The HR Juggler

Posts Tagged ‘HR Networking

networking

Networks are funny things, aren’t they? So often people bemoan networking and how hard it is to forge a connection with people, whether that is on a personal or a professional level. Too often there is a cynicism of wondering what someone else may want from you, or the fear of finding yourself stuck with someone who can’t resist giving you a hard sell for their products, or simply not finding the other person of interest. Too often all those potential pitfalls are genuinely the reality.

I’ve learnt a few things about networks over the past couple of weeks. Firstly, that you should build one when you don’t think you really need it and instead spend time figuring out how to contribute to others in your circle that could benefit from any expertise, support or help you can offer, however small and insignificant it may seem to you. The chances are, it won’t feel that way to whoever is on the receiving end.

Secondly, social media can be an amazing place to forge connections with people. Sure, you have to engage and be yourself, be inquisitive and share experiences, but when it works, it is so powerful. The HR and professional networks I have made through Twitter have formed into strong friendship in many cases and unstinting, consistent, solid support in countless others. ConnectingHR really did transform my professional network and continues to do so and boy, am I grateful!

The third thing I’ve learnt about networks? When you have a good one and when you need it, it’s amazing. Thank you to all of those people in mine who have been extraordinarily generous with their time, resources, contacts, offers of help and thoughts. It is hugely appreciated.

My blogging hiatus is over….as of today, I am back in the game!

 

A terrible pun of a title, which I couldn’t resist. This week I attended the Human Resources Summit in Lisbon. I was filled with some trepidation before the event, particularly because of the dynamics of the set-up: suppliers pay to attend, which funds the flights and hotel accommodation of the delegates, who therefore attend for free. Not only that, but there were a series of half hour one-to-one meetings between practitioners and suppliers that were  tightly scheduled and mandatory. I approached the event with an open mind, but I really wasn’t sure it would be for me.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. I met some fantastic people and have come back with my head full of ideas, thoughts and plans.

What I enjoyed most was the networking, both with other senior HR people (there were around 50 in all from a wide variety of organisations) and with suppliers, who were (almost!) without fail engaging, interesting, thought-provoking and likeable. I didn’t manage to speak to everyone over the two days, but had stimulating and useful discussions with those that I did.

The key-note speaker on the first night was rather underwhelming, however the quality of conversation with other participants mostly compensated for this. I selected two strategy sessions in advance of the conference, which were both excellent. It was an extremely well organised summit, a beautiful and fortuitously sunny location and a genuinely engaging and enjoyable event.

And the dreaded one-to-one meetings with suppliers? Mostly fine. I rarely felt as if I was being sold to, was often very interested to hear what types of services they offered and got to know them as people in a reasonably relaxed environment. Whilst it wouldn’t be everyone’s choice to do that type of event, the suppliers were evenly split between those that were regulars at such summits and those who were trying it for the first time. The regulars felt that it was a good investment and that building relationships in this way with senior HR people was effective and bore commercial fruit over time.  Many of the ‘newbie’ suppliers were as anxious as the delegates about the ‘speed dating’ concept of selecting who to talk to in advance and were keen to interact and get to know others on an individual basis.

All in all, it was a good opportunity and one that I enjoyed. I even got to meet a couple of Twitter buddies for the first time, which was a highlight.  Something to think about further, for sure :).

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 www.connectinghr.org 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…. 😉


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