Purposeful HR

Purposeful HR
Purposeful HR

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why great in your niche might not be good enough! A few lessons from #TLNT Conference

So I am at the High Performance Workforce Summit in Atlanta this week, being hosted by TLNT.  Great content, meeting amazing HR pros (@broc.edwards, @kenHRInnovator, @Frannyo, just to name a few on twitter, but many more)!!  Presentations were awesome, and round table discussions were invaluable.  Great info in every session.

It was TLNT's first year with this conference, so it is a smaller crowd than typical conferences I've attended.  But I have to say I am getting SO much out of this intimate setting, speakers are upper echelon of HR pros with great insight, and just better, deeper networking opportunities. 

But I have also come to an eye-opening realization today!  While Cenikor Foundation is “cutting-edge” for the non-profit world, and several of our programs are well beyond most non-profits (even some orgs much bigger than us), it is NOT ENOUGH!!

I have an elevated vision of HR since our sessions today.  A few quotes impacting me:

1) The CHRO/VP of HR is in the best position to drive strategy.  Talent is the driver of performance, and performance is the only way to drive growth and profitability (or more services for non-profits). @kenHRinnovator had great information, they are doing great things at his org!

2) Defining engagement - there are two parts, psychological and behavioral.  Traditional engagement definitions focus on the behavioral part - not only is the work done, but they go above and beyond.  That's great, but why?  Psychological engagement is when you have won their hearts, when they have pride in working for your organization, and give selflessly to meet the mission.  Much harder to measure, because it's what they feel, not what they produce.  

3) We live in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous).  How do we engage in a VUCA world to engage and retain high performers?  We've got our culture principles and our culture survey we do every six months.  But that's what we want to measure and improve.  I'm going to do deeper work to determine what our employees value, what keeps them engaged, thanks to Tina Vos, Director of HR at Air Wisconsin.

4) Panel discussion at end of day was so intriguing with some subject matter on automation/robotics in the overall topic of TOTAL TALENT workforce.  But one statement from Ron Mester, CEO of ERE Media, parent company of TLNT really stood out.  It gave me "permission" for my current perspective as an HR pro.  Ron’s quote: "HR is becoming a department of getting work done effectively, not a department just to take care of employees."  I will always be fair with employees, but you must ALWAYS be executing on our mission.  

So, it boils down to I am not going to be satisfied with being a great in our niche, a great non-profit. There were so many bigger, for-profit organizations with many more resources I was able to tap into today. I will be prioritizing the information and tools I have learned in this first day of conference to step up my HR game! 

Being a great non-profit is not good enough - I want to position us to successfully compare to any company with top-notch HR initiatives.

I hope you have an opportunity to serve and make a difference today!

Kellee Webb, SPHR


  1. Kellee,

    Sounds like a great conference! I think your new perspective on the organizations you consider peers will go a long way to opening new ideas for you.

    Why compare yourself to industry peers just because your in the same industry? Makes no sense. Look for the best at the process you want to improve.

    Recruiting? Engagement? Retention? Performance?

    Pick the best of breed; who cares if your better than the the bottom 20% out there (that just happen to be in your industry).

    Now you have to convince leadership not to care only about "the competition".

  2. Thanks for the comment RW; agree looking at best practices will be the next step. Engagement and recruiting are at the top of the list right now, and tapping into the contacts and resources from this conference has already started!