A collection of Letters from the HRart, written strictly for you, the people-driven practitioner (aka HRart Worker) with a focus on growth, connection and HR evolution.

Samm Smeltzer at the HRart Center

HRart is an HR Revolution

Today we officially announce the relaunch of Leadership Arts Associates as The HRart Center. We pronounce HRart as “heart”. This center is a restorative and

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Samm and the Giant Peach

Samm and the Giant Peach

In Chinese mythology peaches were eaten by the “eight immortals” during an extravagant banquet called the “Feast of the Peaches.” The divine Queen Mother of

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A person holding up a sign of black lives matter

Now What?

This week on my Work+Love Livestream, I shared about an article I had read that inspired me to action. The article was by Dr. Taharee

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A panda bear resting on a wooden platform

Sacred Weekends

I have spent many years taking my weekends for granted. As an introvert, I found that weekends were filled with social gatherings and outings with

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Happy Times by Zoey

The final member of the Smeltzer family is little Miss Zoey. She was thrilled to share a list of nine happy moments from 2019. Here

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Iguanas and Me!!

When I look at my Connected Canvas from the beginning of 2019 the image that always stands out to me the most is the picture

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One Last Look Back

This Friday is Vision Fest 2020. I always find the final countdown to the event, a time for a final reflection on the year before.

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A Happy New Year decor

A Decade in Review

Marie Forleo has been a member of my Mental Advisory Board since day one. Not sure what that is, no worries, that blog post is

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Two lit Halloween pumpkins

Haunting Hints of Joy

Today while scrolling my LinkedIn feed, I saw a post shared by a fellow connection sharing four ways we can manage stress. The first point

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Picture of two colorfully painted apartment doors

A Door Closes

This morning marked the official ending of yet another chapter in my life. This has been a current trend for me as I continue to

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My Three Daily Qigong Practices

Qigong is described by the National Qigong Association as, “a mind-body-spirit practice that improves one’s mental and physical health by integrating posture, movement, breathing technique,

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Picture of green seats of a stadium

I Do What I Want!

When Samm started Leadership Arts Associates in 2014 we always said that one day the business would be in a place that I would come

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Silhouette of people

What is HR?

“Human Resource Management is the term generally applied to those activities concerning the management of people.”  This definition of HR was found in a textbook.

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Picture of gravestones in a snowy graveyard

To Move Forward Something Must Die

See a subject that resurfaces time and time again with my clients is relationships. This has only increased after I shared a very vulnerable story about how my marriage almost ended in my first book, From Heart to HRart. Relationships are hard, whether it’s with family, friends, co-worker or your significant other. Being vulnerable and providing permission to others to be so close and intimate is also putting ourselves at risk for the most amount of pain.

The number one question that is asked of me in regards to my marriage and how it is stronger today more than ever is, what did you do?

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Three Vision Fest Takeaways

For four years now, we have been coming together to create Vision Boards with new found clarity about our year to come. It is hands down my favorite event that we host at Leadership Arts. As with all of our programming, I am always constantly re-evaluating to ensure that we deliver the absolute best! As a result, Vision Fest has had quite an evolution and after experiencing this year’s Vision Fest I had a few takeaways that I would like to implement for next year. As my fellow Visionaries, I’d like to share these takeaways with you first…

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2018 Year in Review

Instagram has a #tradition of reviewing the year by sharing nine images. Curating my nine images served as the starting point to my reflective practice and despite the fact that I did manage to select nine images, I came to the realization that there were many more moments that deserved acknowledgment.

So here is my year in review and my most significant 18 moments of 2018.

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Turkey cookie treats finished product

Thanksgiving Cookies (yes it’s a thing)

Thanksgiving is this week and it definitely seems to have shown up out of nowhere.  But last week was my son’s Thanksgiving party at school and I signed up to bring a dessert.  I stumbled on a turkey cookie image and thought these will be cool to make.

So I embarked on a mission to create these turkey cookies.  

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Black maneki-neko

I can fire you if I want to!

As a general rule, employees are at-will, absent a contract, and may be terminated at any time, for any reason or for no reason.  Conversely, though, an at-will employee may resign at any time (with no notice) and for any reason.

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Halloween themed children treats

Balance and a 3 year old

As a Human Resources professional, I preach a lot about the balance of work and life.  The question I sometimes get is “Well how do you do it?”. I take great pride in my ability to be able to really balance my focus on the multiple hats that I wear.  I know that in order to thrive in the roles, they each need to have their time to be a priority.

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The Art of Brooding

Do you brood? Unfortunately, I believe this is a skill set that I have mastered over the course of my life. Being detailed oriented is commonly a skill that I lack, however when it comes to brooding I have a knack for focusing on the details. If you aren’t sure what I mean by brooding, let me break it down for you. Whenever a circumstance presented itself, resulting in me being unhappy, I would basically analyze it to death. With the level of analyzation needed to achieve this goal, it required holding onto the initial circumstances for great lengths and in some special scenarios almost indefinitely. That my friend is brooding at it’s finest. I became an expert at dissecting the situations that made me unhappy, usually motivated by the pursuit of someone else to blame besides myself. Trying to increase my self-worth by uncovering evidence that proved I was not the fool this time.

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Boston the City of Literal Dreams

Last week I had the honor and privilege of speaking at my first national conference in Boston. It was an incredible milestone for me and I knew this going into the opportunity. However, I didn’t fully comprehend what this milestone meant to me until we were leaving. In fact, it was actually on the Uber ride to the airport that the significance of this event hit me.

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The Way I Am

Are you a Charlie Pluth fan? I currently have his album, Voicenotes, in my car and it’s my go-to whenever I can’t find something to jam to on the radio and I haven’t plugged my phone in for easy access to Spotify. The album kicks off with a catchy tune called “The Way I Am” which is actually Pluth’s personal anthem of self-acceptance. The lyrics personally hit home for me, especially as I reflected on my week.

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A person writing on a notebook

HR as a Change Agent in an Organization

The only constant is change. It’s an old adage that rings true, especially in today’s fast-paced world.  Regardless of your industry, change is an essential part of organizational longevity now more than ever.  Forces that make change a necessity can come from both internal and external sources, which can further complicate things.  Your organizational change might be something as “simple” as implementing a new technology or as complex as redefining an entire product line. Whatever the change is, how it is managed can make or break an organization.  At its core, change management is all about people and their capacity for change.  What better reason than that very fact, for HR to be at the forefront of organizational change.  But, what exactly is HR’s role in organizational change?

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Mindful Conversations

Mindfulness is all the rage these days.  It seems like everywhere we turn there’s something about mindfulness in the news, online, in stores, etc.  But what does it mean to be mindful and how does it apply to our conversations in both our personal and professional lives?

Mindfulness, by definition, is simply bringing your full awareness to the present moment, and only the present moment. Mindful conversation then is to be fully present in a conversation.  Your attention is 110% in the conversation. 

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The Key to Effective Communication – Leaving Emotion Out of It

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

There’s no escaping the important role of good, clear communication in all aspects of our lives. Yet, despite its importance, communication is something with which most of us continually struggle. But as Tony Robbins points out, how we perceive the world is at the center of our communication.

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I’m Protected for That?

Most people know that there are protected classes, however, they don’t always know what constitutes a protected class.  A protected class by definition is a group of people with a common characteristic who are legally protected from employment discrimination on the basis of that characteristic.  It protects from discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits and any other term or condition of employment.  The discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are a member of the same protected class.

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ADA What?

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all employers with 15 or more employees.  This includes private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and unions. The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate in the job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and any other terms and conditions of employment.  Employers also must make reasonable accommodations so that disabled employees can perform the essential duties of their jobs. This requirement makes a strong argument for the significance of job descriptions and the need to make sure they are accurate. Without written documentation about what the essential duties of a job are, the employer can have a more difficult time justifying if they are considering something to not be a reasonable accommodation.  

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Ruby colored glasses on top of a mountain

On The Brighter Side

You have probably heard the saying “look on the brighter side”.  It’s something we often say to someone when things aren’t going their way or when life seems to be working against them in some way.  It serves as a reminder of the bigger picture.  It speaks to the art of reframing your reality, of looking at things from a different perspective, and of not allowing certain circumstances to dictate how you feel or act.  It is a powerful technique that is full of important lessons for all of us.

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Traditionalist, Boomers, Xers, Millennials and Z’s OH MY!!

For the first time ever there are 5 generations that are actively working today.  This article will not delve deep into the generations or the characteristics of each, I simply want to point out what groups and birth years they cover so we can talk more about how this impacts the workplace.  Here is the list of the 5 generations that are present within organizations today.

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Picture of a team huddle

Need Your Team on the Same Page?

The precursor to making these steps beneficial is that you have to have an awareness of the differences within your team and a genuine commitment to helping your organization be successful in creating a cohesive team.

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A silhouette of a woman meditating

Lesson in Humanity, Part Two

There are a ton of things we can do in an effort to stop all the chatter in our minds that tells us to be afraid or that we are not good enough. This article by no means covers them all, but it does give a sampling of some of the more impactful things you can do to help yourself overcome the harmful cycle of negative messages that often play in our minds.

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A person sitting in the middle of a long dock

Lessons in Humanity (Part One)

Who among us has not at some point thought: I am not good enough. I am not smart enough.  I don’t have anything to offer.  I am not good looking enough.  I’m not skinny enough.  I’m not tall enough.  I’m not in shape enough.  I am not deserving.  I am not worthy.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Whether personally and/or professionally, occasionally or on a regular basis, we all wrestle with these kinds of thoughts about ourselves. It happens to me almost on a daily basis.  Whether it’s because something didn’t work out the way I had hoped or I find myself comparing my life to that of others, thoughts like that always manage to find their way inside my head.

And what can make it even worse is the fact that it often appears as if everyone else has it all figured out (thank you social media) and we are the only ones over here struggling. Can you relate?

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Making Performance Evaluations Meaningful Again

Over the years the effectiveness of performance reviews has come into question because so many supervisors fail to avoid some common mistakes.  When that happens the review becomes unproductive and can contribute to low morale because the employees don’t feel like they are being fairly treated or evaluated.

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A woman presenting to a group of people

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cultural Transformation

Gallup reports that worldwide only 33.4% of employees are engaged at work.  When businesses hear that type of a statistic they feel the need to rush into change, however not all businesses are ready to take on that task.  Here are 7 do’s and don’ts to follow in order to successfully implement a culture transformation.

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Gray picture of a baby sleeping

FMLA Basics for Everyone

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was intended to balance the needs of the workplace with the needs of the family.  It allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a qualifying reason during any 12 month period.  To be eligible an employee must have been at the business at least 12 months (they do not have to be 12 consecutive months) and worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months.  For an employer to have to abide by FMLA they have to employ 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius. FMLA covers both public and private sector employees.

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Picture of a gray wall with square holes

Why does the Form I-9 Matter?

The monetary penalties for knowingly hiring and continuing to employ ranges from $548 to $21,916 per violation.  The monetary penalties for substantive violations, including failing to produce a form I-9 range from $220 to $2,191 per violation.  These 5 factors are considered to determine penalty amounts.

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A pointing hand with the sun setting in the horizon

Hope is NOT a Strategy

Today I was facilitating one of my favorite programs. One of the activities includes having the participants work in small groups to create timelines demonstrating

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