Lessons from the SHRM 2016 Annual Conference - HR Open Source

Yesterday, Lars and Ambrosia led a 7 AM session at the SHRM 2016 Annual Conference and Exposition called #HROS: Open Source Comes to HR. Well, slight correction; poor Ambrosia had lost her voice so Lars did all of the talking. They also, in true HROS fashion, streamed the session Live in the HROS Facebook group (btw, join us over there if you haven’t already).

As this is the first time in seemingly forever that I did not make the annual pilgrimage to the big show, I watched the live stream from the comfort of my home, in my pajamas, before I got set to head into the office. Lars kicked off the session with an ‘activity’ not captured on the stream for reasons which soon became evident. Based on wrap up remarks it appears that those in attendance (I envisioned groggy HR folks with steaming cups of Starbucks in hand at the wee hour of the morning) were invited to share an HR/Recruiting conundrum with a neighbor/seatmate and then discuss ideas, solutions, or insight based on things they have tried or implemented.

I made a pretty good guess at that because when the feed went LIVE and Lars pulled the group back together he asked for a few “what did you learn” moments from the audience and then pointed out they had just experienced two underlying concepts of what HROS is all about:

  • Sharing of Knowledge
  • Community

Love it.

I also want to point out that in my estimation the time is finally right – the time is NOW – for HROS to make an appearance on a SHRM stage. Just a few short years ago I’m not sure the vast majority of attendees would have “got it.”  So what’s changed?

First, more and more HR professionals have gotten over their long-lingering fear of social networks. Naturally, as Captain Obvious might point out, social channels/networks not only create the mechanisms for us to communicate in new ways but also enable us to easily build far-reaching communities. Just 5 short years ago, when in a leadership role with my SHRM state council, I experienced some major resistance from every-other-SHRMIE-on-the-council to let me launch Twitter and Facebook accounts. “Who’s going to use that?” I was asked. ”We don’t need that. No one’s going to post things publicly about work or HR stuff.” (“It’s for cat videos and sexual pick-ups” was unsaid. But implied.)  

Then, of course, access and use of social slowly crept into daily usage for more and more HR gals/guys; hell…even SHRM was tweeting and had a Facebook page! Fast forward to 2016 and Twitter (and Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat) is exploding with the #SHRM16 hashtag.

The second reason it's the perfect time for SHRM members to be receptive to Open Source HR is the deepened understanding of the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge. Yeah yeah…I know; we could debate HRCI vs. SHRM certification all day long but for right now I’m of the mindset they can co-exist. For all the sturm und drang about how/why/why SHRM launched their certification program, at the end of the day SHRM has furthered the understanding that proficiency in behavioral competencies (including consultation, relationship management and leadership & navigation) is critical for accomplished HR professionals.

By dividing their competency model into technical competencies (“knowledge required to perform a specific role”) and behavioral competencies (“the KSAs that facilitate the application of technical knowledge to job-related behavior”), SHRM has made it abundantly clear that it’s not just “knowing one’s stuff” but it’s also pretty damn important to know how to apply what-one-knows in order to “get the job done.” Yes it’s about knowledge but it’s also about the rubber hitting the road and getting sh*t done.

And that, my friends, gets us to Open Source HR.

Gone are the days (I say we banish them forever!) when tight-lipped, dour-faced, serious-serious-serious, HR folks gathered at a conclave or conference or monthly SHRM chapter meeting, nametags affixed and notebooks in hand, and didn't say a word lest someone else steal their idea (yes; I have heard this as an explanation). "Oh I can't tell you what ATS we use or the number of applicants we have,"  a solid-jawed and stern HR peer recently told.me "That's confidential!!"  Because I'm sure Jason Bourne is on a hunt for that top secret information as we speak.  


Open Source! The time has come to share, discuss, use, tweak, adopt and, ultimately, learn from each other.

Kudos to that! 

Robin Schooling

Robin SchoolingComment