SLake 2009 bio photo About the Blog Post author:

Shawna Lake is the Vice President of Human Resources at that Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and currently serves as the Director of Volunteer Management for IndySHRM. Shawna holds degrees in Human Resource Management and Organizational Communication from Ball State University.

Professional athletes take the off season for some much deserved R & R, return to their usually sunny places of origin, and get various arthroscopic surgeries to keep them at the top of their game.  I don’t know about you, but there are many things I’d like to do in my “off season.” Even when I worked in an industry that was seasonal, our HR department would just cycle between busy or insanely busy.  I always have a list of things I’d like to get to some day.  (It’s an interesting phenomenon that towards the end of my review period I’m more likely to pull out that list and demonstrate some progress towards the long-term goals.)

Just as I was making progress this winter on revising our Employee Handbook, I had to put that on hold for benefit changes and open enrollment.  At the same time, we wrote a HIPAA policy and made sure to be compliant with the new HITECH law.  Along the way, the COBRA subsidy was extended (three times) and voila-health care reform!  Its budget time and I decided to take on revising the performance review process and rolling out employee self-service features of our HRIS system.  When is the off-season?  We have to create it.  Of course I’m not suggesting that you’ll find me in southern Florida for the next few months.  Instead, it’s my job to manage my goals and project timelines, negotiate deadlines with my management team and department, and build flexibility into the plans.  My goals used to be labeled by month, now they are arranged by calendar quarters.  I also categorize my business plan goals by subject area and arrange those by organizational priority.

We’ve all heard the phrase “doing more with less.”  In fact, I’m convinced that an HR professional coined it.  Can you think of a time in your career that this phrase has ever had such meaning as it does right now?  Since our profession doesn’t have a Commissioner to sanction an off-season, we have to referee our deadlines and goals ourselves to work to achieve balanced success.