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2018 Fall NIHRMA Conference Encourages Human Resources Professionals to "Work Fierce"


“Work Fierce” was this year’s theme at the Northern Indiana Human Resource Management Association’s (NIHRMA) 2018 Fall Conference. The conference focused on Human Resources professionals and their ability to grow, adapt, motivate, and respond in the workforce.

NIHRMA is a transforming operation evolving with the ever changing aspects of HR departments, and has continuously met HR departments needs.

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The conference welcomed eight inspirational speakers who have positively impacted Northern Indiana’s workforce. The speakers covered various topics that focused on the development, management, and improvement of employees.

Speaker Blair Milo, Indiana State Secretary for Career Connections and Talent and Indiana’s Chief Talent Officer, spoke with Rebecca McCuaig, who currently serves as general counsel of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet under Indiana Governor Holcomb and the Office of Career Connections and Talent. The two spoke about the state’s current approach to workforce training, economic development, and jobs.

Milo encouraged the room to think about ways to provide students and those in the workforce with opportunities and outlets for further development in a field. Some suggestions were the Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeships and Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG).

“In order for our students to have access to these career experiences, it is critical for engagement from employees for this process to exist. They have the opportunity to be a part of our industry areas in order to gain those skills in the workforce environment,” Milo said.

McCuaig spoke on the current requirements held in the application process for those joining the workforce. She offered suggestions for companies to seek the opportunity to jump forward by re-evaluating their hiring habits.

“We can utilize our own skills to engage the workforce,” McCuaig said.

LaJuana Warren, Founder and President of Tapestry Solutions for Inclusions and Diversity Manager for Indiana State Personnel, provided the interactive session, “Unconscious Bias”, that allowed individuals to see how we develop biases and how they impact our decision making. She has taught Diversity and Leadership courses to over 7000 participants.

“Organizations that value diversity and inclusion outperform companies that don’t,” Warren said. “Inclusion is the miracle growth of companies; even the next day it looks different!”

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Carrie Van Daele, President and CEO of Van Daele and Associates Inc. spoke on the disconnect between operations and Human Resources. She believes HR departments should be aggressively redesigning its policies and procedures in order to better engage the workforce to perform at higher levels.

“How can HR reposition itself to get involved in the bottom line?” Van Daele asked. “HR must be tied to your company’s business strategy and step out of the box!”

Our very own Ideas in Motion Media founder, Chris Mahlman, spoke about how to push boundaries in the workforce, effectively and relentlessly. He encouraged the room to think about the ways they are challenging their employees in order to further their growth.

“The team developed these things called motion-isms. They all gear around having a decisive outlook on things and relentless high expectations,” Mahlman said, referring to the motivational quotes presented on the screen.

“We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t push those boundaries, or communicate to 66,000 people if we weren’t relentless,” Mahlman said.

John Kuehn, co-founder of LaDue, Curren & Kuehn, and Sean Quinn, trial lawyer and counselor, provided a legal update on the status of Employee Handbooks and various important policies that should be included within them.

“Having a handbook provides consistency between employees,” Kuehn said. “You don’t have to answer the questions that are in the policy and if you have a policy, follow it.”

“Try to remove all obstacles or potential ones that are in the policy process,” Quinn suggested. “Regular training keeps employees informed about concerns and helps with company morale.”

Quinn said a good policy should interpret legal concepts into nonlegal terms.

Dr. James B. Dworkin, the current Professor of Management at the Purdue West Lafayette Campus, discussed the 10 most important concepts everyone needs to know in order to be an effective negotiator. These concepts included planning and preparation, recognizing negotiation types, and other important ideas.

“Negotiation is the tip of the iceberg and preparation is where most of the time is spent,” Dworkin said. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

The Conference ended in a vote for the name change of NIHRMA in order to better identify at a larger scale, and is now recognized as Lake Shore SHRM. This year’s conference was inspiring and impactful, as many took away important aspects to utilize in the workforce in the future. If you are interested in NIHRMA, now known as Lake Shore SHRM, visit https://nihrma.shrm.org/.

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