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Monday, February 18, 2013

What is the MAC? A "SHRM" Term

Rebecca, Donna, Paula, Deb, Kristine
As we approach the 5th annual SHRM Regional Leadership Summit to commence this week at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, AZ, I am reminded of the most common question I heard muttered about during the last SHRM Leadership conference in November.  I think the reason I heard it more so this year than any other was because I was attending MAC (membership advisory committee) meetings as was my four peers whom are pictured to the left.  So when we explained where we were heading, we heard the same question: "What is the MAC?"

The question does not surprise me at all because when I was a chapter leader, I had no idea what the state council was let alone the MAC.  Of course, back in those days it was called the Area Council or something like that.  Anyway, it's been a few months since I promised to write a blog post answering that very question so here it is.  Honestly, SHRM does a good job of explaining what and who the MAC is themselves here but there is another page on the SHRM site that will actually give you even more detail commonly named FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).  The most important question a chapter leader who is eager to do more with SHRM after their current volunteer position is up, might be: "How can I get on the MAC?".  That question is best addressed here but I can tell you it is best to move onto your State Council board which can lead you to a State Director position for which you can then be elected to the MAC if you decide to run. 

Basically, the road to the MAC is typically (not always) a step ladder approach like many job families in the workplace.  However, there are many other SHRM volunteer opportunities that don't involve the route that some of us take. 

My own experience started as chapter leader up to president and state council leader up to director.  Once you are a state director you are part of the regional council which consists of 10 state council directors, 1 MAC rep and the SHRM staff leadership for that region.  The previous links explain how MAC leaders are elected.  The one big difference that I see between the MAC and previous chapter and state council positions is that you no longer have your own agenda to make a difference.  Your agenda is that of the SHRM board and the membership you represent within the region. For example, the following is our focus at the moment:

2013 MAC Focus

 Our initial marching orders are to focus on SHRM's Strategic Priorities (pictured here) as well as find out the answers to the following questions:

1)      SHRM has numerous initiatives in development for HR professionals, ranging from a competencies model, and new business-related seminars, to the development of HR standards, and the promotion of workforce flexibility. What new things should SHRM be working on to better serve the HR profession?

2)      SHRM is leading efforts to address the nation's skills gap, and we are piloting a new survey to help you identify the specific gaps in your immediate geographical area. What do HR professionals in your area need to help them address skills gaps and talent shortages?

3)      Under SHRM's global strategy, the Society's first priority is to provide training and development tools to HR professional through its partners around the world. What are your perceptions of SHRM's global strategy?

4)      We will be meeting with our partners at the HR Certification Institute and the SHRM Foundation. What messages would you like for me to carry back to them?

5)      What else would you like me to share with the SHRM Leadership and Board?

We are all working hard to find out the answers to those questions within our region and I am pretty confident that I can speak for my peers.  Each of the MAC members I work with and those who have come before us are proud and humbled to represent such a large number of SHRM members.  We are honored that our fellow state council directors felt comfortable with us carrying the torch and representing them well.  For that we are thankful and look forward to a productive year. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

State of Marriage & Impact on Workplace

Recently on Fox News I was watching a segment on the current status of Marriage in the US and was a bit shocked. I knew more people were getting divorces than they had in past years but didn't realize how staggering the numbers actually were. Since 1970 the marriage rate has dropped from over 80% to just over 50%. The guest also indicated that when children are reared in a home where parents are married to each other they are 80% less likely to be in poverty as an adult and abuse drugs and alcohol. The most staggering statistic was that over 40% of babies are now brought into this world by a single mother. As I listened to this segment I could not help but think how this possibly has and will continue to impact the workforce.

The biggest impact I could think of only based on my own experience with marriage now going on for almost 25 years is communication and teamwork.  Funny thing (well not really) is the communication and teamwork are also a primary problem working the workplace. It affects success and when really out of hand (such as bullying) it affects people on a physical and mental level. 

If a workplace doesn't have an employee assistance program (EAP) it is most likely to have repetitive issues. When employees are not happy at home they often take that into the workplace and vice versa. EAPs provide a confidential way for employees to vent about whatever is going on at home or work. Employees typically have three FREE meetings before having to turnover
 the discussion for coverage under THIER health are plan. By that time the coach can often diagnose the situation, offer follow-up resources, as well as suggest tools to be used in future conversations.  
In addition, some EAPs offer legal and financial advice for employees who are considering a divorce. Just having the conversation with any one of these resources could possibly make a difference. 

Imagine how many marriages could be saved and how much productivity could be recovered havingresources for   employees to have assistance in such a life-changing journey. 

The photo is of me on my wedding day almost 25 years ago. It's not been easy but I have used the EAP a few times with various employers and it has wholeheartedly helped.  My dad (walking me down the isle) who died last year from cancer struggled through three marriages. I watched times in our lives where it truly affected his workplace performance. He did not have any resources available and often didn't have insurance that would have covered anything but a serious physical health condition. Stop the tragedy of divorce and make a difference for your employees today. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Where Does Time Go? Productive or trash worthy?

Sometimes, time goes right into the trash quite frankly especially when there is so much going on. I didn't have a chance to blog at all last month. So I'm sitting here now reading all my students reviews of other bloggers thinking about where the time went. I know in addition to work, I have had a few personal challenges to overcome. This got me to thinking about how much time is lost when companies are going through a rough patch. Regardless of the reason being economy, management, financial, employees, if they don't manage the communications, whispers and gossip their productive work hours is typically cut in half and sometimes worse. So a typical eight (8) hour workday can be reduced to two (2) to four (4) hours of actual return on you're investment. Imagine a workforce of 100 people working for $14 an hour and the "rough patch" extends for a month. The company would lose at least $5,600 a day in lost wages and that's not even considering possible lost future business due to lack of customer service when employees are otherwise focused. Unfortunately focused on what might be making the situation worse, not better. The daily loss adds up to over $100k a month. What an incredible loss. What's worse is if management themselves are participating and contributing to the problem without even realizing it. Wages are no longer only $5 a day they are certainly a whole lot more and it would be sinful to throw time in the trash. Time is money, right? Definitely, something to think about.