HR Lagniappe

Louisiana SHRM

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Freak Flags, Anarchy and Conversations

The Louisiana SHRM State Conference came to a close last Friday but the conversations, discussion and lake-aways continue.  Our friend Bill Boorman wrote a marvelous post yesterday when he featured William Tincup in his “Sunday Shout Out: @WilliamTincup – Community Freak #DTHR.”  You can read the post below, but then please stop on over and visit Bill’s blog.


I’m stuck at New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport on my way back from what has been an excellent #LASHRM. Thanks to Robin Schooling for including me in 2 great days. During the event I got to see a brilliant opening keynote on social capital by the twosome that make up Talent Anarchy. One of the phrases that really stood out in the talk was that to stand out in social you need to fly your freak flag. Thats a term i really relate to. For me it’s about being different and unique. thinking and communicating in ways that contravene conventional thinking and mediocrity. There are few people who fit this term better than the recipient of this weeks Sunday Shout Out, William Tincup. I use the term community freak as a compliment, he is both unique and original and anything but ordinary. I like Tincup because he breaks the rules and makes new ones. Spending time with William and the conversation flows from travel, music, cigars, social, HR, people, and it is non-stop and frantic. I’ve spent some extended time in the company of William 3 times in the past year. Each time I have left with a new viewpoint or thought. Each time he has followed up the meeting with an introduction to someone new. These introductions have always been mutually beneficial, and have not benefited William directly. It’s the way he rolls.
If you want to see why William is different, then you don’t need to look any further than his website, “William Tincup: That’s all you had to say.” When you visit the site, it kind of breaks the rules of what others might tell you a modern website must contain. There’s no picture, other than a logo, no video, and plenty of long written text. It is less of a website and more of a manifesto on the direction Tincup is going. When you look at what he does, there are three clear things that stand out. What he sells: Conversations. What he doesn’t do: Any delivery. Where he is going: This is Tincups vision in his own words: ” I’ve always been a “what’s next” guy. I tend to manage my life better when I have goals. So during this period of my life, I have set the next goal to be this simple: by the time I’m 50 (8 years from now), I want to be the default expert on User Adoption Marketing. That’s it.”. He goes on to explain that in the short-term he is on a mission to talk to 1000 HR practitioners and 250 vendors on the topic. There is a book planned, which he intends to become the bible on the subject, and he is racking up the miles getting to nearly every conference going, talking, listening and connecting. The mission is explicit, and he is clear that he wants to achieve this by the time he is 50, within the next 8 years. I wouldn’t bet against him.

Tincup has been running marketing agencies for the last 11 years. First with Ariesnet, before creating the iconic Starr-Tincup, in partnership with Brett Starr, in November 2000. It was through Starr-tincup that I first became aware of William, through his weekly e-mail newsletter. I remember first thinking who are these crazy guys? This content is just insane, but then it grew on me. Each week I started looking forward to hearing from them and the latest ramblings. A bit like reading an episode of the Simpsons. I never wanted to miss one.

In July 2010 I read an update that Tincup was taking a new direction. it was an amicable parting of the ways between Tincup and Starr, with Tincup being very open about his reasoning for wanting to take a whole new direction. The first post explaining the story still forms the first page of his website, titled “My Story.” He explained his reasoning as

“Accolades and applause aside, lately I haven’t been a pleasure to be around. I knew something wasn’t quite right with me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it….

Have you ever fallen out of love with something you helped create? Well, I did. After owning and operating an agency – specifically, an outsourced marketing services firm – I came to realize that my heart just wasn’t in it any more. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I believe in the outsourced marketing services model.”

That was incredibly open and transparent from someone who had after-all been selling this option for the past 12 years. He went to explain that really the marketing function should really be important enough to be run in-house, and that he wanted to devote his time, effort and energy in to enabling this through conversation. He is clear that he is not a consultant because he doesn’t deliver work, he sells conversations.Thats right, if you read his website you can see that clearly, and he is very transparent about what it is going to cost to have a conversation with Tincup, who explains just what a conversation with him is:

I strongly believe that a great conversation has several ingredients:



listening (to what is said and not said),

formation of insightful questions,

frank dialogue, and

a review of action steps.

These are the basics and without these, conversations are left to happenstance.”

It was around the time of this announcement that i got my first call from Tincup. It seems that #tru had come up on his radar as a place where conversations were happening, and he felt we should just talk. He also filled me in on his thoughts towards HR technology and user adoption. Whilst I agreed with his thinking, I couldn’t quite see at this point how this was going to evolve in to a recognisable business model, and quite what the business offering would. We agreed to stay in touch, and have done so more through messages and greetings than calls. I remember commenting to someone else at the time that although he was well established as a marketeer, I wanted to take a watching brief and really see what he was all about. I couldn’t see yet where he was going to fit in to the community. I was still thinking of him as a marketeer, and in my view there were more than enough of them about.

The first thing Tincup did that stood out was teaming up with Bryan Wempen for the daily blog talk radio show Drive ThruHR. Bryan is an experienced HR pro who I first came across when he sponsored #trulondon2. At the time, I was running my own blog talk radio show and I knew how hard it was to build audience and maintain content and callers over a sustained period of time, and bryan was planning on running a show every day at lunch time. I think I was Bryans second guest on the show, and he worked incredibly hard to build up the listener numbers and rankings. Steve Boese’s excellent HR Happy Hour was showing how you could build a community around an internet radio show in the HR space, but i was unsure that there was enough room for more shows on a similar theme, and #dthr had to create new content every day. It was a big ask.

I was curious about what would happen when I heard that Tincup would be joining the show as a co-host. What I’ve witnessed since has been a real pleasure to watch, and a real example of how to build brand and market content. Whilst it’s true to say that compelling content is critical to any social media activity, personally I don’t give it the “King” rating, I think that goes to found, read, heard or seen compelling content. I see some great blogs in the HR space that just don’t get the readership. Brilliant well crafted content that doesn’t have the impact it should because very few people are aware of what is being said.

Tincup brought another dimension to the solid foundations Wempen had built, and gave Tincup an avenue to do what he does best, have conversations, as well as another source for great guests, which is perhaps at the heart of the success of the show. The meteoric rise in the popularity of the show has been great to watch. In a relatively short space of time Tincup built a twitter following of over 112,000, combined with Wempens 30,000+.Tincup doesn’t just use his twitter feed to promote his work and #dthr, he has set up feeds from blogs in the HR and recruiting space (including this one), that helps to promote the work of others.

It’s unusual to see a #SHRM event that does not feature one or the other or both speaking, running a show and meeting people in the exhibition hall. Both work incredibly hard keeping the show front and centre. Tincup is also proud to promote his membership and participation in SHRM through his SPHR listing.

It was at Ohio SHRM in September last year that i first got to meet Tincup in person. Some people just stand out in a crowd and Tincup is one of those people. All of his clothing, including hats carry the distinctive TC logo, and he just looks different. He is softly spoken in person, with a great intensity about anything he is talking about that just draws you in to share your vision. He listens intently, and sends himself reminders to follow up on key things that he takes from the meeting of minds. His presentation to the Ohio SHRM audience was about what they should be expecting from their technology providers. It was engaging and incredibly valuable to the participants. Hearing about user adoption from the horses mouth made a lot of sense, but I was more impressed with the time Tincup took to seek people out, make them feel important and to learn from the conversation. I’ve met William twice since, at #TNLLive (where he is starting to work closely with my friend Craig Fisher). Tincup was part of the infamous house at #SXSW that I was delighted to be a part of, and again this week at Louisiana SHRM. Each time we’ve met the conversation has progressed, and I’ve learnt more than I think I have put in, and have gone away energised with new ideas. I suspect each SHRM conference, #dthr show and conference he attends is propelling him closer to his vision, and cranking up the volume of conversations.

Away from HR and taking over the world of user adoption thinking, Tincup is a proud father of 2 boys, whose faces show up from time to time in his content and presentation. He is also a great and easy guy to get to know. If you haven’t connected or met him yet, you should make the effort, and for me, I’m looking forward to carrying on the conversations.



Tincup On LinkedIn


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My First Day at #LASHRM12 = Freakin’ Rocked!

Day 1 post from Chris Ponder – member of the Louisiana SHRM Social Media Team


Today began the first day of the Louisiana SHRM (#LASHRM12) conference here in New Orleans and as I reflect back on the first day, a lot of thoughts come to mind: exciting, innovative, engaging, refreshing, enlightening, fun, and informative.

So many thoughts come to mind because I can honestly say it has been a while since a conference has offered me an opportunity to think outside of the box around thoughts, work, change, management, leadership, and just the HR practice. This is how good just the first day was!

So you understand a little of what I experienced, let’s break it down:

To kick off the #LASHRM12 conference, Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen of Talent Anarchy presented us with some awesome content on why just having a quantity of people in your social network doesn’t prove valuable. Sure, you probably know most of your friends on Facebook, but how well do you really know them? When was the last time you sat down and had a live conversation with them? Do you take and make the time to develop your network? Just like anything else, you have to dedicate time to get return on your relationships.

Building on this concept of communication and relationships, Daniel Crosby of Incblot Organizational Psychology directed one of the first concurrent sessions I attended – Changing Change. What a title, huh? Changing Change? Daniel flipped the change model on its side and offered the audience some new thinking on what change management should look like.

Wrapping Daniel’s session, we broke for lunch and networking – there are some truly awesome HR folks here!

Next the conference reconvened at the next keynote session – The CEOs View: The Role of the HR Leader. Mary Ellen Slayter moderated a panel of two CEOs here in New Orleans comprised of Rose Hudson, President/CEO of the Louisiana Lottery, and Hugh Weber, President of the New Orleans Hornets, discussing their thoughts on HR in the organization. Can I just say Robin Schooling is very lucky to be working with Rose Hudson (this woman rocks it!). There is so much that I can and will be discussing regarding this session over the coming days, but my one teaser for you: these CEOs get business, HR, and their people. They understand and know their people at the top and the bottom.

Jazzed, excited, and pumped up, I moved on to my next session with Joe Gerstandt of Talent Anarchy. Joe gave the audience a fantastic lesson on diversity and diversity of thought. Many people when they hear diversity, simply think about people. But it isn’t just about people. It is also about how we think, assumptions we make, and how to break those assumptions and thinking to remain open to learn, meet new people, change practices, and drive growth!

To wrap up the day, I attended my last concurrent session with Bill Boorman. If you do not know Bill, take some time to get to know him and what he is about. It is amazing the wealth of knowledge and experience he has to share. Bill provided me with some great conversation into the global space of recruiting, talent, HR, and branding.

All of this was just in day one of the #LASHRM12 conference. I am super stoked to see what day two brings. Now I know this isn’t your typical first blog post of a conference, as I just left you with some teasers of information, but that is the way I wanted it because over the next week I will be giving a break down of all the great information gathered. You just have to stay tuned!

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Meet the #LASHRM12 Master of Ceremonies – Dwane Lay

It’s conference week – that magical time of year when HR professionals from across the great state of Louisiana descend, en masse, upon one venue to learn, network and share ideas and information. 

With hundreds and hundreds of HR professionals, hundreds of vendors and sponsors, and 28 speakers coming from all across the world (literally – the world!), the 2012 conference promises to live up to the hype.

We’re thrilled to have Dwane Lay, MBA, SSBB, SPHR, newly appointed head of HR Process Design with Dovetail Software, on deck as this year’s Master of Ceremonies. Dwane is recognized as a leading authority on the application of Lean tools and techniques in Human Resources, and has a wealth of experience in applying business technology to improve HR processes. Lay is the author of LeanHRBlog and is a well-known presence on the HR social media landscape.  In his role as Master of Ceremonies, Dwane will help keep the conference on track during the General Session (herding cats?  Anyone?  Bueller?).  But his role won’t stop there for he’s also leading a session on Friday called “Lean HR:  Systematic Improvements in your Process.”

So come and join us – it’s not too late to register!  You can say “hi” to Dwane and collect one of his coveted Meet MeMe cards.

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Getting HS Students on the HR Bandwagon

This guest post is courtesy of Nikolas (‘Nik’) Verret, student at Nicholls State University.  The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has acknowledged that NSU’s Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Management and a concentration in Human Resources fully aligns with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates.


With so many options to consider in high school, many students find it difficult to narrow down a specific career path for the future. Some may have a general idea; some may have a specific job in mind, while others may be clueless. It’s absolutely essential to research careers of interest to formulate a general plan for post high school endeavors. It also doesn’t hurt to talk to someone who was once in those shoes to discuss this state of uncertainty and experiences along the way. That’s why I decided to sit down one-on-one with a few students from my former high school and do some mentoring.

     I met with five South Lafourche High School students to discuss the benefits of a career in human resources. To start off the discussion, I asked each of the students what job/ career they were considering upon graduating high school. Three of them stated they planned on going to college and majoring in business or biology. The other two stated that they will seek a job following high school. I then asked if anyone had considered a career in human resources. I got a negative response along questions about what the human resource field is about and that’s when the discussion commenced.

          I began to explain that human resource management is primarily managing people whether it is through hiring, training, safety, or administration. Next, I elaborated on the major functions of human resources including recruiting, managing, and providing direction (organizational development). Then, I transitioned to the newer fields that have flourished in recent years including strategic management and sculpting the work environment/culture. When done effectively, human resource management can yield a productive workforce and an organization that exceeds its goals and objectives. I stated that this can be a rewarding job when you feel as if you have contributed to the success of the organization.

Perhaps the biggest reason to consider a HR career is the versatility of the jobs offered. I talked about a few of the most popular jobs and briefly summarized each of their primary roles, including:

  • Human resource generalist – large range of responsibilities that varies with the specific industry
  • Recruiters – engage in recruiting, hiring, and placement of employees
  • Benefits manager – oversee and coordinate benefit packages for employees
  • Training managers –  mainly focus on developing employee skills
  • Organizational policy manager – form labor policies and oversee labor relations
  • HR director – in charge of all HR departments and reports to upper management to develop strategic planning

     I then explained the credentials needed for the above positions. I explained that most people obtain a bachelor’s in human resources or a related business field. Some choose to seek a master’s degree to pursue advancement opportunities. However, it is not uncommon for someone to drift into this field without a HR degree and/or with years of experience within an industry. In fact, it is fairly common for experienced individuals to enter HR later on in their careers because experience is highly valued in the HR world. These individuals often take on training and safety roles within an organization.

For example, one of my professors recently told my class a story about how her husband transitioned from being a tankerman to a safety instructor. He witnessed a co-worker have his foot nearly amputated. Prior to the accident, he tried to be proactive and warn the company of hazards that needed to be addressed to avoid harm. The company ignored his comments and the inevitable happened. He witnessed the injury firsthand and assisted the co-worker to the ambulance and eventually in the settlement that followed. The dramatic event inspired him to consider safety as an area of interest. He is now employed as a safety instructor with a different company. The moral of the story is that events can change your perspective and lead you into areas that you may have never considered before.

Lastly, I spoke about the future of the HR field and its benefits. I explained that there will be about a 20% increase in employment in HR over the next decade, which is much faster than the average. The main growth areas are within safety, healthcare, retirement, and training. The average starting salary for college students with HR degrees is about $50,000. With experience and certification, potential earnings can increase to $70,000 – $107,000 depending on the industry and location.

I ended the discussion with giving the students links to websites related to HR that offered more insight into this great area. I also mentioned the HR concentration offered at my university, Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA, and the SHRM chapter that complements that program. I talked about the activities SHRM is involved in and how being a member can be beneficial to them.

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Employee Development is Crucial to Employee Engagement

Today’s guest post is by Craig Juengling who will be presenting a session on Thursday April 26th at the Louisiana SHRM State Conference entitled “Becoming the Employer of Choice.” You can find Craig here


The business outcomes achieved with a highly engaged workforce can propel your company to improved market share and profitability… and a significant reduction in absenteeism, turnover, product defects and accidents. Research from Towers Watson helps leaders focus on the five most important drivers of employee engagement. This post will focus on employee development.

There are four major elements to bring a focused and disciplined process to employee development at your company.  These elements are derived from employee engagement leaders of the industry like Gallup, Marcus Buckingham, Towers Watson, Dale Carnegie and others.

  • Understand and allow your employees to use their strengths. A workplace poll taken in 2001 revealed that only 17% of the surveyed employees felt they used their strengths at work “most of the time”. I would further argue most leaders, managers and supervisors have no clue about their direct reports’ strengths, much less how to use those strengths.  You can build a more effective team by hiring people with diverse strengths and then allow them to use them as a team. When you understand their strengths and how to use them, you create an engaged employee as well.
  • Encourage professional growth and development. Most people are genuinely curious and desirous of personal and professional growth. Through conferences, coaching, mentoring programs and just being more intentional about giving people the opportunity to take on new assignments and roles, you can demonstrate to your employees how important their personal growth is to you. And while they grow, they become an even more valuable “asset” for the company too.
  • Create achievable challenges. When you challenge your employees, you show them you have higher expectations for them and how they contribute. I think you also show them respect when you see their potential. Remember to make their higher expectations achievable. If you raise the bar too high, they will smack into it. I once worked for a guy who set budgets so unrealistically, the incentive plan tied to beating budgets became a disincentive plan. Achievable challenges create the opportunity for personal growth!
  • Have an ongoing dialogue about employee performance. Don’t wait until the end of the performance review year to let folks know how they performed; make the conversation continuous. Take every opportunity to recognize the job well done and take advantage of those teachable moments.  We all want feedback and some need it more than others. Find balance in your comments, but find the time for the conversation.

Employee development is one of the most important drivers of employee engagement and you have control over it every day. When you invest in your employees, you invest in their future and yours as well.