Archive for the ‘SHRM’ Category

A Truckload of Thank Yous

August 29, 2011

Well, it’s come and gone. I hope that most all attendees at the 12th annual Illinois SHRM Conference (ILSHRM11) had the amazing time I had. We had a record crowd, cutting edge speakers and very intense but invaluable networking and I hope a little fun. I sit here trying to write a thank you post but have so many to thank I don’t know where to start and if I can keep it the length of a post and not a book, because it would not be hard to do.

First let me start with our keynotes, pre-conference speaker and our emcee. Our opening keynote, Ryan Estes, kicked us off with a very motivating and moving presentation that set the tone for the entire conference. Talent Anarchy (Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerstandt) did what many keynoters fail to do and that is took the tough after lunch spot and they OWNED it. Testify. China Gorman gave our final keynote as only China can, informative, entertaining and classy. As I said in introducing China, when I took on ILSHRM11, I had a short list of 3 keynoters I wanted and I was blessed enough to get all three, China being top of that list. Whew. Jessica Miller-Merrell came in and led our first ever pre-conference session and did everything I thought she would do and more. And what can I say about our first ever conference emcee, Charlie Judy, but WOW. (Already got him committed to ILSHRM12).

Next, I have to thank our concurrent presenters. I wish I could list all 30 of them but space does not allow it (we run into that book length problem). The only complaint I have heard so far is that we didn’t have bigger concurrent break out rooms (we are working on that). They engaged, entertained and educated all of you. If you attended one (or five) great session, I encourage you to reach out to the speaker and connect with them to thank them and network. They are easily findable on the internet and if not, let us know; we will try and hook you up.

Next, our Social Media folks who came in and shared the conference with the world in ways I never thought possible. The number of over 3.8 million internet impressions just staggers me. Thank you Robin, Geoff, Maren, Kristi, Bryan, William, Jennifer, Dwane, Mike, Jessica, Jason S, Jason L, Joe, China and Charlie.

Thank you to the staff at NIU, Drury Lane, MCS and Chris Martin Public Relations for support and your hard work.

Thank you to our exhibitors and sponsors. You help make this amazing event possible. Please check out the list on our web site. Special thanks to our conference sponsor, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois. They have been unbelievable in their support in the last few years.

Thanks to the SHRM staff at ILSHRM. Martha and Kristine, you support us all year long so thank you for sharing two days with us, I know how busy you are. Kattie from HRCI, it was so great to meet in person and thanks to your team for sponsoring our first tweet up and the ILSHRM All Access video recaps. Curtis, thanks. Without your interest last year, our social media reach would not be anything compared to what it is.

Thank you to all of our Illinois SHRM Board and volunteers. You made this years’ event run as smooth as glass due to all your effort and work. Special thanks go to our officers (Donna, Amy and Marianne), our District Directors (Karen, Lenore, Janeane, Melissa, Connie and especially Pattie), our technology team of Rachel and Dave. Thanks to all the chapter members and SHRM members who pitched into help. Extra special thanks to Sabrina Baker, our exhibitor and sponsor chair and Cathy Plouzek, my Co-Director. You all are super heroes in my book.

Last but not least, thanks to each and every attendee who came and participated. Your energy, enthusiasm and excitement made ILSHRM11 a huge success.

See you at the Drury Lane on August 6-7, 2012.


The future of the profession

April 11, 2011

I spent last weekend volunteering as a presentation judge for the North Central SHRM Student Case Competition at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. It is an event where SHRM Student chapters throughout the 10 state region sent members to compete as teams in an event where they receive a case study in the morning and after a short 4 hour prep time, present a 2 page executive summary and a 15 minute presentation on their solution to the study. In addition to the competition, there were sessions presented by HR pros on networking, strategic HR and the HR profession, as well as opportunities for the students to network among themselves and the HR professionals there as volunteers.

I have been a volunteer in student competitions for years, mostly in the HR Games format.  That format (think HR jeopardy) was great for recitation of knowledge but those of us who have done this for a while realized it is just not remembering what FMLA stands for or what Griggs vs Duke Power decided.  It is taking that knowledge and applying it to our work.  While definitely not as exciting, the case competition is truly more real world.  Hopefully, both can coexist at the state and regional level.

I was impressed to see the professionalism shown in the presentations and presence of the students under such situations.  They all pulled together coherent thoughts and analysis on short notice.  It goes to the preparation and education given them by their advisors and professors.  It does give me hope that those coming into the field will add to the professionalism and quality of the profession.  Props to my friends  like Matt Stollack from St. Norberts, Jeffrey Walls from Indiana Institute of Technology and  Joseph Goodman from Illinois State University for taking their jobs and responsibility to heart.

Also kudos go to the professionals who gave up part or most of their weekend to support the future of HR.  Thank you Donna, Dave, Jodi, Michelle, Carolyn, Mel, Kraig, Janelle and the rest of you who sat inside on a nice Saturday to do what you did.  Finally thanks to the SHRM staff for their effort in running the event.  Always good to see Pam, Martha, Laurie, Maureen, Kristine and Chuck.  I know it is your job, but you do it with passion and energy.

If you ever get a change to get involved with HR students, do it.  It will energize and give you hope.

Is it turning yet?

January 17, 2011

Back in November, I was thrilled to be included as a writer for a series of articles the Voice of HR did on suggestions on how SHRM should be approaching the new year. I wrote a piece call Turning An Aircraft Carrier.   It was based on a sight I saw at the Annual SHRM Conference in San Diego of an aircraft carrier sailing by and my thoughts of turning a large item such as that.  Since that was published, a couple of months passed and both the national and state SHRM Leadership conferences have occurred, so I figured it was time for a look back at it.

My first suggestion was quicker movements.  That is a probably a pipe dream for SHRM, based on its size and culture.  There has been and will be some things done fairly quickly but they will be “minor” things.  I guess anything is better than nothing.

Second was more transparency.  That has been addressed in that the Board talked about some of the decisions recently made in a session at Leadership.  The audience was limited to State Directors and Directors-elect.  I wished the audience had been larger and/or been done in writing.  However, after hearing the acting CEO, Board Chair and Chair-Elect discuss the issue, I feel comfortable in the decisions that the Board made from a business angle.  Still not thrilled with the total transparency issue as far as those included.

SHRM should be more pro-active.  I pointed out a couple of areas in social media.  It looks like SHRM is making an effort there by adding a staff member to as its Manager of Social Networking and Online Communities to address things like SHRM Connect.  Good luck with that Anne-Margaret.

Communicate.  The best I can say there is it seems that SHRM is trying.  I don’t recall a new SHRM Board Chair reaching out like Jose Barrios did recently.  A step in the right direction hopefully.

Next, I said SHRM should give volunteer leaders new/better tools and improve transactional service.  I did hear somethings at Leadership that should improve that area.  Hopefully there will be more and soon.

Finally, I encouraged SHRM to think outside of the box.  I have seen some movement there (such as HRCI offering recertification credit for blogging as a start).  Hopefully there will be more to follow but a good start.

I think I see some movement in the turning process.  Having seen large ships turn, I know it will take a while but at least the helm is moving.

SHRM, Value, and You

September 7, 2010

Today is the HR Tailgate’s first guest post.  I am pleased that it is written by Ben Eubanks, author of, a blog that should be required reading by all and someone I feel fortunate I can call a friend.  Ben is also an active member of his local SHRM chapter, covered the San Diego SHRM conference from the view of a first time attendee and is the Chairman of SHRM’s Human Resource Young Professional initiative.

Ben and I have had an ongoing conversation about the value of SHRM and the affiliated chapters for HR professionals and I asked Ben to write about his thoughts.  Here they are.

I read over John’s piece with interest, because while I can give you good reasons to join a local chapter (based on my own experience and involvement with my own), I still can’t make the case for a national SHRM membership being worth my investment. As a low level HR person, I have no use for reams of research or a passel (yes, I can use old-fashioned words like that even though I’m under 30) of legal updates. Those tools aren’t worth much, if anything, to me. Yes, those of you with a bigger title and more money get something out of those things that SHRM offers, but you also have a bigger paycheck to get your dues in. 🙂

Get in touch

You’ll never see SHRM being as plainspoken as some bloggers. That’s probably because SHRM members and HR professionals in general seem to be more conservative. If we just wait long enough, SHRM just might die of old age. But if they want to survive and thrive on the upcoming generation, they need to look closely at what they are offering and tailor it at least a little bit toward their potential younger customers.

Show me the money value!

SHRM, what do you have for newbies? I see little value in membership. Reams of research are useless to me. I don’t care about more legal updates. I want something fun and useful and inspiring. Here’s a quick idea for SHRM to offer that younger market: cheaper membership. Just give me 12 or 18 months of the cheaper price. I’m not really using any of your resources, but I sure am paying a lot of money ($185 isn’t much, but it seems like it to an entry level HR pro who doesn’t make much or see value in the offering).

I was a student member of SHRM as a college student. I totally wasted my money. I learned more from HR blogs six months after college than I ever did as a student member of SHRM.

If SHRM doesn’t start thinking about this, they’ll realize one day that they’ve missed their opportunity to reach out to a group of new (yet still quite capable) HR pros.

Local chapters-a mixed bag

John touched on the difficulty of proving local chapter value. I totally agree on that. But from my experience, it’s possible for chapters to make the case for membership. What local chapters have that national doesn’t:

  • Networking with local people who will be the ones hiring or referring you to jobs
  • The chance to volunteer and influence an organization
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Building connections with a variety of professionals, mentors, and friends

I’d love to keep up the conversation on this. What makes SHRM valuable for you? What do they have that is really useful and valuable for people who don’t have a need for the knowledge center, research papers, etc.?

This guest post is by Ben Eubanks. Ben has a deep love of his local SHRM chapter (shhh, don’t tell his wife!), and he’s working on some tools to help them serve their local HR pros even better. He lives and works in Huntsville, AL as an HR pro by day and an HR blogger by night. Want to connect? He’s on Twitter, LinkedIn, and uses that email thing, too.

SHRM – Is there value in membership?

August 26, 2010

I’ve had this conversation with several friends who represent opinions on both side of the issue.  The only thing I can say for sure is that it does for me.

First the question on national membership:

The current $160 annual cost (don’t be surprised if it goes up, it has been at that level for years) is less than other organizations which serve the HR profession.  ASTD is at least $200 and World at Work is higher for a year (especially if you are a first time member).  I tend to look at the $160 versus what it would cost to replace some of the services I get from SHRM.  By using the web site or calling the Knowledge Center on a question, if I can avoid consulting a lawyer for just a half-hour, it’s a draw.  If it saves me from talking to a consultant for an hour, that’s a year paid for.

Membership can be a  huge time savings for HR pros which can translate into cost savings for their organizations.  Based on 2009 salary averages (from SHRM’s survey of December), if it saves a typical HR Director level person 4 hours of scrambling to find information which is  found in one place on the SHRM web site, immediate payback.  For an HR generalist, it takes about 6 1/2 hours to break even.  Either one of these arguments should help in justifying to yourself or your organization the cost of SHRM’s annual dues.

On to local chapter membership:

This one is a little tougher to quantify based on the myriad of dues, membership fees, meal costs, etc. that exist on the chapter level.  In Illinois, we have 20 chapters and probably 20 different dues structures.  The local chapters need to make sure they are delivering value to their members for the price of joining.  Members need to be surveyed to make sure that their needs are being met.  Are they getting good educational opportunities on HR topics of interest?  Is there a sufficient chance to network with other professionals at events to increase connections within the local HR community?  Do they need to have fancy served meals (or meals at all), are the meeting times attractive?  In these tough economic times (at least in Illinois), all those things need to be addressed if SHRM chapters are going to hold on to their membership or have any chance of increasing membership.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not drunk on SHRM kool-aid.  The national organization and the local chapters have plenty of opportunity to increase their value and improve membership services.  Those issues will definitely be discussed in this space as time goes on.

I would love to  hear from my readers (are  you out there?) what you think on this issue.  Does SHRM currently have value or what areas do you think they need to improve to make that financial outlay worth it, both on the national and local level?  I would be happy to take any and all ideas and make sure they get to the proper folks for consideration (can’t guarantee implementation).

Well, your thoughts?