HR Leads Business

Jul 12, 2018 | Barry Lawrence, MBA, aPHR, HRCI Staff Writer

SHRM18: Inspiration and Reflections From the HRCI Community

HR Certification Institute (HRCI) met and heard from many inspirational HR and business leaders at the  SHRM 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago. Here’s my take on SHRM18 highlights:

The Best of the Main Events

Adam Grant, the organizational psychologist from The Wharton School of Business and author of Originals, created the most thought-provoking buzz. Based on comprehensive research, Grant challenged HR to create workplace cultures that value "disagreeable givers" versus "agreeable givers" —those super-polite types who always go with the flow and say "yes" to everything.

Disagreeable givers are dramatically undervalued, Grant says, but they are the most important drivers of positive change for organizations (beware of “disagreeable takers,” who are only in it for themselves). "The challenge is to figure out who the givers are and who the takers are — before it’s too late," he warns.

Along the same lines of thinking, Grant also warns that that the notion of "cultural fit" is a terrible idea as is the motto: "Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions." Instead, Grant believes companies must understand that culture is "always a work in progress." As a result, organizations need to do a better job of constantly developing employee strengths that will improve the organization and the culture.

"Don’t become a cultural museum," he says. "Stop emphasizing cultural fit. Value cultural contribution.”

Favorite Sessions

The conference offers more sessions than one can easily attend, much less write about. But these two stood out to me:

  • Pamela Meyers, author of The Agility Shift, provided new thinking on how organizations can become more agile to embrace change. If you missed her at SHRM18, check out her HRCI webinar replay (worth one business HRCI credit, by the way).
  • Mark Fogel, SPHR, GPHR, CEO of Human Capitol 3.0, showcased examples of how HR can significantly simplify the performance review process while dramatically improving results. Using a simple survey tool (no HRIS needed), he showed how HR can create a six-minute review that includes five multiple-choice questions, plus a comment section for three strengths and three stretches. The key is to create conversations and opportunities for feedback, not to spend months "doing this crazy performance system that we, as HR people, created."

At the HRCI Booth

We want to thank everyone who visited HRCI at our booth and dropped by to inquire about HRCI certifications, the new HRCI upSkill™ professional development and assessment modules, or to just chat about the future of human resource management. What we heard from many of you is that HR is getting a seat at the table and is being called on to be a vital business partner — not just an HR partner.

There is new energy for "HR to take its place in the business world," says Rick Bell, Editorial Director for Workforce magazine. Rick also conducted an interview at SHRM18 with HRCI CEO Amy Dufrane, Ed.D., SPHR, CAE, on the future of HR and HR certification.

"I think for the first time we are seeing . . . human capital as being accepted as part of the key conversation," agrees Anthony Raja Devados, SPHRi, Managing Director and Regional Head, PERSOLKELLY Consulting. "It’s not always the CFO calling the shots, it’s now also the CHRO calling the shots."

"The biggest HR challenge is recognizing that the way work gets done in the future is not the same way it’s getting done today," says Gary Kushner, SPHR, CBP, Kushner & Company. "HR professionals are going to need to start thinking further down the road – looking through the windshield and less through the rear-view window."

HR certification and ongoing professional development are more important than ever to help global HR leaders confront new challenges such as global immigration, management of global workforces and the introduction of artificial intelligence that will create smarter HR systems, says Dr. Archana Arcot, GPHR, Associate Vice President, HR Business Leader, Infosys BPO. Arcot says the HR team at her company is required to earn and maintain their HRCI certifications, especially the GPHR, which provides "a good lens for how you look at HR in international markets."

It’s also vital to embrace newcomers to the HR profession, says Dr. Al Gorriaran, SPHR, a faculty member at Capella University’s School of Business and Technology. He is seeing a rise in the number of professionals who are interested in changing careers and joining the HR practice.

"One of the things we’re encouraging our learners to do is to prepare and take the aPHR [from HRCI] if they’ve never worked in the field and want to learn the fundamentals to be successful." Many of the career changers, he says, are from retail as well as the primary and secondary education fields.

"HR offices are growing everywhere, particularly in the sophisticated knowledge management and talent arenas,” Gorrarian says. “The offices are getting bigger and we’re doing more. That means there’s more opportunity for people to work in HR and the contraction that happened in the 1990s is going in the other direction. CEOs and COOs see the benefits that HR brings to the organization in transformational terms, not just transactional terms."

Indeed, exciting change appears to be on the horizon for HR. Stay tuned for what comes next.