Tag Archives: Networking

#ConnectingHR 2: The Square Pig & a Well-Rounded Community

In a similar vein to @TheHRD, I could well indeed reel off a list of trivial facts about last night’s #ConnectingHR tweet-up:

•    I went into the evening believing that stickers would be easier to manage than badges.  Much to the delight of the aforementioned anonymous blogger (whose shirt was anything but), I was wrong. Apologies to everyone whose sticker I ripped…
•    Staff at The Square Pig use a bucket for their wine measures – great news for those who like a vat of vino in the evening; bad news for a collective gaggle of HR heads this morning.
•    @garyfranklin has some amazing ties.
•    @garelaos brushes his hands through his hair when he’s had a few shandies.

Now, those that know me will know that although very true, these ‘observations’ are indeed intended to be tongue-in-cheek.  If I desist from being facetious for one minute, allow me to draw your attention to what were, for me, the ‘real’ points from last night:

•    @mattalder and @garyfranklin KNOW LinkedIn.  The introduction of two informal ‘discussion’ groups for people who wanted to know more about Twitter (with @rapidbi) or LinkedIn were an excellent way to steer the conversation from World Cup football to Social Media and HR.
•    Expectation does NOT always spoil a party.  I had feared that after the success of #ConnectingHR, where no-one had really known what to expect, last night wouldn’t live up to the hype.  Happily for all involved, it did.
•    This is a point that @mervyndinnen has made many times in his excellent blog, but people really are ‘like’ their Twitter personas in real life.  Social Media isn’t full of people ‘acting up to an avatar’ or portraying a ‘manufactured identity’ – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – they are all extensions of us as people.
•    There really is no substitution for face-to-face networking.  There’s no denying the fact that Social Media allows people to connect with relevant, interesting people that they wouldn’t normally have met, but this does not make the need for ‘face time’ redundant.  Social Media is simply a channel that can increase – and enhance – interaction prior to establishing ‘in-person’ relationships.

I’m not strictly an ‘HR person’ per se, so I was always wary about whether I would be a viable member of the ‘community’ – but nothing could be further from the truth.  The beauty of #ConnectingHR is that everyone there had something to offer – yet everyone was equally willing to learn from other people.

I remain adamant that HR and marketing are natural bedfellows and will continue to merge as Social Media plays an increasingly prevalent role in personal and professional life.  And you know what?  Informal tweet-ups such as #ConenctingHR are simply one of the many ways in which this shared pooling of knowledge and support will continue to benefit us all.

Connecting HR 2 – Fresh Anticipation

I’m not going to beat around the bush.  At the last Connecting HR, I was flying into an event blind; my supportive role in a marketing / Social Media capacity not affording me the same levels of excitement as my Courtenay HR colleagues.

After all, this was an HR event in which HR Twitter contacts and HR professionals were coming together to solidify virtual relationships.  Me?  I was badge monitor, brand representative and apparently, a Social Media ‘guru’ – thanks for the David Brent-esque moniker Gareth…  Either way, I was attending in a supportive capacity; a square-pegged marketer trying to fit into an HR-round hole – which meant I didn’t share the same excitement as my peers.

But now?  How things change.  With the second Connecting HR now only one week away, I am relishing the forthcoming event and the opportunities it brings.  Why?  Here’s why things, for me, have changed exponentially since March:

i)    First and foremost, I now know people. Since the last event, I have started engaging with many of the attendees on Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and even through email (how very old fashioned / Web 1.0 of me)!
ii)    I’m looking forward to conversing in person. I had many insightful conversations last time, which I’m looking forward to following up; however I’m also looking forward to discussing new conversations that have so far been limited to 140 characters on Twitter.
iii)    I’m excited by the opportunity to learn. Whilst I feel I have plenty of Social Media information and learnings to share, I’m also excited by the prospect of learning from other people.  I genuinely believe that the lines between Marketing and HR have blurred, due in no small part to the advent of Social Media.  And I’m looking forward to learning from HR professionals and taking some new knowledge away from the evening.

I could go on: these are simply three of the many reasons that I am eagerly anticipating next week’s gathering.  But another key point lays simply in the fact that this event really is a superb opportunity for people to network.  I’ve enjoyed a daily glut of personal conversations with members of the #ConnectingHR tribe on Twitter, ranging from football to vintage paperback books.  However, I have also built a valuable network that has helped me professionally over the past couple of months:

•    Thanks to Abi Signorelli for technical advice on Facebook pages – we seem to be forming a good team that can muddle through together!
•    Anna Birtwistle – provided a fascinating article on employment law under the new coalition government, as featured on the Courtenay HR blog.
•    Michael Carty – provider of an unending stream of useful HR news, blogs, articles and opinions.
•    The enigmatic and elusive HRD – a valued (albeit anonymous) contact who has provided me with no end of information on the virtues of different blogging platforms.
•    Charlie Duff – a fantastic HR publishing contact and author of a very well received Connecting HR review
•    And of course, Gary Franklin – provider of some fantastic classic rock tracks that have been played in the office!

So many people still question the value of Social Media, claiming that it doesn’t deliver a measurable ROI.  Well, drawing upon the illustrations detailed above, I’d boldly purport that for those seeking monetary ROI, they’re missing the true value of Social Media.

My own mini Connecting HR network has already reaped fantastic value and it’s this – along with the opportunities to meet ‘social friends’ once again – that has got me so fired up about next week’s Connecting HR.