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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3 ways Technology has made me a better HR Pro

If you thought this was a blog post about the many HRIS options out there you can just close this page now. For those of you that want to know what I’m talking about that’s not an HRIS here it is:

  1. Google. Y’all…. I can google anything! It’s so nice to be a Millennial in HR and know that I’ve always had google. Legal question? google. What’s the local unemployment rate? google. Local event that has content relevant to my career path? google. Webinars for an issue I’m trying to solve? google. Seriously… google is my number one. So much so that I probably owe it a Christmas gift.
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  2. Social media. This one isn’t just because I love a good buzzfeed list of all the strangest interview questions or a “Whine about it Wednesday video” (those don’t even happen anymore). Social media makes the list because it helps me stay connected to a ton of HR pros that are smarter than I am and can answer some of my questions because they are experts and they are my friends. Staying in touch with people year round is so much easier with social media. Mentors via social media? YES PLEASE!
  3. Just kidding, those are the only two reasons I wanted to share.

 

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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Social Accountability

One of my favorite things about being connected to other professionals online is the accountability it brings. I am an advocate for connecting to other professionals and exchanging stories and best practices. As fast as the world moves these days no one should be spending time reinventing the wheel (and believe me our problems are not as unique as we think they are). I’m connected to people from all over the country through this blog, my Facebook, twitter, Instagram, g+ and I love it. I read what they are sharing, I call on them for advice, we call on them as a chapter when we need some great speakers, we solicit invitations to write for each other and encourage each other to be better professionals for our businesses.

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It also holds me accountable for my recruiting. I’m connected with recruiters that are far more experienced than me so when I do a lame post to catch the eye of job seekers and then call those experienced recruiters to complain that I can’t find anyone for this position, they are going to call me on my crappy work. I can’t hide what I’m doing if there is an electronic trail of everything I’ve published right? Sometimes we like to tell our side of the story when we are complaining, venting or presenting information but if it’s online there is no getting around what was said (or wasn’t said). No sugar-coating or pretending I gave it all my effort if there is proof that I didn’t.

You can use social accountability for any and everything these days. Seriously, there are groups for like every single thing. I also use it for fitness. I follow people on Instagram that workout like beasts every day. We look forward to seeing each other post about our workouts and we encourage each other to keep going. It’s a wonderful thing to see that someone you follow did a killer workout even when they didn’t want to on the very same day that you are considering skipping your workout. The cool thing about using twitter and IG (and FB even though some people think otherwise) for accountability is when you use a hashtag (not a pound sign Juanita 🙂 ) for your group to track! I’ve found one that combines my HR world and my fitness world. Wait for it…wait. for. it.: #hrfitcrew (Thank you Chris for kicking that off!) I totally found this by accident, but I love that its other HR pros getting fit and encouraging/challenging each other. I know this makes me sound like a huge dork, but it’s perfect for me.