First and foremost, I want to thank everyone that was RT’ing, following and engaging with me on the #lashrm13 and #notatlashrm13 hashtags. It was a ton of fun and great to see people getting involved even though they weren’t there.


The Southern hospitality was intoxicating and immediate as this tweet went out from my good buddy & fellow social media team colleague, Christine Assaf as Sarah Williams and I arrived at the pre-conference session on Sunday.




And you have to love this tweet from Laurie Ruettimann after Sarah and I had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time at a local eatery called “Schlitz and Giggles”- no really that’s the name.


Why thank you Laurie! Far too kind. ; )


LASHRM 2013 kicked off Sunday April 7th with a pre-conference workshop byJennifer McClure on “Using Social Media in HR & Recruiting” where she generously shared tools and practices for socializing your brand and recruitment efforts. Her overarching message on branding was in the power of the employee. See a tweet from me here on what she said here:


The best-in-class brands like SodexoMicrosoftMarriott and many others are empowering employees to share their branding message across all social platforms and networks. It not only creates a purposeful and fun environment for the employees; it creates a grassroots movement for socializing the talent brand. In other words, it draws talent in and exposes them to the brand, culture and day-to-day long before they have decided to submit an application.


Monday. Monday.


Like “The Mamas and Papas” song “Monday, Monday” “it was indeed good to me and all I had hoped it would be.” Dwane Lay kicked off Monday morning with the opening keynote “Changing Culture: The Impossible, The Possible and Living on The Difference.” In this session, we revisited HR’s Psychology roots and left us with an understanding that culture cannot be planned. “Culture is a function of various inputs such as norms, values, technology etc. Depending on how we tweak those other inputs will depend on the eventual output of culture that manifests in our organizations.”


Dwane urged the audience to find “dissenting voices”, champion individuals and to get to know “ourselves”. Which begs the question- is HR spending so much time putting out fires, trying to be “strategic” and managing the work & people; that we have forgotten to take time to know who & what we are? Kind of resonates with my regular soapbox of having a solid value proposition both as an independent contributor as well as a collective business function. Do we take time to reflect on the how & why of what we do? If the answer to these questions is “no” we are missing the mark.


More importantly, Dwane shed light on the power of collaboration in teams. Data shows time and again that better outcomes come when there is both diversity on a team and more than two people collaborating. What are you doing to ensure that you are creating productive teams and environments? Your success in business is a function of the diligence and productivity of your teams and individual contributors. It was clear on Monday that diverse teams win over non-diverse teams every time.


All and all, Dwane took me back to research methods class in college, while providing a practical way to understand and utilize the science of culture. As I’ve stated here before, good cultures are not built upon likeness they are built upon the unique knowledge , skills, and abilities that coelsce and manifest via the collaboration of a diverse workforce.


My favorite quote from Dwane Lay on Monday that set the tone for everything I do in business and HR going forward is the following:


If you are in business or HR and you have been hoping for a better day in one or the other; it is not a strategy. Your strategy begins with data, a plan and execution. We are charged to get things done in HR not to sit around an hope. If nothing else take this nugget with you wherever you go.


From Dwane Lay breaking down the Psychology of culture to Jennifer McClure talking about the “Future of HR” to Devin Lemoine’s discussion on succession andRobin Schooling and Bill Boorman’s “HR’s Turning Point” session it is clear we are at the crossroads in HR. We have to rebrand ourselves as the human engineer and business liaison/partner. In doing this, we stop talking about being invited to the table; we “invite ourselves” as Jennifer McClure stated in her keynote. We realize that “global is the new local” as I stated at the top of the year and was emphasized by Bill Boorman. We stop being reactive and get proactive in planning not for just retirees to exit but for the day-to-day existence of the business by indulging in workforce planning as well as succession planning as Devin Lemoine, President ofSuccess Labs suggested.



All of these concepts left me with a feelings of obligation, responsibility and opportunity as I return to my HR desk to continue HR life as normal.


What will you all do to ensure that you keep HR moving on the right trajectory? More importantly, what will you all do to remain relevant in a business landscape and discipline that is rapidly changing? After you have skimmed some of the tweets from Mondays sessions, you will find that these are the two most important questions to be asking yourself as an HR practitioner right now. You must answer them and when you do you must strive to be the change in your business that solves business problems and provides a value to the customer.


Tomorrow, in part two of my post, I will share nuggets from the latter half of Monday and discuss the themes of Tuesday.


Get ready to move people and HR forward in 2013!

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