Talent Anarchy = Comforming to Engagement

I had the pleasure of sitting in a fab session by two great HR pros named Joe Gerstand and Jason Lauritsen.  Their moniker is Talent Anarchy which is a) ultra cool and b) appropriate for the world of Talent management.

Why? They are powerful zen masters; karmic HR dudes really keeping the message deceptively simple.  Do good HR things > good HR things will happen to you and your teams.  Networking is about being authentic; Networking is not about a hard sell.

If you want to read more great things about this session in full, check out Jessica Lee’s Fistful of Talent post .

I think what is absolutely fascinating, more fascinating than the several hundred people who were in attendance for a 7am session, more fascinating than a SHRM11 shuttle bus that actually ran on time, is the notion that the Anarchists of today are connectors open to connecting.  In 2011 non-conformity = engagement.  Up is down and Down is up.

Simply fascinating. ultimately disturbing. Absolutely true.

And I don’t buy that we don’t connect due to smart phones, texting or any other new medias. That is just not true.  The status quo frankly isn’t even using new media tools readily.  At this session, when asked how many had LinkedIn, probably 1/2 raised their hand.  Facebook and Twitter, maybe 1/8th.  So we are NOT hiding behind cellphones or computers or ipad2’s. We do not connect because it is simply frightening.  People do not do things that push them out of a comfort zone.
So the challenge for the conference, the bit of zen I share with you:

Courageously Connect.  You will be very surprised what the world will open up to you.

High Hopes That SHRM Nationals Will Punch Me In The Face

 I hope SHRM11 turns out to be like Vegas in the Evening and punches me in the face.

Vegas is a place I’ve always dug.  I love a city where no one gives a rip– where authenticity is front and center and where regret is (typically) a non issue.  When we are ourselves, we are powerful.

That’s where HR has lost its bite.  Years of policing coupled with years of filtering created quite the black hole.  However, I do believe there are more HR rockstars that are taking a cue from Vegas and letting their hair down a bit.  And that is good for their organizations.

So Vegas in the morning is a wonderful thing.  There is a stilted energy that is palpable.  Things are brewing, people are recharging, building their superpowers slowly. But Vegas in the morning is nothing if not coupled with Vegas of the evening.  Vegas in the morning is only worth writing w/in the context of how it blasts into the evening.  And if the evening didn’t punch me in the face….. and the Vegas vibe started and stopped with the morning vibe…  well, that would suck.


I hope Vegas SHRM nationals punch me in the face.  At first blush I am hopeful but cautious.  I’ve went to a fabulous social media networking sponsored by Monster (@MattCharney) with HR though leaders.  I’ve also run into practitioners on planes, trains and automobiles traveling and the conversations left me scratching my head.  Same old boring, cheezy, HR stuff–

  • I can’t wait to learn about all the scary people who will sue me….” . Yea– that whole fear thing has really been helping our profession.
  • That session “Document, document, document (gag me) is just what I need”.  Really are we still there?  At least come up with a better title like “Hey Jackhole…. you need to cover yours”
  • One guy was talking about a conference session with the title “SHAZAM“.  The session may be great… but you lost me at Shazam.  if you want to get through to thought leaders, just a little less on the patronizingly high-energy, a little more focus on the content. You can be hip without being corny.  What engaging HR pro goes into their workforce shouting Shazam.
  • I love to enter all those prize giveaways….. (huh?)

So with 15,000 strong I am certain their will be something for everyone.  My advice, if you want to get out of fear mongering… then drop the 101 sessions about legal administration (you can get that at a free webinar) and get into the sessions about

  • Engagement
  • Inclusion
  • Workforce Culture
  • Talent management in the new Century
  • New Mediums to attract, retain, engage your team (say..uh.. social media).
  • Technology to help you will ALL of it
  • And yes…. even if you are new to the game and are a bit lost… go to a session about strategic HR.  Please, don’t sell yourself short with how to “create a great filing system”

OK SHRM 11 — hit me hard…..

For The Insomniac, SHRM National Convo Is Keeping Me Up At Night

I’m preppin for an HR Hangover….

This Saturday I’ll be heading out to Las Vegas for The Society of Human Resources National conference (#SHRM11). I typically enjoy conferences, I am a) always hungry for knowledge and b) like networking.  Win-Win.

Oh and there’s the whole recertification credit hours thing… At a #SHRM national event, I can knock out a years worth of credits.  Maybe more.  Who said ROI is a dead?

What is particularly exciting for me is that I (with HR Insomniac, Fistful Of Talent and Daxkonation) will be an official blogger…part of the social press corp one may say, of the SHRM Conference.  Cool, cool, cool.  So over the next weeks– you’ll get some updates from me on speakers, thought leadership, HR parties….yes, HR people do party—- the works.  Stay tuned. 

In addition here are some other HR blogs who’ll be reporting from the conference you’ll want to stay tuned to over the next week (this list is not all-inclusive!) :

















Last but not least— you’ll definitely want to tune in to the HR Happy Hour the Thursday after the conference.  There is sure to be some radio talk, smack, insight on all things SHRM convention—

Happy Reading!  See you in Vegas

Don’t be Weinered: If You’re A Work Distraction; You’re a Work Fatality.

Senator Weiner….

Brother what a train wreck.  I am a train wreck rubber-necker, so admittedly I do get fascinated with the Pop Culture of it all (@akabruno and @lruettimann ‘s Spring 2011 #HRevolution session.  From the texts to the pics to the lying (which is the biggest snafu to me) the whole thing is Shakespearean.  OK not really, it’s more One-Live-To-Live-ean.   In my defense, the coverage is almost pornographic; not really in the content but in how intrusive it is.  I am a complete captive on the gym treadmill where I have no choice but to look at the TV coverage in front of me.

At some point it’s just a distraction.  Our President Obama agreed too.  And when the Prez felt the pinch of the distraction, the pink slip was waved in front of the Senator. Or forced resignation. 

Although Weiner was deluded about his future, I was interested in how long he would hold out.  I still don’t give a crap about Politician’s sex-lives, nor do I think a sex-life hinders one’s ability to do a job.  Now the lying and egotistically bad judgement– that’s a deal-breaker for me.  But the national distraction of it all was even too much for Obama to ignore.

There are distraction lessons to be learned from the Senator:

  • If you are distracting folks from getting their jobs done:  You’ll be Weinered
  • If you are distracting customers (aka sales) with poor service or any other bad behaviors:  You’ll be Weinered
  • If your poor leadership encourages other Weiners to behave badly:  You’ll be Weinered
  • If your CEO, Boss, President, Executive Team or Board gets distracted by your shenanigans:  You’ll be Weinered
  • If your ego distracts your sense of humility or judgement:  you’ll be Weinered
  • If you are simply a weiner:  You’ll be Weinered.

Get a check on your judgement and avoid being Weinered.

Hey Richie! It Ain’t Cool to Dis The Fonz at a “Thumbs Up” Convention….

So I’m at a local SHRM chapter meeting….

Don’t all strange stories start that way?  And I saw a train wreck of tremendous proportions. A glaring reminder how HR rockstars, unequivocally, undisputedly…

Must. Keep. Their. Cool.

The talk was on keeping employees engaged. The speaker was pretty good and espoused what we all know:  employees don’t leave companies they leave bosses.  The speaker ended and took questions. And it began.

A clean-cut, suited-up attendee stood up in front of a crowd of, say 250, and wanted to give testimony on how he was the living embodiment of why employees quit bad bosses.  In his 5 minute rant he told us:

  • He was recently fired, er, quit
  • That his company, which he named,  was evil
  • That he was screwed
  • That he quit, but not really, but resigned, but was forced out “if you know what I mean”
  • That as soon as he had a new boss his days were numbered
  • His boss was a fool
  • That he was 64
  • That he was….

Then I glazed over.  And the rant went on.  And on.  

Funny, the room didn’t go silent; actually the level of chatter went up.  Attendees were torn between being horrified and heartbroken.  I was gasping for air.  It was difficult to watch since he obviously was trying to network for a new job.  Dear lord the humanity.  I was praying for the Apollo Clown to hook him off.

So I thought this was a no-brainer, but since we are humans w/ emotions it bears repeating. Do not talk bad about your former employer. Period.  It proves you have bad judgment.  Period.

For the love of god HR Pros, candidates, anyone looking for work DO NOT SHIT where you eat.  

It is just plain dumb.

Benefits Director Got Back…Your Co better Bring Sexy Back to Your Benefits Guru

I was tootling around my HR world and came across another archaic through-line.  This time it was around about benefits administration. 

Of all the HR Disciplines this one has always been the most elusive for me.  I’ve handled benefits in self-funded and fully administered programs and know more than enough to be dangerous.  But really I’ve been more the recruiter, employee relations, trainer gal.  Never-the-less benefits administration has always been like the Jimmy Fallon “IT guy” character on SNL (you know.. “MOVE”).  The IT guy who always makes you feel stupid for asking questions, who seems to get more power from being two rungs smarter than the average bear.  But that has always been OK because of the archaic benefits through-lines.  Ready for them?

  • Benefits Administration is the one HR discipline for Introverts.
  • If you are a non “people person” (gag) then we have a spot for you in benefits.
  • If you like accounting then you’ll love benefits administration.

This may be the reason why benefits admin always seemed elusive to me…I mean I’m not an introvert.  But more importantly, this screwed up thinking is single-handedly ruining your company.  If there is one area your organization needs a sexy HR rockstar–it’s in benefits admin.

Check out John Hollon’s great recap of the AON Hewitt’s Health Care Survey at TLNT.  As you can see there is a lot to navigate with Health Care reform.  There is a lot of data to grasp in order to be a strategic benefits player.  But that is the science of benefits. The true art of a successful benefits program is in the delivery. Whether your program is robust or slim, whether fledging or established, the magic lies in the accessibility your benefits team has with employees. This includes the art of messaging, mentoring, and knowing what your talent needs to keep them on the up and up. 

So, your Benefits Gurus Got Back if:

  • They are extroverts
  • They enjoy mentoring employees through muddy waters
  • They understand they will have some of the most difficult, personal, and raw employee conversations of all the HR team. Therefore they will also have to be perhaps the most empathetic HR team members.
  • They believe that healthy employees are simply more productive employees. And they champion wellness programs relentlessly.
  • They love branding, marketing, and advertising benefits programs year round (not just during open enrollment).
  • AND…they have the smarts to use the data, crunch the numbers and master the science of data comprehension to align the benefits offerings with corporate goals and objectives.

Just as HR is no longer “Personnel”; Benefits is no longer the “Corporate School Marm”.  Time for “Marianne the Librarian” to let her hair down.