The HR Juggler

Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking

When I started this blog two years ago, I happily posted the links to Twitter, but felt quite shy initially about letting any of my friends or work colleagues know that I was writing.

It took me ages to feel comfortable with posting blogs to Facebook and talking to my friends and family about it…all of whom were really supportive. My brother even read the entire back catalogue of posts (at least a year’s worth by that point!)

This week marks the start of a new experiment, as for the first time, I will start linking my blogs to my profile on my work’s corporate intranet and publicising them internally. In many ways, it is no big deal, as lots of my colleagues know that I blog; some to choose to follow or check out posts, which I always appreciate. Yet, to be honest, it does feel a little different!

So, why am I doing it and why now? A few reasons, really. Our intranet platform has the potential to be very social, yet we are really only starting to explore how we can best utilise it and adapt our communication styles to make the most of all of the possibilities it brings. And in common with many organisations, communication is frequently raised as an issue and something that we all need to work at to improve. Written communication is only part of that, of course, but hopefully every little helps. It is also easy to forget how others see us, and recent feedback to the Board from the delegates we sent to One Young World made it clear that many staff perceive senior managers as distant and inaccessible, which was a good nudge to try some different things.

Will it make any difference? Time will undoubtedly tell. More than anything, it feels to me like squaring the circle between work and home, colleagues and friends, corporate and social. Perhaps they are not as different as we sometimes think.

What are you trying that’s different? Any thoughts about personal blogs and corporate audiences? I’d love to know.

So, my Twitter training has taken a bit of a different form than anticipated, as the planned board meeting was rescheduled. However, the result of this has been that I have spent more time doing impromptu sessions to small groups and one-to-one coaching of my exec colleagues. It’s been an interesting experience and one that I’ve learnt a lot from so far already.

My main learnings are as follows –

  • Having a co-sponsor for training sessions is brilliant: someone who is not from the same background as you, who ‘gets’ Twitter but uses it differently. This was enormously helpful when coaching two of the exec team who were particularly cynical about its value
  • Think carefully about the language you use to convey the potential gain for those that you are coaching. They clearly won’t be interested in building an HR network, but they will take note of the fact that they can access opinion pieces and be ahead of the news
  • Show them how to use it on whichever medium they are most likely to regularly use…for most of my coachees on their blackberry or Iphone
  • Think about how to show individuals what is meaningful to them – hashtags that will be of interest for them to check out, how the business you work in or its competitors is already using Twitter, how it can build engagement between key groups
  • Tweet questions to your followers so that you can demonstrate the interactive nature of Twitter
  • Don’t over-hype or over-sell its value – it’s the quickest way to lose credibility
  • Accept that it isn’t everyone’s chosen method of communicating, but that most people will find some gain from using it…or at least from understanding it better
  • Expect unexpected questions – I was surprised that some of the questions centred more around how number of followers build up, rather than the mechanics of how Twitter works
  • Remember that Twitter can be overwhelming, noisy and confusing at first for new users
  • Follow up to find out if there is anything more they would like to know
  • Even when individuals appear to be quite proficient at using Twitter, they are often keen to find out more and learn by asking questions

I’m going to be rolling out more training soon: to the rest of the exec team, to the global HR team and then to the rest of the business. The great thing is that I’m learning more each time I do it and am really enjoying it ;).

 What have I forgotten? I’d love to hear about your experience of teaching Twitter to others too.

So, we all know that changes in behaviour are driven from the top, right? It’s been fascinating to see some real life examples of how a CEO becoming more social and actively tweeting can influence an organisation and encourage others to do the same.

My boss and CEO (@lindseyroberts1) was the person who originally suggested I set myself up on Twitter. Recently she’s been tweeting more,  encouraging other senior managers to get involved with Twitter and doing some simple but effective things like putting her Twitter handle on her email signature. And as more people within the organisation start to tweet, the greater the sense of engagement and cohesion – it’s a quiet but powerful step change in how we communicate and interact.

On Tuesday, I deliver my first Twitter training session to the Board. I’m looking forward to it, although don’t doubt that it will be a tough audience. But slowly and surely, it feels like a step change in our organisation is starting to happen…and that is fantastic to be a part of.

I’d love to know what your organisation is like and whether your CEO is becoming social…its certainly a powerful force to be reckoned with!

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!

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

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