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.

#SHRM17

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

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. 

 

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