Thursday, June 28, 2012

SHRM12: Social Media, Seinfeld and Volunteers



This is my first day back in the office after attending the SHRM National Conference in Atlanta.  It was a great experience for me for may different reasons.  I never went to any concurrent sessions as I was so busy but I had a fantastic time nonetheless.

My highlights this week:

1) I was thrilled to be able to hear Condoleezza Rice speak.  She was hands down, phenomenal.  I want to read her book.  She spoke about not wanting to be in the political arena anymore and she also discussed our crisis in the K-12 education arena.  She spoke without a single note or teleprompter and she was classy and interesting.

2) Our SHRM-Atlanta volunteers rocked the house headed up by Teela Jackson and Maureen Whatley.  Everyone commented on how friendly, efficient and knowledgeable our SHRM-Atlanta team was all week.  They worked a gazillion hours and have the blisters on their feet to prove it!  Well done.

3) I had the chance to spend time with some of my favorite vendors discussing product updates and just generally catching up.  Visier Analytics has some awesome new features in their product making it EASY to visualize and analyze your HR Metrics.  Halogen Software is brilliant.  They have a new feedback feature that makes giving feedback to employees so simple.  And yes, they have an app for that.

4) Jerry Seinfeld's show was great and yes he is still so funny.  He still talks about ordinary life, which makes his comedy so relatable.  I heard laughter for about an hour.  HELLO JERRY!

5) I think HR folks are finally stepping into social media land.  There were many sessions on the subject, there was the HIVE, where you could go and learn about social media, and I saw everyone with the phones, iPads and laptops tweeting away.  I heard that #SHRM12 was trending on Twitter...WOW!  Curtis Midkiff, SHRM's social media guy, did an awesome job this year in getting the word out and keeping the conversation going.

6) HR metrics and analytics are hot topics.  I was honored to be chosen to deliver a session on HR Analytics on Wednesday.  I think there was between 800-1000 people in the room.  I have heard different estimates, but I was just thrilled.  Attendees asked great questions and it was so cool that so many HR people want to understand this area.

If I were going to suggest areas to improve it would be the "how to connect with other cool people at the conference."  I know there was a BUZZ website and that was cool, but I was trying to find other HR people that were interested in metrics.  So, maybe a searchable linkedIn kinda ap would be cool.  With 13,000 plus attendees, I know I missed a few.  Networking is more than the social media piece, I still needed to "have a conversation" with other cool people that love what I love.

I would also have a way to keep the conversation going after the session.  Maybe, setting up groups in LinkedIn or Twitter with speakers and attendees, so that information can still continue to be shared after the conference.

There were some logistical issues, just because its hard to move 13,000 people around, but I get that.

All in all...glad I went, got the t-shirt and the blisters!!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

HR and Influence



I had the pleasure of having breakfast with one of my most favorite people both personally and professionally.  Nancy Vepraskas, SPHR with P2Excellence is one of the coolest HR professionals I know.  I can remember when I first met Nancy thinking, "Oh that is what being strategic looks like."(she doesn't remind me of Lady GaGa, but she has influence like the Lady!)

Anyway, we had an interesting conversation and part of it was focused on HR and influence.

It happens to be a topic that Nancy and I are very passionate about.  I had just done a webinar on the topic yesterday, so feel free to check out the recorded version here.  (scroll down to recent webinars and archive will be up Thursday 6/21, COB)

Let's think abut the word influence:


Influence as a verb is defined as to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means

Well, I think the above definition just about sums up HR with the words “indirect” or “intangible”.  We have been in charge of a firm’s “intangible” assets or its intellectual capital for decades.   What we often try to measure in HR is intangible.  In HR, we want to affect change, affect the bottom line, and affect business outcomes. 

Since I have been in HR I have seen many phases our profession has gone through:

  1. Personnel Phase-where it was all about command and control, policies and procedures and employee picnics. HR was a necessary evil and didn’t have influence with strategy or the C-Suite. 
  2. “Seat at the table Phase” where it was all about TALKING about getting a seat at the table but not really doing anything to EARN that seat.  We wanted to be involved in the strategic planning process but never really got involved in the execution phase of strategy.  
  3. HR Influence stage-Bersin refers to it as “Business driven HR” -I believe this is where we are today.  HR has the power to influence managers to be better, to influence employee' to perform better,  influence CEOs to invest in the right things as far as people are concerned

When you have influence you have respect….I believe that is where HR wants to be; a respected function in the organization.  ITS ABOUT TIME.  I believe NOW is the right time for HR influence!  

What do you think?  Should HR have influence?  Does HR need influence?  Join this important conversation...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Removing Roadblocks to HR Analytics




I had the pleasure of writing an article last week for the HR Examiner regarding the roadblocks HR professionals face when embarking on HR Analytics.  The good news is that I also write about how to remove those roadblocks.

Here is the link, check out the article.

I still can't believe cool people like Heather Bussing ask me to contribute to their content.  Thanks for including me!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What is Driving Employee Engagement?



What really engages your employees to give their best at work?  I think this has been a question that has stumped most HR professionals for a long time.  I believe the problem is that the answer is not the same for every company, every department, every generation, etc.

Yes, there are many large research firms that study this on a regular basis and they have norms or averages on what is driving engagement and I do believe those studies are interesting.

For example, Aon, my former employer has a recent study out, the 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement, which looks at global engagement trends over the last three years.

I found the following quite interesting:

The report also ana­lyzed which engage­ment dri­vers had the most pos­i­tive impact on engage­ment and oppor­tu­nity for improvement:
  • Career oppor­tu­ni­ties (the top dri­ver of engagement…communication of clear career paths, prepar­ing employ­ees for the next role, pro­vid­ing lat­eral growth oppor­tu­ni­ties for key employees)
  • Recog­ni­tion (rec­og­niz­ing the extra effort of employ­ees in a tough busi­ness climate)
  • Orga­ni­za­tional rep­u­ta­tion (being a part of a respect and win­ning team)
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (effec­tive and engag­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion from lead­ers and the organization)
The above list is fascinating to me as for the first time in a study I see communication from leadership as being important to employees.  I have known this and heard this for years, but here is the data in black and white.  In my experience, the communication of the vision and the mission of the organization is key to getting an employee's heart and mind engaged.  Yet, that is where most CEO's fall down is in the messaging of organizational strategy.

Another interesting point is that nothing about pay and benefits came out as a driver in this research even during a down economy.

I am also surprised by organizational reputation making the list.  I guess now more than ever employer brand matters.

The report does say that these 4 items had the MOST POSITIVE IMPACT on engagement AND OPPORTUNITY for improvement.  So, it sounds as if the 4 items listed were the top drivers for their sample AND that employers did not score well on those 4 items.

What a shocker!

And..what an opportunity for HR.  If in fact, these 4 areas are true for your company as well, what could you do to improve these?

Does your organization rely on your engagement data and take action on the results?