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Insights Day One of the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference: 5 Sessions We Loved

Human Resources

Yesterday was Day 1 of the annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference. In the lineup, speakers tackled everything from optimizing your hiring using theories from Money Ball to becoming a disruptor who drives your HR strategy forward. Here are the key takeaways and insights from five sessions we attended, and what you need to consider for your HR strategy in the year ahead.

Money Ball for the Talent Function, Mark Fogel, co-founder of Human Capital 3.0

Mark Fogel suggests that businesses can punch above their weight in the talent category by applying the concepts of Money Ball to the talent function. He notes that it’s critical to measure the real elements that lead to success and wins. In order to figure out what those variables are and capture real returns, businesses often have to question the way they’ve been doing things for decades.

Do your candidates really need a college degree, for example, or to be recruited from a top program with a higher price tag? How many years of experience do they really need on the job? If you play it safe by hiring the same type of candidate each time, you miss two opportunities: you pass on overqualified candidates who might be interested in a role, and on interns, who are inexpensive to hire and can potentially be affordable, high-performing full-time hires after graduation.

The Miami Heat famously had players who took a pay cut so the organization could hire LeBron James – and then went on to win an NBA Championship. As Fogel points out, it’s important to look at what factors are on your scorecard. For example, instead of automatically looking for a star for every role, determine what skills are really needed to succeed and how that can impact your price point. He says, “I’m not challenging you to get rid of your scorecard. We all have them. I want to challenge what you put on your scorecard.” To learn more, read Fogel’s recent blog post on the Money Ball Talent Function.


"I'm not saying get rid of your scorecard. I'm asking you to challenge what you put on your scorecard." #SHRM17 #Moneyball @HC3

— Michael DiLuglio (@MDiluglio) June 19, 2017


Creating a Culture of High Trust: 10 Things Organizations Must Do to Experience High Trust, Richard Fagerlin, President of Peak Solutions Inc.

Richard Fagerlin, the president of Peak Solutions, Inc., noted in his session that within organizations, trust impacts the bottom line. There are, however, some common “big lies” about trust. One is that it’s earned over time, and the second is that it takes a lifetime to earn and just a second to lose. Instead, Fagerlin suggests moving beyond a “winners” and “losers” model of trust, and surrendering the scorecard. He says, “Trust isn’t something that you earn. It’s something that you give. And if you’re not willing to give it, you’re never going to get it.”

Organizations can implement a trust model to help foster trust. Focus on three things: competence, integrity, and compassion. As Fagerlin notes, every organization is perfectly designed to gets the results it does. By striking a balance between autonomy and alignment, it’s possible to build trust. Diagnose whether the issues you perceive as trust issues are really that – or the failure of a process or system. Invest in the quality of your leadership by promoting the best and building a culture of extreme leadership. Assess your team in terms of the three pillars – integrity, competence, and compassion – and create an honest, vulnerable roadmap for how to improve. Ultimately, you build trust by getting closer, not by getting louder. Start by focusing on what’s in front of you and asking, “What’s going to have the biggest impact on our business goals?” As the gatekeepers of culture, HR has the ability to create a thriving culture of trust.


Trust is not something you earn it's something you give. @richardfagerlin thank you for sharing your awesome insights on trust ???? #SHRM17

— Chelsea Jensen (@cheljtweet) June 19, 2017



Note to leaders: 'You build trust by getting closer, not by getting louder.' @richardfagerlin #SHRM17

— Ivette Dupuis (@HRDudette) June 19, 2017




Build #Relationships by showing #Vulnerability @richardfagerlin #SHRM17 #Trust #Culture #Engagement

— Akilah Charlemagne (@akilahconnects) June 19, 2017


Rethinking HR, Ryan Estis, Chief Experience Officer, Ryan Estis & Associates

Ryan Estis had an important message for HR departments and leaders: While disruption and change are not new, many companies are facing the reality that if the world changes and they don’t innovate, they will die. We are in the era of the customer, and that immediately translates to employee attitudes and experiences. What does it say to businesses when 60 percent of the workforce reports that it’s under-engaged and there’s a significant trust/leadership gap? There are three steps HR leaders can take to narrow the gap and re-engage staff:

Initiate continuous reinvention: Businesses are changing faster than ever before. Position HR as a center of innovation and a change agent. Adopt a culture of daily self-assessment and continuous improvement by asking, “What can we do better today?” Invest five hours of scheduled time in self-improvement weekly. In the bigger conversation, your talent is your key differentiator; it’s your opportunity to win vis-à-vis the competition. Advocate for change. A great way to start is to shift from annual performance reviews to quarterly conversations on expectations, feedback, and development.

Deliver HR from a position of influence: It’s important to establish credibility and confidence, and then go all-in on change. It starts with effective two-way communication: understand what people want and are struggling with, and then share your ideas and solutions. Take the position of the challenger, questioning the status quo, and encourage your team to do better. In particular, challenge leaders to think differently about your HR strategy and advocate an agile, modern digital mindset.

Be a culture champion: Use culture as a way to help connect your team to your bigger mission, and ensure they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Create a culture that asks whether employees can love their work and have it change their lives. It’s possible – but your core values need to be known and understood. Tell your customers’ stories to help employees see the inherent value in both your mission and their personal contribution.

"Customer preferences will change more in the next 5 years than the past 50 combined." - Ryan Estis #SHRM17

— Corey Kephart (@CoreyKephart) June 19, 2017



Disrupt HR!, Jennifer McClure, CEO of Disrupt HR and Unbridled Talent

Disrupt or be disrupted, says Jennifer McClure. It’s up to you to choose. 

In many companies, HR struggles with low credibility. In one Deloitte study that McClure cites, just 36 percent of respondents in 2017 feel HR is doing "good" or "excellent." In order to change this, she suggests that HR departments and leaders need to be willing to disrupt themselves and change the way they approach business. To do this, they need to understand:

  • Technology tools, flexibility, and work/life balance are wanted by all employees.
  • Low employee engagement numbers suggest that perhaps engagement hasn’t been correctly defined yet. Have a strategy in place that engages all types of employees.
  • Companies are facing a rapidly shifting environment that’s changing the rules of how we work, learn, and collaborate. HR departments that adapt to this – such as by creating a blended workforce of part-time, full-time, and freelance team members working together for optimum results – will have the advantage.
  • Today’s talent landscape makes it easy to commit to hiring the best people, regardless of geography.

The disruptive HR leader is one who understands the data and applies it to decision making – but weighs the human cost of any decision. In addition, find ways to solve business problems and innovate. Don’t ask for a seat at the table. Earn it by thinking outside the box, solving big problems, and becoming a mover and a doer who is an essential part of moving your business’ goals forward.

You've got to Disrupt you-challenge yourself to stay relevant! @JenniferMcClure #SHRM17 pic.twitter.com/dHMnaag8Ck

— Michigan SHRM (@MichiganSHRM) June 19, 2017


Hire for adaptability not resumes @JenniferMcClure #AgileHR #SHRM17

— Fabiola Eyholzer (@FabiolaEyholzer) June 19, 2017


You can't improve a culture that is not defined @JenniferMcClure bad company culture leads 22% of ????‍?? #SHRM17 pic.twitter.com/NWfwELrYZN

— Ben Watts (@wattsnextBen) June 19, 2017


Business Acumen, Kevin Cope, CEO of Acumen

In his presentation “Business Acumen,” Kevin Cope, the CEO of Acumen, outlines the importance of connecting your HR initiatives to the business’ core needs. To maximize your HR department’s strategic impact, Cope underscores that it’s critical to understand how your business makes money. In an environment where many startups don’t make it past their first few years, make sure that you understand the role of money in a thriving business: 

  • Cash: Cash is a company’s oxygen supply. HR can impact cash flow by helping raise revenues, lower expenses, collect faster, and pay slower. Just understand the tradeoffs.
  • Profits: Without profits, a company won’t thrive for long. Profit is tied to brand value, which separates the average companies from the star performers. HR can bolster profits by investing in sales and leadership training, paying top performers what they’re worth, and helping reduce expenses.
  • Assets: Every asset in your business has value, and that which is measured is easier to improve. Conduct an analysis to determine which assets – including team members – are underperforming.
  • Growth: Growth builds value in a business and attracts the best and brightest people into an organization. Ensure that you’re building the culture needed to sustain growth, and anticipate how the company’s expansion plans are likely to need support from the HR function.
  • People: Your employees are your most important weapon, as they drive cash, profit, assets, and growth. Focus on anticipating the needs of customers, both internal and external. Communicate frequently, clearly, and transparently to help your team deliver maximum value.

Ultimately, your goal should be to hire talent that possesses business acumen. Consider your plans within the context of how your CEO and CFO envision value and impact. Use those insights to tie your HR strategy to your company’s objectives, and communicate that information to all your talent so that every position is aligned to the company’s most important goals.

We hope these insights help you stay up to date with the latest trends from the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference. Check back tomorrow, when we’ll be outlining key takeaways from our favorite sessions from Day 2!




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