Author: thegirlinhr

My 5 Must Have Items to Pack for Conferences #SHRM18

If you’re heading to this year’s annual SHRM conference you’re probably packing or have just finished packing your bags.

Generally, when traveling, I try to travel light — and if I forget something, if I’m in the US, I can generally do without it or replace it easily. But I try not to have that attitude completely when going to a conference because there are several items I know I’m gonna want to have (and I generally leave them in my carry-on so that I have them with me whenever I travel).

1. A Sweater (or something for layers)

No matter what time of year the conference is, I almost always find that the event center is too cool for my taste — so I always try to dress in layers. My general go to is a denim shirt — it goes with EVERYTHING and I can dress it up or down (but let’s be serious, I work in tech and I’m ALL about comfort — so I’m dressing it down, but still look kinda put together).  I’ve also used a large scarf which I wear as a scarf or can use as a wrap (a trick I picked up from my 30 day wardrobe challenge days). Whether its a yoga hoodie or pull over, you’ll appreciate having the option to cover up if you want to. I have experimented with all types and prefer ones that I can throw over my shoulders, waist, or even into a bag -so light weight and easy to roll up .

2. A Water Bottle

Its easy to get dehydrated at conferences — so I always bring one with me. I can generally find water pretty easily — and this way I don’t have to worry about wasting a cup or recycling a bottle. I actually don’t use a water bottle anymore but opt for a cup with a lid so that I can use it for other beverages. Its easy to throw in my bag or backpack bottle hold. Most places are pretty good about providing filtered water. This is a habit that I got when I went back to work after my maternity leave and I was struggling to stay hydrated – I’m not sure why, but if I have my reusable cup or water bottle with me — I just take in more water. And trust me, you’re gonna want to stay hydrated while at the conference!
3. Portable Blender

Okay — I bet you’re giving me some serious side eye here — A portable blender — seriously?!?!? I find that I’m not always eating my best at conferences or events — so if I have my blender with me I can at least throw together a quick smoothie or protein drink. Most hotels have fruit to use, or I pack a protein or veggie powder — I try to get one in the AM and take one with me to go. I use my reusable insulated cup — or sometimes I have a blender bottle that I’ll use and put the protein powder in there to make during the day. The small blender is super small and I think it was like $15 at Target  — it packs easily and doesn’t take much to clean or just pack the blender bottle. Even though its small, if I’m challenged for space (or gasp, forget it — it is the one item that I take out to wash and use at my office) I’ll pick up some protein bars.  Its not hard to find food, but not always the healthiest so I try to plan ahead a bit. Plus conference days tend to be long – so good to have an option.
4. Power Bank

This goes without saying right? Most conferences are getting better with providing power stations for attendees — but why not plan ahead for it.  They are super small and way affordable now. I leave this in my travel bag and then charge it in the airport or at the hotel and its ready to go with you to the conference!
5. Clippie, headband, and/or hat

.. because who wants to mess with their hair? Not this girl — especially since I’ve started my natural hair journey and went back to curly hair! Uuugghhh — and dealing with all those bottles of products and styling tools. No thank you if I can get around it. Ironically these are the items I almost ALWAYS forget! I try to keep a couple clippies or headbands in my bag and its easy to throw a cap in there too . The expo hall could be a place to find a cap –but its a chance that I’d rather not take. I did get a tip from a fellow HR Blogger that she gets a blow out right before her conference and with care, she can make it last for 3 or 4 days — so I’m gonna give that a try this year!

So what’s in your bag or suitcase — what are your conference must have?

Making the HR Connection, yours,

Happy MLK Jr Day

I try to make MLK day each year a day of service and reflection and with my family — what about you — what do you do on MLK Day?  Do you get the day off at work — and if not, do you try to take it off ? If not, no worries — remember I have a background in retail and I know what its like to work on days that others have off.

Here are a few of my favorite MLK quotes.


The Year of Renew


Its been a minute, eh?

I’ve been pretty quiet the last 2 years, but changed more than ever — and in many ways more passionate about HR than I ever have been — but also I’ve discovered that I’m really passionate about other things too (all things kid and motherhood related).

Generally, each December I would neatly create 3-5 clear goals and objectives to help guide my year. After I had my child — that just didn’t feel right anymore — and it didn’t work for me like it used to. So for the last two years — no annual resolutions for me. Instead … I decided I wanted to “simply” and just create a word to reflect and act on. Being new — its taken me almost 2 weeks to find the one word — and I’m comfortable with “RENEW.”

When I think about what “renew” means and all that I was trying to make goals around, I think that they two really line up . I’mm not sure what that all means in practice — but I’m looking forward to figuring it out!

1 : to make like new : restore to freshness, vigor, or perfection as we renew our strength in sleep
2 : to make new spiritually : regenerate
3 a : to restore to existence : revive
b : to make extensive changes in : rebuild
4 : to do again : repeat
5 : to begin again : resume
6 : replace, replenish renew water in a tank
7 a : to grant or obtain an extension of or on renew a license
b : to grant or obtain an extension on the loan of renew a library book
1 : to become new or as new
2 : to begin again : resume
3 : to make a renewal (as of a lease)revive

July 2017 #CarnivalofHR

july2017carnivalI’m SUPER excited to host this month’s Carnival of HR! I’m still riding high from last month’s #SHRM17 and all the amazing learnings and take-aways. I asked this months’ carnival participants highlight “topics that have been top of mind for you.” I know that for me I’ve been doing a lot of  thinking about healthcare and benefits (ACA? Repeal/Replace? Open Enrollment?) — but I know that there has also been ton of talk about  leadership or the rise of AI in recruiting.  But really — I asked the bloggers:  Tell me whats’ been happening in YOUR corner of the world!  They didn’t disappoint!  As a long time reader, occasional submitter, and first time host — welcome to the July HR Carnival!

As HR becomes more strategic, so does need for outsourcing

Judy Lindenberger

You’ve got a seat at “the table” … now how are you using it? Judy discusses how to leverage outsourcing in order to allow HR to have an even more strategic presence for their organizations.

Older workers as the solution to unfilled jobs?

Michael Haberman 

Mike offers a fresh take on the generational workplace highlighting some of the reasons why we should incorporate “older workers” in our talent strategies and what it takes for your firm to make that transition.

New generations are spawning! Birth of the Nano-Generation

Paul Hebert

And because I like a little bit of balance, Paul gets readers up to speed on the new generational group – the Xennials — what I like to think of as a kind of proverbial middle child to the Xers and Millennials.

Take note: addressing bad behavior in the workplace

Stephanie Hammerwold

I love a good pun! Stephanie discusses the whys, hows, and whats of taking notes and documentation for workplace investigations.

Why women lose the he said-she said debate

Dorothy Dalton

A great post from Dorothy! “My recent interest has been sexual harassment in tech and elsewhere and how a situation shifts a gear if a woman gets male support.”

Evaluating character

Yvonne LaRose

“There’s a lot on my mind at this time… [I’ve submitted a piece] about scrutinizing the truth of representations candidates make about their abilities and interests and another piece that relates to diversity and surviving under the pressure of stereotypes.”

Send a note !!

Steve Browne

I dig Steve’s message — “I want to see humans (especially HR) connect more.” I couldn’t agree more!

Lookin’ for HR love in all the wrong places

Robin Schooling

As someone who is TOTALLY guilty of buying all of the “I love HR” gear I can get my hands on … for myself — and others… I loved this piece from Robin on looking to gain promoters for HR OUTSIDE of HR professionals.

Are you a first-time manager? 6 tips to start off right

Jesse Lyn Stoner

“The leap from individual contributor to first-time manager is one of the biggest leaps you can make. Here are 6 tips to help ensure your leap isn’t over the edge of a cliff.”

You’re wrong about HR

Katee Van Horn

Whether your company’s firm is “good HR” or “bad HR,” Katee walks you through the responsibilities of an HR department to curb sexual harassment and what makes HR an approachable place for employees.

The victim language of Mitch McConnell

Tim Gardner

“…this isn’t … an HR post, though it reflects how important it is for HR folks to listen carefully to the word choices of their employees.”

L&D Roundup

Jennifer Juo

“Today’s learning & development (L&D) professionals must rethink how they approach workplace learning and constantly think out of the box when it comes to nurturing talent. Our L&D roundup highlights the top 5 most innovative L&D ideas and trends to take a look at…”

Hope you enjoyed this month’s HR Carnival!


IRS extends deadline for 1095 for 2016 tax season #ACA


Are you hoping that ACA will just go away — probably a bad idea. If you are not already prepared for the upcoming filings, you may want to start working on it pronto! Good news — the IRS has extended the deadline for providing 1095 forms to employees for the 2016 tax season.  Mark your calendars – the new date is March 2, 2017.

Here are some other important dates and activities that you should be aware of:

  • The IRS will begin levying fines in December for the 2015 tax season;
  • Subsidy notifications will increase in February (giving you about 30 days to respond by the time you receive the notification);
  • The 1095 forms will be due to employees by March 2;
  • And the 1094 will be due to the IRS March 31

A few more deets:

  •  Regardless of the election, ACA reporting deadlines and penalties are still very much a reality – employers must continue business as usual and comply with the reporting requirements or face a penalty. Employers that choose to ignore the reporting requirements are viewed as having a “willful disregard” for the requirements and are subject to a fine of $530 for each 1095-C they fail to deliver, uncapped. (YIKES!)
  • Because employers have been given an extension for sending 1095 forms to employees, the IRS will likely be less lenient on assessing fines for late forms. (YIKES!)
  • The funding mechanism for the premium tax credits (which cost the government $1.4T in 2015 and 2016 combined) is the penalties which the government determines in part through the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Therefore, the ACA reporting by employers through the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C is necessary to determine which employers owe a penalty to fund the premium tax credits.
  • It is unlikely that immediate changes will or can be made to ACA before reporting deadlines. (so dude, if you’ve been putting it off, just do it!)

And here are a couple of other things to put into perspective

  • The new Administration will likely need to have  a replacement for the ACA before they can repeal it, and there is not replacement plan in place, which would likely take years to develop and implement. Even if they want to roll back to “pre-ACA” I think that might be hard to do since there are people who have enrolled and are using the exchanges — at any rate, they need a plan and have time to execute and administer it.
  • The president cannot unilaterally repeal the ACA, it requires Congressional approval.

So my two cents, and that’s really all its worth: if you have waited until the last minute to get this started and in place hoping that it would just all go away — you may get your wish, but not likely before the IRS deadlines 😦  I’d recommend finding a consultant to partner with who can help you get up to speed quickly — it might cost you, but I don’t think that you want to pay the IRS fines instead.

Making the HR connection, yours,

What The Girl In HR is Reading: Monday Nov 7

I’m coming up for air to share what I’ve been reading that is not baby, toddler, eating, breastfeeding, motherhood related 🙂

I also decided to mostly steer clear of anything 2016 election related (for now) … but that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t a TON of stuff going on that might peak your HR interest!

Here are a few things that got me thinking over the last week!

  • As an HR girl who is currently focusing in on the “compliance” space –this one was one worth sharing– I for sure feel it in my space and know that others are as well. If you’re having a hard time getting your fellow HR peeps or even your managers on board, this is a good read to help understand the “why” and maybe even get you (and your organization) thinking about what might be next… and maybe even what you can do to be more proactive –>

    As compliance pressure mounts, businesses turn to regulatory technology

  • Let’s all shed a tear as we say GOODBYE to Twitterfeed which shut down as of Oct 31. Bummer– I LOVED Twitterfeed — if you were a Twitterfeed lover — what, if anything, will you be using now?

Twitterfeed To Shut Its Doors

  • Competition much? … er, its in my top 5 😉  — what do you think? Agree?

The good and the bad of keeping score at work

  • Okay … so ONE thing related to the elections — things that you might need to look at depending on which candidate wins on Nov 8.  That’s not picking or advocating a side, that’s just gathering information — 🙂

Possible Clinton & Trump Results for Human Resources

8 Presidential Election Issues That Impact Your Workplace

What caught your HR eye recently?


Simple Ways to Say Thank You #HRGoodness


So this isn’t some big strategic or deep post — its more of a reminder. Sometimes we get so caught up in the “big” things, the “little” things get neglected. Its the holiday season and that is always a time for me to reflect and think about all that I’m thankful for. A big part of the season, not only as an HR pro, but just for me personally, is taking time to sincerely thank all of those people who are special to me — especially after the year that I’ve had this year. 🙂 It may be a “thank you” for something very specific, or it could be a way to expressing how much I appreciate having someone in my life.  One of my love languages is “receiving gifts” and one of my top five StrengthsFinder strengths is “Individualization” — so I love to give gifts as much as I get them :). However, sometimes my gift giving list gets pretty long — when I think about people I work with and other professional colleagues… and at some point, if you’re like me, you list gets to be pretty big and you’re giving people trinkets just to give them something and stay within budget – but it kinda misses the mark  it’s not just about giving gifts — it’s about what’s behind it. Often times, simple is better.

You can’t always throw a big party, have a large lunch, or give the day off — but here are a few free or low-cost ideas that you can use to say thank you or show appreciation to your team or teams that you support.

Say THANK YOU, its simple and to the point .. and I find that people don’t do it nearly enough. A meaningful “thank you” goes a long way with a long of people – and its totally free.

Write a handwritten heart-felt note … or for some of your peeps, they may prefer it via socmedia.

Print (and/or frame) a photo with a fun memory or event from the year – maybe from a team outing, conference, event.

Make a home-made treat — or maybe pick up a special treat. Personally I take note of what people’s favorite treats are (or have new employees fill it out on a “get to know you form”) and I try to personalize it (that’s my individualization again). But sometimes just providing a simple treat whether they are cookies or a fruit salad – the thought can convey appreciation. I know we’re all busy, but try NOT to just leave it on someone’s desk or chair — if possible give to them in person and spark a conversation.

Set up some quality time — whether it’s a pot luck, volunteering together, going for a walk in the park, bowling — spending quality time with folks says “I care” and “I appreciate you”.. and want to spend some time with you.

What are some of the ways that you show appreciation to your employees, teams, or colleagues and spread #hrgoodness?



The Girl in HR’s #SHRM15 Tip No. 14

Its hard to model wellness — especially away from home… and in Vegas — but do your best to make conscience decisions and if you’re going to indulge, do it wisely.  As HR ppl, we ARE leaders in this area for our teams and leaders.

The healthy stuff might be harder to find, but your body will appreciate it — when you get back home (and adjusting to this desert heat).  What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas — I’m gonna try to leave behind some of those empty calories! (note: as I write this the caterer JUST walked past me with a tray of chewy chocolaty brownies, on of my favs). Its not easy.. not an understatement.

Hope you’re having a great conference!

Making the HR Connection, yours