A Drink With The HR Bartender - Q&A With Sharlyn Lauby

A Drink With The HR Bartender - Q&A With Sharlyn Lauby


Every once in a while, I brazenly ask someone completely out of my league to coffee. Not for a date, but for a chance to pick their brain. I invite prominent influencers and gurus to sip something with me and tell me about their greatest mistakes and life lessons.

And I'm always shocked when they agree. 

So of course I was delighted (and utterly intimidated), when the completely brilliant Sharlyn Lauby a.k.a. the infamous HR Bartender agreed to grab a drink and give me her perspective as a seasoned HR consultant. 

Here's some of our Q&A and a few of her pearls of wisdom. 



A Drink With The HR Bartender - Q&A With Sharlyn Lauby Coaster

[What's a bartender without her coaster? Thanks for the pic Sharlyn!]


Q. How can HR vendors make themselves more appealing (and more likely to be selected) to benefits brokers & consultants?

[SL] “Learn how to write well. Learn how to use bullets and numbers in your RFP. Make them clear and concise. They need to be easy to digest.


Q. Any vendor management advice?

[SL] “HR Directors need to be involved in the Vendor Management process. Because while the procurement team might select the vendor, it’s often HR that’s directly working with them.”

Q. What question do you wish people would ask you? (What do you have thoughts on that no one asks you about)?

[SL] “When I first started consulting, I would take other consultants out to coffee or lunch and ask for one piece of advice. What was the biggest mistake they ever made?

"What did they wish they’d known when they’d first started out? That sort of thing, very simple. And I’m amazed how many new professionals just don’t just ask for advice. You don’t have to learn the hard way.” 

[She wrote a great blog about it, The Top 3 Mistakes Consultants Make]

Q. Any other advice?

[SL] “Networking is important. My first job I got based on what I knew, the rest were on who I knew. Take time to network, it doesn’t have to be hard.”



3 Things I learned from my drink with The HR Bartender: 

  • To be selected, vendors need to write well (learn how to write a winning proposal)
  • Consultants don't have to learn the hard way, ask smart colleagues for advice
  • Who you know really does matter, make time to network

My conversation with Sharlyn was one of many RFP365 had at this year's HR Technology conference. And if there was one recurring theme we heard and over, from everyone we talked to (consultant, broker, vendor, publisher, analyst) it's that the benefits game is becoming more complicated for everyone.

Vendors need to be able to work faster than ever to keep up with the demand (see how). Brokers & consultants need accurate information at a glance (learn more) to keep pace with their evolving options. 

Stay tuned for more lessons from the show, including infographics on what we learned as first-time exhibitors and more expert top tips.  

Big cheers to our favorite Bartender, thank you! 


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