about what you do and encouraging idea generation than deep learning in my opinion)

Anyway, that’s my long recap of an amazing session. I love seeing people share ideas and tips on how to do those things we do every day, and this session was a great example of that. Anyone else out there running an HR shop of one (or two, maybe)? What sort of tips and suggestions do you have for success in that area?

#HRevolution 2011 in Atlanta (April 29-30)

You may have heard murmurings about HRevolution 2011. Well… After reviewing and discussing the survey results from last year, we have decided to host it in Atlanta on April 29-30.

What you can do for now

Spread the word. We’re going to have a limited number of tickets (as we did for HRevolution 2010) to encourage the close community and deep discussions that come with a smaller crowd. If you want a ticket, stay tuned for more info coming your way. And if you have suggestions for topics, please check out the LinkedIn discussion!

There’s one new and fun way to spread the word as well. HRevolution gear!

What we’re doing for now

The planning committee (Trish, Crystal, Steve, and I) are starting those lovely conference calls and planning sessions. Each of us have a boatload of ideas to bring to our respective pieces of the planning process, and it’s going to be amazing to see what everyone puts together!

What’s in store

  • Complete website redesign
  • Free stuff before the event
  • Great sponsors to keep the cost low
  • Conversations that last a lifetime
  • Speakers and sessions that will rock your socks

Comments? Questions? Leave ’em below!

Human Resources Management Conference-I’m going!

ua human resources management conference banner

I was looking through some old emails the other day, and I saw someone mention the Human Resources Management Conference. I thought it sounded interesting, so I clicked through expecting to see a small, local event that might be semi-interesting to attend. Then my jaw dropped. This event is loaded with amazing speakers, great content, and it’s in its 56th year! Wow. So I reached out to the conference organizers to see if I could cover the event for them, and they quickly got back to me with a press pass. This is going to be pretty sweet!

What I’m looking forward to

There are several sessions I am planning to attend (although this could change with the flow of the day). Check out the descriptions from the event brochure to see what kind of cool stuff I have to look forward to!

  • Leadership GPS – Growth, Performance, Sustainment®What is your organizational direction? Are you ready to emphasize growth over survival?Are you ready to demonstrate to your organizational leaders that they are vitaland valuable? Are you ready to re-calibrate your organizational GPS? This lively andinteractive session addresses the basic foundations for leadership training that canactually improve the business bottom-line.
  • Managing For High Performance and Retention: Key Drivers of Employee Engagement – Based on extensive analysis of data from 90,000 employees around the world, this presentation discusses the top 10 ways in which managers can drive higher levels of performance and commitment from the workforce. It specifically examines how managers directly and indirectly drive employee performance through engagement. Further, the presentation considers how the manager influences employee engagement with the broader organization in addition to the team and to the employee\’s immediate work.
  • Social Media as an HR Tool: How It Can Help and How It Can Hurt – Does your organization twitter, blog, wiki, link in and have “face” time on the web? This timely session focuses on not only using social media as an HR tool for recruiting, screening, training and development, building a community image and more, but also covers social media liabilities – what is being used against companies that you should avoid. Our presenters teach how to use social media in HR while watching out for pitfalls and liabilities.
  • On the Recruiting Trail – It\’s now widely recognized that HR is a key function in driving business forward and influencing business strategy. Companies are more aware of the value and importance of HR functions and the need to recruit and retain the best workforce. Companies also demand that diversity of thought and experience be brought to the table to address their needs in a more comprehensive way. From the Strategy Model to the Intake Model this session takes a look at how to automate and accelerate each step in the recruitment process.

Why this event is unique

Although I’m not a big football fan, since it’s held on the University of Alabama campus, everything has a football theme to it. Scoring, half time, and tailgating are just a few of the terms that run through the agenda, and I love to see people having fun and breaking the mold of conference customs. :-)

If you’re in the Alabama area and think you might like to attend, here’s the link to sign up online.

On a side note, hopefully I’ll be able to wrangle Kris Dunn into a conversation. Only had the opportunity to meet him once before but definitely looking forward to it again!

I’ve had some major conference envy recently with everyone attending other events, so now it’s my turn to attend a killer show and bring the content to you live!

Lessons for a lifetime-My #SHRM10 Recap


All I can say about my experience at #SHRM10 is “wow.” I’m still trying to digest all of the lessons from the event, but I can already say that it was completely worth my time and sweat investment. There were 30% more attendees at SHRM10 than at SHRM09, and I think that was a part of the enthusiasm that buzzed around the event.

What did I learn?

I learned more about strategic planning, creating a better experience for job candidates, and serving others. I learned that being involved in the social world before the event helps you to make connections and build upon them once you arrive. I learned that the Monster and Smartbrief teams (and by default, me!) work their butts off to make the experience amazing for everyone.

Here are a few other lessons I’ve learned and a few that I’m still digesting.


If you’ve ever heard me or another socially-active person mention events, we probably mention connections as a benefit. While it seems somewhat vague, I’ll put it this way: I have a list of 30 people to follow up with who most people would salivate to connect with. Why do I, a little old HR guy from Huntsville, Alabama, get to reach out to them? I’m not completely sure, but I think it has something to do with my passion for the profession and my desire to see things improve. I can’t think of any other reason they’d be interested. :-)

Even if I had done nothing else during this event other than talk and meet people, it would have been completely worth the effort. How’s that for value?

The day job

It seemed almost like an afterthought, but I did get some great ideas to carry back with me to my day job. While I didn’t get to see all of the sessions I wanted (some of those suckers fill up fast!), I did experience a handful of solid, value-packed speakers who challenged my thinking. This list is going to be the frustrating one, probably. While I’d like to work on the 50 things we’re doing wrong, in reality I just can’t find the time to do all of them. But if I can make a few small changes (just a few, mind you), and it has a positive impact on my workplace and the overall organization, I think I might be okay with that for now.

Questioning my path

One thing I didn’t expect was questioning my career choices. I had multiple conversations with Eric Winegardner from Monster, Jennifer McClure from Unbridled Talent, and Gerry Crispin from CareerXroads. All three of them are superstars in their own right, and all of them encouraged me to continue growing and developing in my career.

One of the most profound statements I’ve ever heard from Eric (and it wasn’t this one) was this: move up, not out. So many amazing HR pros eventually take off and leave the profession instead of continually climbing to be Directors, VPs, and Chief HR Officers. We need more great people to ascend to those positions instead of leaving them to the people with seniority by default (even if they don’t have the skills or passion to be great at it).

Jennifer asked me what I wanted to do with my career. I didn’t have a quick answer to that, and she reminded me that as a recruiter, I needed to know what I wanted before it was offered. For example, if she called me to recruit for a position I seriously wanted, but I sounded unsure, then I’d probably be passed over completely for the job even though it was a good fit for me. I need to figure out what I want to do next so I can seize the opportunity when it comes along.

Projects and partners

While I’m active quite often, it’s never as fulfilling when I’m working alone. I love love love getting the opportunity to help someone else to finish a difficult task or build something new. It’s so much more exciting and fun to share things with other people.

  • Mike VanDervort shared a great idea that I can’t wait to assist him with.
  • I’m on the lookout for ideas I can share with Matt Charney, because he was so helpful throughout my conference experience.
  • Bryan Wempen and John Jorgenson (among others) are great local/state SHRM leaders, and I am seriously thinking about partnering with them to develop more resources to better serve their members.
  • Chuck Salvetti, the guy in charge of student and young professional stuff at SHRM, has asked if I would volunteer to help get the young professional group up and running smoothly. I’ just sent in my application, Chuck!

There are others, but I don’t want to let all of the cats out of the bag just yet.

Keep the flame burning

While I’m completely and totally on fire right now, it won’t last. I’m going to try to stave it off for as long as I possibly can, but the experience will fade from my mind and other stuff will clutter up my brain. How in the world can I keep it going? What if I don’t have an Uncle Andre hanging around to help keep me on the right track? If I could have learned one thing at SHRM, it would have been how to keep the spirit and enthusiasm all year long. Exploring that one could be a complete post in itself, but if you have your own suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

SHRM membership in my future?

I was prompted by some amazing people, including Gerry Crispin, Nancy Newell, Sue Meisinger, Tara Mauk Arthur, China Gorman, Nancy Slotnick (and more), to join SHRM. I still haven’t made the leap just yet, but I think it’s going to be sometime in the near future. To top it off, both Gerry and Sue offered me this deal: if I don’t get my money’s worth in value from SHRM membership, then they will pay me back out of their own pockets. It doesn’t get much simpler than that, huh?

What you missed if you weren’t there

If you haven’t seen it yet, there was some amazing content generated from the event. Below are some of the best resources I’ve seen so far (and a few of mine thrown in because I’m me :-)).