#SHRM22 Recap Part 1 — Care for your People

Someone asked me on LinkedIn the other day the age-old HR dichotomy: “Is HR’s job to protect the company or the people?” My response? “You protect the company by taking care of the people. When you take care of people, they feel valued, seen, and appreciated. They will take care of your business every time.” My takeaway from #SHRM22? I’m not alone in this belief — we need to take care of our people.

I had a healthy dose of skepticism for Sunday’s opening general session with two healthcare insurance carrier executives on the stage. Please don’t tell us the solution to this mass exodus of talent is found in benefits…However, shortly into their discussion, I saw the most beautiful display of vulnerability and kindness as a leader. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, including Humana’s President and CEO, Bruce Broussard as they recalled a story about the personal medical challenges of the Chief Administrative Officer, Tim Huval. The obvious care, compassion, and concern for this person on the CEO’s team was palpable in the room. It was a living demonstration of empathy and culture – setting the example from the top. What a way to start the conference!

The theme of humanity and taking care of ourselves and one another continued throughout the conference experience. Humanity was present in the halls — as per usual, there was a DJ in the main area to get people moving. A time or two, you could find me and several others, connecting through a mutual love of the Cha-Cha Slide, letting loose and forgetting about e-mails, HRIS demos, and anything outside of the four walls of the convention center.

In the Expo Hall, an unfamiliar site reminded us all of the importance of culture 365 in our companies. Motivosity had a sign in their booth that clearly demonstrated their culture. The expo started on Sunday, but that was a protected time for “Yeti families,” as they called their team members, and they were spending Sunday with their families. This value wasn’t situational — Sundays are for family unless we have a conference to attend.

The leadership at Motivosity lives their values 365 — conference or no conference. What a powerful message they sent to their teams and their prospective customers! I know I made a note to return the next day.

Speaking of culture…Steve Browne, CPO of LaRosa’s reminded us the importance of taking care of our people and being people-first, sharing with his attendees a photo of a simple block of wood they made and handed out to each team member with “We are PEOPLE FIRST” AND “2,4,4,2 KEYS TO SUCCESS” carved into the block.

Steve shared that the meaning behind the “2,4,4,2” was this:
“If you do more to people than for people, your life will not be successful. Do more for people than to people for your life to be successful.” – Mike LaRosa, via Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP

Imagine joining that team and knowing that your leadership is not only people first, but they are promoting that value and holding themselves and others accountable to it.  Is your organization practicing people-first leadership?

If you attended SHRM22 or even simply followed the hashtag #SHRM22 SHRM22Influencer, you can find photos, videos, and tips for making your organization people first.  It can be a little overwhelming during the conference itself to absorb all the great content that is shared.  That’s the purpose of the Influencer team.  We capture soundbites and ideas and share them – not just during the conference, but long after!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

#SHRM22 Annual Conference & Expo: Power Skills with Rachel Druckenmiller!

We are in the homestretch, and if you’re anything like me, you are in the app planning your sessions carefully so that you can make the most of your #SHRM22 experience!

Whether you are in person at the conference or virtual this year, I invite you to check out Rachel Druckenmiller on Tuesday, June 14th at 3:30pm CST for her session: The Soul Behind the Role: Igniting the Power Skills of Intentional Leadership.  I’ll be there, and I’ll save you a seat.

Rachel is the Founder and CEO of Unmuted, and she is the daughter of two entrepreneurs, so she always had the drive and ambition in her to start her own business. If you aren’t already following Rachel, I encourage you to start with her LinkedIn.  She goes live frequently to share her heart and her voice – literally and figuratively. Rachel is known for her singing key notes! Rachel says that it’s part of her “unmuting” when she sings:

“I think all of us can think of an area of their life, where they silence themselves or hold themselves back, or they doubt themselves or mute an aspect of who they are because there’s a certain way you’re supposed to show up.”

-Rachel Druckenmiller, Unmuted

Rachel’s talking about power skills of intentional leadership in her session this year, and she shared a preview of one of those skills with me: Curiosity.

This session will be both in-person as well as virtual, and Rachel has plans to keep the virtual attendees engaged and feeling like they are part of the in-person! You’ll have to tune in/head over to see just what those tricks and tools are.

I asked Rachel how this session will empower attendees to #CauseTheEffect in their organizations and impact the future of work:

“It starts with practicing the behaviors you want people that you work with to practice. Turn the mirror on yourself. How could you show up with greater curiosity?”

I hope this piqued your curiosity, and we’ll see you on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 3:30pm!

#SHRM22 Annual Conference & Expo: The Introvert’s Guide to #Conferencing

#Conferencing is a term that has been coined by the #SHRM19Blogger contingent that took on Las Vegas.  The annual conference is an EVENT, and it can be overwhelming for those that are first-timers or even recurring attendees.  There are a LOT of blog posts by my fellow #SHRM22Influencers that will help you every step of the way for first-time attendees.  We are HR people, People people, and we are here to help!

This guide is a little bit different.  I’m a card-carrying Introvert, INTJ, and I’m here to help.

#Conferencing is not a spectator sport as I’ve shared before.  Conferences are designed for a few purposes:

Connect in person. I hear you, you’re an introvert, and you’re happy with the people you’re already connected with — or you don’t know where to start.  Lucky for you, I have some card-carrying extroverts that would LOVE to help you.  It’s a little-known fact that extroverts love helping out their introvert friends.  Allow me to introduce you to a few of the #HRCommunity’s pals:

My friend and unofficial mentor, Steve Browne.  Steve not only wants to connect with you, he wants to help you!  Find Steve, and tell him Nicole sent you!  Also check out Steve’s sessions!

In the event you don’t know him, this is Steve.

One of my favorite humans ever and wine buddy, Kyra Matkovich. Kyra is the keeper of the #HRShenanigans and held down the fort with the virtual conference last year.  She will be in NOLA with us this summer, and she’d love to meet you!

Speaking of making life-long friends, this is Josh Rock and Kyra — in Kyra’s hometown.

Attend the events!  There is Tuesday night entertainment, Sunday reception in the Exhibitor Hall, and plenty of other events provided throughout the conference.  Attend the events and don’t just go back to your room at the end of the day!  Sign up for Jess Miller-Merrill’s VIP Text Alerts from Workology’s Party People.  Text ‘SHRM’ to 512-548-3005 and get live updates on where all the activities are taking place!

Pre-Conference Meet-Up at SHRM21!

Connect virtually. As mentioned, Kyra held down the fort for the virtual conference last year, and SHRM is offering a virtual option for those unable to join in person in New Orleans this year as well!  Follow the following hashtags: #SHRM22, #SHRM22Influencer, #CauseTheEffect (our 2022 theme). I can’t tell you the number of genuine connections I’ve formed with my virtual #HRCommunity that have become real-life friends that I’m sure I’ll have for a lifetime.

Learn New Things and SHARE IT: There are 11 content tracks with 200+ expert-led sessions in store for you at SHRM22 this year.  Check out the full conference schedule and PLAN your experience.  The app will be coming out shortly.  Pay attention to where sessions are located and when you arrive, don’t barricade yourself with your bags at the end of the row and check your e-mail until the session starts.  Get comfortable and be open to meeting others around you.  Chances are if you’re in the same session, you share interests in the subject matter. Take a chance and introduce yourself, and if you don’t take the first step, at least be open to those sitting around you.  Be present and ask questions/participate. Share your key learnings on social media — and don’t forget the hashtags!

Hope this helps!  Remember to make the most of your time while also still being true to yourself and your boundaries.  These are suggestions from one introvert to another.  Enjoy and please connect with me if I can help in any way.  See you there!

Culture Check: Is it Safe to Make a Mistake?

When mistakes happen, what is the go-to behavior in your organization? Do you have people who will vehemently defend their actions, try to solve problems in a vacuum, attack others, or deflect/misdirect the attention? Do you have people who will attempt to hide or cover up mistakes? Do you have people who will reach out to their teams and leadership to get guidance, support, and help? Do they own their mistakes, acknowledge their part, and look for ways to improve?

If your organization is more aligned with the “own your mistakes and ask for help” vs. “blame and CYA”, you have a healthy organization. Your people should never be afraid to make a mistake. Mistakes are where we learn what doesn’t work. Mistakes are where we have the opportunity to look at a problem from another perspective and problem solve, brainstorm, and come up with a solution together. Healthy cultures take the ego out of their processes and are open to the possibility that there is a better and more effective way to do things.

Where does your HR/People Operations (whatever you call it) team fit in here?

Do you have a culture of service, support, and help, or are you punitive and focus far too much on the past and what can’t be changed vs. the future and how to move forward and make things better? Are you the policy police? Are you the principal’s office? Are people afraid when you show up unannounced? If so, make efforts, even small ones today, to change that. HR is not the principal’s office or the policy police. Your leadership teams are not judge, jury, and executioner. If you observe a leader being punitive with someone, have the courage to speak up and address it. Behavior not addressed is behavior condoned.

We want to have healthy cultures where our teams and leaders reach out for help when they need it. We want to be given the opportunity to address a situation and to get the support needed. We have to create safety to ask questions, make mistakes, and ask for help. We need to be the go-to for counsel, support, consultation, and guidance. If people aren’t reaching out for help, it’s indicative that they don’t truly believe that reaching out will have an impact.

Disengagement doesn’t happen overnight. Unsafe cultures aren’t built overnight. There is a consistent trend of unmet expectations, and eventually, people lose faith that their situation will improve. Just as this doesn’t deteriorate overnight, it also can’t be repaired overnight. Trust in you, your team, and the organization starts slow — commit to doing something and then do it. That builds trust. If people trust you for the small things, they’ll trust you for the big things, and we all need to be trusted and relied upon for the big things.

Where does your organization line up? Where do you? Are you proud of the culture you foster? If not, what are you doing today to make an impact and start the transformation?