Archive for August, 2011
When I was recently asked by a local SHRM chapter (not my own) if I would be interested in speaking about “what’s new” in HR management, I politely declined. First, in my opinion there is not much new in HR management, and, second, it’s not what I want to talk about to HR peeps right now.
I did offer to speak about social media in HR, titling my presentation “Old Problems, New Tools”. In response, I received the following:
Our group has had a social media presentation before, and for some reason, our members just see it as “one more thing to do”.
After I quit banging my head against the table, I was reminded of a great article I had recently read at Human Resource Executive Online, titled “HR Fiddles While Organizations Burn“. If you haven’t read it, do so. Right now.
In the article, author Margaret Morford argues that the biggest problem with the HR profession is that it is overly mired in compliance, compensation, and benefits, paying little or no attention to the strategic needs of talent management and succession planning.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because I have heard many similar complaints from HR practitioners in the social media world since I had the good fortune to become involved almost 3 years ago.
In that same time period, though, I have seen very little evidence that the online HR community is making an effort to fix that problem. Sure, we blog and tweet and write endless words about strategic issues and say great things. But do we impact those people who need it most? Hardly.
Before we try to use social media to teach HR pros how to do their jobs better, we need to convince HR practitioners to use social media. They need to be persuaded that they will earn more professional respect with the knowledge they gain through social media. We need to quit fiddling around, and make a real, concerted effort to convert HR practitioners to its use. All of the blog posts in the world are not going to change the profession if we don’t change who’s reading.
Think of the impact on the profession that could be made if everyone on Unbridled Talent‘s list of Top 100 HR & Recruiting Industry Pros To Follow On Twitter actually mentored and taught at least one HR practitioner how to use social media to the same extent they do. I don’t mean standing up and giving a presentation to 100 people and hoping for the best. I want them (you?) to find an HR practitioner who thinks social media is an administrative chore, and teach them otherwise. They’ll pay it forward.
Instead of fiddling, let’s build an entire orchestra.
I listened to HR Happy Hour last night, where the guests Ryan Estis and Don McPherson spoke about “Passion on Purpose”. It was an interesting show, but discussions about creating passionate employees always make me cringe.
I think about the 40 or so employees at United Meat & Deli and I think I know exactly what they would say if I asked them about their passion and/or purpose. They would bluntly tell me that the purpose of any job was to make a sufficient living to feed and clothe their family and take an occasional trip to Mexico. Or Mackinac Island. Maybe help out needy relatives, and buy a decent car. They don’t want to feed their ego and they know they are not saving the world.
Are all of these weighty discussions about passion and purpose really – I mean really – meaningful to the majority of American workers? Tell me in the comments.
On another note, I am guest blogging today for Women of HR. I am proud to be allowed to join them.
If the term “human resources” is in your name, like Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it would be reasonable to expect that you know something about choosing qualified candidates for a job function. Right?
So if SHRM – or a SHRM-affiliate – is looking for a conference speaker to discuss Twitter and how it relates to employment law, it would also be reasonable to expect that the speaker is knowledgeable about, well . . . Twitter and employment law.
Am I missing something here?
I ask because SHRM, the national organization, and some SHRM affiliates, don’t seem to agree with me. They have an unusual habit of presenting employment lawyers to talk about the crossroads of law and social media, but who know nothing, or close to nothing, about social media.
I am not making this up.
I first came into personal contact with this questionable practice in March 2010, at the SHRM Legal-Legislative Conference. Better writers than I blogged about it. Since then, I have encountered the practice several times, most recently at the massive SHRM annual conference in Las Vegas. Check here and here for rants about that session. Sadly, my own state will be adding to this travesty this October, when they present a session on “Twitter and Terminations”, led by an employment lawyer who is not on Twitter, and whose entire social media presence consists of a LinkedIn profile.
This practice truly short-changes attendees. Attendees have every right to expect that a human resources organization has properly vetted their speakers and trainers, and that those people have a certain amount of expertise in the totality of their topic. This is especially true since it is so easy to search people using Google to see if they have any kind of social presence at all.
If SHRM and other organizations want to really delve into their evaluation of a speaker’s social media involvement, they can also use rating sites like Klout or PeerIndex to see how involved a speaking candidate is on social media. I am not advocating that a potential speaker has a particular rating or number, but they should at least have one.
Is that really too much to ask?