Why You Should STFU About SHRM

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.  If you want to be critical of SHRM, if you want to talk at length of how many things they get wrong, but you are not willing to pitch in and make it better?  STFU.

There has been a long standing and well documented amount of indifference, disdain and sometimes anger at the governing body of Human Resources.  They don’t do enough, they do too much, they aren’t listening, they listen to too many people, they can’t make decisions, they make the wrong decisions…essentially all the complaints you hear about large organizations, right or wrong.  But there is criticism aplenty, and much of it probably deserved.

What’s interesting, though, is that much of this criticism comes from those who are no longer members and/or no longer practitioners.  And rarely comes with a side of “maybe they should try this idea instead.”  And sometimes, just sometimes, those same critics will attend a state SHRM event or the big annual event, take the free pass, and consider the conference lucky to have them.  I’m not saying they have nothing to contribute.  In fact, I think they are some of our best and brightest minds, and could make a huge impact if they were actively engaged.  But for reasons too numerous to list, they are not.

I’d hesitate to say that I’ve been active with SHRM, though I keep my membership up, maintain my SPHR and speak at a lot of SHRM events, both state and regional.  When I go, though, I try to add a little value.  I try to hit the Twitter channel, write a post or two, work the social media desk to tutor attendees, speak or help with some kind of charity event.  There are a lot of ways to contribute, and I try to hit at least a couple of channels.  But I’ve been woefully inactive at the local level, and recently attended my first HRMA STL meeting.  Ever.

But there are those in our community who bust their hump to make a difference, and do so in their spare time.  I am regularly inspire by Steve Browne, a true HR leader/practitioner who puts in more hours that anyone would care to count with local, state and national SHRM.  He went and testified in front of Congress, and made us all proud.  He is one of the leaders who spoke up when SHRM lost their Social Media leader to make sure we didn’t lose ground.  He takes complaints from the masses and, believe it or not, shares it with the people who ARE ASKING FOR THAT FEEDBACK.  Crazy, right?  He takes responsibility to make the profession better, and he inspires me to be better.  He’s not the only one, of course, but there are far too many names to list.  (More on that in future posts, I promise.)

So this week, I was asked and agreed to take the role of Social Media Director for Missouri SHRM.  When I was offered the role, I didn’t know what all I would need to do or how much time it would require, but I knew that it was a chance to help out, spread the message of the state SHRM team and connect with more practitioners in my home state.  And a light bulb went off.  If I wasn’t willing to step up and be part of making things better, why should I expect others to do so?

So I’m taking the job.  And hopefully, I’ll be able to contribute something in the process.

If you are a naysayer, a critic, or a conscientious objector, I’d challenge you to get involved to make SHRM better as an organization.  Work at the local level, the state level, the national level, or any combination of those.  There is an entire profession waiting for help that needs your input, that needs you voice, that needs your energy.  You can choose to do as little or as much as you can handle, but it is only through those contributions that we can shape our community and make it better than it is today.  That’s the challenge.  That’s the opportunity.  That’s your chance to change the world.

And if not, STFU.  The rest of us have work to do.


The Forgotten Platforms

Combing through my email each morning, I am regularly greeted by LinkedIn Groups messages, bringing me up to speed on the conversations that have taken place over the last day or two.  I like being able to keep up with several groups this way, and see what is happening that may be relevant to my world.  I’ve noticed, though, that there is an ever-increasing amount of noise in these groups that has little or nothing to do with the topic…

You can read the rest over at the Dovetail Software Blog.  Come visit us!

Thoughts on HR Florida 2011


I write this on Wednesday afternoon from Orlando airport, heading home from my first HR Florida conference.  There will be something tomorrow for you that will be a little fun (I hope), but for now, here are my takeaways from the show…


I only caught Tony Hsieh and Dan Pink, and they were very different.  Tony had interesting stories from the CEO chair, talking about building a culture and letting people create their own destiny inside your company.  Dan talked motivation, what it means, what it doesn’t mean, and how to pursue it.  Both were interesting, and I took a few things away from the speakers (not the content, though I learned from that too):

  • Despite the accolade heaped on him, Tony Hsieh is not, in my humble opinion, a natural “people person.”  In the videos and the short personal interaction I had with him, he was reserved, quiet, and a little uncomfortable.  He performed fine as a speaker, to be sure, but seemed less comfortable with one on one communications.  That’s not meant as a slight, though.  I think it’s amazing he’s built a company famous for culture when he seems to introverted.  Maybe I read him wrong.  But I don’t think so.
  • Dan Pink is a really interesting speaker, and brought up some research I’ve read before.  But I really liked that he focused on low or no cost actions everyone can take right away.  Really good stuff in there, including IDoneThis.com, a site that sends automated daily emails to help record you progress on, well, anything.  Check it out.

Concurrent Sessions

I will admit that I often attend sessions based on who is leading them, not the topic.  I managed to catch Jennifer McClure, Kris Dunn and William Tincup this time around.  We had some fun, shared some laughs, and learned a bit, which is fun.  But I generally attend to watch style, interaction, and overall presentation methods.  I learned something from each of them, and I hope it makes me a better presenter.


A huge state conference put together completely by volunteers?  You bet there is some passion in that house.  Sponsors had it, too.  The feeling across the board was upbeat, even when fixing problems.  I enjoyed interacting with them, and made sure to thank them for their work.  They deserved at least that much.


If there is ever a time to see how deep the connections run in social media, it is a state conference.  When the “SoMe” people get together, we check on each other, then check on those that aren’t present.  Through our network, we keep track of who is in town, who is not, who is well, who is happy, and who needs a boost.  Then we reach out to that last group and see what we can do to help.

I loved this week.  And having come on the heels of IL SHRM, it makes for a rich full couple of weeks.  I consider myself lucky to have been part of them, and am already looking forward to the next round.

How Committed Are You to Learning?

Not too long ago, I was blessed with the chance to share my passion with the good people attending the HR Florida State Conference & Expo.  I have a lot to say about processes and strategy in HR, so I was more than a little excited about the opportunity.  Then a funny thing happened.

I was asked to present twice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an attention whore.  I’ll talk to anyone who will stand still for five seconds.  Maybe less.  Maybe even if they aren’t standing still.  But twice?  Yes, of course, I said.  Always happy to be a team player.  So instead of just presenting on Lean HR, I get the pleasure of presenting AGAIN with Shauna Moerke, aka The HR Minion, on making connections through social media.  Shauna is one of my all-time favorite co-conspirators co-presenters, so I was more than a little excited about this news.  Then I heard about the time slot.

Seven in the morning.  On Wednesday.  Ouch.

I’m a morning person, generally speaking, but that’s a pretty early schedule, especially on eastern time for a mid-western kid.  But what’s crazy is the number of people who have warned me the room will be packed.  Like “standing room only” packed.  Always is, apparently.

The typical attendee, I have been told, is an early riser who expects to wring every drop of learning they can from this event.  There are no off-sessions.  There are no easy time slots.  You, as a presenter, better bring your A game, because it will be expected.  (As it should be, I might add.) 

If I was excited before I heard that, I am giddy about it now.

The only thing better than speaking to a big crowd is speaking to an engaged crowd.  I expect to see a lot of bright shining faces with inquisitive eyes in Orlando, and I fully expect our Wednesday morning session will be a rollicking, interactive good time.  And I hope that, if you are in attendance, that we will see you there!  If you aren’t attending, but would like to, it’s not too late!  You can still register on-line!

So how committed are you to learning?  Do you attend conferences?  Do you skip the early sessions?  Or are you the type that would pack that room and get your money’s worth?


Social Media vs Social Identity

This may not be news for most people, but it struck me over the weekend, and I wanted to share.

I received a Facebook invitation to connect with someone I haven’t talked to for years.  I’ve never really given a lot of thought to Facebook or LinkedIn invitations until now, but I realized that my accounts have become my online identity.  I’m sure I can (or will be) judged by the people to whom I am connected and choose to socialize.

My accounts have become my online identity, and the interesting piece is that people who don’t know me are more likely to judge me by those inputs than anything else.

Twitter then becomes an even more interesting question.  Is your goal to connect to as many people as possible, or to build a network of people with whom you want to exchange ideas.  I’ve seen people with thousands of connections, and literally three messages sent.  It is an ongoing cycle of needless connections.  So what’s the point?  Why have connections if you have nothing to say?

Regardless, your online choices are the most visible aspect of who you are.  Not news, I know, but still interesting to me.


Of course, if you have to ask…

XKCD.com is one of the best webcomics around.  There are no ongoing characters.  In fact, it’s mostly stick figures. There are no catch phrases, no reoccurring jokes.  But day in and day out this is the site I look most forward to reading.  The humor is sometimes snarky, sometimes subtle, but always brilliant.  Even the alt text jokes (you know those, right?  Let your mouse hover over the comic, and get a free bonus joke!) are outstanding.   It does, though, come with a warning.

“Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).”

How could you not fall in love with that?

With all the buzz last week at the HR Technology Conference around social media, I knew I had to share Wednesday’s comic. It’s below, but go to the site for the full version.  And stay for the rest of the great work there.

Randall Munroe, you’re aces.

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