SHRM Day 2 Coverage – HR’s Future and Making Giving a Priority

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Day two of SHRM 2013 went off without a hitch, and we got up bright and early to learn from the brightest minds in HR. We want to take you on a recount of yesterday morning’s events, keynotes and lessons’ learned.

The first session of the morning was The Future of HR: Four Keys for Creating Competitive Advantage Through Innovative People Strategies,  hosted by Jennifer McClure, President, UnbridledTalent LLC.

The changing roles in HR

Before talking about the future, McClure took the audience on a journey of HR past. She told the story of the National Cash Register Company of Dayton Ohio, which created the first human resources department in 1987 by hiring Lena Harvey to serve as “Welfare Manager.” Harvey was also seen at the “Corporate Mother” in charge of social events, cleaning up and other menial tasks.

To prepare for the changes, McClure recommended HR professionals focus on these 10 competencies:

  • Business Acumen
  • In-depth business knowledge
  • Strategic thinking
  • Strategy development
  • Strategy execution
  • Organizational development
  • Decision-making
  • Teamwork
  • Business ethics
  • Technology and information systems

These competencies go beyond the traditional traits associated with HR professionals, and that’s the point. “I think that’s how we have to think of ourselves, as business leaders first and human resources as part of that business leadership,” McClure said.

Get ready for the future of HR

McClure presented these four key ideas, for getting your business and the your department’s ready for changing landscape of human resources and professional management:

  • Be curious and ask questions: Don’t be afraid to look further at different aspects of the business. Embrace data and analysis, and seek out future-focused data, not traditional metrics like time to fill or headcount, but enlightening information that can help uncover future opportunities. Data is the best way to justify tough decisions, and it’s the best way to persuade CEOs and senior leadership.
  • Be focused: For a long time, HR has been focused on getting the proverbial “seat at the table.” But that thinking needs to change. The new focus should be on “wanting the ball,” like Chicago- and basketball-legend Michael Jordan in his prime. Like MJ, McClure believes HR people should strive to be the best, to be the go-to person when winning is on the line. Invite yourself to meetings, ask good questions, and seize the opportunity to get involved. Don’t just take notes and ask “How can I help?” Instead show how you can make a difference.
  • Be innovative: One of the biggest challenges HR faces is letting go of tried and true processes that worked in the past. Everything in the business world – technology, demographics, communication – has changed. In response, “it just makes sense that a lot of our practices, our policies and procedures, should change as well,” McClure said.
  • Be disruptive: “Always look for ways to be better,” McClure said. She said that “change management” is a false notion. You can’t manage change, you can only influence it. So use your influence to guide change that positively impacts your business.

General session keynote: Making giving a priority for your business

Our next stop was the grand ballroom for the General Session keynote from Blake Mycoskie, noted entrepreneur and author. Mycoskie is best known as the Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS. TOMS is not like other shoe retailers. For every pair of shoes Tom sells, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need. This giving program is called One for One and has turned into a global movement.

Mycoskie presented a moving and inspiring case for making giving a priority, recounting his own experiences that led to the formation of TOMS.

The story of TOM’s

Mycoskie was on vacation in Argentina, taking some time away from the online startup that he founded. He relaxed and indulged in local culture for much of his trip, enjoying polo matches and Malbec wine. Just a week before he had to return to his home in California, he met a group of local women who were arranging a shoe drive. The women explained to him that children in Argentina were required to wear shoes to school, but that a vast majority of the children don’t have access to footwear at all. Thus, without shoes, children had little hope of attaining a proper education.

Mycoskie was moved, and he volunteered to help collect and deliver shoes to children in a local village. What he experienced on that volunteer trip changed his career and his life forever.

“Kids were so excited to be getting the shoes,” he recalled. “Not only kids, but parents as well. It was like Christmas day.”

“The joy that I saw, and that I experienced myself putting shoes on these kids feet was something I had never experienced before in my life,” he said. Mycoskie realized at that time that he wanted to do more than run a successful company; he wanted to give back to those in need. At first, he thought about starting a charity.

However, he soon realized that he can make a bigger difference by taking a different approach.  “I started to think that, all my life I had been an entrepreneur. I had no experience in charity or philanthropy,” he said. “And I started thinking about entrepreneurship as a problem-solving mechanism and could entrepreneurship, instead of charity, solve this problem.” The more he thought about it, the more excited he became.

“What if, instead of starting a charity to ask for donations and hand outs to give to these children, we actually started a for-profit business to fund the giving that I wanted to do and these kids needed,” he pondered.

Mycoskie recognized that a business built on giving would be more sustainable that a charity dependent on getting. This idea formed the premise of Tom and its promise of “one for one,” where one shoe is donated for every shoe sold.  By the end of that summer of 2006, TOMS had sold 10,000 pairs of shoes. As of this week, TOMS has sold 10 million. Mycoskie believes that all companies can benefit by embracing giving. “Giving feels good,” he said. “For that, it’s worth doing in and of itself. But giving doesn’t just feel good; it’s also really good for business. It can actually be a good business strategy.”

Give to receive

You don’t have to build an entire company around a giving mission like TOMS; for human resource and business leaders, Mycoskie highlighted three ways that giving can help build a more successful company:

  • Your customers become your marketers: Great marketing and advertising is essential, but it’s also expensive. By incorporating giving and connecting with customers who share your passion for giving, your customers will actually serve as your best marketers, help you spread your message and, in turn, reach new customers.
  • You built a more engaged workforce: Employees want to make a difference, too. By positioning your company as a “giving” business, you can attract better talent. You can also enhance employee retention and satisfaction. “You can give opportunities for your team members to serve, locally and together,” he said. “It’s amazing what happens.” Making your employees your biggest asset is key to growing any business, large or small.
  • You can attract great partners: No matter how big or small your company is, strategic partnerships play an integral role in your future. More companies want to partner with socially-conscious organizations.

Last morning session: Social revolution and your business

Our last session of the morning was a presentation titled Social Recruiting: Power to the People, hosted by Matt Kaiser, Recruitment Strategy Manager, Ericsson, Docklands, VIC, Australia. Kaiser began his session by quoting BuzzFeed CEO and co-founder Jonah Peretti. “Social is no longer a niche method of consuming content, it’s now the dominant way people discover information,” he said.

Social media has revolutionized the business landscape, and the numbers back it up. Six of the 12 most visited websites are social, and social networking sites now reach over 80 percent of the world’s online population. Leading companies are embracing social media, as evidenced in the fact that 87 percent of the Fortune 100 use social media to engage customers.

The impact of this change is clear: companies no longer control what people think about brands, customers do. Companies that recognize this revolution and adapt a winning social media strategy will be in a better position to reach customers and grow their businesses.

Manage and develop your brand online

The key to building a social media strategy is to understand the concept of a brand in the social space. Your company’s brand is everything – positive and negative – that exists online. To manage your brand, Kaiser recommended investing in social media monitoring tools, such as Social Mention, and setting up Google Alerts to get notified of search activity related to your company. You can also monitor your reputation on Klout, Vault and GlassDoor.

Once you know how to manage your brand, you can start to develop it. The first step is to plan for success.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Establish goals for social media use: Know what you want to get out of social media.
  • Develop social media guidelines: Create a consistent, forward-thinking set of rules. A “no social media allowed” guideline is not acceptable.
  • Think mobile: You risk losing potential customers and candidates if your website isn’t mobile friendly.
  • Build and communicate your brand: If you want to attract great people, your message can’t be about your product and services. You need to connect with candidates on an emotional level. Describe how your job will influence a candidate’s life and express why they should choose to work for you as opposed to your competitors.

On social media, its all about producing new, relevant and consistent content. Create a content calendar that maps out tweets, announcements, posts, updates and event announcements that you and your employees can share and promote.

Remember to stay up to date with what’s going on in Chicago all week by heading over to Twitter. We are giving you up to date real-time commentary, images and happenings from the frontline of SHRM 2013 – #HRrocks! 

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