Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

The Great Reset: Insights into the Iowa State SHRM Conference with Samantha Colson and Patrick Moran

September 05, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
The Great Reset: Insights into the Iowa State SHRM Conference with Samantha Colson and Patrick Moran
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Listen up HR professionals, aspiring leaders, and everyone in between - we've got an insightful episode featuring Samantha Colson and Patrick Moran as we chew over the upcoming 2023 Iowa State SHRM Conference. Samantha, co-director of the conference and an HR leader, shares her journey from future agriculture teacher to her current HR role. We also unravel the conference theme - The Great Reset, reflecting on the transformations HR has seen in the past two decades, and how the pandemic has highlighted the pivotal role HR plays in businesses. 

As we move into the second part of our chat, we bring to the fore the significance of business support in HR. We examine how learning from business leaders, staying on top of laws and trends in HR, and fostering networking opportunities at the conference can pave the way for a robust HR. And yes, we will also tease you with some exciting details about live podcasting, the conference app, and the band that will be adding a musical touch to the event.

Wrapping up our conversation, Samantha spotlights her experience as a volunteer leader and talent acquisition specialist. She emphasizes the need for a supportive community in HR, a perspective that Patrick wholeheartedly resonates with. We also delve into how attending the 2023 Iowa State SHRM Conference can offer immense value to all professionals, irrespective of their experience level. So, tune in for a deep dive into the future of HR, the power of professional networking, and some sneak peeks into the conference. And remember, you can follow us on social media for more updates!

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Speaker 2:

This is the Rebel HR podcast, the podcast about all things innovation in the people's space. I'm Kyle Rode. Let's start the show. Welcome back Rebel HR community. Extremely excited for the conversation today. We've got a special release episode here on this Friday morning for you. With us we have Samantha Colson, the co-director of the 2023 Iowa State Sherm Conference. The conference is named the Great Reset. We're going to be talking about the conference today, talking a little bit about Samantha's background and really excited to share an opportunity for some continuing Ed with the community. With us we also have Patrick Moran. Patrick, welcome back.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, kyle, welcome to be back and happy to be back.

Speaker 2:

Sounds good. I'm nice with the guests this week because he was getting a little chippy before I had recorded. I'll be safe. Pressure, sam, no pressure. Well, samantha, thank you again so much for joining us. I also want to say thank you for your volunteer leadership with the State Council, or Sherm, in the state of Iowa. Why don't you just start off by telling our listeners just a little bit about your background?

Speaker 3:

Yeah well, thank you guys so much for having me on as a podcast listener. Super exciting to get to be here today. My background is pretty interesting. I actually originally went to college to be an agriculture teacher, so if you guys have heard of like FFA, I would have been the FFA teacher. Right out of college, though, got the opportunity to do a sales job, which made quite a bit more than teaching. So went, took a sales job and my sales job I was assigned my mentor was an HR and from that it really kind of spun me into the rest of my career. I was like I love what you do, how did you get your job? And she was like I went, got my master's in HR and then, during COVID and that reset, I was one of those people that had that COVID clarity is what they called it decided to finally go back and get my master's, got my master's why? Working full time and got my first full time HR job, and now I'm currently in my second at my second organization in HR, and we moved back to the Iowa area in 2021. And since then have gotten really involved with SHRM and it's been a great way to meet people being newer to the community.

Speaker 2:

Well, samantha, I think you know I really appreciate that, that story. You know I love the fact that, like everybody in HR, it seems, didn't start out with that as their primary career objective, and it's almost like HR finds us right.

Speaker 3:

I agree with that 100%.

Speaker 2:

So you know, I appreciate you sharing that and I really appreciate your perspective as an emerging HR leader and I think that I think this could be this will be a helpful conversation for many of our listeners also want to say a big thank you for being a listener and a part of the Rebel HR community and drive and change out there in the world of HR. So I want to. I want to start the conversation. I'm curious about the conference planning and I you know there's there's so many different conferences out there. There's so many different opportunities for continuing Ed and I do have a little bit of bias because I'm a speaker at this conference and and I have been to multiple state shirm conferences in Iowa and really enjoy them and the community. But I'm curious about the theme and you know I appreciate the theme. It obviously lines up well with the focus of our podcast and the theme is the great reset, the future of HR. So can you walk us through the reason that that is one of the focuses for the conference and, ultimately, how you're helping us work through that problem?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So the great reset, the future of HR. I think it's really timely. So when we look back even the past 20 years, hr has gone through a major transformation. We're not just pushing paper anymore. We truly have transformed into business partners. And then, when you look even at the last three years from COVID, that I felt like was really the gas pedal for HR getting involved on a lot of leadership teams and really having that voice. So now you know, being three years out from the onset of the pandemic, I think it's really crucial that we kind of take that step back, that pause, and see okay, now that we've gotten into the space to be a business partner, how do we continue that into the future? How do we reset what we were doing, utilize those HR technologies and continue to evolve it to help our businesses and our employees?

Speaker 1:

I agree with that 100%. And, samantha, to your point, it's almost. Hr was looked at in different light and let's not lose that right. So it is absolutely timing and, as a state council being on it for so many years, you know these conferences are planned out like the themes usually two years prior and I couldn't have thought of a better way just me being in that room at that time of this topic it was actually two topics for the listeners that merged into one and it was really cool and this year makes the most sense for it. And one question I have for you, and I have so much admiration for just your spirit and your hard work and for the listeners. I worked with Samantha last year planning the programming and it was. It was a lot of hard work and I couldn't have asked for a better, a better teammate to do that with and we've got tons of compliments on the programming last year, what Like. So my question is from from that, what made you make the decision to throw your hat in to be a co-director? Because I know that's another level of just responsibility and maybe even a little scary, and and you seem to be doing a great job with it so far.

Speaker 3:

Well, thank you, I appreciate that and you know I would echo. I had a wonderful experience serving with you and I think just the ability to be on the conference committee as a more as a programming chair last year really is what sparked me to want to continue, to even enhance my involvement. So here on my local chapter I also serve on programs, and why I really like the programming. I wanted to continue to make the whole experience a great experience, because coming to a conference it takes a lot of both time, effort and, ultimately, money, and so I think the experience that our attendees have is very important to me, and so being able to serve as the co-director and getting to put my hands in a little bit of every pot and help manage that was really important, and then getting to work with all the different areas has been really exciting, and it's also the opportunity to get to start serve on the state council, meet a few more people, and I thought that would be a great part considering. Really. That's why I got involved with SHRM to meet other HR leaders.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

And I'll say, can I appreciate that? You know the the, the energy and enthusiasm that it takes to be a volunteer leader is it's a lot and you know, I think, that a lot of times it's easy to take for granted all of the work that goes into these, these conferences. But I'm really excited for for the programming. I think you know the interesting thing about the program this year is I, you know, first of all it's great way to get continued end credits, but I like the approach. There's different tracks this year and it's a little bit different than I've seen it in years past or at other conferences. And it's, you know, there's these different approaches that you can focus on if you are looking for specific aspects to hone your skills in HR. It's things like HR and the law, winning the war for talent, embracing disruption, leading the way, thinking like a CEO or putting people first, you know all which are obviously very important but can give you a different perspective and flavor for the work within HR. So I'm curious, samantha, you know, as you've been planning the conference and you reflect on that as it relates to your own personal career path, what is driving your interest in these specific topics as it relates to you as an HR professional.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so that's a great question. I think it's really interesting that you did pick up that we named the conference tracks differently this year and that's part of the future of HR, the reset. We put some Easter eggs kind of all throughout the conference of things we're trying to do differently just because it is the future. But you know, really, when I think about what is important to me as an HR professional, it's really working to support our business, because I believe when you support the business really well, you support the employees really well. And I know there's some differences on thinking in this area. Some people want to go into HR because they love people and I love that for them. For me, I think if you support the business really well, you can have a good effect on employees and really it just makes everyone better. So I know I'm very excited for the thing like a CEO Sessions. I think that's important, whether you've been in the industry for a long time or you're an emerging professional, to kind of learn how those business leaders are thinking and how you can provide better service to them. And then, as always, I think HR and the law is very interesting. It changes every day, even if it doesn't change every day in Iowa just being on the lookout for the trends throughout the United States on what's really happening on a legal basis. I think is something that all HR professionals need to be attuned to.

Speaker 1:

I love that. I've said that for years. Kyle, it's a broken record, Kyle hears it. So if you're not going to want to learn the business, you're not going to be successful in HR. And when I ask people over the years, why are you in HR? Well, I'm a people person. Well, what the hell does that mean? What you talk to people? Good, so does everybody else. I love that perspective and that's just. It's 100% right. I am curious. I've seen a few things about the conference, about one you're having a band at night one night, which is going to be a nice change. What are some different things that you're looking forward to that you can share to listeners right now?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So I think it's really important, just like I would for my day job for the conference. When we started, I pulled all the surveys from last year. So what did people not like and how can we truly make changes and make that better? And a lot that we kept hearing was we need networking. We need more networking, which I do think you know as a participant to anything, whether it be your local HR conference or getting involved in your community. You have to take some of that initiative on yourself. However, we know that not everybody wants to go out and talk to people, so we've tried to make it a little easier this year. So we have put some lunch sessions in to kind of around different areas. So Koopa, that is an HR group of higher education professionals, so we've made a special lunch session just for them. So anybody in higher education can go and meet some of their peers. We have one for emerging professionals and then one for those folks that may be at the SHRM conference but haven't really gotten involved in SHRM and how to really plug those in. In addition, I really going to be utilizing the app a lot. So if you're new, if you don't know anybody at the conference, look for those prompts like hey, we're getting people together for dinner tonight or, like you said, the band. We're trying to foster a really great networking environment that way, yes, people are pulling the PDCs and the research and the great things the speakers have, but really they're pulling that HR community from the conference and they're reaching out and meeting others.

Speaker 1:

I love how you're pushing the app because I think over the last couple of years it's gotten better and better and better on that team that continues to work on it. It does a phenomenal job and last year I really feel like it started taking some hold. And the more you continue to push that and the more the team refines it, it's just more accessible and I love that.

Speaker 2:

Shameless plug. So we will also be live podcasting there. So we're going to have a booth, we're going to be talking to all sorts of HR professionals from different walks of life. Stay tuned to that for that, because we're going to be putting out some special series from those interactions from the conference, and it will be there. So if you're at the conference, come check us out. If you want to be on the podcast, come check us out. Another couple of shameless plugs here I will say so many of our past guests will be either presenting or are supporting and helping to put on this conference. This is like my hometown conference, and so there's a lot of people from the Rebel HR community that will be there and I'll be speaking as well. So would love to meet any listeners and interact and have conversations about the future of work. So really, really cool stuff, and I'm glad to hear that there's a band. As a live music junkie, I'm really looking forward to that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I think that's a great ad Kyle, having you guys come to the conference and do live podcasting was something where like hey, this is the future, this is how people can connect from all across and learn about different topics. So we yeah, you the opportunity to have you guys come really kind of played right into our conference theme as well.

Speaker 2:

I appreciate you humoring me. So we're going to have a good time. It's going to be a lot of fun and, yeah, I think what's really cool about this is and what I really appreciate is it's it is it is being open-minded to the new world of, of not only the new world of work, but also the new world of learning and and community, and it's really what we've been trying to do with this podcast, is what you're doing with this conference, which is building a community of professionals that can collaborate and share and be thinking about these topics that are really really challenging and especially in our world and human resources. A lot of times we're very isolated, so you know we can't necessarily go and talk to somebody dealing with the same thing within our organization. We have to cultivate those networks, that HR community outside of our organization, just by nature of the way that many of our jobs are structured and really appreciate the opportunity to network and, you know, call to action to the community out there. You know, listen, if you're not actively cultivating that HR network, reach out, let's connect, because we are all here to help each other and ultimately that will help our organizations and help the entire world of work and that's really what we're all about here. So I'm curious, Samantha, as you reflect on the work that you're doing as a volunteer leader and as you reflect on your W2 job or, depending on how busy you are, it might feel more like your hobby and your full-time job is the co-conference coordinator. I won't tell your employer that. I'm curious as you reflect on you learning about the world of human resources, stepping into the world of human resources and, most recently, as the talent acquisition specialist for Graham Construction. What is one thing that, as you reflect back on where you're at now, that you wish you would have known when you were first starting out in human resources?

Speaker 3:

That is a great question. I think kind of along the same lines we've talked about is cultivating that HR network outside of work. So, as you, as every HR professional listening knows, I can't walk outside of my office and talk about a problem I'm having that I need to solve. It is great to have people and I've seen that a lot from getting involved with Shurm. I know if I have an HR question I can't answer, I have 15 people on my phone that I can call text to get help with. I think sometimes when you're coming into HR you're so focused on your job and you're not always thinking about yourself as a professional. I think for HR people that's really key because we do see a lot. I think you need to have someone in your life that can understand that. So even going home talking to my significant other, he can't provide the insight that we'll need. He'll just be like oh, that sounds like stupid office drama when it's like no, it's affecting employee relations and some employee engagement type issue. But when you talk to an HR professional, they understand what's going on and truly the significance of that I think that's how some HR professionals burn out is they don't have that network, they're just sitting in their office by themselves. Maybe they do have a manager they can talk to, but their manager, if they're not an HR, doesn't understand. That's how people make themselves sick and to leave the profession is they don't have that network to fall back on. Sometimes, at the end of the day, just grab a drink with and laugh about the craziness that we see.

Speaker 1:

That's the most important piece to me. I used to have a manager that would always say to me if I was having a tough day or just wanting to vent well, it was your choice to get into HR. It's like, okay, well, you're not here to help me at all, because 90% of the people we serve when they come to our door, it's a need. It is a need. It's not a conversation just to have a conversation. It does get mentally grueling, and so having that network is very important and I'm glad you recognize that.

Speaker 2:

Patrick, I thought you were going to say that's the most important thing getting a drink.

Speaker 1:

Well, I just have water right now. It's water right now.

Speaker 2:

We're recording this in the middle of the day, so nobody is drinking right now, unless I don't know. I don't know what's in that clear liquid.

Speaker 1:

Patrick, give me an hour.

Speaker 2:

No, but that's so true and I do think even for us HR professionals. My early career I had a lot of HR professionals within my organization that were kind of my internal HR network. But the reality is sometimes, Sometimes you do need a kind of a safe space outside of the organization, and that's okay. And I certainly careened really close to the sun on burnout and got to a point where it was really unsustainable without a change, and I couldn't have done it without making sure that I had a really strong support network behind me and totally agree. So, with that being said, we are ending the time that we have allotted together. So I'm curious, Samantha, to hear your responses to the Rebel HR Flash round. Are you ready?

Speaker 3:

I am ready.

Speaker 2:

All right, here we go. Question number one where does HR need to rebel?

Speaker 3:

I think HR needs to get their managers in check, and I'm not talking about their direct bosses, I'm talking about the managers they work with. That's a lot of times where I see the majority of issues come from in an organization whether that's employee relations or leads into legal issues is when you just let the managers that you've had maybe forever continue to operate at a very low level, and whether that's micromanaging their employees or the opposite and not managing their employees enough, that causes the worst experience for an employee, and I know I've left an organization because of the bad manager and so has many others. So HR needs to call the managers on their bullcrap.

Speaker 2:

We can say bullshit if we absolutely. I appreciate you cleaning that up, I'll be the one that says it. But no, I think you're right If anybody's questioning okay, how do I keep my managers in check? We've got a number of podcasts in the queue that you can go back and look at, from dealing with brilliant jerks to making sure that you're leading in an empathetic way. So feel free to send those to those managers Maybe not the brilliant jerks one that might set them off, but I did love that episode. All right. Question number two who should we be listening to?

Speaker 3:

So not so much listening, but he has a couple of books that I really like. I guess you can listen on an audiobook is Gino Wickman. So Gino Wickman came up with the traction management theory and that's something we use here at Graham and I love it. I can't imagine doing HR without traction. That being said, traction is not going to be for everyone. They really kind of have a sweet spot on that mid, like 100 to 200 type employees. But what you can learn from Gino, even if you can't implement this in your business, is how to keep people accountable and keep people all moving to the same goal in mind, and that's the biggest thing that I think is really important. If you went out to any of my employees right now, I'm really sure that they could tell you what at least three of our five core values are, and that's because we followed Gino's model where every single quarter, we're evaluating employees on their core values. We're rewarding them for that. We have recognition for each core value. And when everybody has the same core value and same goal in mind, you really can have a great experience for your employees and help grow your business.

Speaker 1:

I love that If companies do that right. The EOS entrepreneurial operating system in the book traction that's such a great program. But you got to do it right and not just halfway.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I love that, thanks to the 80%. Adherence is really what you should be striving for. Our organization has done it for many years and so we are above and beyond the 80%. We a lot of times get called up to talk about it at national conferences and stuff because we do it so well. But, yes, implementation of it is extremely important.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

All right. Last question how can our listeners reach out, get registered for the conference and connect with you?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so the best way to get connected to the conference. There's a few different ways, but if you go to islaestatechermconferenceorg and it's I should rephrase it I a state, so it's the abbreviation for islaestatechermconferenceorg you can register there, and registering early better than later, is better. You will get a couple more goodies as you check in, but also you save money. We also have the traditional social networks Facebook, linkedin, and then, if you want to connect with me, I'm on LinkedIn, samantha Coulson, and you'll find me talent acquisition specialist for Graham Construction.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. We'll have all that information in the show notes. So open up your podcast player, check it out. Would strongly encourage anybody who's looking for some continuing education to check it out. And if you haven't been to Iowa and you're outside of the state, you know it's a nice time of year to come. It's pretty nice in a couple months from now, so appreciate the time. Samantha and Patrick, so looking forward to seeing you all here in a couple months.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, one last plug I would give is the conference is really for everybody. A lot of times we see people sending their director or VP levels, and I really think anybody, from an emerging professional to someone that's been in HR for 30 years can benefit from the conference. So don't just send it to your directors, send it to everybody.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. Samantha Patrick, thank you so much for joining us, really appreciate the time and I'll see you both soon. Thanks, kyle. Thanks, samantha. All right, that does it for the Rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at Rebel HR podcast, Twitter at rebelhrguy, or see our website at rebelhumansourcescom. The views and opinions expressed by the Rebel HR podcast are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast.

The Great Reset
Importance of Business Support in HR
Building HR Networks and Community
Conference Benefits for All Professionals