Interviewing Robin Schooling

We’re weeks away from Louisiana SHRM Conference! Here’s another post in our series of “meet the Speakers!”  Robin will be speaking on “HR’s Turning Point: Are You Staying in Place or Moving Forward?” which discusses the evolution of HR and how upcoming rends require HR practitioners to change. So without further ado…

What made you decide to be in HR?

I wish I could say I was one of those people who purposefully and deliberately chose HR Management as my career, but I didn’t. Rather, as is the case with lots of others I know, it chose me. I started in the field by working for a staffing agency as a general all-around assistant which led me down the path of assisting with payroll, screening and interviewing applicants for the temporary contract side of the business and ultimately I began to work on filling job orders. I was hooked and decided it was time to make a move into a corporate HR/recruiting position (hey – it was all I knew!). I definitely was one who learned by doing and I gained an understanding of the HR Body of Knowledge through continual learning, certifications (PHR, SPHR) and soaking up everything I could via World at Work courses, becoming a certified DDI Targeted Selection Administrator and the like.

What keeps you in this field?
While this may sound like rainbows and unicorns, it’s because I believe in the power of people. Human beings are amazing (although some are challenging!) and I’m convinced that one person can find contentment/happiness/satisfaction and can make a difference when they are in the right position at the right time in the right organization. In HR we have the ability to make those things happen and to ensure that our employees work in an environment where they have the support, encouragement and resources they need to be successful. We can neither create a culture, build a brand, nor can we sustain engagement – that stuff is neither a magic trick nor is it a job duty of the HR professional. We do, however, have the ability and responsibility to monitor, track and analyze all the ingredients that go into the gumbo that is our organization – and that is endlessly exciting!

What challenges do you face?
I face many of the same challenges as HR folks the world over. A top concern is ensuring my organization is
positioned to recruit and retain talented individuals for today as well as to ensure future growth of the organization. I certainly am ever mindful of the changing legislative and regulatory landscape and how that affects what we do – whether it be NLRB issues (because yes, they affect us all!), changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, or keeping an eye on the direction of the EECO, the DOL and/or any number of state agencies/bodies. My HR planning is guided by the strategic plan of my organization so I must I constantly evaluate the development of activities/actions by asking “knowing where we’re going and what our organizational goals are, how does this HR initiative/project/activity align with them?”

Your session is on moving HR forward and making changes. What made you decide to present on this
HR practitioners are the biggest naval gazers around. If you go to a typical HR conference you’ll inevitably encounter sessions that cover HR needing to gain credibility and that provides tips for hustling on in to the board room (I refuse to use the worn-out cliché about furniture). This topic has been talked about for the 20+ years in which I’ve been in HR and it’s exhausting. The session that Bill Boorman and I are leading came about through a series of conversations because we like to banter back and forth about the future of HR/Recruiting/Talent/Technology (you name it!) and the standard-typical response from the average HR practitioner – which is quite often a ‘push-back.” So in our session we’re going to talk about a variety of things – technology, globalization, the changing “way” of work and organizational culture – examining these by looking at what HR pros are doing now (and may have been doing for years!) and what they need to do in the future. Because the future is now!

What session/speaker/event are you looking most forward to for LA SHRM 2013?
We have such a remarkable slate of speakers coming to the conference that I may very well find myself running from room to room in order to catch nuggets of wisdom from everyone! Anyone that knows me can probably guess that I’m looking forward to the networking and social activities – both Sunday night and Monday night.. I’m also incredibly excited about Social Media Street and am looking forward to working a shift or two. So please come visit me!

Robin Schooling, SPHR, is VP Human Resources with the Louisiana Lottery Corporation and has over 20 years of HR management experience in a vast array of industries including manufacturing, health care and banking. She’s an active HR blogger at and is a contributor to the blogs WomenofHR and SHRM’s We Know Next. She’s a member of the SmartBrief on Workforce Advisory Board, and serves on the Louisiana Business Leadership Network, which focuses on providing positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Robin was President of the Greater Baton Rouge SHRM chapter in 2008, is active with ASTD Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Social Media Association, and is super involved with Louisiana SHRM where she serves as Secretary/Treasurer and Communications Director for the State Council. In 2011, GBR SHRM awarded Robin its “HR Professional of the Year Award.” You can follow her on twitter at @RobinSchooling where, on football weekends, you can read all her #whodat tweets.

We look forward to seeing Robin at Louisiana SHRM Conference on April 8th – 9th in Baton Rouge! Read more about the conference here

One thought on “Interviewing Robin Schooling

  1. Robin, First, let me say that I am quite impressed with your accomplishments. Being new to the field of HR (earning my MS in HRM degree this spring) your path and wisdom inspire me. I not only agree that HR professionals need to be aware of the organization’s strategic direction but all employees do as well. Whether the professional world wants to acknowledge it or not, HR already has the proverbial seat at the table; whether by strategic inclusion of HR capabilities or as a reactionary response to dynamic legislation effecting employee relations. We are at the table and we are helping shape the strategy. I would have to say that I disagree that HR does not play a role in building a company’s brand or creating its culture. You stated that {HR practitioners] have the ability and responsibility to monitor, track and analyze all the ingredients that go into the gumbo that is our organization.By tracking, monitoring and analyzing all the ingredients, feedback must be reported and I assume that the recipient of this information (especially if it’s pertinent) has the authority and responsibility to act upon it and make decisions that will shape the culture and the company’s strategic direction. As far as shaping the company’s culture, this may only be true if the HR professionals act as internal consultants; identifying areas for improvement, cohesiveness, and assessing cultural norms and how they relate to and coincide with the organizations customers and the external environment. By gathering data, interacting with employees and senior leadership by advising on appropriate interventions, you gain credibility as an HR professional and at the same time play an integral role in shaping and reshaping the culture as well as helping to build and maintain the company’s brand. Besides the company’s talent is what shapes it culture (as they are the ones operating within and setting cultural norms) and HR is responsible for acquiring and retaining this talent. ~Jazz


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