The first time I tweeted

Hot off the heels of #SHRM18 and I have to share that I’ve been quite sappy about it!

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First reason being because Chicago is where it all started for me. #SHRM13 was the first time I was invited to be a part of the bloggers team and I was absolutely overwhelmed with the experience. I was introduced to so many wonderful, intelligent HR professionals from different industries and backgrounds, heard speakers that I probably never would have heard otherwise, went to Chicago for the first time, played a pretty fun kickball game with complete strangers for a good cause, went to a party where DJ Jazzy Jeff was the entertainment and saw firsthand how important it is for #HR professionals to have other #HR people in their circle. I was welcomed into a group of people who were trying to do good HR and help others do the same. The other reason being how twitter changed everything for my professional development and career path. Seriously.

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The first time I tweeted was at an Alabama SHRM State conference back in 2012. The conference organizers had set up two screens in the main session room that would scroll through tweets of people using their hashtag in real-time. I sat close to the front and kept seeing the same few tweets over and over from two, maybe three people ( I have determined two were April Dowling and Pam Werstler). I was uncomfortable, I was slightly embarrassed for the conference organizers (I had empathy for conference organizers far before I ever helped organize a conference) and decided to pull my phone out and create a twitter so I could start tweeting about the session. It didn’t help much, but I was doing my part to throw some variety on the tweet screen set-up. My plan was to delete my twitter after the conference, but I didn’t. I’m so glad I didn’t.

Fast forward to today and I’m connected to thousands of #HR professionals across the globe via twitter. I interact with hundreds of them regularly, call some of them my friends, and have used them as resources when I need fresh perspectives on a challenge or some expert guidance. I’ve been inspired by #HR pros on twitter, I’ve been furious because of some of the content from #HR pros, I’ve been a voice in the conversation for our profession thanks to twitter, and I’ve listened to other voices of our profession, also thanks to twitter. I’ve found mentors through this social media tool, role models, people who are smarter than me, people who also make mistakes, people who are better writers than me, people who have experienced things I have not, people who love me, and some people who don’t. I find updates in the legal realm of HR via twitter, I get to see takeaways from events and conferences in real-time via twitter, I see people helping others solve their challenges through twitter, and one time I met Boyd Tinsley because of twitter. He’s a hugger, as you can see below. Good things happen on twitter.

 

Good things happen on twitter if you let them. All things that can be used for good can also be used for bad (or even evil). In my experience the good outweighs the bad. If you are still hesitant to get on twitter, try it for 30 days. If you are afraid that your employees will see what you are tweeting, make your account private. If you go the route of private you can control who follows you, but I recommend putting HR in your bio so other HR pros can tell they should follow you back when you follow them. You can also practice “what if my boss reads this” or “what if employees read this” and screen your own tweets. Believe it or not, there are some things I want to tweet that I actually never hit send on. If you are afraid of being yourself out there and feel the need to make an anonymous account that works for some people, but I think you’ll have a hard time building real relationships that route and you are really missing out if you can’t build real relationships.

All this to say that really I’ve experienced so much because of my first tweet. I really believe that if it weren’t for the opportunity to connect and build relationships via twitter, my career would’ve stalled out years ago. I would’ve learned far less than I have and had a much smaller network of HR friends and colleagues to cheer me on and challenge me to be better. I’ve had opportunities to speak to groups, write for other companies, travel to new cities, etc. and all of that can be traced back to my first tweet!

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Stay in touch #SHRM17

It never feels like enough time at national conference. Every one is back home by now and getting in their usual work routine again (after a 12 and a half hour crash to recharge our introverted batteries-just me?). We are all catching up on what we missed while we were in NOLA and cranking out our “final thoughts” on #SHRM17 while asking ourselves how did it come and go so quickly? This was my fifth annual conference and it may have been the best one yet.

Every year the Smart Stage line up has gotten better and better (Rue has been killing it from the start), the crew responsible for the social media team finds more creative ways to use our experience as an advantage for conference attendees, and the concurrent sessions cover a wide array of interests and experience levels. This year I really started to notice more people connecting at the conference! Of course a lot of factors are at work for this to happen, but social media has a hand in all that connecting! I was so lucky to witness, and be a part of, so many IRL meet ups this year from people who have been chatting together and sharing their thoughts via twitter, Facebook, instagram, blogs, etc. and it made my little HR heart SO HAPPY!!!

Connecting with new people is not easy for every one. I know this because it takes a lot of effort for me to connect with a new person (and following Heather Bussings lead, I’m currently looking for a designated extrovert for myself to maybe make this a little easier). Regardless, these connections are vital to the growth of our field of Human Resources. Our profession is made up of all kinds of folks with different backgrounds, different interests, different education, etc. and that allows us all to see things slightly different. The cool thing about that is now you have other professionals you can bounce ideas off of, discuss challenges, and share best practices while crossing geographical boundaries. I don’t mean we should set out to copy each other in any area of our job, but to build on each others strengths and learn from each other we have to be connected.

To move our profession forward and break the stereotypes that we don’t like we must work together as a whole to, dare I say, do HR on Purpose!! The process of moving forward will happen much quicker if we are intentional about continuing the conversation long after conference. (One way you can do that is joining the #Nextchat discussions on Wednesdays at 3pm ET!!!).

Having a strong network of HR professionals to help you grow and push you to represent us all well makes the challenges of HR less overwhelming. So I want to challenge you to reach out to someone you met at #SHRM17 within the next week and just follow-up with them. Send them an email, LinkedIn message, tweet whatever you like & see how they were doing and tell them you enjoyed connecting with them! Keeping the conversation going can be that simple.

If you’re an introvert like me, having those social media connections is way less exhausting than having to constantly meet with people in person by the way.

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5 ways to be “All In” at #SHRM17

The countdown is on for #SHRM17!! I get so excited for the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition every year because I’m guaranteed to see some of my extremely smart HR pals, discover some awesome presenters, learn a thing or two, and have a great time. All of these things have been true of my conference experience every year, regardless of the location so bringing it to New Orleans is just the cherry on top for me this year! I’ve only been to New Orleans one other time and I absolutely loved it-I’m thrilled to have a reason to go back!

This year is a great opportunity for us to challenge each other to be “All In” given that is the theme for the conference and when I thought about what that means for me I realized it means the following few things.

First, it means I’ve got to increase my behavioral competencies knowledge because that was my lowest score on my SHRM-SCP results. I was really happy with the rest of my results so I’m going to take this opportunity at conference to find sessions to help me improve in this area. Second, I have to grow my network some more, let more people into my circle. I’ve made some great connections through the years at these events so I can’t stop now- after all something like 15,000 people go to this conference, I only know a small FRACTION of those folks! Also, I have to be intentional about finding knowledge and people who can help me solve my HR problems rather than cluster around and complain about our HR problems. This is tough because as HR professionals we cannot typically vent within our organizations when we are troubled by something so it’s easy to let it all out at a conference away from work with our HR brethren. Fourth, I have to be “All In” with what I learn at conference this year. That means when I get back to work, I need to use what I learned. I need to bring back ideas to Huntsville and share with our chapter. I can’t just take notes and never look at them again. Finally, I’ve got to challenge my peers to be “All In” on taking HR to the next level. I will not enable you to complain about what you “don’t have” in your organization (resources, table, support, etc.) instead I will empower you to use what you’ve got to get you what you need!

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Do you hire crazy? Yes, yes we do.

So my phone has been blowing up over 2 stories that don’t really have anything to do with me. The first being some guy in Arkansas that woke up to a dog eating his testicle… I guess since I’m from Arkansas everyone feels it necessary for me to be associated with this crazy story. I haven’t been diligent in my research on this one, but you’re more than welcome to read about it here. Or google it and find where every state in the country has picked up the story. The question I have here is was it necessary to call the police? I know I should just research and find the answer, but no.

The second story Shea Allen being fired from WAAY 31 in Huntsville. Since I work in Huntsville and because I blog everyone I know feels necessary to tell me about this story and maybe make sure it doesn’t happen to me… what? Shea made it all the way to the Today show with her story of being fired for her personal blog and people are all in a tizzy sharing their two cents about it so I’ll throw my two cents in the pile. A couple of things… you are a reporter… for a news station… that makes you marketing as well. If people don’t like you or what you say they are less likely to watch you. You represent your employer at all times: when you are at the grocery store, at the gas station, at the water park, on the radio, tweeting and blogging… be mindful of that. Should she have been fired? I don’t know. Not for me to say. I don’t know what her personnel file looks like, but here’s my breakdown of her 10 confessions.

1)      If I could go bra-less anywhere and no one be the wiser, I would… but I can’t. Kudos to you for having that option.

2)      It’s easy to get things out of people who have the hots for you. This rule is true for everyone

3)      Sometimes people are better at winging it than if they rehearsed something or are reading someone else’s work. No problem here.

4)      Every female in the world is working on perfecting this art, if not for television at least for group photos, right?

5)      My left side is my good side too.

6)      Old people aren’t scary and they watch the news. Listen up sister, we all have to do things at work that we don’t like to do. Openly refusing to do a portion of your job may make it hard for an employer to take you seriously, now and in the future.

7)      Rainbows aren’t for everyone. And they usually don’t get the ratings that the opposite stories get. I’ll still give you a pass here.

8)      Are you on the clock or off the clock? Is this acceptable practice? I imagine if you have to get up in the wee hours of the morning or work extremely late and you have some hours in between stories you’re chasing that this probably isn’t as taboo as it sounds on your list. More info please?

9)      Still no problem here… as a recruiter we sometimes let candidates ramble after we’ve determined they aren’t a fit for our positions. I think letting them continue to talk is the opposite of rude.

10)   Okay.. isn’t this too far? That’s a federal crime right? Why is everyone harping on the other 9 things, but ignoring that this is actually a crime… #confused.

What I’m wondering is how the HR department for the news station is handling this? Hopefully everything is documented and maybe there is some sort of conduct clause in her contract. No matter if they chose to fire her or keep her on people are going to throw their two cents in. When your employees act crazy in public you get judged. People ask questions like “How did she get through the hiring process?” …. “Did she know what was expected from her?”… “Is this a lack of leadership within your organization?”…”Does she have a history of this type of stuff?” etc. etc.

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