The HR Juggler

Guest Post from Ailsa Suttie: What the Connecting HR Unconference has Meant for Me

Posted on: October 29, 2010

AilsaSuttie is the Group HR Director at The Panther Group, which specialises in marketing services, particularly charity fundraising.  She is also a bookworm, movie fiend and a new Auntie….and this is her first ever blog!  Please show her lots of love and support!


I have warily taken up Alison’s challenge for HR non bloggers to galvanise themselves into action and to piggy back as a guest on her blog. Having done so I have scratched my head, reflected on the great people I met last week and the ideas I came away with, here is what I came up with.

As a result of the un-conference during the course of this week I have taken some action which has created change and energy across my organisation. It’s only a small change just now but it will grow and develop and people are excited by it, what’s more it was free! The catalyst for it was #CHRU and I am so glad I went.

Of the sessions I took part in one, for me, that resonated particularly in terms of some of the issues and feedback I have on a regular basis, was the one that centred on the position of HR within the organisation. An outcome of that session was that we all identified that we must sit within our organisations and that communication in all its varied forms is critical to our success and evolution as a function.

In terms of the position of HR in my organisation I feel that we are well integrated and that we engage and listen to our people effectively.  The main area I feel I have not been able to address, despite many attempts and various means, is to satisfy the desire for better communication. A project to set up an interactive communication portal was thwarted due to a slash in budget and recently my focus has been elsewhere. This week I had a little headspace and joined the #ConnectingHR Yammer community. Light bulb moment!

So, I spent a half day working out how I could best use Yammer for our needs and setting up groups and communities for each of our four businesses. Out of my usual comfort zone this geeky stuff but I really enjoyed it! I let my test groups know what I’d done and showed them how to use it, the feedback has been great and when I dipped into the communities that I set up I can see that they are all using it effectively and it’s building relationships among people who work on 5 different sites. As I said before, baby steps for us just now but I can see it’s having a positive effect and it reinforces my new found belief in social media! This will evolve for us and I will be proud to watch as it does and bask in a quiet sense of achievement, but I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been a part of #CHRU.

If you are still with me at this point (!) I would also like to say that I am energised to know that I am now a part of a community that I have wished and hoped for and never really thought I would find. (Mervyn do you remember those chats we had years ago?) It’s hard to believe that this only happened a week ago, I am looking forward to building and growing the relationships started last week and to meeting others as they join. I have had a lot of support this week from various people and thanks goes to them, I hope I can be of help when anyone needs me.

My last point is that I have been so evangelical about all of this that I have my Head of L&D begging to join us so I will be tweeting an intro for her later on so say hello!

3 Responses to "Guest Post from Ailsa Suttie: What the Connecting HR Unconference has Meant for Me"

I know this is going to sound a but soppy but reading this blog is a dream come true for me. This is exactly what forming ConnectingHR was all about and here we have a senior HR professional (Yes, not a Gen Y grad!) sharing their first ever blog post on the blog of yet another senior HR professional who just started their blog!On top of that, you have gone on to share your learnings and even set up Yammer for your organisation. You jumped right in and had a go. I take my hat of to both of you, well done.And all because of #ConnectingHR and #CHRU.Awesome!

Thanks Gareth – I know I would never have started this up if it weren’t for you and Jon and the #CHRU experience, so I’m hugely grateful and appreciative. It’s fantastic that it is still having such ripples in changing behaviour for good.Ailsa, I love your post and your willingness to share what you have been doing in your business. Its a real inspiration – well done you 😉

[…] to believe that before this month, Ailsa Suttie was the only person to have guest posted on this blog…and rather a long time ago now at that! I can’t say enough good things […]

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