I’ve been thinking a lot about legacies lately.
You see, last week I had the opportunity to participate in a unique and amazing experience. In preparation for and in honor of the impending retirement of long time music teacher and director of the Quaker Marching Band from Orchard Park High School outside of Buffalo, NY, a group of current members and band alumni gathered for a surprise final performance and tribute to our leader of so many years and so many graduating classes. The group numbered at 175, encompassed 6 states, and spanned the years 1986 – 2015. I was there, proudly spinning my flag with the color guard, something I hadn’t done in 21 years. The feeling of being a part of such a salute was overwhelming, his reaction was heartwarming, the video and verbal tributes were touching, and I’d be surprised if there were many dry eyes in the auditorium by the end. And that group of 175 people who had never performed together before approximately 7PM that night….pretty darn impressive, from my not at all biased opinion. It was our own version of “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” if you will.
But the theme that kept running through my head the entire evening was that of legacies, and I feel as if it manifested in several ways.
There was first and foremost the legacy that Chris, our band director, leaves behind. When you can get that many people, from all parts of the country, some of whom hadn’t picked up an instrument, flag, or rifle in decades, to drop everything to be a part of a tribute, you know that person has made a lasting impact. The number quoted was 700 people who have been a part of the band over the years, and there were many who were devastated that logistically they just couldn’t be there for this final tribute. Talking to some of the alumni from my era afterwards, we all agreed that being a part of the band was something we would never forget, that was such an important part of our high school years, and the lessons learned still remain with us as adults. I had the privilege of serving as color guard captain my junior and senior years, and those leadership skills learned are certainly still relevant to me as an adult. Chris was our leader throughout this critical, wonderful time in our lives, and as such he was always be remembered for it. Being a part of “QMB” taught us the value of hard work and dedication; resilience and how to bounce back from failure and defeat; and confidence, pride, and that success requires practice, some wrong notes, and more than a few dropped flags. A true legacy that spans decades, crosses state lines, and likely finds its way into the personal and professional lives of hundreds.
The other aspect of legacy that touched me was a little more personal, and that was having had the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself. There was a good sized contingent of alumni from my era that took part, but as I looked around as we were gathered in the gym beforehand and read the nametags and graduation years of others there, I realized how many eras this band has spanned. There were those that came before me, and many, many who came after me. In the four years that I was a member, I helped to set the stage for the success of those who came after, just as those who came before me set the stage for my success. Pretty inspiring when you think about how many people have worn that uniform, marched those football fields, and accepted those awards at competitions across the years. And we all played a part in making the band what it has become today.
If you’ve stayed with me and indulged my walk down memory lane to this point, you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with a human resources blog?”
The truth is, we ALL have the opportunity to create a legacy, no matter what we do or where we work. We often talk about the legacies that teachers or coaches build, but it’s not unique to those professions. As leaders and as HR professionals, we have the opportunity to touch our employees’ and coworkers lives every day. So I ask you, as a leader, as an HR professional:
- Are you helping to create work environments and cultures that encourage failure on the way to success?
- Are you creating environments where employees feel a part of something bigger than themselves?
- Are you personally helping to set the stage within your company for the successes that may come after you are gone, either from your position or from the company itself?
- Is your culture one that instills the values in your employees that you would want them to keep with them and pass on to others?
- As you make decisions that affect your employees, do you make them within the framework and mindset of how they might impact their lives?
When your employees, coworkers, executives, and others you work with on a daily basis reflect on your time with the company and your contributions, what kind legacy will they say you left? I know that I hope mine is even a small fraction of what I felt around me on May 11, 2015.
Band ten HUT!
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR, SHRM-SCP has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
“It’s not what you know, but whom you know,” is a phrase with which many of us are familiar, and in today’s hyper-connected world it’s truer than ever. The power of one’s network can’t be diminished, an essential part of professional life that can further your career like nothing else. The right network can solve business problems, expand your knowledge, and catapult your career. It’s a personal advantage that shouldn’t be understated.
With all that said, I find most of us relegate networking to the bottom of our to-do lists, buried under other items that require more immediate priority. But I’d urge you not to delay developing this powerful tool. Building and maintaining one is easier than you’d think and, as I’ve recently discovered, one of the best endeavors you’ll ever undertake.
In the past 18 months, I’ve spent a great deal of time building my own professional network. Truth be told, I previously gave little thought to the power and importance of my professional network when I was in a corporate role, but once out of the daily grind and starting my own enterprise, I’ve realized the incredible value of active networking.
With that said, I’m keen to provide some quick networking strategies that can help you build a successful network, simple time investments that should benefit you for years to come:
Market yourself – Begin by identifying what you have to offer. Look at networking as a way to build your personal brand, which in today’s social media-driven world is incredibly important. Your network is your means of building connections that matter, regardless of your current level or position, so take stock of yourself and understand what you bring to the table.
Know what outcome you desire – Networks work best when viewed as reciprocal relationships, and you should understand what you could contribute as well as wish to receive going in. Here are the criteria that shape my choices:
(1) I create networks that are international in scope because global reach is important to what I do
(2) I wish to connect with people keen to disrupting traditional thoughts and business ideas, sharing ideas centered on changing how we think about the world of work
(3) I wish to embrace connection with other senior executive women across various industries and interests. I am passionate about what women can do in the workplace, and wish to support other women in our professional endeavors
(4) I desire to build a powerful portfolio of HR professionals at various levels. Giving back to my profession and shaping its future direction is something I am keen to do.
Be clear on your objectives – It’s important to be clear on what you wish to achieve. If it’s building your personal brand, select connections that can raise your profile. Identify people of prominence, and not necessarily in your same field. Also, set clear goals for yourself when it comes to building this aspect of your personal life. For instance, this month’s goal could be connecting with five new female technology executives across the industry. This helps you stay focused and provides you with tangible metrics you can track.
It works if you work it – A network is not something you turn on and off when you need it; those who are successful know it requires a regular investment of time and effort. Be consistent, as you’ll have a harder time reestablishing connection if you disappear for an extended period of time. A minimum of an hour a day networking with others via social media and/or in person via events helps to build your network tremendously over time. View your networks like any important relationship: get to know them, learn what’s important to them, and assess how you can help them reach their goals. The more you give, the more you’ll receive. That’s the true ROI in networks.
What are some of the best ways to connect with people?
Connection is easier than ever. Social media and networking sites, numerous professional associations, charitable connections, online meeting groups based on interest, etc. Before you find yourself overwhelmed with choice, decide on which means suit your intended result. I’ve found LinkedIn to be a superior means of interaction, both professionally and personally. It keeps you active in the eye of a good number of professional bodies, and it’s a great means of maintaining your professional contacts. It’s also a bit less intrusive and overwhelming than email, which can be challenging due to the size of everyone’s inboxes these days.
Twitter is an acquired taste: you either love it or you hate it. For me, Twitter is less about building lasting networks than a means of receiving and sharing real-time information. If used for networking, be certain that communication stays brief, and move it into private conversation as swiftly as possible so others aren’t disconnected by a connection that’s best fostered one-on-one.
Measure the ROI of your network – It helps to periodically take stock of your efforts. Some tangible ways to assess good networking ROI include an increase in connections and social media followers; more requests to contribute and/or share your expertise; an uptick in invitations to network events and in-person gatherings; and an increase in opportunities and social events, from coffee dates to interviews and/or business meetings.
Creating an ecosystem of peers, mentors, business advisors, friends, and advisors will reap rewards far beyond your dreams if you take the time to develop your approach, work diligently, and nurture it well. This ecosystem can support your career for years to come and bear opportunities you can’t imagine. Start networking today!
About the Author: Rita Trehan is the Founder and Principal of Rita Trehan, LLC, a change management and leadership advisory firm focused on corporate leadership, emerging technology, and cutting-edge organizational design. As a seasoned top executive that has successfully transformed organizations at the Fortune 200 and beyond, she has extensive experience working with CEOs and top corporate management on process and organizational improvement for maximum profitability. A soon-to-be published author, Rita regularly speaks at industry conferences around the world. You can contact Rita on twitter at @rita_trehan and connect with her via LinkedIn. Rita’s blog can be found at www.ritatrehan.com.
I just lived through one of the craziest weeks and weather experiences I can remember. You see, I live in the Southtowns of Buffalo, NY. And for anyone who may have missed the story, we were just pounded with one heck of a snowstorm. Yeah, I know, you may say “It’s Buffalo, why is that so extraordinary?” Well this one was a record breaker – the most snowfall we’ve ever seen in such a short period of time. My town of West Seneca officially recorded 78 inches between last Tuesday and Thursday. And by the way, I’m not a huge fan of snow.
Now this is by no means the first major snowstorm I’ve experienced. I was too young to remember the Blizzard of ’77, the granddaddy of all Buffalo storms, but I vividly recall a few others of note: the Thanksgiving Week storm of 2000, where I and many others were stranded in our workplaces overnight (and let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried to sleep under a desk) while hundreds of others were stranded on the I-90 for 36 hours; and the Surprise October Storm of 2006, when a nasty, un-forecasted snow/ice storm knocked out power in most of the area for days.
The thing that is most notable about those storms, as well as last week’s storm, is the way that they bring out the best in humanity, and the life lessons that can be learned from them.
In 2000, I learned that though it’s no picnic being stranded in your office overnight, the camaraderie and bonding that comes from that experience is one that’s not easy to duplicate. Those of us that were there still reminisce about it, 14 years later. And the teamwork that emerged, and sheer determination to get everyone’s cars dug out and people home the next morning…that’s the kind of collaboration and focus on a common goal that any team, any workplace would envy.
In 2006, when the power finally came back on and all of us dropped our typical daily responsibilities to spend days cleaning up and getting our stores back on line, that also taught me the true meaning of working towards a common goal, and how each of us, no matter what our background or ability, can be a critical component in seeing it achieved.
And today, in 2014, I’ve realized the importance of relationships and networks. Though I was cooped up alone for 4 days, I was never really alone. Friends and colleagues from all over the world continually checked in on me, whether it was to see how I was holding up, just to say hi, or to try to make me laugh and keep my sense of humor alive through a long four days. And though there were moments of worry that I’d be trapped with no way to dig out on my own, deep down I knew that would never be the case, that there is always someone around to help, and that working together we can – literally – weather the storm.
I may not like the snow, but maybe there’s just a tiny little part of me that’s just a little bit grateful that I’ve lived through these experiences. That through them, I’ve learned the meaning of resilience, camaraderie, and a “nothing’s going to stop us” attitude.
If you can’t find the business lesson in that, well then perhaps you’re just not looking hard enough.
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
This weekend I’ll be heading to Orlando for the #SHRM14 Annual Conference and Expo. Many of you may be joining me; for some of you it may be your first time, others of you may be SHRM Annual veterans. No matter if it’s your first time or tenth time attending, I ask you this question: Are you maximizing your conference experience?
I’ve written about this topic in previous years, but I feel that it’s worth revisiting as I’m not convinced that even the most veteran of conference goers utilize the opportunities available as well as they could. So here’s some of the advice I’ve given in previous years, with some new additions as well.
There is an abundance of information to be learned and knowledge to be shared at the conference, and what you get out of it is largely based on what you put into it. Are you there going through the motions and playing it safe in your comfort zone, or are you making a concerted effort to obtain the maximum benefit from your experience? I encourage you to consider the following.
Take some time to plan out your schedule. Review the list of concurrent sessions available, and target the ones you know you want to attend that you think will provide you the most value. But leave yourself some flexibility to change your mind, and have back up plans in place: anyone who has attended before knows that some sessions will fill up, and you may need to move on to your second choice. Furthermore, if the session you choose doesn’t meet your expectations or isn’t what you thought it would be, don’t be afraid to walk out and join another session! This is your time, don’t waste it in a session that does nothing for you. And don’t feel guilty about it. And don’t forget to download the Conference App to keep information and your schedule at your fingertips.
Sure, you could choose to attend sessions on topics familiar to you and stick with your comfort zone. But with so many topics across 7 different tracks, why not expose yourself to something new? This is your chance to expand your horizons beyond the scope of your everyday job. Why not choose a mix of sessions that both enhance your current knowledge and also stretch your mind a bit?
Don’t Try To Do It All
This may seem to go against convention, but don’t feel as if you have to pack your schedule every day. It’s okay if you decide you don’t want to attend a session during one of the time frames. Allow yourself some downtime to process what you’ve learned and recharge when you need it. And let’s face it, we’re going to be in Orlando where there are a multitude of entertainment options. It’s okay to allow yourself a little downtime to have some fun outside of the conference.
Try Something Different
Sure, the primary reason for attending the conference is for the sessions. But there are a variety of happenings beyond the general and concurrent sessions that can provide just as much value. Visit the Expo Hall and talk to some vendors, or at least get a feel for what types of solutions are out there. Check out the Connection Zone and some of the Smart Stage presentations. Visit the SHRM Bookstore and pick up a few new titles to take home with you. There’s a lot to be experienced outside of traditional sessions!
Some of the most valuable takeaways from your conference experience could come from the connections you make in the hallways between sessions, in the expo hall, or at the multitude of social events that will take place over the course of the four days. Take advantage of the other HR pros that are there; there is a wealth of knowledge to be shared beyond the official sessions. Talk to people. Make new connections. You never know how valuable they could be some day. Instead of just going back to your hotel at the end of the day, attend some of the sponsored social events; they are a great way to connect with people in a more relaxed atmosphere….and you may have a little fun while you’re at it!
Most of all, enjoy your experience. Good luck, learn a lot, and have fun! See you in the Sunshine State!
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
It’s hard to believe, but the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference is only about a week and a half away. This year’s location is right in the heart of tourist mecca Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center, and runs from June 22nd to the 25th. Once again, I’ll be heading down and reporting in as part of the SHRM Social Media and blogging team.
One would think that the location alone and general ease of travel from most points to the Orlando area could tend to draw quite a crowd, especially anyone with an affinity towards anything Mickey, Harry Potter, or anything else Disney or Universal Studios related. But beyond the obvious entertainment value draw, hopefully attendees of this annual gathering of all things Human Resources will walk away refreshed and recharged with at least a few new ideas and a few new connections in their network.
This year’s general session keynotes, as always, are big name speakers who are brought in to inspire and motivate us as attendees to look beyond the day to day functions of our jobs and consider larger business and global issues and trends, and how we can be making a bigger impact not only as HR professionals, but as business professionals. I’ll be highlighting key points from each of those speakers: Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, NY Times columnist and author Tom Friedman, CEO of Yum! Brands David Novak, and Former First Lady Laura Bush.
I also plan to hit at least a few of the concurrent sessions. These are where much of the practical tips, tricks, and lessons learned are shared, often by fellow practitioners who are or have been right there in the trenches with attendees. I’ll be sharing some of the highlights of those sessions as well.
One of the new and exciting components of this year’s conference is The Connection Zone, an evolution of what had been known as The Hive in conferences of late. The Connection Zone is a place for attendees to come to well, as the name suggests, connect. Within The Connection Zone will be the Smart Stage where 15-18 minute TED-like talks will be given on a variety of topics. I’ll be joining in the fun and speaking on “So I’m a Time Starved HR Practitioner….Why Should I Care About Social Media?” at 10:20 on Monday morning. Stop by if the topic interests you, or even just to say hi (there will be able Q&A and networking time after the presentations).
And of course, we can’t forget about the networking and social opportunities, which abound at a conference such as this. One that’s not to be missed is the #SHRM14 Social Bash, happening Monday night at the Hard Rock Café at Universal CityWalk. Back by popular demand after last year’s success, DJ Jazzy Jeff (yes, THAT Jazzy Jeff) will be once again spinning tunes at what’s sure to be the highlight of the conference social scene. And what better way to get to know your new connections better than dancing and singing along to all of your favorite party tunes together?
So if you’re attending the conference, be sure to engage in all of the opportunities available to you. Tweet along with the #SHRM14 hashtag; last year we managed to trend on Twitter, let’s see if we can do it again! If you’re not able to attend, check back here throughout the conference as I’ll be posting updates on what’s happening, and what’s being talked about. And follow the hashtag on Twitter for instant, real-time updates too!
See you in Orlando!
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
Editor’s Note: Several of our Women of HR writers have come together to share some of the best pieces of career advice they’ve received. Their series of posts will run over the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!
Buzzwords. As much as we love to hate them, it’s almost impossible to avoid them especially in the work environment.
On a daily basis we are inundated with corporate buzzwords relating to topics such as thinking out of the box, taking the initiative, being authentic, honing our networking skills, taking ownership, fostering team spirit, becoming more innovative, creating engagement…the list is endless.
I do not underestimate the importance of the above mentioned skills and attributes, however it seems that we place so much emphasis on them at the expense of other less visible attributes and virtues. Virtues such as kindness, thoughtfulness and empathy.
Why do we not hear more about the importance of showing kindness in the work place? Why is it not openly touted in the workplace as an attribute of a successful employee?
Does the competitive nature of most work environments somehow discourage overt displays of kindness?
Is it possible to be kind in the workplace without compromising our competitive and professional edge?
These are questions worth considering.
Kindness is such a powerful virtue and it would be such a great idea if we incorporated a little more kindness, empathy and the willingness to empower others in our work environments.
I recently attended a Workshop on Gender Balanced Leadership hosted by Dianne Bevelander. She is the Associate Dean MBA programmes at The Rotterdam School of Management, and someone that I admire very much. It was a very powerful and insightful session and I found myself having multiple“Aha moments”.
I would like to share a thought that she shared at that event that impacted me the immensely and has stayed with me ever since.
“Be kind to others…. When you make others powerful, you also become more powerful”
There is so much power in small acts of generosity and kindness.
Acts of kindness such as the gift of a smile or a listening ear. The gift of suspending judgment until all the facts are known. The gift of inclusion and acceptance.
What if some of the new buzzwords in our organizations revolved around Kindness? What if we placed a premium on sponsorship and empowering others? What if we began to do unto others as we would have done unto us?
Imagine the impact it would create in our daily interactions within and without our workplaces.
I was dismayed to read about the harsh LinkedIn rejection letter from a Cleveland Job bank operator that went viral a few weeks ago. You can read about it here.
In my opinion, this incident just brings to the fore symptoms of a lack of kindness and empathy prevalent in our society today. It is made manifest in the unwillingness to share of your knowledge and expertise unless there is something to be gained in return.
I have often wondered, which is easier? To watch others go through the exact same mistakes and difficulties that one has gone through, or to make their journey easier and rewarding by sharing of your knowledge and wealth of experience?
There has been a lot of talk about women being reluctant to help each other climb up the career ladder and stories like the aforementioned just serve to reinforce that negative perception. Let’s begin to ask ourselves questions like “who are you mentoring?” How are you sharing your knowledge and wealth of wisdom with the next generation?
Let’s create a Buzz around kindness.
Kindness is a life skill that will serve us well within and without the workplace.
To whom are you extending a hand of kindness to?
“Wherever there is a human being, there is a chance for a kindness.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca
About the Author: Tamkara currently lives in The Hague and is currently taking time off from her day job in Procurement and Sourcing to pursue an MBA. She will be spending the next few months studying, blogging and learning Dutch. You can connect with her on twitter @tamkara or find out what she’s up to at www.naijaexpatinholland.com.
When you hire a veteran you’re not simply doing a good deed, you’re securing a company asset. Many veterans have training and experience that puts them high on the talent scale, even when compared to traditional college or business graduates. Although at first glance it could seem easy to miss the translation of military experience to civilian work, don’t let that fool you. By overlooking an applicant because they spent the last couple of years in the armed forced you may be missing the opportunity to find each of the following:
Employers may shy away from hiring veterans because they are under a false impression that veterans lack the civilian work experience necessary to make them successful employees. However, veterans often have training and experience that equip them to be highly competitive job candidates, who translate into efficient, reliable, and driven employees. Traits regularly seen in veterans include:
- A strong work ethic
- Team players/ Leadership
Veterans are conditioned to work in high pressure situations, often with limited resources. For start-ups, this can be particularly beneficial, as veterans provide problem solving and decision making skills needed to lead high impact teams, quick changing logistics and pressing deadlines.
Companies that hire veterans aren’t just getting great talent, they are also making themselves eligible for tax benefits. Two benefits offered by the VA include the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the Special Employer Incentive program (SEI). WOTC allows businesses to obtain up to $9,400 in tax credits for hiring veterans, while the SEI can reimburse employers up to 50 percent of the veteran’s salary for up to six months.
By signifying your willingness to hire veterans, you show that you are also investing in the community that surrounds your company. Communities are often strongly oriented towards supporting their local veterans, and by demonstrating interest in hiring veterans, your community will be more likely to offer you their patronage.
Veterans also have an ingrained sense of loyalty that can translate extremely well into the civilian work world. Once they become a part of an organization, their sense of duty and loyalty tends to also extend to their company. By hiring a veteran, you have the opportunity to experience positive word-of-mouth advertising and enthusiasm about your place of employment. This kind of genuine promotion helps to attract other potential high quality employees within your community.
Finding A-Player talent at your company can be a daunting task. Seeking out veterans who possess skills and qualities you need can make the fabric of your organization stronger and more diverse. So instead of just posting a job to common recruiting sites, the next time a position becomes available in your company, consider posting to military sites or hosting a booth at a local veteran’s career fair. You’ll increase your odds of finding talented, qualified and motivated applicants.
About the Author: Amanda Andrade is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans — Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors. She also has a doctorate in Environment and Behavior, focusing on highly profitable, employee-centric work environments. Connect with Amanda on Google+.
Can you believe that it has been 3 years since the Women of HR site started? Wohoo!! What a crazy fun ride it has been. Over the past 3 years we have seen a lot of change: new contributors, awesome content and series, and now, we even have a new Editor in Chief in Jenny Payne!
As this site continues to grow and develop, I think back on why we started it in the first place. We wanted to build a site that was a community. A site where women in HR or not could help build each other up and make valuable connections. We wanted it to be a forum where we could voice our concerns, disagree, and find solutions.
We hope that for you as members of this community, that it has been that and more. I want to thank YOU for your continued support, encouragement, and readership. This site wouldn’t exist except for you.
But besides gratitude, I want to also issue a call to action. Whether this is the first time visiting us or you have been a longtime member of our community, we want to hear from you. Tell us what you like, don’t like, and want to see more of. We want you to jump on in and participate, not just through readership and comments but by suggesting new ideas and even getting fingers to your keyboards and become a contributor. If this site is for you, then we need you to help us make it everything you need it to be.
Thank you so much to the amazing Lisa Rosendahl for running the site and making it everything it is today. Thank you to the wonderful Jenny Payne for stepping in to take the site to the next level. Thank you to Trish McFarlane, Sarah White, and Charee Klimek who are the best women and co-founders who helped start this crazy ride. Thank you to Lance Haun for doing so much work for us and who is so generous with his time and knowledge. Thank you to Lyn Hoyt for all her wonderful design work and help. And of course, thank you to all our amazing contributors, both past a present, who have given the Women of HR site a voice. Your amazing insights and content have literally made us the site we are today and for that we are all grateful for.
So cheers everybody, and let’s work hard together to make the next year of Women of HR another awe inspiring one!
As Women of HR gets ready to turn three years old this June, we’re in the process of going through our first major transition. For the past three years, the amazing and talented Lisa Rosendahl has been the driving force behind this site, spending countless hours soliciting, editing, and scheduling all of the fantastic and informative posts that have run. If not for her, this site would not be what it is today, and I know I’m not alone in expressing my gratitute to Lisa for all of her efforts. But as with any major project, as things evolve, changes become necessary. To allow her more time to focus on her own endeavors, Lisa has decided to step aside as editor, and I have stepped in to assume those duties. To read Lisa’s thoughts on the transition, stop over to her blog where she’s talking about it today as well.
As the new editor, I look forward to continuing to provide you, our readers, with the informative and thought-provoking posts you have come to expect. I’ll also be looking to add new themes, series, and topics to keep the site ever evolving and in tune with the changing nature of our profession and business in general.
I would like to offer a public THANK YOU to all of our intelligent, talented, and hard-working contributors who generously give of their own time to share their thoughts and experiences with all of you. Without them, we wouldn’t have a Women of HR!
And last but not least, a big THANK YOU to all of our readers for continuing to come back, week after week, to see what we’re currently talking about. If there’s anything in particular that you’d like to see us posting about, please comment below or send me a note at email@example.com. I welcome any suggestions for topics and themes, or any ideas you may have for ensuring that we’re relevant and providing you what you need. And if any of you have ever thought about wanting to write and would like to become a contributor, or even just test the waters with a guest post, please send me a note as well. We’d love to have you as part of our team!
With social media, what you don’t know can seriously hurt your organization. One 2010 survey found that employees estimate spending roughly four hours every day checking multiple email accounts, with up to two hours spent on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A 2012 Salary.com survey found that 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites daily. And don’t think blocking employee access to social media on company networks is the answer; personal smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, and easily fill the gap.
The rub for today’s organizations is that while social media use at work has definite risks, it also is one of the best ways to empower and engage employees. Increasingly, in our connected 24/7 businesses, the line between work and personal time is blurring. This is especially true for Generation Y employees; as long as they meet deadlines and deliver, these employees don’t feel that it’s particularly useful to distinguish between time spent updating Twitter or engaged in team meetings. Organizations may beg to differ, especially when an offensive or inappropriate blog post or tweet can damage their brand, lower employee morale, and even lead to workplace lawsuits.
Yet, most organizations don’t really know how their employees are using social media, either personally or professionally, let alone what impact it’s having on employees’ overall levels of productivity.
That’s why it’s so important, before you set policy, to know how your managers currently handle social media use at work, as well as how its use by employees is effecting their management. Get at these fundamental issues by asking managers five key questions:
- Have your employees’ use of social media ever triggered a workplace lawsuit or regulatory investigation?
- What impact have your employees’ personal use of social media during work hours had, if any, on their productivity?
- How do you use social media, if at all, to help manage your projects and employees?
- Have you reviewed all applicable federal and state laws governing electronic data content, usage, monitoring, privacy, e-discovery, data encryption, business records and other legal issues in all jurisdictions in which you operate, have employees or serve customers?
- Could you comply with a court-ordered “social media audit”, by producing legally compliant business blog posts, email messages, text messages and other electronically stored information (ESI) within 990 days?
Social media can speed innovation and collaboration, but ONLY if your employees know how to both use it as well as steer clear of its many pitfalls. Start by asking managers these simple questions; they often surface extremely important information that, especially in larger organizations, you may not have been aware of. Finally, remember that for reasons of both confidentiality and fear, getting access to this sort of information is not always easy. It’s therefore important that organizations create mechanisms by which examples of social media use (and abuse!) can be regularly shared with the broader employee base.
Photo credit iStockphoto
About the author: Steve Miranda is Managing Director of Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), a leading partnership between industry and academia devoted to the field of global human resource management. He is also a faculty author of the new eCornell certificate program,Social Media in HR: From Policy to Practice. Prior to CAHRS, Miranda was Chief Human Resource and Strategic Planning Officer for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest professional HR association, serving over 260,000 members in over 100 countries.