Maine HR Convention 2013 – semi-live blogging

•May 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment


The day started out gray & fogging, but now the sun is shining, the sky is blue & the shadows have returned. This is my first attempt at semi-live blogging v twitter streaming.

MEHRC2013.Day 1

Mixed feelings about being here right now. With my HRGeneralist out sick, along with another scheduled absence from work, daily task obligations are being shifted and covered by others at the expense of their own workload. This too shall pass. I am monitoring emails for action.

The first videos have been taken, processed and posted to the Maine HR YouTube channel. It took less than an hour to take & process three then post one. This is a leap in task proficiency from last year’s inaugural event videography assignment at the New England HR Strategic Retreat. To see the videos, go to YouTube and search for the mainehrcom channel.

All the best people are here, are arriving now, on their way, or will be here soon. It’s good to see good friends, meet’n’make new ones and network through the vendors. To many to individually recognize, but that does not diminish the depth & breadth of the attendees.

What’s next? First the Maine HR Awards, then the Opening keynoter: Cy Wakeman, author of the Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace. Cy’s keynote will be on Hardwiring Accountability.

Stay tuned for more.


Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

•May 5, 2013 • 2 Comments

Ready or not, the 17th annual MEHRC13 starts this Tuesday and runs  Friday.

Maine HR Convention Logo

The great folks at Northern New England Law Publishers/Maine have pulled together another sold out event. WOW.

Maine HR Convention Staff

Left to right: DJ, Becky, Bud & Heather.

This is much more than a business convention where we get another name badge holder, tote bag and an opportunity to grip’n’grin with sponsors, vendors and each other.  This is a refreshing retreat for the mind, spirit & soul. The weather forecast looks tremendous – skip a session to take a walk on the Rockland Harbor Breakwater.

There are several social media provides several channels for shared engagement.

  • YouTube – video segments from the keynoters, sponsors and HR Leaders
  • Instagram – sharing of  a thousand silent words through photography
    • Find me as RMSmithJr

Please use the event hashtag #MEHRC2013 for all Twitter & Instagram postings. This allows for those who could not attend the opportunity to attend vicariously through our shared experiences, thoughts, and pictures.

But wait there is more.  Look up from your device and turn to the person sitting beside you to have live conversations as well.  Where are they from? Why are they here? What’s new in their world? What is their biggest HR challenge? What have they been doing for fun?

IF that isn’t enough, there are also a bunch of S/PHR recertification credits available.

1-HRCIHRCI has pre-approved the conference for re-certification credit for PHR’s and SPHR’s.

Earn up to 22.25 hours of general credit and 16.0 hours of strategic business credit.

The SHRM Foundation silent auction has hit a new milestone this year.  Over $13k worth of items have been donated.  My donation is a dazzling 10″ x 20″ photograph, printed on aluminum.

 Green Wave

Let’s get ready to be the difference.

Get Certified

•April 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Fourteen years ago, I transitioned from my military career into my second career as Human Resource Professional. Yes, there were directly transferable experiences and I had a fresh college degree from Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama — Bachelor of Science-Management of Human Resources. Education & experience can only transfer & translate so far. To develop competent confidence, I self-studied & passed the Professional in Human Resources certification.
I recertified twice. In 2008, I upgraded to the Senior Professional in Human Resources. Now, five years later, I’m wondering what might be next.

Fast Forward to the Present:


It’s good to be home again. Thursday afternoon, April 25, 2013 I left work by mid afternoon to drive to the Sheraton Hotel at the Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The purpose of this trip was to attend an ADP (payroll service provider User Group). The theme of this meeting was Health Care Reform (HCR). The intent was to present the payroll perspective and showcase available process tools for efficient implementation.

The workshops lasted all day. Each one was spot on.

While there, I had another Do or Be revelation. I am HR, I do payroll. That pesky difference of depth between doing v being. This was reinforced by the acknowledged presence of a American Payroll Association leadership. Not unlike the acknowledgement of SHRM Leadership at HR centric events.

There was also the encouragement of seeking payroll certification. Event literature promised valuable Recertification Credit Hours (RCH) for both payroll and HR. There was approval for payroll RCH, but no companion Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) Seal of Approval or event ID. Again, this was a payroll centric event.

The RCHs were approved for American Payroll Association (APA) Certified Payroll Profession (CPP) & the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) Certified Public Account.

I submitted five hours the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) for general recertification credits. This all got me thinking.

There could and should be affiliate complimentary partnerships established between HRCI, APA, & NASBA. This would be where certification hours are transferable. Perhaps this partnership already exists and isn’t as well known as it could be.

There are definite process partnerships between the HR disciplines of benefits, compliance & underlying compliance concerns and professional payroll competencies. In fact, I intend to research the requirements for the Certified Payroll Professional and strongly considering adding that certification to my professional qualifications.

My next professional growth goal may be to add BEing Payroll to BEing HR.

Another good conversation on the benefits of certification is on Sharlyn Lauby’s HR Bartender blog.
Using Certification to Advance Your Career.

Sharlyn says;

I know certification can do good things for your professional career. I don’t want to imply it won’t but I still believe that the reason a person should get certified and stay certified is because they want to. The letters after your name will always mean more to you than they do to anyone else.

As always, Stay Tuned.


Health Care Reform: 1 of more to follow

•April 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment


Health Care Reform

You can never know too much about the evolving implementation of this Law of the Land. Aka the Patient Protection Affordability & Care Act. Some have chosen to pronounce this acronym as Pea~Paw~Ka. Others have derisively labeled this legislation as ObamaCare. For the purposes of neutral brevity, I will be using HCR – there is no pronunciation.

The law’s purpose is to increase the number of American’s enrolled in & covered by health insurance. Hence the individual mandate to have health insurance or pay a penalty. The penalty has been affirmed by the Supreme Court as a constitutional tax.

There is also the company mandate that controls employer provided health insurance. This part of the law gets complex. Hence, my attendance at multiple seminars; development of a company strategic review and plan at the leadership level; briefing of supervisors & managers; and now at the employee informal leader level.

My company’s open enrollment period is in May. This means, according to IRS determination, we have a Plan Fiscal Year v a Fiscal Year Plan. (I know, simple, slippery & subtle distinction.) Fiscal Year Plans have to be HCR compliant on January 1, 2014. Plan Fiscal Years have to be compliant upon their 2014 renewal date. My company’s renewal date is June 1st. However, this year is our dry run, a compliance oriented dress rehearsal.

The subtext will be to put in place the policies, procedures and practices necessary to ensure that all eligible employees are offered compliant health insurance coverage. Those that decline, self included, will be signing documentation for file. The purpose of this subtext is proactive & affirmative penalty avoidance.

So, I am at a Payroll Service Provider User Group (PSPUG) meeting today to learn about what processes & services they have in place to monitor & manage compliance. It is worth noting that this Payroll Service Provider also provides embedded Human Resource Information System services.

It’s time to start & keep going.

This is my first blog posting on HCR. Stay tuned. I have more to say & share.

Advice from a Volcano

•April 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Back in February, I spent twelve days in Hawaii. The agenda on the Big Island included see an active volcano with seeing active lava flowing as a bonus. Due to the high wind wind warning and associated small craft warning, none of the boats were operating to the area where the lava met the sea.

Day 5 Kilauea Volcano Caldera

This is a picture of the caldera at Kīlauea in Volcano National Park

Watch a live webcam here.

Day 5 Thurston Lava Tube

This is the walk through Thurston Lava Tube.

Wisdom is where you find it, looking or not.

This was on a long sleeve T-Shirt purchased at the gift shop.


Stay Active

Keep Your Inner Fire Burning

It’s Okay To Let Off Steam

Go With The Flow

Be Uplifiting

It’s All A Matter of Time

Have A Blast!

All very good advice and another influence to Be Better Daily.

RIP Margaret Thatcher

•April 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment


The Iron Lady has now gone to rest.

To honor her passing and remember her service to Great Britain and the World, I offer these selected quotes as a memorial to her spirit.

“I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation,”

“There are significant differences between the American and European version of capitalism. The American traditionally emphasizes the need for limited government, light regulations, low taxes and maximum labour-market flexibility. Its success has been shown above all in the ability to create new jobs, in which it is consistently more successful than Europe.”

― Margaret Thatcher, The Path To Power

Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.
Margaret Thatcher

My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.

“Imagine a Labour canvasser talking on the doorstep to those East German families when they settle in on freedom’s side of the wall. “You want to keep more of the money you earn? I’m afraid that’s very selfish. We shall want to tax that away. You want to own shares in your firm? We can’t have that. The state has to own your firm. You want to choose where to send your children to school? That’s very divisive. You’ll send your child where we tell you.”

So It Begins

•April 7, 2013 • 3 Comments

20130330-075257.jpgOne week without Social Media.

DTG: 20130407@1017

This means no Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

The purpose of this quest is to practice serenity through solitude, solitude through serenity and deliberate withdrawal from the afflicative addiction of affirmation. Spefically likes, retweets and endorsements.

This brief hiatus will be a disconnection from my network of personal friends, professional colleagues, and the public in general.

Except for this blog. I need at least one outlet. Or do I? I will find out.

What I will be working on:

  • Maine HR Convention 2013 videography assignment.
  • Today will be spent on developing my Dropbox competency and expertise. This will be used for file sharing with Heather and Jeremy for post production approval before uploading.
  • This will be followed by video editing applicaton expertise – I’m hoping to use my iPad and IMovie for video editing,
  • Then YouTube uploading – which is why YouTube is not included in the Social Media exclusion list.

Also, the following blog titles are in the works:

  • Are You Who You Say You Are
  • The Language of Problem Solving
  • Social Media at the Maine HR Convention 2013. A list of channels, hashtags and presenter blogs.
  • Sorry for the Wait

This post will be amended throughout the week to reflect on expected mind-numbing rationalizations that come with addictive withdrawal.

Oh, and, this is a test to see this blog receives any traffic (which is a form of affirmation – both with and without comment, discussion, and/or dialogue.)

Stay Tuned.

37 minutes later, so far so good.

Thursday Update: my inner photographer cracked by posting two pictures on Instagram. 20-something Likes. Still avoiding Twitter – not sure why, Facebook & Linked remain on the Do Not Look list.

Stay Tuned.