#WorkHuman2019: Creating a Culture of Community

It’s WorkHuman’s fifth annual conference in Nashville, TN in the next few days. It’s my first WorkHuman conference and I’m very eager to learn and experience it in person. I’ve heard of WorkHuman in 2017 – the same year I attended my first SHRM Annual Conference held in New Orleans. I learned so much just from what was shared via social media, from blog posts, tweets, and LinkedIn. The more I hear and read about it, the more determined that I wanted to attend the conference.

This year, I get to be one of those blogging, tweeting, and sharing the in-person experience on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook! It is still surreal to me that I get commissioned to do this, I just hope that I can keep up with the big influencers in the room! I am very grateful to Tim Sackett and Mike Wood for this opportunity!

There are so many sessions to learn from! As I was going through their app, I noticed a pattern on the sessions I was signing up for – Creating a Culture of Community track! So I decided to focus on this track and signed up for the following:

  • The Relationship Comes First: Path to Employee Engagement
  • Leadership is Not A Thing
  • Purposeful Collaboration: Igniting Teams & Changing…
  • Get Out of the Way! Enabling Innovation by All
  • Reimagining What’s Possible – A Story of Culture Transformation
  • Everybody Matters: Transform Your Organizational Culture
  • Beyond Buzzwords: Real Talk on What it Takes
  • Leading Transformation: Overcoming the Invisible Human Barriers
  • The Power and Potential of People-Centric Cultures

I was signing up based on the topic that resonates with me as a #HR practitioner as well as a community leader/organizer. I wear my HR heart on my sleeve and many of the skills and knowledge required to be successful are also useful and transferrable in community involvement.

It was interesting to realize as I was signing up that many people that I connected with in the past two years were also leading those sessions, from Jason Lauritsen, John Baldino, Cy Wakeman, and Robin Schooling.

Of course, I’m also looking forward to George Clooney, Viola Davis, and Geena Davis as keynote speakers – big names who at least uses their money and influence for global humanitarian efforts.

I hope through my experience, you get to pick up a nugget or two that will inspire you to create a culture of community. I also hope that you will add to your bucket list to attend WorkHuman in the near future and make it one of your go to conference for learning!

Full Disclosure: Although I am commissioned to attend #WorkHuman2019, my opinions are my own and may not reflect WorkHuman or any entity affiliated with the event.

A New Year Means Reflection, Renewals, and New Goals

I’ve been called an influencer and a thought leader, these past few months. This still sounds surreal to me because I don’t really consider myself to be either. When I looked back on 2011, when I created my Twitter account, I realized how much things have changed. I considered Twitter boring, and my Facebook community was limited to close friends and family members! It wasn’t until 2017 that I took a more goal-oriented approach to Twitter. I focused on intentionally connecting with HR Pros who are willing to share their insights on #NextChat, #JobHuntChat, #HRHour, #HRSocialHour, #DisruptHR. I started following blogs that were inspiring, thought provoking which finally got me started in blogging. In 2018 I began to see the potential for applying social media to my personal life and started adding fellow HR pros on Facebook. Twitter and other social media platforms are now part of my daily routine. A way to connect and engage with a broader world, especially fellow HR pros who continue to inspire me, inform me, and provide me a deeper understanding of evolving trends and attitudes that affect our common calling.

2018 Reflection:

It’s been a while since my last blog post, which means that I’ve already failed to achieve one goal in 2018 – publishing at least one blog per month. That said, the goals that I did manage to reach were beyond my expectations, so I can honestly and proudly say that 2018 was a great year!

Professionally speaking, being chosen as one of the #SHRMBloggers was about the best 2018 birthday gift I could have asked for. And while I wasn’t able to maintain a pace of at least one blog per month, I did publish fourteen blogs entries in total. Thanks to being a #SHRM18 blogger and #SHRMDiv18 blogger, I also became a blog contributor for Workology and a guest spot for #DriveThruHR and #HRSocialHour podcasts. I enjoyed every minute spent at SHRM18, meeting the HR bloggers who I’ve admired online and I enjoyed many post-conference adventures with them – Talk about “Expanding Our World”. The experience helped shape and merge my personal and professional brand in a constructive and holistic way. What you see online is who I am in person, and I’m grateful that so many of the individuals I followed online turned out to be genuine, unpretentious, no-BS people after my own heart!

I had the opportunity to speak at two DisruptHR events, Sioux Falls, ND, and Brookings, ND. It was awesome to connect with so many HR professionals and entrepreneurs who found that my topics resonated with them. (HR is not for Lazy People and Is it the Skills Gap, the Pay Gap, or both?). In April, I launched the #DisruptHR event in Omaha. Some considered the venture overly risky—the kind of event that wouldn’t be well-received due to the conservative nature of the local HR community. It was a sold-out event! It turned out that there were many HR pros who were hungry for disruption!

The SHRM Diversity and Inclusion Conference was an eye-opener for me! The sessions I attended were phenomenal! The speakers were passionate about diversity and inclusion, and though I consider myself knowledgeable on these subjects, I still learned many valuable lessons. Attendees shared a litany of experiences that illustrated how far we have to go as people and as employers. I highly recommend it as one of the best conference to attend!

2018/2019 Renewals:

Before the year ended, I renewed my SHRM-SCP Certification and my SHRM Membership. I consider this a necessary personal/professional investment. Though I don’t always align with SHRM’s marketing and leadership (who does?) the organization has done a lot for my career growth. The ability to update and monitor the accumulation of CE credits towards my recertification has served to make the process considerably easier than it once was. I look upon my HR Certification as an individual necessity, not a social statement. If I let it lapse, it will be me who has to shoulder the consequences, not the community.

I also renewed my license to hold DisruptHR events in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska.

2019 Goals:

My 2019 goals are coming along nicely! I’m attending #WorkHuman2019 in March. I’m always excited to visit new places and am looking forward to learning, meeting new people, and spending time with online connections in real life.

Planning for DisruptHR events in Omaha and Lincoln is well underway. I can’t wait to host events in both of these awesome locations!

I am also looking forward to attending #SHRM19 to spend time with old and new connections in real life, and hopefully I get to attend #SHRMDiv2019.

I hope to work on my blogsite and have time to blog more often. I won’t commit to one blog per month, because I don’t consider this practical.

I guess you can say that my 2019 goals aren’t any different from 2018, except perhaps I want to be able to contribute more in the HRTech landscape and the future of work. I’m thankful for UltimateSoftware for including me in their white paper on my thoughts about AI in 2018 and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and hands-on experience in various HR Tech.

I hope that whatever your goals are for 2019 that you will include getting more involved in networking, engaging, and providing positive impact to the HR community, the world of work, and your local community. I am fortunate that many in my #HRTribe helped me in achieving my goals, if I can help you in anyway in achieving your goals, lets connect!

#SHRMDiv 2018 Sponsor Spotlight

IBIS Consulting Group is one of the major sponsors of the sold out event 2018 SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference. I had the pleasure of interviewing Shilpa Sherwani, CEO and Principal. She was one of the speakers last year. Shilpa started as an intern at IBIS when she came to the US to further her education. She is an Organizational Psychologist by training and pursued a master’s in Organizational Development.

GT: What inspired you to specialize in Diversity and Inclusion?

SP: As an immigrant and a woman of color, I wanted to help organizations build inclusive environments and address systemic disparities. I wanted to apply the principles of organizational development to address the issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I believe that to help organizations and communities move the needle, the focus needs to be on both individual behaviors/skills as well as systems.

GT: What are some of things that give you an edge over the competition?

SP: We created the IBIS Inclusive Organizational Framework Tool that looks for systemic bias in 14 key organizational areas. This diagnostic tool assesses how well Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion best practices are embedded in the policies, procedures, and programs of an organization. Our trainings also help organizations keep their focus on individuals and systems, so they can see sustainable changes in behavior. We provide various training modalities: instructor led, e-learning, and interactive theater. The scenarios are client specific and represent real-life opportunities and challenges.

Click here for more details: IOF Diagnostic Tool

GT: The past several years, hiring managers/recruiters were taught that hiring for “culture fit” is better for retention. How do you help organizations unlearn the practice of hiring for “culture fit”?

SP: Looking for “right fit” or “culture fit” is often rooted in unconscious bias. Fit means like everyone else, fit could be what you don’t have. Look for what’s missing on your team – if you primarily have baby boomers, consider diversifying by adding millennials. Think of sales leads you may be missing because your team is made up of members of only one part of your community. Don’t hire people from the same educational institutions. By analyzing what’s missing and what you need, you widen your search to all potential candidates, not just the ones who fit an earlier prototype.

GT: What are companies getting wrong about diversity and inclusion?

SP: Many organizations don’t align their diversity efforts with their business strategy. For sustainable efforts, it is critical to hold leaders accountable and focus on metrics and measurement. There are no quick fixes, and diversity training should not be seen as a “check the box” or standalone solution. Organizations need to move beyond diversity and recognize that providing equitable opportunities to disadvantaged groups will help address imbalances in the workplace.

If you are attending, make sure visit their booth!

Follow them on Social Media

Twitter:@IBISDiversity

LinkedIn: IBIS

 

 

Hold Your Judgment!!!

Hold Your Judgment!

It’s only been a few days since Starbucks(SBUX) held their company-wide training on racial bias, but many seem ready to write it off and dismiss any positive effects as transitory! Some of these individuals are HR professionals – but none seems to have actually participated in the training!

As a person of color and an HR practitioner, I am hopeful. I have a daughter and a nephew who work at Starbucks, and they have had nothing but positive things to say about their employer—even before the unfortunate event that prompted this training. I am optimistic about continuing this conversation, and thankful to Starbucks for taking action. They never claimed that this training was the ultimate solution. On the contrary, the company has made it clear that this is part of an ongoing initiative. They know that lasting improvement will require a sustained effort, and that it may be necessary to tweak the training over time. And I appreciate their express willingness to share the materials they develop with other organizations.

Given the company’s positive reputation within the global community, it didn’t have to proceed on this scale, but it did!  Those who consider this a PR stunt may need to check on their own bias. It was more than a PR. It was an investment! If other organizations invested in their employees so generously, we wouldn’t have so many compliance issues in the first place. I was appalled when people moaned about missing their coffee runs. Is that more important than a grand gesture focused on building a better community and tackling racial bias? Let’s think about the fact that on the day of the training, people were showing disgust for Roseanne Barr’s racist tirade. This led to innocent coworkers losing their livelihood–on stage and behind the curtains—but some still defended her. Isn’t this a climate in which fighting bigotry takes precedence over our daily cappuccinos? If you still aren’t convinced, think about the actions of our president, who spews hatred on People of Colors (African American, Hispanics, Middle Eastern, etc.). When it comes to combatting racial bias, there’s no time like the present.

Rather than writing off Starbucks’ effort, why not help promote it? They planted the seeds, let’s nurture them so that they will take root, grow, blossom, and bear fruit. What would have happened if we listened to naysayers when the “Do Not Litter” and “No Smoking” campaigns were launched? It’s easy to forget that these attempts to change American society produced their share of scoffing and cynicism. It took time, but society did change and changed in recent memory. Sure, there are those who still litter and smoke, but at a vastly lesser scale than in decades past. Remember the business owners who thought that smoking ban would be bad for business? The opposite turned out to be true.

We all know that we are not born racist. Racism is learned, much like smoking. As someone who grew up with smokers, many of my family and friends (myself included) do not smoke, and our children aren’t hesitant to announce to someone that smoking can kill them! We are also of mixed race and multi-religion, making it important to be respectful of our differences, and those of others. Education is a big step. We all learn at different pace. So, before we judge Starbuck’s effort and write it off, let’s give it some time. Perhaps, if we just hold off on being judgmental, and instead practice open mindedness and patience, our world will be a better place… who doesn’t want that?

We Know Sexism Exists! How do we fix it?

Exploiting Sexism is not the answer!

Kate Bischoff (@k8bischHRLaw) a fellow HR Pro, who is also an attorney, tweeted an article about female entrepreneurs who created a fake male co-founder to dodge sexism (here’s the link to the article: https://www.fastcompany.com/40456604/these-women-entrepreneurs-created-a-fake-male-cofounder-to-dodge-startup-sexism?platform=hootsuite.  Kate acknowledged that this was a gutsy move, but believes that it carries a fair amount of risk. She and I also agree that the entrepreneurs’ actions don’t pass ethical muster.

Wendy Dailey (@wyndall93) a fellow HR Professional mentioned that that there was a similar article recently where a male and a female employee switched names for emails and received similar outcome. https://medium.com/@nickyknacks/working-while-female-59a5de3ad266

Above all, these approaches improve nothing. Yes, we exposed sexism (again), but are we headed in a productive direction?

Hardly.

If anything, this move only serves to perpetuate the idea that we need a male to get things done. It even creates a scenario in which it becomes easier to sweep sexist attitudes and outcomes under the rug. How would we feel if a male entrepreneur faked a female co-founder in order to pose as a champion of diversity, or appeal to those seeking role models in male-dominated fields?

(This is already happening, by the way and it is not ok.)

If the people you hired are sexists, fire them and make the reason for their dismissal clear. Call them out on it. If they represent an organization, report them to their employer. Anti-Harassment applies to vendor’s action toward their clients and vice versa. Stop tolerating it. It’s your business.

Pretending to be a man is not the solution. If you can’t get respect from male web designers, hire a woman. There are female web designers, DB/software developers, and graphic designers. As a matter of fact, my daughter is a web & graphic designer who has helped female & male entrepreneurs in the past. They’re out there, seek them out.

Sexism exists, and will continue to exist if we treat the threat it poses as a game. Women need to stand up and resist the temptation to perpetuate old patterns by engaging in sloppy workarounds rather than direct confrontation.

That said, it’s also important to resist the temptation to exclusively hire women, when faced with such challenges.  An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. Be an equal opportunity employer, not because it sounds good, but because it’s the right thing to do. You can’t change the rules to an unfair game by playing along.

Move on and be better.

There are decent male professionals in the start-up game. If you need a VC and you can’t get funding because you don’t have a male co-founder, either you partner with one, or keep looking for a VC who will fund you anyway. Creating a fake co-founder is a blatant misrepresentation, fraudulent and unethical. False pretense is a lousy foundation for a fledgling business.

Women finding success in business is not new.  Find them here: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2156-women-owned-businesses.html

For an example of the pitfalls of exclusively hiring one gender, take a look at this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1168182/Catfights-handbags-tears-toilets-When-producer-launched-women-TV-company-thought-shed-kissed-goodbye-conflict-.html

sexism