small business hr mastermind group

I mentioned in my post last week that I was organizing small business mastermind groups to allow for solo HR practitioners or those who are not really HR practitioners but are handling HR, the opportunity to meet on a bi-monthly basis to bounce ideas around, rant about their troubles and generally lend support. I did a quick blurb about it, but clearly you want more as I’ve received 47 emails with questions.

That many emails deserve a long form response. I think it’s easiest to answer them all in a FAQ kind of format. With the table of contents you can jump to whichever question(s) you may have.

Can you explain the purpose in a bit more detail or your reasoning behind starting these groups?

Ninety percent of my blog subscribers, followers on social media and clients are either small businesses with no HR personnel, but someone with other job responsibilities handling HR or they are very small HR departments of typically only one to two people where that second person is usually an admin. They bounce ideas off me, ask great questions and lament about how tough it can be at times to be everything to everyone. I love that they do this. I always say I may not have the largest number of blog subscribers, but I have some of the most engaged for sure.

The problem is, I’m smart enough to know that I don’t always have all the answers. I am a consultant and I can share what works for clients, but I don’t have clients in every industry or who have experienced some of the things I get asked about. I often refer one client or subscriber to another for advice which gave me the idea to start these mastermind groups.

I think in the long run these won’t just be about getting advice on how to get things done, but eventually can be used to challenge and inspire one another to be the best small business HR practitioner we can be. At least that’s my dream.

Why do you limit the size of the company the person can work for?

Great question. The reality is that anything over 250 employees and you probably have a larger HR department than just 2 people. I really wanted these groups to focus on the smallest of businesses from an employee population point of view. Handling HR for a startup working through series funding is different than handling HR at Google. Sure the fundamentals and laws are the same, but the demands on time and the priorities are very different.

An hour and a half seems like a long time for these meetings? Could they be shorter?

Maybe. We may not always use 90 minutes but I do want everyone to have ample opportunities to share and ask questions. I think blocking off 90 minutes is fair and then if we feel we have accomplished what we need to earlier, we can always end the call.

How will the calls be structured?

Oh, HR people, always wanting structure. Luckily I have it for you. The calls won’t be a free for all where everyone is talking over each other. They are limited to five practitioners and one facilitator per group which should automatically help with noise. A few days before the call, I will ask for agenda items and will then share those with the group. This allows for a couple of things. It allows for everyone to have their main topic covered. We wouldn’t want one person with a messed up workforce hogging all the time (we all know someone who could go on forever with how crazy their workplace is). It also allows for everyone else to really think about their advice including any resources they want to point an individual to.

It will be a structured, open conversation if that makes any sense. We will have agenda items, but as the call flows, outside topics can certainly be introduced if they make sense.

Will these calls be recorded so those who can’t attend can listen in?

Baby steps my friend. I’m calling this the beta phase of these groups and want to run a few for a couple of months before adding any other dynamics. I can see where something like this may be beneficial to a larger audience down the road, but for now I want to make sure we have any kinks worked out before adding a larger audience.

Why can’t vendors attend?

Quite simply because it’s not about that. I don’t want one single person on the phone sold too. Even the most well meaning vendor will have a hard time stopping themselves from offering their solution if they feel it would solve whatever the participant is struggling with. This may be something we revisit down the road but for now, these calls are strictly about advice seeking.

I realize I’m a vendor, but I’m also the connector serving as facilitator so I get to participate. I have no doubt that if I use this time to sell (which my introverted self would never do in a format like this) then participants will let me know either directly or by dropping out. I don’t plan on letting that happen.

Are these groups only available during business hours?

No. I have several people who have expressed interest for an after hours or Saturday morning call. Keep in mind it is only once a month, every other month, but I will certainly work to find a group for everyone in the time frame that makes the most sense for them.

Is there a commitment? If I’m not getting anything out of these can I drop out?

Of course. I would never want anyone to feel as though they are wasting their time. However, I would ask all participants to attend at least a few meetings before deciding it isn’t helping them.

I think that hits the main points. Of course you can always email/call/text me with additional questions. My contact info is at the top of this page. If you are interested in joining a mastermind group, please fill out this form and I will send you more info.