The HR Juggler

Posts Tagged ‘Networking

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?

I find ice-breakers are hugely useful for all manner of HR related events: team days, inductions, training workshops…

I heard about a great ice-breaker yesterday, which I’m going to try next week at a team day. It is called ‘people bingo’ and the way it works is that everyone is asked to submit in advance an interesting or unusual fact about themselves.  These are then collated bingo stylee and each participant has a card with a list of interesting facts down one side. Their mission is to chat to every other person in the room and fill in all of the names next to the relevant fact. Cool, hey?! 

I’m really looking forward to using it with the team in question, who don’t know eachother very well and are seeking to find ways to collaborate, build trust and form strong networking relationships.

I’d love to hear what kind of ice-breakers and team activities you do to help people get to know each other and start interacting and relaxing. So, tell me…how do you break the ice?

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