Tag Archives: Vision

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 :-)).

Get more out of your SHRM chapter membership

get more shrm membership

How can SHRM chapters and members get more out of membership? Read on for a few ideas. This post is a part of the SHRM Chapter Leadership Guide.

HR Barbie, AKA Tamara in Ohio, asks the following:

I am so glad I found your site.  It is so important for the newly minted HR Professionals, like me.

It was extremely hard for me to transition into HR, and like you, I did not find an HR position until I began attending CSHRM meetings (Cleveland chapter).

My problem with SHRM in general, is that it is directed more towards the management side.  For professionals new to HR like myself, who only implements policy and is not a policy maker, it can be very off putting or in some cases a waste of time to attend.

I really want to join / attend on a more regular basis.  Perhaps in one of your next posts you can write about how we can make chapter SHRMs benefit all levels of HR.

I’ve heard from others like my buddy Tamara here, and I know it isn’t a local problem for her. I don\’t know if these chapters are expecting the national chapter\’s offerings to make up for their lack of value or what, but it seems pretty silly to me.

What can SHRM chapters do? Continue reading

Looking back at 2009 and forward to 2010

After all of the “end of 2009” and “here comes 2010” posts I’ve been reading, I realized I haven’t done my own! I checked my phone, and I have lots of jumbled ideas. Maybe I can straighten them out and have some smooth sailing into the new year. Let’s unpack, shall we? I’m just typing as fast as I can and will probably miss quite a few things.

Looking back at 2009

Created UpstartHR

I created UpstartHR and really got into writing online. It’s been an eye-opening experience for me, and I am thrilled to be a part of an amazing community.

Made LOTS of friends

I don’t have the space or time to mention all of the friends and acquaintances I’ve made this year. Andrew, April, Jim, Victorio, Trish, Steve B., Steve H., Rich, Lance, Chris F., Crystal, Joan, Margo, Mark, Paul, Michael, Kelly, Alicia, and Allen are just the tip of the iceberg. If I didn’t mention your name, please leave a comment below and hassle me for it. I promise it’s not on purpose.

HRevolution Continue reading

Posts, Problems, and Probabilities

In the past week or two, posting has been sporadic. There are several reasons for that (as you’ll see below). I’ve been reading some amazing posts from my blogger friends, trying to meet a fast-approaching deadline, and planning the future of this site. I hope you read stick around, because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

First, I’d like to apologize for the double posts you may have received in your feed reader in the past week. I was trying to submit the blog to Technorati, and I’m thinking that’s what messed with the feed. I’m not sure, because I was also toying around with some Feedburner features at the same time. Anyway, if your feed reader was flooded with UpstartHR, I’m hoping it won’t happen again (unless it’s purposeful!).

Next, I’d like to share a little about some projects that I’m working on. Some of them are UpstartHR solo gigs, and others are partner endeavors with some people you all (should) know and love.

  • HRevolution-Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that HRevolution is coming. We are getting ready to set some of the details later this week, and Trish and I are very excited to let everyone know the status of your soon-to-be-favorite event.
  • HR Ninjas-The HR ninjas just keep coming! I don’t know why people love these things, but they do. Feel free to get one to wear to your next Casual Friday. I guarantee your HR pals will love it.
  • The Master ListThe Creative Chaos Consultant is working on a project. He needs your help. Are you on… Twitter? LinkedIn? Blogging? If you are in the HR field and involved in social media in any way, check out his post today and give him a hand. He’s a friend of mine, and I’d appreciate it if you could stop by!
  • Rock the PHR

    Rock the PHR

    Rock the PHR eBook-I’ve been working on an eBook for a while now, and it’s been tough. I’m in the editing stages right now, and I’m hoping to get it out very soon. After seeing how popular the free PHR study guide was, I decided to put out a premium version called Rock the PHR with some amazing goodies included. Public thanks to April of PseudoHR for the assistance. She did a good bit of the legwork, and I’d have been pushed back even farther if not for her help. In fact, she is still gathering more information that is going to be packaged as a special bonus. Stay tuned for more news later this week (hopefully!).

  • Smile Week Contest-To those that entered the Smile Week Contest, I really appreciate it. After you read the rest of this post, you’ll see why you haven’t yet received your prizes. Don’t worry,  I haven’t forgotten you!
  • NASHRM blog-I’m working with my local SHRM chapter to get a blog up and running. Much of the hard part is already done, and we’re mainly waiting on the more mundane/administrative parts to finish it completely. And a big thanks goes out to Stephen of HR Gumbo for giving me a hand.
  • HR Capitalist-I’m meeting Kris Dunn, the HR Capitalist, today for the first time. We live about 45 minutes from each other. It’s not like we’re seven states apart or anything! He’s coming to do a presentation at NASHRM on social media. Very excited.
  • Jobacle eBook-I’m talking with Andrew over at Jobacle about getting another eBook started. If you haven’t visited Jobacle before, you’re missing out. A gem is the annual Sick Day Calendar, which helps you plan your sick days months ahead of time, so you can get the most out of holidays and other events.
  • NewHR guide-The next UpstartHR product is going to be focused on the entry level HR professional. I can’t mention any pertinent details just yet, but I’m already planning something that is going to be huge.
  • 2nd Guest Post Blitz-I’ve been trying to focus inward in recent weeks, but I have four or five requests for guest posts currently that I’m going to try to fill with another Guest Post Blitz. The first one was very popular, and it’s a unique way to handle the guest post scenario. I’ll probably end up giving half the HR blogosphere the day off by the time I’m through. :-)
  • Baudville-I recently had the opportunity to interview Baudville for a great post on the Jobacle blog, and it inspired this bit of humor that’s been missing from UpstartHR in recent weeks…recognition

This stuff is just a dent in the surface of all that’s going on, but maybe now you see why I drink from a 2-liter bottle of Diet Mountain Dew? If you’re not subscribed, but you think you’d like to be a part of more of the coming events and projects, feel free to join the movement! You can get free email updates every week.

On Blog Taglines and Boldness

Be bold. Change the world. Flickr-hamedmasoumi

Be bold. Change the world. Flickr-hamedmasoumi

If you’ve been redirected here from a participant in the UpstartHR Guest Post Blitz, then I appreciate you stopping by! I hope you enjoy what you see. Want to stay on top of things? Click here to get free updates!

UpstartHR is relatively young in terms of a blog. It seems like only yesterday that I created the first post. Today, I decided on my blog tagline. It was tough to settle on one, but the term “Be BOLD” is appropriate in so many ways. I bet most people have never even thought about how important the blog tagline really is, but it\’s one of the first things people see when they arrive, and it needs to say something to them. It needs to draw them in as much as the other aspects of the blog. Here\’s the thought process for how I arrived at my own blog tagline choice.

The new generation of HR is already versed in the need to think strategically. We\’ve been told that from day one, and we know already that it\’s the only way we\’ll ever make a difference in our organizations. But that isn\’t going to happen if we\’re too frightened of failure or rejection to ever even try. We have to be bold. We have to take a stand. HR isn\’t the party-planner. It\’s just one of the strategic functions of the overall organization. Boldness has to be involved in the process, or HR will be swept under the rug like it has so many times before.

Maybe it also has something to do with my own selfishness. When I decided on the “upstart” moniker, I wasn\’t 100% sure what I meant, but it felt right to me. Now I think I\’m getting the idea. Trying things. Taking chances. Making things happen. These are all aspects of a great organization. Even if some of the projects/idea fall through, the others should be good enough to carry the day. Courage, ingenuity, and innovation are three of the most powerful tools that an organization has at its disposal at any given time.

Someone somewhere has a great idea that they want and need to share, but either that person lacks the courage to speak up or the management discourages that type of behavior. Whatever the reason, they are shooting themselves in the foot by muzzling their greatest assets.

Take a chance. Be bold. It might change the world around you.

Traffic Trends (May 2009)

PHR Exam Tag Cloud

PHR Exam Tag Cloud

Before I begin, I’d like to ask you to add UpstartHR to your feed reader to get free updates to the blog.  I have a great one coming later this week on how entry level HR can be more relevant that you won’t want to miss!

To be completely non-HR and totally geeky for a moment, I’d like to give a few details about traffic for the UpstartHR blog.  It’s only been around for a short while, but the hits from Google are coming fast and furious.  While I would hope that people were Googling “amazing HR guy,” most of it’s actually coming from those pesky PHR exam takers looking for some last-minute study advice.

That’s fine with me!  Let me tell you a short story that some of you may already be familiar with.  When I was studying for the PHR exam last December/January, I was pretty lost in the whole experience.  I met a wonderful young lady who had just completed her SPHR exam, and she was kind enough to give me some assistance.  I promised her that I would do what I could to “pay it forward” to others preparing for the HR certification exam, and I have done so ever since.

I would advise those looking for that information to head over to the Free Resources page (link at the top!) and peruse the free eBook linked there.  It’s been wonderfully helpful to dozens of PHR and SPHR candidates.  Also check out a few more resources on PHR, SPHR, and GPHR Exam Strategy and  SPHR and PHR Certification Exam Study Materials.

And feel free to email me at UpstartHR AT gmail DOT com.  I’d be happy to help! Or click here for email updates.

The Prestige of HR

A fellow Twitter user, @hroncall, is stirring up a debate today. The basic question postulated is this:

Does a SHRM certification make HR less prestigious?

He believes that in order to get a SPHR certification, candidates must complete a process like that of a pilot or an eagle scout, requiring not only a test, but also a demonstration of accumulated knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The tweet heard round the world

The tweet heard round the world

With more than 10 people (at the time of this post) firing back at the original poster, it\’s clearly a hot debate.  What do you think?  I may have been less inclined to respond six months ago, but now that I have my PHR certification, I think this topic deserves to be discussed!  The certification process is pretty difficult, but that isn’t good enough for some people that think just anyone can get a certification.