Rolling out the Red Carpet at SHRM


Ohio SHRM rolled out the red carpet for its 2015 conference attendees.  There were red velvet ropes, Hollywood stars, and famous faces all over the Kalahari convention center… even if some of them were cardboard cutouts.   And while “Rolling out the Red Carpet” was the official theme of the event, the unofficial theme that surfaced in every session I attended was relationships.

Not surprisingly there were a number of pointers on maintaining, building, and improving relationships with employees.  In his presentation on engagement, Broc Edwards pointed out that engagement programs are great, but don’t get too bogged down in the planning.  “Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every day of the week.”  At a minimum, just start where you are and stop digging yourself in a hole by avoiding actions that you know create disengagement.  Robin Schooling gave us a few HR lessons from Hollywood, reminding us to “let our employees be stars.”  With the popularity of reality TV, it shouldn’t be a surprise to realize people want to be heard….”give them the mic to tell their story.”   Ohio SHRM gave Steve Browne the mic, and he summed it up nicely by saying “If you let people matter – and you tell them that they matter – you can get anything done.”

Robin made the excellent suggestion to monitor pop culture to understand its influence on our world and our workforce.  Additionally, we also need to be aware of the relationship we, as individuals or organizations, have with the outside world.  Jim Smith shared with us a “Marketing Ball” model that illustrated the various steps and phases of marketing and sales – and make no mistake, HR is Marketing.  It takes time to build positive relationships and establish yourself aka your brand.

Speaking of sales, Chip Ramsey offered up a different way to view the vendors that are often calling on us.  Instead of “vendors” how about “business partner?” or even “friend?”  It’s okay to say “no” when called on, but do it with respect.  Once again, it takes time to develop a relationship, and you never know when it might be helpful.   Meet 3 – 4 people a week.  Go to networking events.  Agree to meet with anyone who asks you…or at least half of the people.   This is true for peers as well.  Attend local SHRM meetings.  Join a twitter chat says suggested Rachelle Falls .  Ask yourself, where do you find help when you need it?  Start building those relationships!

In her “Happy Crap” presentation, Erika Oliver told us to “Eat our P.E.A.S.”  The acronym represents her four tips for staying positive when the forces are against us.  Take responsibility for your own mental well-being.  When stuck, move….literally!  Don’t engage with complaining.  Watch your assumptions, and start with 3 good things.

As Jennifer McClure pointed out, in perhaps my favorite of all the presentations, Human Capital is cited by executives as their #1 business challenge for 2015.   As HR professionals, this is our “call to action.”  But we cannot do it alone.  We need our posse to help us on this journey.  We need to invest in our relationships; build into others if we want to live up to our HR hero potential.

Finally, the closing speaker, Mark Sanborn told us of another hero.  An ordinary hero named Fred.  He described the lessons he learned about excellence from his mailman.   Fred went above and beyond to make a positive impact on the lives of the people he served.  He feared nothing but “to waste the current moment” and asked himself each night, what did I accomplish today?   That is the real question.  It is not how busy am I, but what did I accomplish?  Mark Sanborn then asked us what each of us will take away from the conference.  What will we do differently?

When we think we are too busy to return a vendor’s email, or to engage in more than “hello” with a co-worker, or to attend a networking event, remember Fred and what is really important.  Engaging with people, building into others, building trust.  That is what’s important….in a word, relationships.


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