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SHRM Annual Conference: Insights from 3 Great Sessions on Day Two

The second day of sessions at SHRM 2017 Conference illustrated the importance of building the right team, developing essential workplace policies, and planning HR strategies. If you need a recap, read on for some of our key takeaways.

Day two of the SHRM Annual Conference was packed with general sessions and panels that underscored what an exciting time it is in the HR field. From building the right team to essential workplace policies, the talks were practical and packed with information to help HR leaders plan their HR strategies in the year ahead. If you were unable to attend or need a recap, here are some key takeaways to consider.

The Ideal Team Player, Patrick Lencioni, Founder of The Talent Group

During his keynote address and followup in-depth talk, bestselling author Patrick Lencioni said that bringing out the best in people and getting them to work together is a critical part of driving business success. Lencioni believes that we have entered into the best time to be in HR…ever. One of the biggest challenges that HR leaders face today is assembling the right teams. Effective teamwork doesn’t just happen organically; it’s something that’s strategically developed.

However, it’s easy when you hire the right people. Lencioni believes that the best team players are:

  • Humble: They know their worth, but believe that the goals of the team are critically important.
  • Hungry: The best players don’t settle. Instead, they keep pushing forward, innovating, and working hard to do better.
  • Emotionally smart: Emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills are an important part of successful collaboration.

Lencioni had some great tips for finding the right team members:

  • Stop focusing on exclusively technical skills and measurable experience.
  • Improve interviewing by avoiding siloed interviews. People will work on teams, so interview them in a team environment. This also gives you a better perspective on their answers. 
  • Conduct non-traditional interviews. Try getting them out of the office. Bring them into the real world to see how they’ll react and get a better sense of who they are as people.

Ask questions more than once. Keep probing. For example: “How do you deal with conflict?” “How would you handle an issue with a friend?” “What would your wife say about how you manage conflict?”

A full recap of this presentation is available here.

"We have entered into the best time to be in #HR...ever." - @patricklencioni #SHRM17 pic.twitter.com/Hk3Ujr3BbA

— Tracy Volkmann (@tvolkmannPR) June 20, 2017


Most executives don't know how to take talented people and make them work well together. That's where HR steps in. @patricklencioni #SHRM17

— Mary Faulkner (@mfaulkner43) June 20, 2017


Most dangerous combo is smart & hungry "the skillful politician" pretend to be humble & you don't see 'em coming! #shrm17 @patricklencioni

— Kelly Marinelli (@KellyinBoulder) June 20, 2017


The Drama Quotient, Cy Wakeman

Cy Wakeman tackled important relationship management topics in her session, The Drama Quotient. The presentation was built on research that shows when employees indulge in distracting drama, learned helplessness, low accountability, lack of self-awareness, and ego-driven behavior it comes at a significant cost to organizations. However, managers can’t be tasked with motivating employees. Instead, they need to help their employees develop the mental processes to be effective and achieve great results.

Wakeman notes that accountability is the key to engagement. A major source of drama is a lack of accountability. She shared observations garnered through an open door policy. When a manager had an open door policy, many employees came forward. However, many of the conversations were not productive: complaining, gossiping, and “please don’t do anything, I just wanted you to know” conversations. In fact, Wakeman’s research has shown that the average person spends two hours and 26 minutes per day in drama – 17 hours per week.

When you eliminate drama, Wakeman says that our natural state is innovation and collaboration. What can managers do to help lower drama in the workplace:

  • Help employees by teaching them to separate out suffering from reality. What’s the reality, and then what’s causing you to suffer? For example, a heavy workload may be your reality. Yet stressing about missing deadlines, when you actually have ample time to finish the project, may be causing unnecessary suffering and creating drama.
  • Look at your work in HR as focusing on making people more capable within their current realities.
  • Help employees understand that venting is the ego’s way of avoiding self-reflection. Feelings come in one sentence or less. Anything after that is venting. People don’t need time to vent, they need to immediately move into self-reflection. Keep feedback short and then encourage workers to move into self-reflection, which ultimately cultivates accountability.
  • Buy-in and willingness open the door to higher levels of accountability. What’s your plan to get people onboard?
  • Focus on accountability first. Engagement without accountability – where many businesses focus – can create entitlement. Prioritizing accountability ensures that won’t happen.

Don't Leave Here Without These: 10 Essential Workplace Policies and Why Every Employer Needs Them, Jim Reidy, Attorney

Attorney Jim Reidy of Sheehan Phinney led a session on 10 essential workplace policies that every employer needs. He notes that the explosion of regulations and compliance has led to the development of numerous policies and expanded HR handbooks. In an increasingly tricky compliance environment, HR leaders are worried about lawsuits, violations, and inadvertently missing reporting deadlines can have serious consequences. For HR managers trying to navigate this changing environment, Reidy recommends ten different policies to consider:

  • EEO/Sexual Harassment/Anti-discrimination policy and complaint procedure
  • Policy outlining eligibility for benefits
  • Wage/Hour time record keeping policy
  • Family and Medical Leave Policy (and accompanying state and local-related policies)
  • Alcohol and drug policy
  • Workplace safety policy and reporting procedure
  • Performance management/discipline/termination policy
  • Conflict of interest/non-disclosure/confidentiality
  • Electronic equipment use and monitoring policy
  • Record breach policy

Check back again for insights from other SHRM sessions that we didn’t cover in our daily round-ups!


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