“Wait til @jkjhr sees us, he loves us!” – #ILSHRM18

Many of us like to point to our vast social networks and talk about the friendships we have either made or deepened that are directly attributable to hanging out on social media. I, for one, can point to the early days on #HRtwitter as instrumental in bringing lots of people into my life; folks on whom I continue to rely for advice, counsel, fun and frivolity. People I admire and adore.

John Jorgensen is one of those people.

Back in 2008/2009, John and I “met” online via twitter; hanging out on #HRHappyHour every Thursday night, chatting offline about SHRM (I was Past President of my chapter in Louisiana, he was State Director in Illinois).  I remember the first time we met IRL; HRevolution in 2010 in Chicago. My plane landed, I checked into my hotel, and I sent him a message asking where he was. After getting the answer I walked down the street, popped into an Irish Pub of some sort, and hung out with my friend for the first time!

Fast forward a few months and John (along with William Tincup, Jessica Miller-Merrell and Geoff Webb) sat with me in a bar at HRFlorida and helped me come up with a name and buy the domain for my original blog. Yup.

Why is John so special and why are we honoring him today on “John Jorgensen Day?” (also the first day of #ILSHRM18):

  • He is a wealth of knowledge on human resources and if new practitioners dive into his brain for just an hour or two they will walk away with the best foundation for their blossoming HR career
  • Behind that curmudgeonly exterior is a heart of gold; he will do anything to help another person whether it be his family, friends, alumni of his schools (he just landed a board role for his HS alumni committee), or his pals on Team Tuppy Trivia
  • He has worked diligently at the forefront of changing the dynamics of SHRM (local, state and national levels) while also promoting and championing the history of our professional organization
  • He will advise you of the correct ways to prepare and consume chili (no beans!), Chicago style hot dogs and Portillo’s Italian Beef
  • He loves old school blues music, The Godfather and Animal House, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Gettysburg
  • He calls me at least once a month so we can catch up, joke around and solve-all-the-days-problems!

Cheers to you John Jorgensen – this is a day when we, your friends and fellow HR professionals – salute you!


The State of Employee Benefits – #SHRM17

In conjunction with the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference and Exposition, SHRM released their 2017 Employee Benefits report (you can download the report here).  There’s lots of interesting information and data; one key finding is that organizations that added to their benefits offerings were most likely to do so in the wellness and health-related benefits areas.

Also, over the past four years, spousal and domestic partner benefits have increased, but may now be leveling off. The new data show that:

  • 95% of organizations provide health care coverage for same-sex spouses
  • 85% provide coverage for same-sex spouses
  • Just over 50% provide coverage for domestic partners, regardless of whether they are the same or opposite-sex

Also interesting to me was the finding that health care benefits for part-time employees has increased, with one-third of organizations now offering coverage (compared with 27% in 2014).

Telecommuting, leave time, and even standing desks; you can find information about everything under the sun. Check it out; this report continues to be a great resource for HR and benefit professionals.



A Salute to the Volunteers – #SHRM17

The big show, SHRM’s Annual Conference and Exposition (SHRM17), officially kicks off tomorrow here in New Orleans; my Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with innumerable refrains of “I’m on my way” and “I’ve arrived; here’s a picture of me at Cafe du Monde/eating a po’boy/drinking a hurricane!  and “OMG it’s humid here!” (Welcome to south Louisiana in June my friends.)

Naturally, with close to 18,000 attendees and thousands of vendor reps in the massive Expo Hall, it takes a team of thousands to put on the event. The SHRM staff are experts at this of course but, for a show on this scale, they rely on local volunteers to assist in the smoothest of executions.

Meet Erin Thompson and Jim Casadaban , Volunteer Co-Chairs for the conference. Both of them have been very active SHRM Volunteer Leaders; each of them have served as Chapter President for NOLA SHRM and they’ve held roles on the Louisiana SHRM State Council. You can also catch Jim and Erin presenting on the Smart Stage on Sunday at 1:10 PM as they discuss “Five Tips to Navigate the SHRM Annual Conference.” I had a recent chat with them to learn a bit more about their journey to this weekend…

What does your role involve?

We help promote the conference and recruit volunteers to help run the conference.  In June, we will lead the volunteers and volunteer team leads to ensure we have a smooth, successful conference.

When did you start planning/working with SHRM staff?

We started meeting with SHRM in early 2016 to begin planning for 2017.  We attended the SHRM 2016 conference in Washington D.C. to being shadowing our roles as co-chairs and to help promote the NOLA location for SHRM 2017.

How many volunteer slots did you have to fill? How many volunteers?

We have about 750 volunteers and over 1,300 shifts!

What is the benefit to Louisiana SHRM members/HR professionals who volunteer to work at the conference?

There are great benefits to volunteering.  For every 6 hour shift that you work, you get to attend one day of the conference for free.  This is a wonderful opportunity for local and state professionals to attend the conference at a reduced cost, or even no cost to them, other than their time spent volunteering.  Professional development can be a very expensive cost to companies and to individuals so it is really a great opportunity for so many local professionals to be able to volunteer and attend the SHRM conference.

What do you want out-of-town visitors to experience when they are in New Orleans?

The culture, the food, and the people.  There is no other place in the world like New Orleans.  I hope that after spending the day at the conference, attendees will venture out into the city to enjoy our great restaurants and music.  They can bring their families as well and extend their stay to visit our excellent museums and the zoo.  NOLA has a lot to offer so I hope that everyone enjoys their conference here in the Big Easy!


If you’re attending the show you’ll be able to easily find the volunteer team members in their green shirts;  they’ll be your go-to-folks for assistance in finding your way around the Convention Center (“where is Room 346? I thought it was over here?”) and/or around town. Want to find a great local happy hour, a superb bowl of gumbo, or the closest Walgreen’s to pick up some aspirin and/or bandaids? They’ll know.

Enjoy your visit; we’re glad to have you here!


Who Loves Ya Baby! #nextchat

  1. Do YOU love HR? I do.

Well…maybe it’s more that I “like” HR. Perhaps it’s that I “have a REALLY strong attraction” for HR? Something. I dunno.

But look…if I didn’t like lovehave a really strong attraction’ for human resources there’s no way I could have done this gig as long as I have. I would have hung it up by about year 3; which was, let’s be frank, quite a few years ago.

Now I’m as quick as anyone to call out the foolishness and foibles of misguided or ill-informed HR practitioners. My blood gets to boiling when I hear tales of HR dropping the ball. I despise the humorless bureaucrats who use an HR Policy Manual as a shield or like to regularly employ the phrase “legal makes us do it.”

But those sorts of HR practitioners are fading away; I truly believe that. We are, as a collective body, more informed, more creative, more inquisitive and extraordinarily plugged into our respective businesses.

Yet, a bitter after-taste still lingers; akin to rancid coffee on one’s tongue.  We continue to battle misconceptions, stereotypes and, well, jokes.

A long-serving assistant personnel manager shared an office with his boss for 20 years. He was always puzzled by the fact that every time the boss was about to sign a letter he would slide open the top drawer of his desk, peer in, and then slide it shut before picking up his pen and appending his signature.
Eventually his boss retired and he was elevated to personnel manager. His curiosity could be contained no longer.
He slid open the drawer and there, stuck to the bottom was a piece of paper, blank except for the line: “2 Ns and one L.”

(hat tip to Mary Faulkner for the joke)

Certainly some of us are misunderstood. Most assuredly some of us are working for a CEO or Owner who views HR as either fluff (parties! picnics! cheer camp!) or a necessary evil (terminations! lawsuits! benefit administration!).

Some of us are just plain doing it wrong.

So let’s talk about it.

Join me for today’s SHRM #nextchat (3 PM ET) for a twitter chat we’re calling HR, Be Human. Be Awesome. (click through on that link for the questions we’ll be discussing).

Let’s debunk some myths, chat about what misconceptions drives us crazy, and celebrate all there is to like love have a really strong attraction to in the human resources profession.







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