#SHRM17 – ALL IN(SPIRED)

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Beignets from Sunday brunch at Blake’s on Poydras. DELICIOUS! 

SHRM 2017 ended last week and I’m experiencing withdrawal. The people, the sessions, the music, the BEIGNETS! What’s not to love? If you missed it, you missed something big. Literally. It was the biggest SHRM conference ever! Between the concurrent sessions, the Smart Stage, the Take 10s and the General Sessions, you could soak up a wealth of information without even trying.

 

Many of the sessions I attended shared the common theme of building trust, shifting culture, HR influence and putting people first. This was deliberate as these are topics that really speak to me and that I believe in fully. (Full disclosure: I ended up in Richard Fagerlin’s session because I was tired of walking that behemoth of a convention center. It was a great session though and I’m glad I attended it.)

I have a ton of takeaways from SHRM17. (I concur with Steve Browne’s statement that if you leave a session without any takeaways, it’s YOUR fault, not the speaker’s.) Some of my favorites are below.

TRUST YOUR PEOPLE.

laszloIf you believe people are fundamentally good, you will treat them that way. (Laszlo Bock)

How many times have you encountered designated leaders who don’t trust the people they hire to do their jobs? You know who I’m talking about. The folks who want to micromanage their employees to death. Perhaps you are (gasp!) one of those people. If you are, stop it right now! That’s no way to inspire or motivate folks to be productive.

Another great Bock statement: FREEDOM IS FREE. Meaning, it costs nothing for you to allow your employees the freedom and autonomy to be effective. Let’s face it – if you don’t trust the people you hire, that says way more about you than it says about them.

CULTURE IS THE SUM OF WHAT YOU PERMIT AND WHAT YOU PROMOTE.

culture

Another way to think about culture. Steve Browne said this in his session as well. 

Consider the mic dropped.  This comment on culture from Richard Fagerlin’s session, Creating a Culture of High Trust : 10 Things Every Organization Must Do to Experience High Trust was probably my most retweeted tweet from the conference. Obviously it resonates.

 

We’ve all seen it. You have an organization that prides itself on its core values of  <insert  buzzwords of the moment> but in practice it’s a whole different story. They say they believe in diversity & inclusion, but the leadership team looks the same and thinks the same. They say they believe in innovation but new ideas are always shot down. They say harassment won’t be tolerated but a known harasser gets promoted because they are a high performer. They say they believe in work/life balance but pitch a fit if an employee has to leave early. I call shenanigans! Your culture isn’t what you say it is, it’s what it is.

Another good Fagerlin quote: EVERY ORGANIZATION IS PERFECTLY DESIGNED TO GET THE RESULTS IT GETS. Just let that marinate for a minute while thinking about some of your past (maybe present) work experiences. It’s all starting to make sense now, right? #MajorKey

THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL LEADERSHIP IS INFLUENCE, NOT AUTHORITY.

20170626_172813In her session, Influencing Others: 8 Steps to Get Results When You Don’t Have Direct AuthorityValerie Grubb spoke about how to influence others when you don’t have direct authority. Again, this really boiled down to trust. Trust and communication style.

In order to influence someone when you don’t have authority over them i.e. when you can’t say “because I said so,” they have to trust you (see above) and you have to communicate concisely. Speak to the WHY of what you’re trying to accomplish and gain a reputation for getting to the point. This is something I really need to practice. I can get wordy at times. (Don’t say it. LOL. Just keep reading.) WHEN TRYING TO INFLUENCE SOMEONE THEY HAVE TO HEAR YOU FIRST. If they don’t trust you, chances are they aren’t listening.

DON’T KEEP FOLLOWING THE RULES; CHANGE THEM!

20170626_172212You probably guessed this quote came from Steve Browne without me having to say it. He has a bit of a reputation as a rule breaker. In a good way. Make that a GREAT way. Steve is so freakin’ inspirational and his passion for HR and people is contagious.

I attended Steve’s Brand Name HR: Giving Your Function Life & Purpose session. He spoke a lot about pushing boundaries and not letting yourself (and your career) be confined to what HR is “supposed to” or “should be” doing. We need to challenge the status quo and not be afraid to shake things up for the betterment of the folks we’re here to support.

We can’t be afraid to bring our whole selves to work and we must encourage others to do the same.  We spend too much time at work to have to shut off or hide major parts of ourselves during the workday. For example, I like to change my hair color a lot and I have visible tattoos. Neither of which impacts my ability to do my job. Get over it.

Steve also talked about HR being out and among the people as opposed to always making them come to us. I’m proud to say I do a pretty good job of this. The people are the reason I do what I do. Why would I want to keep my distance from them? I have never been “Ms. Stuffy, Scary, Uncaring HR lady” and I never will be. Let’s not be confined by others’ preconceived notions of HR. IF YOU’RE NOT MAKING PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE YOU’RE NOT DOING YOUR JOB. (Thanks for the reminder, Steve!)

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IRL connection w/ @tgweeded – photobomb courtesy of @cescobar78

This was just a small taste of my #SHRM17 experience. There’s no way I can cover it all in one blog post. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how fabulous and fun it was to make IRL connections with the folks I know from #nextchat. (Not familiar? Get into it! Every Wed. 3pm EST on Twitter.) It was so great to put a human-sized face to a tiny Twitter avatar face and take our conversations offline. That was easily one of the best parts of the conference.

 

So SHRM17 has come and gone. Beignet cravings notwithstanding, I’m excited about sharing and implementing what I learned and continuing to connect with other HR professionals, online and off. I went ALL IN and came out truly INspired. Kudos to the entire SHRM team for a WONDERFUL conference!! I hope to see everyone at #SHRM18 next year. (I wonder if there’s any chance of having a batch of beignets shipped to Chicago.) 

BONUS ROUND: If you attended SHRM17, share your favorite part in the comments and/or reach out to me on Twitter @tmrasberry.

*Ken Blanchard quote

#WorkHuman? How Else Are We Gonna Work?

20170605_014829If you follow me on Twitter (and you should 🙂 ) you know I spent the better part of last week attending the WorkHuman conference in Phoenix, AZ. I expected it to be good but it shattered my expectations. The event was AMAZING and I am very much looking forward to being able to attend WorkHuman 2018.

I chose to attend sessions that focused on communication, authenticity, gratitude, recognition, diversity and inclusion. I took copious notes and tweeted some key takeaways. (See below; I was kind of a big deal. Lol.)

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I learned too much and gained too much inspiration from WorkHuman to contain it all in one blog post. Consider this compilation of some of my favorite quotes  as part one of a series.

Have the courage to speak softly.Susan Cain, Author & Lecturer

We all want the same things in life, to be seen and appreciated for who we are.Chaz Bono, Actor & Advocate (The title of this post also references a Chaz Bono quote.)20170605_014136

In a culture where people can only bring solutions, you won’t hear about the biggest problems. – Adam Grant, Author & Professor

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Have people stay in their lanes if that’s where they show excellence.  –  John Baldino, President, Humareso

At the end of the day we’re all humans. Treat everyone as individuals and the workplace will benefit.Dan Schawbel,  Workplace Expert

At the end of the day people want to have pride in what they do.Chinwe Onyeagoro, President, Great Place to Work

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More WorkHuman goodness to come!

#MotivationMonday: Gratitude

happiness-via-gratitude-quote_daily-inspirationI have a wall hanging next to my bed that reads “Start Each Day with a Grateful Heart.” I placed this next to my bed so that I couldn’t help but see it every morning. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drama of work, family and other responsibilities that we might forget to be grateful for our life experiences, relationships, lessons learned, skills & talents, etc.

At the WorkHuman conference I attended last week, they had an area called the ‘Gratitude Bar.’ The purpose of this was to recognize other people who were in some way helpful to you during the conference. There were four categories in which you could recognize someone: Happiness, Enlightenment, Inclusion and Authenticity. The idea was to show gratitude by recognizing someone in the moment. This concept was designed to replicate social recognition in the workplace.

How often do you take the time show gratitude in either your personal or professional life? It’s important for our own well-being to BE grateful but it’s equally important for our interactions and relationships with others to SHOW gratitude.

In the workplace, employee recognition has a significant impact on employee engagement and happiness as well as retention.  One of the WorkHuman sessions I attended was titled “Isn’t Thank You Enough?” The answer is no. A thank you is better than no thank you but after a while a thank you alone is meaningless.

By implementing gratitude into company culture, employees are more willing to spread their positive feelings with others, whether it’s helping out with a project or taking time to notice and recognizing those that have gone the extra mile. Employee recognition and appreciation can also create unique company culture and strengthen employee relationships.- The Psychological Effects of Workplace Appreciation & Gratitude, O.C. Tanner

Your assignment today folks, is to practice an attitude of gratitude in both word and deed. Let me know how it goes.

#WorkHuman 2017 – Bring Your Whole Self!

workhuman-2017If you follow me on Twitter (and you should 😉 ) you know I’ve been super excited for the past few months about attending the WorkHuman conference (May 30-June 1.) Ever since I first heard it was a thing – a conference dedicated to creating better work environments through culture & engagement – I knew I wanted to be there. Thankfully the opportunity presented itself for me to attend. Now, in just a few days, I’ll be in Phoenix, AZ, in a nice, air-conditioned conference center listening to folks talk about the workplace of the future – a human workplace – the type of workplace I want to cultivate.

For the past few days I’ve been trying to decide which sessions to attend. There are so many intriguing ones to choose from on my favorite topics like culture, engagement, diversity and recognition. I’m still not 100% sure which ones I’ll choose but I know I can’t go wrong with any of them. The keynote speakers alone are enough reason to attend. Among them are Susan Cain, the patron saint of my people aka introverts, Julia-Louis Dreyfus (Elaine, Old Christine, VEEP) and literally last but never, ever least (Former) First Lady Michelle Obama.  It’s gonna be hot in Phoenix, inside and out (triple digit temps)!

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If any of this sounds interesting to you, there’s still time to attend. You can register onsite! Need more convincing? See below.

“In just three information- and inspiration-packed days, you’ll gain the knowledge and tools you need to unlock the energy of your workforce, increase engagement, and help your company achieve its full business potential. You’ll leave energized and ready to forge a more human work culture in your organization.”

Plus..networking with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other HR and HR-adjacent professionals. And me. What more could you ask for? Join us!

P.S.- If you can’t make it this year, follow the fun on Twitter: @workhuman, @globoforce, #workhuman and be sure to check out my recap afterwards.

#MotivationMonday: Affirm Yourself

abundance

I chose this affirmation to post because every day we have the opportunity to share our gifts at work. You may not consider being a great listener, being an effective communicator, having a good sense of humor, or being able to empathize etc. as gifts but they are. Affirm yourself. 

If you’ve ever taken a ride in an Uber or Lyft you know that each ride is different. The driver can be a chatterbox or let you ride in peace & quiet. The radio can be tuned to anything from r&b to 80s rock to news radio. The car can be clean & comfortable or quite questionable. It runs the gamut. I’ve certainly met my fair share of characters on these rides and had some interesting experiences. This morning was a good one though. My driver happened to be a certified life coach. As in that was her actual job, not just something she called herself. She told me I was her last ride before she went to work – to be a life coach. As we got to talking, I realized I was in her car for a reason.

Long story short, we got to talking about the universe and energy and affirmations. I know you want to roll your eyes here, but listen. She shared examples with me of clients who had begun using positive affirmations to manifest their destinies and had experienced real change. This resonated with me because I have a habit of focusing on what I don’t have instead of what I have. This is a bad habit to have because as the Law of Attraction teaches us, you attract what you put out. When I got to work a colleague told me she has made the decision to pursue her dreams of helping others live authentically. I felt like the universe was not just sending me a sign but hitting me over the head with it.

I say all this to say, in a world where things often seem out of our control – work stuff, family stuff, state of the country/world stuff – we have to remember to affirm ourselves and speak abundance into our lives. We have to speak as though we already have everything we need. I know this may sound strange to some folks and I have trouble with it myself at times. But honestly, it has worked for everyone I know who does it.

So your mission today folks, is to affirm yourself. Whatever it is you want/need – more money, a different job, better relationships, etc. – create an affirmation for it (you can Google examples if you find it hard to come up with something.) Speak these affirmations daily. And if you really want to do something great, affirm someone else while you’re at it. Show your appreciation for something a friend, co-worker, family member has done for you or that helped you in some way. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it, but even if they don’t, feel good about it anyway.

#MotivationMonday: Invest in Yourself

investHow many times have you wanted to do something that would you enrich you either personally or professionally but repeatedly told yourself you couldn’t afford it? I know I’ve been in that place SEVERAL times. I look at my bills and my bank account and think “nope- can’t do it.” But if we don’t invest in ourselves, who will?

This year I am attending the annual SHRM conference (paid for completely out of my own pocket – registration, travel and housing) and the WorkHuman conference (thankfully one of my Twitter angels arranged for a free registration for this one so I’m only on the hook for travel & housing.) I SO envy folks whose employers truly invest in their professional development and send them to conferences, etc. I almost decided not to try to attend either conference because it really is a financial stretch for me, but it’s also important to me to learn and grow in my field and to network with my peers face-to-face. Now I may not be eating when I’m there (which will really hurt in NOLA 🙂 ) but I’ll be soaking up great info and meeting great people. I plan to use these experiences (and others) to enrich both myself and my organization. These investments will not go to waste!

When was the last time you invested in yourself? If it’s been far too long ago, I implore you to look into something that will benefit you and figure out how to make it happen. Investment comes in more than one form. It can be money, time or energy (or some combination of each.) Whatever you decide to do, I guarantee you’ll be better off for it – even if it’s a struggle to make it happen.

#HR: Let’s Lead the Way in Promoting #MentalHealth Awareness

So…it’s been a long minute since I published a blog post. I have several draft posts on topics I really wanted to share with my legions of readers (lol) but for some reason, I’ll get halfway through and stop. Then weeks will go by and I feel like it’s not fresh anymore. For example, I STILL have a draft post about #SHRM16 – as I’m preparing to attend #SHRM17 next month. I know, I know.

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According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI,) 1 in 5 Americans is affected by a mental health issue.

At any rate, I’m hitting ‘publish’ on this one for sure because the topic is near and dear to me on both a personal and professional level. Mental Health. MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH. Having been personally affected by mental illness and super aware of the impact it can have on life activities, I am hyper vigilant about others taking care of their own mental health. This, of course, extends to my co-workers/colleagues, or as I like to call them “my people.” I believe HR professionals are in a unique position to promote positive mental health; however, this in no way lets leadership and management off the hook.

A few days ago I sent an all staff email about mental health awareness which included a few mental illness stats, a reminder about the Employee Assistance Program and the availability of mental health professionals through our insurance plan. I work at a nonprofit and I love a good “mission-driven organization” as much as the next person but I also realize the tendency for many employees to be underpaid, overworked, overwhelmed and stressed out trying to fulfill that mission.

Stress is a leading cause of chronic health problems, both mental and physical. If you are already dealing with a mental illness, it will only exacerbate the issue.

In the workplace, this has an impact not only on the individual, but on teams, departments, working relationships, morale, benefits costs, absenteeism, and the bottom line. In other words, it would behoove ANY employer to take this issue seriously. As HR professionals especially, we have to always remember that our employees are people first and deal with a plethora of issues that don’t just go away during work hours.

Offering an EAP is a great first step but we also need to genuinely care about our employees and create supportive environments in which people can be their best selves and therefore utilize their knowledge, skills and abilities (i.e what we hired them for) to their best capabilities. Of course I’m not saying there won’t ever be bad days, stressful periods, times when everyone is stretched a bit thin, etc, but these should be the exception, not the rule.

Mental Health Facts 2017

(Infographic – Mental Health America)

Your assignment today, my fellow HR professionals, is to educate your colleagues and organization leadership on the importance of mental health awareness (not just this month but on a consistent basis,) provide resources for employees to get help (if not already doing so,) and work to create (or maintain should you be so lucky) a  stigma-free workplace.

Remember, there’s no health without mental health.

Resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mental Health America (provides an employer toolkit)

National Institute of Mental Health

nostigI have #NoStigmas

Put Yourself on the Pedestal You Reserve for Others

This interview with actor, Wood Harris, was a much needed message for me. When asked if he would say Denzel Washington is the greatest (living, black, male) actor, he said no. He goes on to say, he’s not the best, he’s the most successfulThat’s a major and very distinct difference. 

He was in no way taking anything away from Denzel Washington’s talent or the level he has reached in the industry. He was simply saying that he puts no other actor above himself because he knows his craft and what he’s capable of. In other words, he knows what he knows. This is something I sometimes find myself having to remind myself and others.

This is such an important message for everyone. Every day we see people deemed as “experts” in our chosen field and, I don’t know about you, but for me sometimes it’s daunting. One might think, “what do I have to contribute?” or “will anyone want to hear what I have to contribute?” “Why should I bother with having a blog or posting on LinkedIn when there are SO MANY other people out there with huge audiences talking about similar things? Or when asked to speak or participate in a panel discussion one might be nervous thinking there are people more qualified to do so. STOP IT! What you should be thinking is “why didn’t you ask me sooner? you’ve been missing out!

Take a lesson from Wood and be confident in your abilities. Not arrogant, but confident. Never assume someone is better than you because they are more conventionally successful or more well known. We each have our own voice, POV, story to tell, experience worth sharing. We each have knowledge, skills and abilities that have gotten us where we are and can take us even further if we believe in ourselves the way we believe in others.

We all have the ability to be great in our own way, whether or not we have our name in lights (literally or figuratively.)  Sometimes you’re Prince, sometimes you’re Michael Jackson. Sometimes you’re Justin Bieber but that’s a different blog post. LOL. The bottom line is: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. 

(Video courtesy of VLADTV. H/T @newblackman for sharing this video on Twitter.)

Strong (HR) Women Lift Each Other Up

mobamaMarch is Women’s History Month. Since this is a blog (primarily) about HR, I started thinking about the women I have known throughout the history of my HR career. See what I did there? All of my previous managers (for full-time jobs) have been women. That makes sense considering 76% of Human Resources Managers are women, according to 2014 statistics from the US Department of Labor. However, the manager who started me on this HR road was a male manager I had for a non-HR job. To this day I remember him as my most supportive manager. He saw something special in me and committed to helping me succeed in my career, to the point that when he switched agencies, he found a job for me in his new agency. That job was my  first HR position (though it was called personnel.)

As I sit here pondering the significance of women in my career, I realize I’ve never had a woman manager who did the same. Don’t get me wrong- I pretty much owe my career to women because it’s been a woman who has hired me for each position I’ve held. But after that male manager I had many moons ago, I haven’t had one who really seemed invested in my career or in seeing me grow/get ahead, outside of how it would benefit them. I’ve often wondered if the outcome would have been different if I’d had more male managers.

Which leads me to this – HR is a woman-heavy industry but are there too many women? Wait, before you hate.  I have some AMAZING women HR professionals in my network who have been quite encouraging. However, when it comes to actually working with women in the same workplace, I really haven’t felt the same level of support. The women who look out for me most in my career are typically not in HR. Odd, right?

Maybe this experience is unique to me. I don’t know. Sometimes I just wonder if too many women in HR are so busy fighting for respect, equality, a voice, and a crack in the glass ceiling that the time isn’t there to nurture and support. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a fear of perceived competition. Not so fun fact: Even though we work to establish salary ranges and attempt to ensure pay equity for others, we’re STILL paid far less than our male counterparts (40% less for Managers and 38% less for other HR Professionals based on the aforementioned 2014 DOL statistics.) So yeah, I get it. Times are hard.

Of course I don’t really think there are too many women in HR. At least I don’t think I really think that.  As I said,  this whole experience could be unique to me and/or the people I’ve worked with. Perhaps everyone else has had amazing, supportive women mentors in their HR careers. Or been one. But I wonder…

If you’re reading this and you’re an HR professional, particularly if you’re a woman, I encourage you to reflect on the women who have helped/encouraged you in your career as well as the women you have helped/encouraged. If that number is small, or zero, there’s an opportunity for change.

       Image result for women supporting each other quotesImage result for women supporting each other quotesImage result for women supporting each other quotes

I leave you with the following video of rapper Remy Ma which was posted by Marie Claire in celebration of Women’s History Month. The video inspired me to write this post because women have enough problems in the world, the least we can do is help each other when we have the chance, in our personal and professional lives.

DISCLAIMER: Mild adult language. Don’t watch if you have easily offended sensibilities. Might be NSFW depending on where you work. If you’re in an open office space, wear earphones.

 

 

 

The #JobSearch Climate is Changing (Infographic)

A couple of weeks ago I attended a webinar presented by BEYOND on The Text Generation of Recruitment. In this webinar the presenter discussed the benefits of using texting as part of your recruitment strategy. One of the best reasons given was that people are on their phones ALL THE TIME. Some of the stats given included:

74% of job seekers use a mobile device in their job search. 

Text messages have an open rate of 99% vs. email open rates of 20%.

Recruiting texts have a 15% average response rate within the first hour after sending.

I took a lot of notes but basically, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons and considering whether texting makes sense for your recruitment strategy if you want to have the best chance of reaching people where they are.

As a follow-up, BEYOND sent some additional resources via email, including this lovely infoographic. Y’all know I can’t resist a good infographic and since sharing is caring, I’m sharing it with you. Enjoy!

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