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?



Strategic Relationship Coming Between @IHRIM and @SHRM Annouced at #IHRIM2014

I’m fresh off my #IHRIM2014 conference experience — and what can I say — It. Was. Awesome.

My bucket is FULL. My neurons are firing. My to-do list has grown (which actually excites me). I have new contacts and my network has grown. I have dozens of blogs started that I just need to sit down and finish. However, one thing I’m a little surprised that hasn’t gotten more attention is the announcement that @IHRIM is working with @SHRM to create a strategic alliance (relationships/partnership).
My ears immediately perked up as soon as I heard it and I nudged my collegeue who was sitting next to me (Stephanie @HRHammer who is a fellow contributor at during the announcement made over lunch. I’ve waited a bit to do much with it because I wanted to see what else was out there about it — but is been mostly crickets.

I’m sure that we’ll hear more to come soon. My guess  — my gut (and its only my gut because they haven’t said anything else about it) is that it is somehow related to the new #SHRMcerts and their new competency model.

It kinda makes sense though that bringing in the HRIM function more formally to their competency model.  I also have a feeling that they may try to find a way to convert the IHRIM certifications (they have their own certifications and processes) into the SHRM certs as well. OR maybe IHRIM is going to somehow fold into SHRM?

I’d welcome most any of these combos — I’m a PHR holder and I work in HRIM (and have for sometime). The IHRIM association is so well organized, friendly, and knowledgeable — I would not want to lose that — its a great support to HRIM professionals and continues to help push the function forward.  But all that aside — we’re all still not sure what the new certifications *really* mean.  I’m also curious to see if other HR specific organizations will start to form “partnerships” — there are some in the talent acquisition, benefits, and compensation space.

SO much speculation… the suspense is killing me 🙂

You heard it hear first…

Anyhoo — its all speculation at this point. We’re gonna have to wait until SHRM National to hear more. They are making more information available however. I did notice that they have some serious overhauls to their FAQs and really beefed them up– so if you haven’t checked them out in a while, it may be worth revisiting.

I guess its the waiting game for another couple of weeks … but if you hear anything in regards to some of the other HR-related associations, I’d love to hear about it.

Waiting to hear what it all means 😉 — yours


But what do you mean? Define what success looks like!

As an HR person or even as a manager — do you ever find yourself asking this question, “What do you mean?” Nor in a negative or condescending way, but just because you don’t know. I’d actually make the case that more people should be asking that question.

I was wrapping up some work on an engagement survey recently. Most managers and HR people are looking at the results and trying to figure out what their employees need — better communication, better direction, more resources, better tools — sound familiar? And you know the next step — meeting debriefs with employees to understand the areas you did well and and the areas where there are opportunities to grow or make improvements. Finally comes the sessions to create action plans — to address the areas of opportunities and make sure that you keep the things that are going well. Standard and best practice stuff right? And likely something that you’ve participated in as an employee, manager, or an HR pro (and sometimes all three).

Management (and sometimes HR) start to work on the action plan only to find that they aren’t moving the needle the way they want — its a conundrum (don’t you love that word?) You’ve involved your employees in getting feedback, you’re actively working on deliverables against the action plan, but still not seeing the desired results in helping to improve engagement or employee satisfaction.

What we have is a disconnect!

I don’t want to change the process — I think that its all great stuff and things that we don’t want to lose or skip — however, I’d recommend that you add a step — ask “what does success look like?” or if you prefer ” what do you mean?” If you get feedback that your people need more tools and resources — ask “what does that mean?” — is that people, computers, technology, office supplies?  Then ask “what does success look like” — if you need 10 new people resources is success getting 1, 5, or all 10 (and in what time frame).  Your employees ask for better communication — you ask “what do you mean?” Ask them to elaborate. Is that more email, less email, all hands, team meetings, status reports, cross functional team updates? — and then what does successful communication look like. Make your action plan align to what success looks like.

It might be tempting to jump into action planning and start delivering — but take some time to ask clarifying questions and set some realistic expectations in order to avoid one of a disconnect between you, your teams, and your employees. Give it a try and tell us about it! You don’t have to wait for a survey 🙂 — these questions work with all kinds of situations — and in your personal life too.

Making the HR Connection, yours truly,

Election Talk – Taboo or Necessary?

In a word… YES!

I always try to avoid the “taboo” topics — race, religion, politics — but its hard to ignore when there are so many connections to HR pros — and especially — our employees. So can I afford to take that stance now? I’m not entirely sure…

“Making the HR Connection” is all about understanding what is going on in the world and how it impacts your employees, your business, your bottom line — and even extending that to your customers and future employees.

What issues do you think are important — do you think that the candidates are giving those issues enough time and attention?

Jobs are on top of many people minds — even if you have one, you probably know someone who doesn’t or is looking (or given up and stopped looking)… but what else should they be talking about?

And what is the role of HR pros? Taboo Talk — stay out of it — or provide unbiased information and research?

Let me know what you think!

PS. Like my new signature — I’m still playing around with it 🙂

Check out Spark Hire’s Top 25 Must Read Blogs for Employers – Spark Hire

Check out the top 25 “Must Read Blogs for Employers” — (so excited that some of my fellow HR soc media friends made the list! Big Congrats!!!)

Here are the first 5 on the list — click below and get the full list!

1. HR Bartender is run by author and HR pro Sharlyn Lauby, with frequent updates on timely issues. Like any good bartender, Lauby weighs in on the issues of the day and promotes conversation among a lively group of commenters.

2. The HR Capitalist is the blog of HR pro Kris Dunn, who has built a following with a mix of great, timely information and his fun blogger personality.

3. SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) is a great source of information for all HR professionals. The site has up-to-date information, surveys, and more to keep busy professionals in the loop with the latest issues in hiring.

4. Tribe HR is a great blog to find detailed posts about everything from hiring to maintaining a good workplace culture.

5. is one of the best blogs when it comes to thought-provoking, timely content focused on the issues facing human resources professionals. Not only is ERE a top blog with quality content, it also has a dedicated base of great commenters bringing their own knowledge to the table.

Spark Hire’s Top 25 Must Read Blogs for Employers – Spark Hire.

Social Media Policy – Take a Page from the Gap’s Policy

In today’s tech and social media world – companies and HR professionals are really looking for the black and white areas in a very grey topic.

Most “social media” experts will tell you that the best policy is no policy. I’ve always had trouble with that mantra — to me, great in theory, but really not practical for the real world. I think that policy may be a strong word — and “guidelines” might be a better one. Its a good idea to set expectations and boundaries. That’s why I really like what the GAP has done with their policy. Its simple, easy to understand, but very clear — and I think stands up as a good guidance regardless what kind of corporate environment or culture your company has.

They divided their policy up into three major buckets: “Keep in Mind”, “How to Be the Best”, and “Don’t even Think About it.”  Check out the policy here. The policy encourages people to use social media — and be themselves with it — but it also gives great points to consider whether you consider them common sense or not.

And weigh in .. what do you think — should companies have a formal social media policy?