Get-away Day (day 3)-Wrapping it Up

NEW13HRCLogoSideBarFinal days at conventions, or get-away days, drawing on a baseball term, are always transitional. Up to that point, attendees are engaged, focused on the tasks, keynotes, and workshops at-hand. On get-away day, there’s a subtle shift that takes place. Everyone starts thinking of things back at the office—the things you’ve put off or put on hold—and if you’re staying at the Samoset, or off-grounds, like I was, you have to make sure you’re checked out and the car is loaded before commencing your final day of conventioneering.

In years past, I’d always plan to leave early to mid-afternoon on my final day before trekking two hours south towards home. Given that our chief affiliate sponsor, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, was sponsoring the after-hours networking event, I decided to hang around. That and the fact that Peter Lowe was presenting at 3:15 on social media policy development kept me engaged during my final day at the Samoset; more to come on Peter and his presentation.

This year, the workshops were where I found my food and sustenance, as well as some new ideas. In previous years, my experience and takeaways came from the A-list keynoters. In 2010, it was Ryan Estis and personal branding, which two years later allowed me to launch my own personal brand, the Jim Baumer Experience.

Ryan was back in 2011 and we had the chance to talk and have maintained a connection. Ryan’s a rock star, but he’s genuine and approachable.

Last year, I had the pleasure of hearing Laurie Ruettimann speak in person in Rockport. Laurie’s another A-lister, who is a blogger extraordinaire. It was great to personally meet someone I’ve admired from afar for how they’ve created a brand and in Laurie’s case, consistently producing relevant content as a blogger.

I met Susan Gallant during Ali Bonas Gamache’s presentation on Leadership & Development, Tuesday afternoon. She was so interesting to talk to after the session and when she shared that she was leading a workshop on Thursday, I made a note to attend her session.

Susan’s workshop was titled, “The Mechanic Meets the Gardener,” which is also the name of her new book. The description in the convention booklet notes that her session was focused on “Engaging HR Creativity.”

This session was so different than anything that I’ve ever attended at the Maine HR Convention that I know I’ll fail to capture it with the kind of brief description that a wrap-up post allows. Let me say that Susan is in the transformation business and this workshop, along with the ideas in her book offer HR leaders and anyone else interested in doing the work, limitless possibilities for growth and transformation. And as the woman who introduced Susan said, she’s “wicked smaht.”

As a writer, I admire and respect anyone that devotes the time it takes to develop and then transcribe their ideas in writing a book. A book takes sacrifice and requires more than being a one-trick pony.

I usually pick up reading material at each convention, and Susan’s book, The Mechanic Meets the Gardener, has been added to my leadership/personal growth books I’ll be focusing on over the next few months. I am also pleased that Susan was available to personally sign my copy at the Sherman’s booth at the convention.

Before moving on to the day’s final session, I wanted to touch briefly on Thursdays’s first keynote with JC Pohl and Erahm Christopher, from Teen Truth.

Teen Truth was founded in response to the shootings at Columbine High School.  Both Pohl and Christopher are dynamic presenters and their morning session was designed to communicate the message that all of us have the potential to make a difference in the lives of others, especially in preventing bullying, including bullying in the workplace, which is a serious issue.

Teen truth; calling others to make a difference.

Teen truth; calling others to make a difference.

Now on to social media policies and the case for developing one for your company.

Peter Lowe is an attorney at Brann & Issacson in Lewiston. Peter is also an engaging, funny presenter. He’s not the stereotypical attorney, if there is actually such a thing. Perhaps better, Peter doesn’t  take himself too seriously, or come across as pompous. As a result, he has fun and his audience does too, and we come away with some legal knowledge that’s important to have.

We all know that the horse has left the barn when it comes to employees’ use of social media platforms and smart devices. Despite that knowledge, too many employers (in my opinion) are still taking the approach of trying to “control” usage, by banning it outright, or enacting policies that in some cases are draconian, if not actually illegal.

The afternoon presentation, “Drafting a Social Media Policy,” provided a framework and important considerations for the packed room of mainly HR people. In fact, Peter walked everyone through the basics of a social media policy outline, including terms and language that all policies should have. He also touched on the important recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rulings relative to social media, as well as other legal elements that are framing how the law reads concerning the usage of social media by employees.

While he didn’t say specifically that all companies and other organizations that have employees must have a social media policy, he strongly encouraged them to develop one and have it in place. It will surely save HR professionals headaches down the road.

It’s hard to believe that another Maine HR Convention experience has come and gone. Year #4 for me was again beneficial for me, personally, and also in my capacity as the director for the Maine Business Leadership Network (BLN).

In closing, I marvel every year at the work of Bud and his staff at Northern New England Law Publishers/, in pulling off the premiere HR event in Maine. Bud, along with Heather, DJ, and Becky do yeoman’s work to make it happen, and they rarely miss a detail. An example this year was adding a shuttle service, sponsored by Bonney Staffing. As the conference has grown to over 800 attendees, the parking at the Samoset has been maxed out. Having a shuttle to and from the surrounding hotels was a great feature and also is part of NNELP’s efforts to have a green conference.

While I was staying a bit further out than the shuttle’s radius, it did free up enough parking that I was able to locate a space each morning in the outer lot and not have to jam my car into some ditch like I did last year.

Lastly, I want to thank Heather, who I’ve had the good fortune to partner with going all the way back to 2004, when she and I used to be neighbors at the Job Fairs that she’d be staffing for the Employment Times and I’d be repping for JobsinME. Bud and company have been supportive of our efforts to launch and grow the Maine BLN, and they are one of our members.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention, not because I once did their outreach and business development back in 2004-2006, but because they model what Seth Godin talks about in “giving away your work for free. “ Now JobsinME is a for-profit company, but they understand that providing value and support and intentionally partnering, is a positive business practice.

I met Jeremy Haskell of JobsinME at my first conference in 2010 because we were following each other on Twitter; we’ve become friends, and always find some time at each conference to catch up and talk about pushing the envelope in the 21st century.

The conference’s YouTube channel was again courtesy of JobsinME and Jeremy’s efforts. This year, they had a chance to shoot video out on the Samoset’s deck, overlooking the golf course and Penobscot Bay and Tuesday and Wednesday’s perfect weather helped make this possible. Bob Smith devoted a great deal of time to this effort, also. If you don’t know Bob, you should get to know him by reading his blog, Maine HR Café.

Back to the real world today, but I’ll be carrying new ideas, following up with my new friends and contacts, and carrying this all forward until we meet again in 2014.