You need to be at WorkHuman 2018

Only Two Days Left to Save $300 on WorkHuman 2018

Have you heard of WorkHuman?  If you haven’t, you should check it out.   It’s an event. It’s a movement.  It’s among the best HR conferences I’ve ever attended.

If you know about WorkHuman and haven’t registered yet, do it by the end of the year to get the lowest rate. Use code WH18INF-MVA to save $300!  You can see speakers like Ashley Judd, Brene’ Brown, Simon Sinek, Amal Clooney and Adam Grant.

As I said, WorkHuman is one of the best HR events I’ve ever attended.  I went as a registered attendee in 2017 and had a fantastic experience.  I learned a lot, networked, and had a tremendous experience with friends old and new.  The event was worth every dollar I spent.   This year, I’m on the Influencer team, which means I’m helping Globoforce promote the event.  You should go!

If you need to hear from some other HR practitioners about their experience at WorkHuman 2017, you don’t have to take it from me.  I did a series of podcasts on Drive Thru HR a few weeks ago with Carrie Bucci, John Baldino, and Kelly Poulson.  You can listen to the shows and hear about their experience.

If you don’t know about WorkHuman, here is a description from GloboForce:

Globoforce pioneered the WorkHuman movement to galvanize leaders worldwide to harness the transformative power of people for the next generation of HR. We celebrate breakthrough organizations building human-centric workplaces where employees achieve their fullest potential – where people feel appreciated, connected, and empowered for who they are and what they do. WorkHuman recognizes businesses that thrive by bringing humanity and crowdsourcing to the employee experience. WorkHuman is the future of the workplace.

See you in Austin!



What’s Your SHRM Relationship Status? Final Thoughts on #SHRM17

Final Thoughts on #SHRM17

How would you describe your relationship with SHRM?  

  • Member
  • Volunteer
  • Vendor
  • Speaker
  • Staff
  • Board Member
  • New Attendee
  • Certified Professional

In this grouping, I am or have been a 1) member 2) volunteer 3) speaker 4) new attendee, but none of the others – although I know people who played them on television.

If you put it into Facebook relationship status terms,  you have more than one option to choose from:

  • Single
  • In a relationship
  • Married
  • Engaged
  • Not specified
  • In a civil union
  • In a domestic partnership
  • In an open relationship
  • It’s complicated
  • Separated
  • Divorced
  • Widowed
  • I’d rather not say

My Facebook status with SHRM would have to be “It’s complicated”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love SHRM. I’ve been a volunteer for many years at the state and national level.  SHRM is the kind of organization that works like this:

“The more value you put into the organization, the more value you get out of the organization.”

The miracle is this, the more we share, the more we have. – Leonard Nimoy

So why is my relationship complicated?  Several reasons:

  1. My favorite SHRM event is the Legislative and Legal Conference they run every year.  It’s smaller and more intimate, and thusly more on point for me as an attendee.  The smaller size allows me to find topics that are more relevant to me, and to network more effectively with individuals who will matter to me throughout the year.
  2. There were nearly 20,000 people in New Orleans this year, including god only knows how many vendors.  I am a professional conference goer and I felt overwhelmed and exhausted by day 3, which for me was Monday because I was in town starting Saturday morning for SHRM volunteer meetings.  I came to New Orleans with some great intentions about meeting new practitioners and checking out new vendors, but the event was just so damned big that I called an audible and worked on building on networking relationships from past SHRM events or with people I had met at other conferences like #Workhuman.   My most memorable moment from New Orleans was hanging around the Kat Cole talk with Kelly Marinelli and Kate Bischhoff.

Once again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not faulting SHRM for this.  I get a ton of value from every SHRM event I attend, but I’m finding that at this stage of my career, I get more value from the smaller, more intimate events that SHRM runs.

I was also involved in a discussion thread on Facebook about this notion of smaller conferences becoming something of a growing trend for HR practitioners, and to vendors.  There’s a lot of competition in the space – like WorkHuman, HRTechWorld coming to the US, and HR Tech going to Europe, not to mention TRU, HRevolution, excellent state conferences like HR Florida or Illinois SHRM and a bunch of others including the boutique labor and employee relations conference that CUE (the organization I run) puts on 2x a year.

This is a little bit of a rambling post.   SHRM National conference is not going anywhere, and it’s an excellent event.  There is lots to learn and many benefits to attending, but it has some competition.  If you want to find the most value, check out some different events from time to time, although I can promise you will never find an HR conference that has more offerings on site based drink delivery systems for sale in the exposition hall than #SHRM17 including smoothie makers, Kuerig, juicers and even a Nespresso Cafe with lattes to go.

That’s all for this year!



Born on the Bayou – HR Social Media #shrm17

A big topic of discussion that ran through the week of #ASHRM17 was how the New Orleans SHRM 2009 event was in many ways the birth of the social media sphere that exists in SHRM today.  I was part of a terrific informal dinner that took place one night while I was at that conference that built relationships that still flourish today.

Lance Haun, Laurie Ruettimann, Kris Dunn and Jessica Lee (I think) gave the first official SHRM National panel for SHRM. It was moderated by China Gorman.  It was a big step for a conservative organization, and according to John Jorgenson many people now claim having been at the panel who were not there.  I was not one of them.  I had already departed New Orleans that morning.

How the times have changed.  Social media tools are now integrally woven throughout the SHRM event.  Twitter is a key metric for the organization.


Total Tweets: 46,255
Total Unique Tweets: 24,470
Total Retweets: 21,785
Total Unique Users: 7,032
Total Reach: 21,018,765

There were more than 40 bloggers tweeting and writing and facebooking.  It’s pretty incredible really.

Twitter and Facebook even provide a way to join the conference remotely via hashtags and the work of some dedicated people like Tamara Rasberry, Jessica Merrell-Miller, Dave Ryan, Andi Devers, Dave Ryan and many others.  Check out #NotAtSHRM.


But – there are still HR people who don’t know how to use social media, and don’t understand how it can augment their relationships during and after the event.

But- there are 20,000 people (give or take) at the event, and you can’t meet them all, even with social media.

But – there is nothing that can replace meeting people face to face.

You should plan on attending #SHRM18 in Chicago, and you should also begin to plan your social media connection strategy now.  It will give you a big head start for 2018. Here’s your SHRM JumpStart.  and don’t forget #NextChat run each week by Mary Kaylor. 


It’s Time To Make A Change #shrm17

It’s Sunday, June 25th.  Today is the day that I made the decision to switch from being an avid Uber user to a hopeful Lyft user.  

The reason I made this decision today comes from conversations I had with other HR pros while serving as a member of the social media team for #SHRM17 in Las Vegas last week.   One of the great things about being part of this team is that you get to interact for several days with HR people who come from all over the world and bring their different perspectives with them.   And given that most bloggers have opinions, these HR people are willing to share their opinions, whether they are introverts or not.

One of the strong discussions I was a part of was Uber and whether or not it made sense to stop using them due to the issues with their culture and the looming sexual harassment cases that have still not been resolved.

Full disclosure:  I used Uber the entire time I was in New Orleans.   I like Uber as a service.  They are much better than cabs in most cities.  The drivers almost always have interesting stories to tell while we travel.  It’s a big part of my travel experience.   And it looks in the media that the Board of Directors was taking steps to try and create the culture.  Heads have rolled, including the CEO and many others.   That’s a step in the right direction, right?

And there are lots of opinions out there:

  • Travis isn’t totally responsible.
  • Travis built the culture and he had to go:
    • Timeline of how the mighty are fallen:
      • Feb. 19: Susan Fowler’s blog post

      • Feb. 20: Uber taps Eric Holder

      • Feb. 28: A senior executive leaves

      • March 1: Travis’s on-cam meltdown

      • March 24: The escort-bar incident comes to light

      • June 6: Uber fires 20 employees

      • June 7: Uber fires an exec for his role in a rape investigation

      • June 12: Travis’s No. 2 leaves

      • June 13: Eric Holder’s report is out

      • June 14: Travis takes an indefinite leave of absence

      • June 20: Uber’s “180 days of change” (including tipping for drivers, agreed to with a drivers guild)

        • June 21: Travis steps down

      • June 25:  I become a Lyft client (too late)

        I made this change reluctantly after listening to a number of HR women discuss their reasons for not supporting a culture where such bad behavior is tolerated.  I was more of the mind that “they were making changes and deserved another chance”.   Listening to my professional colleagues changed my mind.

        I feel like I need a shower in that it took me so long to get here.

I’m not the only one wondering if the decision is correct.

Uber employees are revolting following the unceremonious resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick.

Staffers at the embattled ride-hailing company are circulating an anonymous petition intended to reinstate their boss.

 In emails obtained by BuzzFeed News, managers are sending the petition to employees urging them to “revolt this.”

Uber is not the only company we should consider looking away from as HR practitioners, perhaps.

I’m not usually one to call for a boycott, and frankly I’m skeptical of the effectiveness sometimes, but if this continues, then something needs to change.   I’d love to hear your thoughts on this incredibly stupid behavior and how to stop it.

3rd person present: boycotts
  1. 1.
    withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.
    synonyms: spurn, snub, shun, avoid, abstain from, wash one’s hands of, turn one’s back on, reject, veto

    “they boycotted the elections”
plural noun: boycotts
  1. 1.
    a punitive ban that forbids relations with certain groups, cooperation with a policy, or the handling of goods.
    synonyms: ban, veto, embargo, prohibition, sanction, restriction; More

If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When? Kat Cole @ #SHRM17

I’m writing a series of three short blogs that touch on the key points that I encountered in New Orleans while attending the SHRM 2017 Conference and Exposition. 

I’m going to start with the Sunday keynote, Kat Cole.  I’m a fan boy of this amazing business leader who I’ve known for a few years and have seen her speak nine previous times.

Cole is the group president of FOCUS Brands, the franchisor and operator of Cinnabon, Carvel, Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill and other restaurants.

She is also the resilient child of a not very happy home and childhood.

She has been on Undercover Boss, a show I used to hate but now kind of enjoy since they made it more about the learning of the participants and less about the reality driven “gotcha” narrative of the first season.

She is someone who visited the U.S. Chamber of Commerce a few years ago, and told the leadership they had some stuff to learn about getting millennial business leaders interested in their organization.

When I first saw Kat speak, she was a working in the restaurant business at Hooters, and was telling her story of having moved up through the ranks as a hard  worker who stayed close to process and people. She was also a college dropout who was asked by Hooters corporate at age 19 by corporate to travel to Australia and open the first Hooters store on that continent.  She didn’t even have a passport. She said yes, and now travels the globe for business, fun and social good.

Over the next few years, the business stories she told on stage as she matured in her work and in her life.  She took over Cinnabon and turned the brand around although not without some difficulty.

She traveled to Sudan with a group of mutual friends to learn more about how to help that country with infrastructure issues, and while there was responsible for being part of a group of people who literally saved a village citizen who had no access to clean water or healthcare by driving him to a larger city to gt the he needed.

She’s a heroic leader and a great example for other companies to aspire to as they hire new leaders.

Here are the notes that I took for myself during this – the 10th time I’ve heard her speak:

  • Always stay close to the employees who work for you, and understand the processes.  Chicken wings are cooked and ready to serve when they float in the fryer.
  • If you want to win the war on talent, look in unexpected places. As Kat opined: “I’m a college dropout, a former employee of Hooters and the child of a broken home. I’m probably not getting  past most of the HR screening systems at your company.
  • If you want to get bigger, sometimes you have to think smaller.   What she actuall said was that if you are trying to change your company or business or culture, you can’t look just the symptoms. Sometimes you to look at the underlying systems and make sure they are working.
  • The people who do the work always know the answers to questions that business managers are trying to find the answers to. They lack the language and skills to bring them forward in the organization.  Managers can achieve the greatest success by tapping into this resource and helping the workers bring the answers forward.
  • Failure can be your greatest friend.  In recounting a moment as a new CEO faced with a huge mistake and the loss of trust of her boss, Kat asked for 24 hours to find what happened and how to fix it.  Given time, she was still paralyzed until she thought about and answered this question first posed by Rabbi Hillel the Elder:

Ultimately, she realized, “You, that’s who.  You’re the freaking President.” and took difficult actions to fix the problem and regain the trust of her colleagues.

Kole enjoys great career success just having been named the new COO and President, North America at FOCUS Brands, an awesome personal life, including a new husband who she married at Burning Man, a child on the way and much more.  What makes all this possible?  She stays true to her roots, listening daily to a message from her mother:  “Don’t forget where you came from but don’t you dare let it solely define you.”

Keep up the good work, @KatColeATL.  I can’t wait until I get to hear the next evolution of the story




Day 1.5 at #SHRM16 Randomness and Regulations


I’m blogging again this year for SHRM at the National show aka #SHRM16. Once again, I’ve spent the entire event networking, which means I’ve only attended one session so far – a labor law overview by Chad Richter from Jackson Lewis.

Chad had lots of questions from the audience about the new overtime rules, and the new Persuader rules.  I’m not going to rehash all that, but if you would like to know about Persuader rule go over to the CUE blog where I have a bunch of  resources that you might find useful.

I also did a technically challenged live podcast on Drive Thru HR with the some of the SHRM people who run the certification program.  I haven’t listened to it, but it should be hilarious, if not very informative.  We’re going to try to do another show today at 3 PM ET on social security and retirement.

Sabrina Baker and I did a little pop-up session on Social Media Strategies for a Shop of One” which was well attended. It was fun, but I found it disconcerting that so many people are still asking “how can I put social media to work?” in my organization.

Here are a couple of tips we gave during the pop-up:

  •  Sabrina suggested picking one platform and mastering it before you try others.
  • Sabrina suggested making use of the tool mandatory for something, because it forces adoption of the tool.
  • I suggested you need to know what your goal is before you start figuring out what too you should.  Social media programs are neither “one size fits all” or ” if you build it, they will come.”  Recruiting on Twitter or Facebook is one tactic in your strategy.
  • My other big tip was to use aggregation to bring useful information to you.

More on this coming in another post.

Q&A with #SHRM16 Speaker Chad Richter

Q&A with #SHRM16 Speaker Chad Richter chad richter

The annual SHRM conference starts in just 6 days. I’m blogging for SHRM again this year.  One of the things they asked us to do is to feature one of the speakers from the conference. Here’s my Q&A profile with speaker Chad Richter, who will covering labor and employee relations developments in his presentation.

Q1. Chad, What’s your background and legal specialty? 

I have always represented management with regard to labor and employment law matters.   I have been practicing in the area of management side labor and employment law since May of 2000, almost 16 years . (i.e. 16 years).  My practice is divided into three main areas: (1) preventive counseling and training; (2) traditional labor law; and (3) workplace litigation.

Q2. What topic are you covering at #SHRM16?

The name of the presentation is “Surveying the New Labor Law Landscape:  A Rocky Road Ahead”   The session will provide an overview of the NLRB’s recent activity and how it affects all companies whether union or non-union.   This session will help attendees: (1) gain an overview of labor law trends and how they affect their organization; (2) Understand how the NLRB’s focus on expanding employee Section 7 rights makes many current business practices risky; and (3) learn practical recommendations to bring back to their organization.

Q3. What keeps you (and your clients) up at night?  

The significant labor law changes that have occurred, the changes likely to occur in the coming months, and the impact on my client’s overall business.   American businesses today are struggling to compete, attract a talented workforce and trying to stay ahead of daunting regulations.   Given the increase in federal and state regulations, the challenges are compounded almost daily for employers in all areas of the country.

Q4. What do you see coming on the labor law front in the next 6-12 months that employers need to be preparing for?

I anticipate the NLRB will continue to scrutinize employer policy language that arguably has a chilling impact on employees’ Section 7 rights under the NLRA.   I also anticipate the NLRB to broaden the impact of joint employment and the composition of the bargaining unit with regard to temporary workers.  In preparation for these changes, we recommend employers review their external relationships to minimize risk of joint employment status and review policies and procedures from a traditional labor law perspective more frequently given the Board’s scrutiny of employer policies.

Q5. What;s the one thing you are going to do in Washington DC that isn’t related to #SHRM16?

One of my favorite restaurants is located in DC down the street from the White House.  It’s called Old Ebbitt Grill and I plan to eat dinner there one of the evenings while I’m in DC.

See you in Washington D.C.!


Get Everything You Need at #SHRM16

Get Everything You Need at #SHRM16  persuader

I was talking with a friend the other night about what a challenge it is for HR professionals to stay up-to-date on all the changing rules and regulations that the Obama administration is throwing at us in their final days.

We still haven’t completely figured out ACA, and now we get to deal with even more hot steaming bowls of ….agency alphabet soup.   DOL and the OT rule….NLRB and PCA…. OLMS and the LMRDA. What?

Fortunately, SHRM has you and about 15,000 other HR pros covered in Washington D.C. starting June 18th.  It’s not to late to register and get the scoop on sessions like these:

And don’t forget the Persuader rule. This rule will impact every employer in the US, whether or not you have a union. I won’t be presenting this year, but here’s some bonus info on the new DOL Persuader Rule.

Latest Persuader Rule News

The information below is an important update on enforcement of the Persuader Rule. The information comes from one of our Labor Lawyer Advisory Committee (LLAC) members via the US Chamber of Commerce.  All of this information is provided for your general information and understanding  and should not be construed as legal advice.

OLMS Update on Persuader Rule

The first resource is a link to a YouTube video in which the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) presents an overview of the Forms LM-10 and LM-20 persuader reporting requirements, pursuant to the persuader final rule published on March 24, 2016. OLMS held the presentation in the Department’s Frances Perkins Building, Cesar Chavez Auditorium, on Thursday, May 26, 2016 from 2-4 p.m. EDT

Chamber of Commerce Update

The final persuader regulation states, “This final rule is effective on April 25, 2016. The rule will be applicableto arrangements and agreements as well as payments (including reimbursed expenses) made on or afterJuly 1, 2016” (emphasis added).  The “effective” versus “applicable” dates are clearly confusing.  As part of the legal challenge to the rule in the Eastern District of Arkansas, DOL filed the attached status report which clearly states that July 1 is the practical effective date:

While the effective date of the Rule is April 25, 2016, the rule is only applicable to arrangements and agreements made on or after July 1, 2016, and to payments made pursuant to arrangements and agreements entered into on or after July 1, 2016. 81 Fed Reg. 15924. The Rule revises the reporting requirements, and related recordkeeping requirements, for certain agreements and arrangements entered into between employers and labor relations consultants or other independent contractors, and payments made pursuant to those agreements and arrangements. The Department will not apply the Rule to arrangements or agreements entered into prior to July 1, 2016, or payments made pursuant to such arrangements or agreements. Consequently, under the Rule no employer, labor relations consultant, or other independent contractor will have to report or keep records on any activities engaged in prior to July 1 that are not presently subject to reporting, or file the new Forms LM-10 or LM-20 (revised pursuant to the Rule) for any purpose prior to July 1.

What’s the takeaway?

Employers may have a window of about 3 weeks to get agreements in place with labor counsel or consultants that then not be reportable under the new OLMS rule, assuming they are pursuant to an open-ended or multi-year agreements that existed before July 1, 2016.  Again, this should not be interpreted as legal advice, and you should check with competent legal counsel before making any final decisions.