The HR Juggler

Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

So, anyone who has read my blog for a while will know that I’m a big fan of ConnectingHR and hugely enjoy being a part of what they do. Without ConnectingHR I would not be the avid Twitter and social media fan that I now am, and nor would I be a keen blogger.

Quite simply, ConnectingHR is a fantastic and energised group of HR people – generalist practitioners, recruiters, consultants, communication experts, learning and development folk and many, many more –  who connect on Twitter under #connectinghr and who interact and chat over at the website. Once a quarter there is also a bigger event for people to meet up, outside of the usual informal drinks and get-togethers – either a networking evening (known as a tweet-up) or a day’s long Unconference.

I’m not usually prone to gushing, but genuinely I have never come across a group of HR people more willing to provide help and support, genuinely interesting and interested, vocal and articulate, inclusive and thought-provoking. Seriously, they are great – we are great.

Why do I tell you all of this now? Well, the third ConnectingHR Unconference is taking place on the 20th October and now is the time to get your skates on and book your place. It’s very easy to do, just register here. Excitingly, I also have the opportunity to give away a free ticket to the Unconference and all you need to do to apply is to submit a comment at the end of this post by Friday 7th Oct and tell me why you want to come and what you hope you will get out of it. The only rules (of course there are rules, I work in HR!) are that you should be an HR practitioner who hasn’t attended an Unconference before. Oh, and I might ask you for some blog comments once you’ve been :).

So, that’s it. I have always highly disliked the traditional concept of networking, but the lovely thing about ConnectingHR is that you will find yourself amongst friends…and it really is a form of networking that totally works.

What are you waiting for? Who wants a free ticket? Go on…make my day…. 😉

So, following on from yesterday’s post on my big blogging experiment, the time to vote is here! Below are the fantastic topics that have been generated, so please vote for your favourite. I’m genuinely excited about doing this experiment next week and love the encouragement and support that it has generated – thank you.

As a reminder, I will blog about the 5 topics that receive the most votes and will be publishing from Sunday evening onwards throughout next week.

Watch this space!


Friends and colleagues are often surprised that I am a Twitter regular and that I have my own blog. After all, I already have a “proper job” and am pretty well established professionally, so what do I get out of it?

The simple and honest answer is that you get out what you put in. But for people who are not familiar with social media and the connectedness that it can bring, this doesn’t seem to sate their curiosity or adequately answer the unspoken questions. So, bearing in mind that I am a reasonably average HR professional with a busy job, this is what I have gained over the last year through regular tweeting, blogging and attending two unconferences.

  • I have talked about networking and professional connections before.  What takes a little more time and patience to articulate though, is the high conversion rates of professional connections to real and genuine friends. From a glance through my timeline and ‘followers’ I would say I have made at least 30 friends this year, people who I meet up with to have lunch, a coffee or drinks and whose brains I pick on a regular basis, either online or in person.
  • In addition to the people I consider to be friends, I also have a wealth of professional contacts who are hugely helpful and knowledgeable. Some of them will undoubtedly become friends over the next year
  • There is a real sense of connectedness with what is current through interacting on social media. Whether its keeping up with the latest HR developments, legal updates, live streams from conferences, opinions, news, politics or current affairs, i am more up-to-date than I ever have been and the tools of social media provide an invaluable, instantaneous global perspective
  • I haven’t made my first Twitter hire…yet! I have been sufficiently impressed with the quality of candidates that have come through Twitter referrals that I have taken a couple of candidates through to second interview stage and made an offer to one of them. So, I truly believe that this is only a matter of time. The response I got from tweeting about a requirement for an HR interim was extraordinary and I will definitely recruit this way should I need one again.
  • Free advice and consultancy…in abundance. Never have I met a group of people so willing to share their knowledge and help others – social has a sharing effect on people

Those are the main tangible outputs, although it only really scratches the surface of what can be gained professionally from social media.  And of course social media is just a tool and in time there will be new things to get excited about and explore. The point for me is that it is always about people, about connecting and giving as much as you get to make those professional and personal relationships as effective as they can be. We’d be daft to pretend that social media is the answer to everything…but equally, I firmly behave that HR professionals are missing a trick if they don’t seek to understand what you can get out of it, and even more importantly, what you can put back in ;).

What are the tangible benefits that you have experienced through social media…has it done much for you lately?

A couple of weeks ago I had my first Twitter birthday – I first signed up and started tweeting on 9th June 2010, following a suggestion from my boss over lunch one day. So, what have I learnt during this time?

  • It’s all about connections. Tweeting into empty cyberspace is pointless, twitter only becomes enjoyable when you start following people who have common interests or who you are interested in. Common ways to find those connections are through hashtags eg #connectinghr and recommendations of others, although I’m sure there are some more sophisticated search tools too
  • It’s the quality of connections that count, not the number. Connect with and follow people you like; if they start to annoy you, unfollow them. Don’t feel obliged to follow back
  • People on Twitter are in general hugely helpful and friendly – many people share their professional expertise once they ‘know’ you
  • Don’t over-think your tweets – you get out of it what you put in, so don’t be afraid to interact. People will think you a little odd if you don’t tweet at all – no one likes lurkers!
  • It’s a conversation, don’t try to catch up on everything you’ve missed whilst you were ‘out of the room’, just pick up where you left off
  • Never forget that Twitter is in the public domain, so unless you lock your tweets or are completely anonymous, tweet with care
  • People on Twitter often meet up in real life (‘tweet ups’) and the connections you make can lead to real friendships and strong professional networks
  • It’s a huge source of professional support and networking
  • Twitter is a great source of information, breaking news and fantastic blogs
And the questions? From people who are not on Twitter or who don’t ‘get’ it, they are almost always the same…
  1. How do you find the time?
  2. Do you follow celebrities?
  3. But what do you find to say?
To which the answers are –
  1. Easily – do you really never have any downtime?
  2. No, I genuinely find my real life connections more interesting
  3. PLENTY!!!!
What else have you learnt about Twitter? And what questions are you frequently asked? Do tell 😉

One of the things I enjoy most about being on Twitter is the number of thought-provoking, current, informative, funny and entertaining blogs I regularly read. Of course, there is no need to be on Twitter to access these; however the comments and sharing of links remind me to check for updates and points me towards the latest posts, as well as leading me to discover ‘new’ blogs. There are some blogs that I come back to again and again and always read, others that I dip in and out of depending on the topic.

The list of my favourites is by no means exhaustive and is only very loosely grouped for ease of reference. I have only included blogs that are regularly updated and have posted within the last month (although I love some of the more sporadic bloggers too!) and for the most part have excluded those that are promoting businesses. But these are some of the blogs that I really do love to read –

HR/Generalist Blogs

  • Neil Morrison’s Change-Effect: a thought-provoking, at times provocative and always articulate discussion of some of the big organisational HR issues around at the moment
  • Doug Shaw’s What Goes Around Refreshing, innovative, passionate and thought-provoking…sometimes even with music too 🙂
  • Emma (@onatrainagain) who has recently moved her excellent blog to My Blog, My Rules (check out her old blog here)
  • Kevin Ball’s People Matters A brilliant and talented writer about leadership, people and HR, I will buy his book when he finally writes one!
  • Karen Wise has a different kind of HR  experience to me, mostly working in the NHS, and her blog is both insightful and entertaining
  • Rick’s Flip Chart Fairy Tales is not just HR (sometimes not HR at all!), but also a mix of politics, current affairs and occasionally poetry. His incredibly well-researched articles are fantastic at simplifying and demystifing complicated issues

Learning & Development/Coaching

  • Sukh Pabial’s Thinking About Learning Insightful, intelligent and often highly informative on all things learning and development and occupational psychology…and a good deal more besides
  • Rob Jones Masters or Bust blogs about his masters degree, leadership and development and addresses some really thought-provoking issues
  • Christine Livingstone A Different Kind of Work Another hugely talented writer who addresses work/life balance and creates some fantastic blog posts to inspire, challenge and debate


  • Katie McNab’s RecruitGal Blog is a great read for her insight into the recruitment industry
  • Mervyn Dinnen T Recs blogs not only about recruitment but about social media in general, often with some very cool accompanying music videos
  • Gary Franklin has a huge amount of interesting things to say about recruitment, work, customer service and lots of other things besides


  • Jane Blackmore’s hilarious Northern Mummy with Southern Children just has me in stitches most of the time…except for when she makes me cry with some of her more touching posts.
  • Keith’s Reluctant House Dad blog narrates his role-swap with his wife, who is now the main bread-winner. Funny, relevant and entertaining.
  • Rob Harrison’s Thinking Fox deals with divorce, parenting, the critical role of Dads and many other topics in an excellent blog
  • SpeccyWoo’s Straightforwardly Me is random, entertaining and funny.  I particularly enjoy the insights into his domestic bliss 🙂
  • Mel Buckenham’s Random Lightbulb Moments is a great read and never fails to cheer me up and more often than not, make me laugh out loud.
There are also lots of non-UK HR blogs I enjoy reading…perhaps a post for another time 😉
I’d love to hear about your favourite blogs…the only rule is that you’re not allowed to nominate your own!

So, its been a little while since I last blogged. And a couple of lovely friends on Twitter have been gently prodding me to get back into it. So, thought I’d pop back in to say hello and how have you been?

My blogging mojo comes and goes, but what I’ve enjoyed about this recent absence is that I haven’t felt in the least bit obliged to keep writing if I didn’t feel like it.  Which is a good feeling – blogging should definitely be a pleasure and not a chore. Although I distinctly recall, I did initially feel like writing things down and then I got completely distracted with a business trip to New York; a cold and windy (but thoroughly enjoyable!) camping weekend with friends on the South Coast; motoring through the entire Twilight saga on my Kindle and of course busy, busy work. Life :).

So have I got any amazing insights for you? No. Not today, not really. Only this: that sometimes its great to take a break from things, to do something different and get a new perspective. And that when you want to get back into doing the activity you enjoy, not to worry if it doesn’t feel like it comes as naturally as it did, just give it a try and see what happens.

So how are you? What’s new? Its been ages……..!

I’m not keen on networking. I’m often ambivalent at best about a lot of other HR people. So developing an HR network was never going to be easy or enjoyable, right?

Well, here’s the thing that still seems to be broadly unknown in HR circles: there is a fantastically social and sociable network of HR professionals known as ConnectingHR. And anyone in HR or a related field can be part of it.

We connect via Twitter using the #connectinghr hashtag and we interact on the website. We hold regular drinks (known as tweet-ups), there are informal, interactive conferences (known as Unconferences) and there are a huge number of informal get-togethers in-between times: lunches, drinks after works, coffee, breakfast meetings…

Without exception, the people I have met through ConnectingHR are engaged, passionate, approachable, knowledgable, generous, helpful, influential, encouraging, committed and likeable. Many have become true friends in a relatively short space of time and they are a superb professional network, who share knowledge, support each other, debate ideas and inspire with their energy to make HR better.

ConnectingHR is only just beginning and is destined to grow much further. Be a part of it, wherever in the world you are based…check out or #connectinghr on Twitter and say hello…I guarantee you’ll get plenty of hellos back and much more besides :).


In October 2010 when the first ConnectingHR Unconference took place, I had only been on Twitter for about 3 weeks. I wasn’t at all sure whether or not to go, but I took a chance, mostly because I thought there was not much to lose and it might help me to develop my professional network. As it turned out, it was a real turning point for me professionally and personally and was an amazing day and led to me becoming part of an incredibly supportive, down-to-earth, pragmatic HR community.

The second ConnnectingHR Unconference takes place on Thursday 5th May and you can book your place here.

So why go? Why bother?  What’s in it for you to stir your stumps and do something different, take a chance like I did?

  • You’ll meet some great people. Interesting, engaged, passionate, knowledgeable, helpful, welcoming, interested, social and sociable, who will be delighted to accept you into their professional network. It’s a fantastic network to be part of. If you’re in any doubt (or perhaps even just curious!), check out the attendee list
  • You’ll experience different and more social ways of interacting in large groups: whether it is the world cafe or pecha kucha presentations or simply the freedom of wandering from one brainstorming session to the next, it will challenge you to think and behave and interact differently and give you ideas to try within your workplace
  • You’ll be inspired to try something different and experiment with making changes in how you do things. The first Unconference led to me starting my own blog the very next day. Believe me, I never saw that one coming!
  • You’ll learn something (and most likely many things!) you didn’t already know

For me the Unconference is special and a great opportunity to network, share experiences and learn. The second one has a lot to live up to…but I am certain it will be everything that the first one was and more. 

I’ll be there…..and hope very much that you will be too

So, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent and traditionally the time when we give things up for forty days until Easter Sunday. In the past I have given up chocolate for Lent, sometimes I have chosen not to give anything up.

This year I am doing something different and have added a twist: I am taking something up instead!

The challenge I have set myself is to widen my reading of different HR blogs: every working day during Lent I will be seeking out, reading, commenting and retweeting a link to at least one blog that is relatively new to me, that I have not read or commented on before. There are so many fantastic HR blogs out there that I am certain I will have no shortage of material. I’m really excited about doing this and I’d love to hear any recommendations!

Are you doing anything for Lent – either giving something up, or like me, taking up a new challenge ? I’d love to hear all about it!

I am rather ambivalent about LinkedIn and it is one of my goals this year to explore it further and see how I can use it better and more effectively. 

But for the record, there are some invitations to connect, that I will always ignore.

1 – Have I sacked you for gross misconduct? If so, I am highly unlikely to want to connect with you or recommend you to any of my professional network.  And, yes, I did receive exactly such a request yesterday and it is not the first.  As with many HR people, I have a long memory!!

2 – If I don’t know you. Call me old-fashioned, but I do think LinkedIn works best when you have some knowledge of the person you are connecting with, be it on social media, on the phone or in person.  And, no, cold calls in themselves don’t count as me ‘knowing’ you.

3 – If the only reason you are looking to connect is that “we’ve got a lot of connections in common”. Well, that may be so, but doesn’t count as a compelling reason in my book. 

4 – If I don’t remember you. I have always worked in large corporates and don’t know every other person who worked there. I am pretty good at remembering names and faces, so if I really don’t remember you, chances are we probably didn’t work together.

5 – Are you a recruitment consultant that I don’t have a personal working relationship with? The answer to that invitation (and there are many!) is always ‘no’.

So, those are my five reasons for ignoring requests, but I would love to connect if I do know you on Twitter or elsewhere!

Anyone else got similar stories of very random LinkedIn requests? And if anyone has tips for making LinkedIn work better for them, I would love to hear them.


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