Attending #SHRM19 – Respect Your Organization’s Investment

I attended my first #SHRM conference this year and enjoyed pretty much all of it.  I thought it was extremely well organized, the general sessions were interesting and varied, and I gained a lot of value from the event.

Being that the SHRM 19 conference was held in June, I was planning on writing a blog post about it which would have been your basic this is what I liked and this is what I didn’t like – blah blah blah.

Fortunately, a few days after the conference ended, a SHRM19 discussion thread complaining about the conference app caught my eye and got me thinking about how this thread illustrates part of what is wrong in the HR profession and what may be holding the profession back from being taken seriously by our company leadership. It gave me the opportunity to write something different than the typical conference review.

In the discussion thread, an attendee posted a complaint about how disappointed they were because of the lack of a physical paper concurrent session guide and how using the app will unnecessarily deplete their phone battery throughout the day.

There was a lot of agreement in the thread that SHRM messed up by not having the printed guide, and complaining about battery usage, the app being clunky, and the lack of information available (which was all in the app had they looked).

The SHRM Annual Conference is a serious event where, I assume, our most serious and dedicated HR Professionals attend.  It’s not cheap.  I also assume that the majority of these HR Pros want to be taken seriously by their leadership and contribute to the strategic direction of their organization and even earn that elusive seat at the table. I’m comfortable with this assumption because I hear and read about it almost every day.

So when I hear or see conference attendees complaining about not having a printed guide provided for them and not wanting to adopt and use something like the SHRM19 App, I get frustrated that they don’t see the incongruity of their complaints to what they say they want professionally.

Yes, I know I’m painting with a wide brush and making a lot of assumptions but this is my blog and how I am lining things up to make my point!

Here is my contribution to the discussion thread I mentioned above:

The schedule and all the session descriptions were, and still are, on the home page of the SHRM19 website organized by track and with the ability to print everything. One just needed to take a half hour or so before the conference to read, prepare, and plan.  As an effective professional with the responsibility of the +$3,000 investment my company made for me to attend, I prepared ahead of time.

I also spent a few minutes to download and learn how to use the app which became invaluable to me throughout the conference. And I brought a battery charger with me to recharge my phone late in the day (several vendors were giving them away).

SHRM had it all there for you if you would have taken the time to strategically prepare ahead of time.

As HR Pros who want our profession to be taken seriously we need to be strategic, embrace change, adopt new technology, creatively solve problems, and respect our organization’s investment in our development by preparing.

The hard truth is that if we’re not doing these for the little things when we attend the SHRM19 conference, then we’re probably not doing them for the big things in our organization.

This wasn’t a popular thing to say and I got some pushback but I fully stand by my comments and am even doubling down by posting this on HHHR because I feel so strongly about it.

Maybe because this was my first SHRM conference, I made the effort ahead of time to prepare and couldn’t rely on “the way things have always been done.”  But having a strong business background, I think I would have prepared the same way because I also always consider the cost/investment of every event or activity and, as I said in my comment above, I make a point of respecting my organization’s investment in my development by putting forth the effort to properly prepare so I get the most out of it.

I was actually very impressed by the app.  By preparing and getting to know the app in the days before the conference I learned the following things:

  • I can build my daily schedule but “starring” the sessions I want to attend and the will show up on My Schedule in the app.
  • Most of the sessions had the presentation slide deck attached so I downloaded them to my iPad before each session and followed along during the presentations.
  • I could easily find where to go by using the Navigate button that took me to maps of the Convention Center, the Exposition, and the Westgate
  • I was able to search for Exhibitors and quickly find their booth number so I could visit them.
  • I liked being able to read about the Speakers and discover their speaking time to schedule.
  • I was also able to get alerts on my phone and iPad that helped remind me of events an activities.

The app made my first SHRM conference experience a great one!

When your organization is willing to make a financial investment in your development, you owe it to them, and yourself, to make the appropriate amount of time to fully prepare. By doing so you  maximize the benefits of that investment for both the organization and yourself.

Restarting the Blog and Podcast

Just a quick note that I’m starting up the HHHR Blog and Audioblog once again!

I had to pause when I took an amazing job as the HR Director for a Senior Living and Real Estate Development company and relocated to Seattle last year.  I devoted all of my time and efforts into my family and job during this time and now feel comfortable getting back into blogging and podcasting.

In the past couple months, I wrote several blog drafts as interesting topics occurred to me and am in the process of finishing several of them.

My goal will be to publish once a month around the 15th.

The first post and podcast will be about Customer Service and how it relates to HR!

I’m really looking forward to getting back into it. Thank you all for your patience and understanding during my career and relocation transition!

 

My Good News and a Pause for HHHR

AdobeStock_75926072It’s been a month since my last post and I indicated on my podcast that week that I had some exciting news to share. I meant to post and podcast about this news much earlier but was simply unable to find the time because of the news.

Things have been a whirlwind since that week!  I accepted a job with Merrill Gardens and their sister company Pillar Properties in Seattle as their HR Director where I will be in charge of the HR function for both companies.  It’s something I’m very excited about as the HR department services both company’s 2000+ employees in seven states.

Since that week in February, I had a lot of work wrapping things up with several of my clients in Denver that I would no longer be able to continue working with due to my leaving the Denver area. In addition, I had to pack a few things and get up to Seattle to find a place for my wife and I to live until we find a place to buy.  I also got stuck in Casper, WY for a few days due to the winter storm that passed through the western states mid month. Not a big deal because I grew up there and we stayed with my in-laws but it delayed my house-hunting plans by a few days!

I eventually made it to Seattle and was able to find a place and as a bonus, am temporarily staying with my daughter and her family and am spending some wonderful quality time with my granddaughter!

So, I’ve had a lot going on the past month and it will be a while before I start posting and podcasting again because I need to devote my full attention on my new job and getting acclimated to the company and all I need to learn and accomplish.

There won’t be a podcast this week since my podcasting equipment is packed up and in storage.

Once I get to a certain place at my new job, I expect to start posting and podcasting again on a monthly schedule.  I love blogging and podcasting but I need to focus 100% on my new job and company!

 

My Interview with Engel Jones at 12 Minute Convos

12min-convo-ArtBack in December, I was invited to be interviewed by Engel Jones of 12 Minute Convos podcast fame.  I enthusiastically agreed and sat for an interview with him.  I was impressed with his professionalism, his enthusiastic attitude, and his dedication to podcasting.

He told me after the interview that it would be published sometime mid January and here is the link to it on his website.  I hope you enjoy it.

One of the things I learned from the interview with him are the “under the hood” steps needed to take to conduct interviews – something I’ve been thinking about doing here at HHHR and hope to do in the near future.

No Post or Podcast This Week

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My granddaughter expressing her displeasure that I didn’t get a post or podcast out this week.

Hey Crew – sorry about not having a blog post or podcast this week.

I’ve had a heck of a busy week with a lot going on in addition to fighting the bad cold that’s been going around.

I have a couple draft posts I’ve been working on and I just didn’t have the time to get to them last week but am working on them now for next Sunday!

 

Returning From my Break

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, this is my first post in nearly two months.  I left off and had to take a break from HHHR back in February because I was completely overwhelmed with work in addition to some difficult personal matters that needed my attention.  I was so busy and mentally drained each day that I was unable to carve out the time I needed to continue writing and recording posts.  It was frustrating because I was doing a good job keeping up a regular schedule, the key to building an audience, but I simply couldn’t do that during the past two months.  I felt I had to write a “Taking a Break” post to take the pressure off until I was ready to return.

I am reminded how difficult it is to get restarted after taking a break.  Things had finally settled down at work and with the personal matters a few weeks ago and I’ve actually had the time to get HHHR restarted.   I simply didn’t have the motivation to start writing and recording again and I seemed to find other “important” things to do like watch TV!

Once you break an established habit and routine for a period of time, it is very difficult to regain that habit and routine.  Not only did I stop posting and recording at HHHR, I stopped my regular morning routine of writing and reading.  I also stopped going to the gym to work out.  Once my days returned to normal at work and in my life, I found it very difficult to immediately get back into the important self development habits and routines I had established.  Maybe I just needed a few weeks to recover.  Maybe I was just rationalizing.

On one hand, I’m disappointed in myself for not having the discipline to keep up my routines during the past two months and that it took a couple weeks before I felt I could get restarted.  On the other hand,  I’m thinking there is only so much a person can do and it that takes some downtime to recover from a particularly crazy stretch of time.   Looking back, I’m a bit disappointed in myself  but I also realize that I’m only human and have a limited capacity to be effective at all times.  I needed the two to three weeks of “downtime” afterwards to recover from the extra workload at work and personal issues.

But this weekend, I felt like I could finally get back into my regular habits and routines of writing and recording to HHHR, to starting up my regular morning routine, and to start working out at the gym again.  It actually feels pretty good getting back into those habits.  My lack of not doing these routines and habits were constantly nagging in the back of my mind.  I knew I needed to get back on track and, frankly, didn’t feel like it until just this weekend.

I’m now working on several posts hoping to get ahead and have some written and recorded a couple weeks in advance.  I feel like I’ve recovered and have the capacity to restart HHHR after its two months of dormancy.  I will return to the once a week routine, with Wednesday as a target day for publishing both the blog post and podcast.

While writing this post, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is  important to allow yourself downtime after a particular gruelling period of time.  Give yourself permission to recover and recharge.  Spend time with you spouse and family.  Work on your hobbies and veg out in front of the TV.  This is what life is all about.  Take care of yourself.

Introducing the Hard Hat HR Audioblog Podcast

iTunes (Final)Today I am introducing the Hard Hat HR Audioblog podcast!  After a lot of hard work and educating myself on podcasting, I am pleased to release the first fourteen episodes.  Having been an avid podcast consumer and fan for many years, I am thrilled to join in and finally become a podcaster myself.

Now, the Audioblog is simply an audio version of the latest Hard Hat HR blog post where I simply just read and record what I wrote.  Nothing fancy – at least not yet.   My goal is to start off this way and as I continue to publish blog posts with accompanying audioblog podcasts, I will improve my podcasting skills where I will eventually sound  more professional and conversational.

I know these first attempts are not the best but I figured I just needed to start. I will improve  as I move forward.  This, I have found throughout my life, is the only way to get better at something.

As you’ve noticed, I am a short form blogger with my posts usually consisting of approximately 300 –600 words.  This, of course, makes me a short form podcaster since I am simply just reading and recording my blog posts at this time.

I’ve settled into a schedule of two blog posts a week – Monday and Wednesday – and will publish the accompanying audioblog on the same schedule.

It is important to note that I am starting my podcasting adventure with a very small budget.  I am using a very inexpensive microphone so the quality of these first episodes will be relatively poor compared to most podcasts.  So please bear with me as I continue to learn and advance my podcasting skills.

I also strongly encourage any feedback you can give me so I can learn what I can do better and what I am doing well.  I really want to make this work and sincerely encourage your feedback.

If you liked what you see and hear and gained some value from Hard Hat HR, please give the podcast a five star rating over on iTunes or Stitcher and leave me a comment.