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Next Concept HR Magazine focused on What's Next for what matters most to HR. Insightful and timely, it covers best practice trends and presents new ideas and concepts to keep readers up-to-date with the latest in our field. Voices from our nationwide community contribute to a wide range of topics. Articles include valuable practice resources, news and views to provide training, legal and legislative developments, info on quality service providers, and opportunities to form career-long networks and partnerships. Subscribe at:


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Top tags: hr  NCHRA  HR Management  Human Resources  HR Leadership  leadership  employee engagement  employee  employee retention  workplace  management  company culture  recruiting  HR West 2017  HR West 2019  HR West 2018  hiring  HR West Speaker  HR Tech  HR West 2016  blog  employee wellness  HR West  Workforce  Engagement  human resources management  culture  effective leadership  communication  Karen Rodriguez 

Announcing the #HRWest18 Social Media Challenge Winners!

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

We are pleased to announce our #HRWest18 Social Media Challenge Grand Prize Winners: 

Lorianne Lee (Twitter @loriannelee67– 1st Place Winner (3-peat!)

Alex Leon Truong (@Plurchu on Instagram*) – 2nd Place Winner

Jocelyn Thompson (Instagram @jetfromwa– 3rd Place Winner (3-peat!)

*Alex had some 250 likes across just two Instagram posts alone.

The HR West team also picked (random) instant winners every Friday during the contest weeks of January 16 through February 19, 2018.  #HRWest2018 Social Media Challenge “Weekly Instant Winners” were awarded $20 Amazon Gift Cards:

Long time HR West Attendees, Lorianne Lee and Jocelyn Thompson (both 2-time 2018 Instant Winners)
New HR West Attendee, Alex Leon Thruong
HR West 2018 Speaker, Dana Barbato and her (company) @InvestiPro Team (2-time 2018 Instant Winner)
HR West 2018 Speaker, Max Dubroff – @HR_MAXimizer
HR West 2018 Speaker, David Kovacovich – @DavidKovacovich 

For further information on the annual social media challenge, visit:

HR West welcomes more participants in 2019!

Tags:  HR Conferences  HR Social Media  HR West 2018 

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Join the #HRWest18 Social Media Challenge!

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Updated: Monday, January 15, 2018

Join the #HRWest18 Social Media Challenge!

Your Social Media Posts Can Win You Prizes!

“Where you go to find out What’s Next…,” is the theme for HR West 2018. Now, in its 35th year, HR West, the San Francisco Bay area human resources industry conference (serving a community of over 30,000 HR professionals) has, once again, initiated it’s annual social media challenge!

Our goal is to get the word out and build buzz about HR West and, more importantly, increase awareness about the power of innovation in the human resources industry through the power of digital media! 

This year, let’s expand the conversation surrounding the importance of today’s HR professionals within today’s innovative businesses including the new responsibilities that lie within the #MeToo and #TimesUpenvironment.

The #HRWest18 Social Media Challenge goes through Monday, February 26, 2018 leading up to the conference.

For all the details (it's so easy to participate!) click here: HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Tags:  HR Conferences  HR West 2018  Social Media Contests 

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Thankful for HR West 2017 and YOU!

Posted By Editor, Wednesday, November 23, 2016

HR West 2017As we near the end of another successful year, we are beginning preparation for more amazing NCHRA events and conferences that will take place in 2017. Most importantly, we are busy preparing for HR West 2017 - at the Oakland Convention Center (just a little over 3 months from now) March 6-8!

In the spirit of this Thanksgiving holiday, we are grateful for all the that HR West offers:

  • Hotel. Conference. Parking - all under one roof! Book your room now!
  • A unique, in-depth meeting-place to connect with other HR professionals who have dealt with what you're dealing with!
  • Credits. Credits. Credits. Attendees can earn up to 14.75 recertification credits with over 85 concurrent sessions!
  • Parties and receptions - fun ways to get social, unwind and network after jam-packed day of information and education!
  • A super-local and exciting Bay Area Event! Not too far to travel for some and an exciting place to get-away to for others!
  • Easy to register (why not relax and get it done over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend)!
  • HR in the most innovative place on earth!

Above all, we are grateful to have the continued opportunity to serve and work with our wonderful -- and truly innovative -- NCHRA members, vendors and sponsors!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!




Tags:  HR conferences  HR West  HR West 2017  HRWest17 

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Need Better Networking Success at Your Next HR Conference?

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Contributed by Karen Rodriguez - Exec-Comm 

Fall is quickly approaching and it’s a great time to attend networking events and conferences.  With summer activities coming to a close, you can refocus on meeting new people in your industry and getting out there to support your career and business improvement goals. Do you cringe at the thought? Don’t shy away from these opportunities.

Well-honed communication skills will reduce your anxiety and help you expand your network. Here are a few tips to help you strike up more conversations with new contacts in the months ahead:

Study the headlines. Before heading to the event, scan the headlines and note a few potential topics to discuss.

Maintain eye contact. When introducing yourself, smile and look into the person’s eyes as you speak your name and they say theirs. As the conversation continues, keep your focus on the person you are talking with. Don’t scan the room looking for friends or others to meet.

Gesture openly. Avoid crossing your arms or clutching your drink with both hands as you talk. Instead, keep your hands apart and your arms relaxed. Gesturing makes you appear natural and approachable.

Ask a few questions. Sometimes you’ll need to jumpstart their side of the conversation. Try asking an open-ended question like “What are you hoping to learn here today?” If their answer is short, build on the information they’ve just shared.

Find a connection. As they’re answering your questions, find an element to pick up on. You’re listening for something to keep the conversation going. Find common ground and the conversation will continue without effort.

Speak slowly and pause. Keep the dialogue moving at a casual pace. If you talk too quickly, the listener will strain to keep up or may interpret your speedy delivery as a sign of nervousness.

Disengage politely. After a few minutes, it’s perfectly fine to close the conversation. Exchange contact information, if you’d like. Ask them to join you on a trip to the buffet. Or, simply smile, tell them you enjoyed chatting and move on.

We hope you had a great summer and more importantly, we hope you have the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people in the fall and winter months ahead. Just start with “hello” and go from there.  

Global HR Leaders! Please consider attending the NCHRA Global Workforce Conference in Santa Clara on September 15Qualifies for 6 SHRM PDCs / 6 HRCI Recertification Credits - Global and General . Read more about the agenda and Register Today! Discover innovative ideas for managing key aspects of Global HR, and leave the Global Workforce Conference armed with tactics for succeeding in today’s border-less workforce. Come learn and network with a friend and your friend will receive 50% registration ($270 NCHRA members, General $340). 

About the Author

As the manager of the Exec-Comm brand, marketing and design efforts, Karen Rodriguez oversees the firm’s identity, touching all aspects of the brand (online presence and web site, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events). Since joining Exec-Comm in 1999 and entering into partnership status in 2009, she introduced (and still manages) the firm’s blog, The Chat, launched the company's quarterly lunch and learn series: The Learning Exchange, and its open-enrollment seminars in New York and San Francisco. Karen holds a B.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, and lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.

Tags:  HR Communication  HR Conferences  HR Networking  NCHRA Global Workforce Conference.Karen Rodriguez 

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5 millennial-retention tips to win hearts, engage minds (and takeaways for young professionals to be mindful of!)

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, July 13, 2016

5 millennial-retention tips to win hearts, engage minds

By Nicole Smartt  
*Originally published by North Bay Business Journal, February 2016

By 2020, about half of the U.S. workforce will be part of the generation that values helping people in need over a huge salary; that actually do care about a company’s mission; that praise and deeply appreciate flexibility.

At first blush, this seemingly major shift in how an individual’s values are expressed at work, it can feel daunting to connect with this generation. Here are five things to think about that can help you attract, and actually retain, these incredibly powerful people.


More than many generations before them, millennials have high expectations when it comes to doing what you say you’re going to do, and won’t take it well if you don’t walk your talk. Though it seemed a few years back that millennials might be known in posterity as lazy, disengaged non-workers, it’s clearer now more than ever that this major workforce constituent is hard-working, intelligent, creative and informed. Use this to your advantage by clearly stating your vision, and allowing millennial employees to help you get there.


I think one of the most unique things about the millennial generation is the sudden absence of reliance on an existing value structure. Sure, many of these individuals grew up in homes with strong moral compasses, varied spiritual or religious structures, and the benefit of their parents’ experiences.

But this generation is the first to have total unfettered access to the world’s information. They are more empowered than any modern generation before them to become informed on their own terms, to go find what makes sense to them in the world, and to pursue whatever meaningful acts that call to them. If they are going to be willing to show up to an interview, or keep showing up to work, you’d best be ready to let them see the impact they make.


Creative, flexible, and often multi-talented, millennials (and many other young people before them) are powerhouses of innovation, fresh ideas, and elegant solutions. Cultivate a workspace that invites collaboration that visibly values contributions of both ideas and work. Put a strong, solid mission in place, but listen to their input.


Let’s face it: lots of bureaucracy is pretty suspicious looking from the outside. It doesn’t foster fealty, it doesn’t improve productivity, and it’s unnecessarily confusing. It’s a cargo carrier in a world of speed boats.

I’m not suggesting that you abandon structure of all kinds, and ban regular work hours or encourage your employees to come in their pajamas. But does that form really need to be hand-filled in triplicate?

If you run into bureaucratic structures you just can’t get rid of, take the time to explain why the structure exists, what value it brings or what problems it helps to avoid. Trim all of the unnecessary form filling and eye-crossing procedures you’re able to. Bonus: doing this will likely increase overall productivity, save costs, and contribute to an overall mood lift for your company.


It’s not just about personal growth. Some experts claim that it’s very important to millennials to feel they are progressing in their careers, and though I find that kind of generalization a little arbitrary, I do think that it’s important for individuals in any company to feel like they aren’t stuck.

Find out what matters to each employee. If they want to be vice president of a company one day, give them opportunities to learn valuable skills that make them more prepared for that position. Consider promoting in smaller steps than traditional company structures, but don’t make those distinctions arbitrary and functionally meaningless. Make each transition mean something: give them a bit more responsibility; charge them with learning a new skill that also adds value to your company’s bottom line.


Be careful with words like “potential” when you’re talking about young professionals. Remember that American millennials have had essentially the world’s knowledge at their fingertips their whole lives.

Here’s an example: They may not have had two years of trade school to learn how to refinish furniture, but they had YouTube. Though sometimes this learning on the go model leads to holes in knowledge, where they know that they need to perform a task a certain way, but not why, in the bulk of potential situations their skills are real. Their experiences are valuable. They might not have any sales experience, but if they’re passionate, well researched, approachable and dauntless, their age shouldn’t be the thing that keeps them out.

When you consider attracting and keeping millennials, there’s one sure-fire way you will retain them: ask them. A little bit of collaboration will go a long way.

About the Author
Nicole Smartt is co-owner of Petaluma-based Star Staffing, ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. magazine. As a business and career advice expert, Smartt has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, Fox Business and Wall Street Journal. 

Her new book,  From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead at Work will be available on paperback – July 28, 2016, order on Amazon.



Tags:  employee retention  HR Conferences  millennials  Nicole Smartt  Young Professionals Conference 

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