#SHRM14: What Do CEO’s Want From HR? Simplicity (And Co. Tattoos On Your Booty)

Fellow FOT’er, Tim Sackett, got me out of bed.  Early.  How?  Sackett was a speaker at this years #SHRM14 Conference and was slotted at the highly-sought after, prime-time…7:00am.  Yes.  Whew. Of course I love Sackett as a writer and as a co-host on the CYA report, but had never seen his live presentation.  So my alarm went off at 5am so I could support my friend in his hour of glory. His very early hour of glory.

His presentation “What Your CEO Wishes HR Would Start Doing” intrigued me.  I am one of the fortunate few VP’s of People (HR) whose CEO had the great foresight to have HR representation on the executive leadership team (me).  So I wanted to see if Tim got it right.  I’m happy to say, I think he did.   I’m not gonna give away all Tim’s secrets because I want you to check him out yourself at a conference near you.  But here are some of the highlights I think he got right.  Your CEO wants you to:

  • simplify everything.  Emails, proposals, meetings, phone calls.  My CEO, David Gray, will likely throw a tomato at my head if I continue to send him emails “below the fold”.
  • get in their face (figuratively).  If you give your CEO honest feedback about the company, culture, her (like how I said her), feedback you think might actually get you fired, you will likely get more respect.  Very few people have the courage to tell their CEO the truth. Don’t filter. Because most info CEO’s get is so filtered it’s worthless.
  • act more than plan.  Pretty charts don’t mean nuthin’ but action does.
  • understand the talent of your competition.
  • stop being an HR terrorist with the law.  It is not HR’s job to eliminate risk – it is our job to advise on risk.  I teach this to my HR team.
  • say yes.  I too advise this to my HR team.
  • give away HR’s non-essential, non-value jobs to someone else.  Tim’s example: For some unknown reason HR LOOOVE’s to hang on to creating dress code policy.  Give that away to someone else – say the employees who have to live by it.  You need to spend your time on work that will drive engagement, productivity, company health and profits.
  • be one of your companies biggest evangelists.  If you are willing to tattoo your company logo on your booty – you may just be the biggest evangelist.  In all seriousness, if you can’t evangelize to others how great your company is, you may need to consider a new place to work for everyone’s sake.

There you have it.  Check out Tim Sackett at www.fistfuloftalent.com and at www.timsackett.com.

#SHRM14 Robin Roberts On The Virtues Of Just Rolling With It

If there is one lady I have always liked it’s Robin Roberts.  She is probably the singular reason GMA is on my morning news rotations between CNN, Morning Joe and my local news (which I just need for traffic).

Robin kicked off SHRM#14 with a little humor, good storytelling and I LOT of levity.  “We are all a little bit stronger than we think we are”.  We hear about engagement at work. And I have written several post with the sentiment “everybody’s got their S**t” from the point of view of an HR pro and also about being your authentic self, especially at work.  But sometimes people have a story embodying those sentiments so compelling, that no opining does it justice.  And that person would be Robin Roberts.

Why she’s so compelling:

  • She is from Mississippi (where I grew up) – so, she is already and A player to me.
  • She worked in Hattiesburg, Mississippi – the city I grew up and went to college (USM! Southern Miss To The Top).
  • She is one of the most respected journalists in the world.
  • She overcame Hurricane Katrina.
  • She overcame cancer.
  • She overcame MDS.
  • She publicly came-out.
  • She continued to work.
  • She continued to inspire.
  • And after she was in remission or (possibly cured) her and the GMA gang threw a “rager”.  She got her drunk-on and admitted it. Love it.

She never complained.  She rolled with it.

Now seriously, behind closed doors I’m certain she had support, breakdowns, and hard days.  But her perseverance was palpable. And she has a story worth hearing.

So HR Pros:

  • Again, it bears repeating, everybody has their problems at work. Really. Everyone.  Give the employees that may be getting under your skin, or underperforming, or zoning out, or getting to work a little late the benefit of the doubt (at first ) that maybe something more is going on.
  • We as HR pros, have so much to juggle.  Just roll with it.  I mean the alternative of stress, anger, worry, and anxiety hasn’t worked so well for any of us.

Check out her new book “Everybody’s Got Something”.  

Let me know what you think






#SHRM 14 folks: Connect Even When It’s Hard

#SHRM14 attendees.  Connect this week even if it is hard.

Do you know what astounds me about HR Pro’s sometimes? The fear to connect at networking events.  I’ve noticed at many conferences, monthly meetings, and networking events, the self-proclaimed “People-Persons” sitting at a table of 10 (via monthly chapter meeting) not saying a word.  Or  getting comfy in their “phone-zone” (hiding behind their phone).  Or coming 20 minutes late to a meeting just to “miss” the pre-meeting networking.

I know because a long time ago I was that person.  And I’m a talker.  And not  shy.  But what I didn’t have was the confidence I was competent enough as an HR pro to engage on HR topics.  Really I lacked insight and courage and it was to my detriment.

I can say with great confidence now the tipping point in my career success was when I embraced networking even when it was hard.  Even when I thought I couldn’t contribute.  The reality is everyone has ideas to offer and knowledge to gain.  Everybody feels self-conscious about their abilities and inabilities.  It’s the ones that aren’t afraid to admit they have much to learn and relish that learning process…yes, even through networking…who find success.  At least in my opinion.

Also, what’s really cool is when you connect on so much more than HR.  I have two examples:

Example One:  I was at a Birmingham SHRM meeting, alone.  It was a meeting where they were soliciting committee volunteers and had a “volunteer – fair “during the networking hour.  I wanted to skip and just go to the lunch. But I didn’t.  Walking around alone I came across the “Communications Committee” booth, where I saw a guy, the BSHRM board member and VP of this committee, also standing alone, waiting for an awesome volunteer (or poor sucker) to talk to him.  Well, I was the poor sucker – I mean awesome volunteer who actually did join the committee.  Why?  We both loved pop culture, we both thought there was something to this “social media thing”, we both liked music, we thought HR was more than just policy, and we both thought BSHRM could use some dynamic folks like us.

That Committee VP was Kris Dunn, an executive level HR Pro who went on to become VP of Daxko, founder or Fistful Of Talent and the HR Capitalist, a highly respected and sought after national HR thought-leader, speaker and ultimately an owner of Kenetix.   The same Kris Dunn who convinced me to be on the BSHRM board, asked me to be a FOT contributor and recommended me as his successor as VP of People at Daxko when he left to start Kenetix.  My career changed.

Example Two:  Now that I was involved with BSHRM, I attended an evening networking where there was an obligation for board members to attend.  Of course there was wine so no one had to twist my arm.  While at the bar getting a glass I struck up a random conversation with another attendee.  There, again quite randomly, we began to talk about music where we quickly realized we had a lot in common.  We decided we would get together and start playing.  That gentleman was Doug Dean, CHRO of Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, one of the US’s best Children’s Hospitals.  Not only have we been playing in a band together for years, but he is now a friend and HR mentor too.

You can read pages, upon pages of material on the importance of connecting in an electronic world and the importance of networking for your career.  And it is all good stuff.  But speaking from the heart, connecting is so much more important because humans must connect to feel whole.  It’s in our DNA. Even for the introverts.

So, #SHRM attendees – do not miss out on an opportunity this big to meet people outside your circle.  Take a lesson from a gaming company called Valve. Here is  Valve’s Employee Handbook (pg 22).

Method’s To Find Out What’s Going On

  • Talk to someone in a meeting
  • Talk to someone in an elevator
  • Talk to someone in the kitchen
  • Talk to someone in the bathroom

It is really that simple.


#SHRM14 And The Livin’ Is Easy. Stuff To Make It Easy(er)

We’ll make this nice and easy.

SHRM National is big. This ain’t your local conference.  To navigate big you need to logistically think small.  If you logistically think small, you can save all your big energy on networking, learning, and thinking.

My list is broken into 3 sections.  Learning Essentials, the Expo Hall,  and Clothing/Accessory Essentials.

#SHRM14 Learning Essentials: 

  1. IMPORTANT! If you want to get to the “next-level”, skip the fundamentals classes, even if you don’t yet know all the fundamentals.  You can learn the fundamentals at your local SHRM chapter or a webinar or your team lead.  Go to the strategy sessions with the mind frame “when I get to the next level, I’ll lead employees who will handle the fundamentals”. Or “What do I need to learn about leading a stellar HR team?”.
  2. Phone charger. You will want to kill yourself if you forget your phone charger.  Life will cease to exist.
  3. Download the #SHRM14 App.  If you say, but I don’t have a smartphone, then you aren’t that smart.  Live a little- get a smartphone.
  4. Skip the legal briefs.  You can learn that stuff from a webinar.
  5. Do get info on the new SHRM Certification Credentials.  It’s pretty big and you’ll want to know what is happening on that front.
  6. Pick sessions that will help your 2014-15 work strategy.  HR is responsible for such a wide breadth of knowledge, no one person can know it all.
  7. Pick sessions based on your PASSION.  If you are passionate about an area of HR you will a) do better at it, b) love learning about it, c) differentiate yourself by being the ultimate knowledge leader in that specialty.
  8. Find a way to meet the presenters at the sessions you pick.  Why?  You will not remember everything they taught in an hour and a 1/2 session.  You will learn much more from them by networking and connecting with them later.  BTW – they LOVE your adoration.
  9. Learn from as many CEO’s as you can.  That is all.
  10. Check out these people.  I am too lazy to connect links to all of them, so look them up on the app:  Jonah Berger, Robin Schooling, Jennifer McClure, Matt Charney, Gerry Crispin, Trish McFarland, Steve Boese, Craig Fisher, Bob Kelleher, Sharlyn Lauby, Jennifer Payne, Jessica Miller-Merrell, Michael Burchell.

The Expo Hall

  1. Go to the Expo Hall.  Actually you may want to skip several sessions to explore the expo hall.  Your HR future will definitely include the technology and services shared in the expo hall.  You are foolish to not spend significant time there.
  2. It is BIG so at first tread lightly:  It’s big, there’s booze at the opening bash on Sunday, there are spinning wheels and prizes, and booze….. so spend the first day getting the lay of the land at the expo hall. Good news is on Sunday the vendors aren’t real pitchy.  So enjoy.
  3. There are speakers in the Expo Hall.  For instance, Globoforce has an HR influencers Series at booth #2864 that will have fabulous speakers all day Monday and Tuesday. Including Laurie Ruettimann, Jennifer McClure, Robin Schooling, Kevin Grossman, Sharlyn Lauby, Meghan Brio, John Hollan,

#SHRM14 Clothing/ Accessory Essentials:

  1. Clothing: Class up the jointcomfortably. This means you need to channel your inner Tim Gunn.  He did not allow any excuses for looking like a schlub. You can be comfortable and make a good impression to the folks you meet.  How?  See my next bullet points.
  2. Eyebrows.  Ladies, Ladies, Ladies and Gents.  Get your eyebrows waxed.  Not off.  Just cleaned up.  I swear you will feel like you lost 20 pounds.  And a wooly-booger unibrow is distracting.
  3. Nails.  Clean up the nails.  Here is what I recommend — short nails.  I loved longer, but you CANNOT type or text with long nails.  And gel nails are the best thing ever.  They instantly dry and stick around for 7-9 days.  Perfect.  You don’t need to worry about touch ups.
  4. Comfy shoes a do! You will want to kill yourself if you don’t wear comfy shoes.  Really.  I mean, really.  They have about every style of cute, comfy flip-flop.  They have flip-flops with a faux heel. You can spend 2$ or 70$.  No matter.  If you do decide to wear any shoes that have a remote possibility of hurting you, carry flip-flops in your bag. Another do, cute ballet flats.  Another do, cute Sketcher or Nike slip-on “sneakers“.  Another do, cute flat sandals.  If you HAVE to wear a heal – a wedge or a chunky heal and I say 3 inches max.
  5. Shoe DON’T’s:  No stilettos unless you are presenting.  On the other end no Saas Comfort Shoes.  I get that they are comfortable.  But just don’t.  No Croc’s. I say that fully admitting that I have a “croc-like” pair of Dr. Scholl’s at home that I love.  But don’t.  No running shoes (unless they are cute and neon and you are wearing something white).
  6. Backpack or sling-bag (you know-the bag that you cross across your chest). I really don’t like the burlap bags they give folks.  But I know I am likely not choosing this battle wisely.  All I am saying is that I have brought briefcases with a computer and notepads and stuff and I thought I dislocated my shoulder.
  7. Aquaphor for lips. Eye drops for eyes:  It can get dry in there – especially if you have contacts.
  8. Sweater.
  9. Enough with the “badge ribbons” for goodness sake.  They distract me from looking and listening to you.

There you have it.  If you need more info connect with me!

This is a test. Polls are fun. They make us feel smart.