Doors

I’d bet a significant amount of money that if I looked in your company’s employee handbook I’d find a statement that says you have an “open door policy.” This infers that people have access to anyone at any level at any time. I’d love to say that this is really the common practice in organizations, but it often isn’t. That’s because being an open door is tough.

Doors can exist in one of two positions – open and closed. I know that sounds obvious, but doors play a bigger part of our careers than we recognize. You hope that people would be willing to communicate openly, but we hesitate, or think that people have some hidden agenda, when they meet with us. That may happen every once in awhile, but it isn’t the norm. The challenge is that negative experiences have such a huge impact on us that they override any positive ones that we have. We end up communicating less than we should or we give partial messages to folks hoping they can come to the conclusion we have in our heads.

I find this to be the case with HR peers as well. I understand that we work with people at all levels and that it can be challenging. However, shouldn’t we be the ones who set the standard and expectation of being accessible? If you ask people in your company who work in other departments, I think you’ll hear that we’re not as accessible as we could be.

So, how can we become open doors?

The easy answer is practice. The hard reality is that it takes courage, patience and a willingness to meet and listen to ALL people. This includes the people that you tend to interact with only when you have to. We all spend more time with people who we’re comfortable with. It’s human nature. Well, we need to fight human nature. Every employee deserves our time and attention. You may be the only person who’s giving an employee an audience. It could keep them engaged, and even better, understood so that they know they’re connected to your company.

Secondly, I think you need to open doors for others. Too often HR is categorized as the group that shuts people down. That may be needed in certain situations, but it’s an awful moniker to carry with you. We live in a time that is extremely self-focused. I’ve never seen this work long-term. You may see short-term success or visibility, but you can’t sustain it. Opening doors for others is something you can do for your entire life.

Recently, an HR friend of mine was in transition. She contacted to let me know. I wanted to make sure she was okay and let her know she had someone willing to make connections for her that she may not be able to do on her own. I also encouraged her to see if she could create her own role and position within a company. I told her to share that she could open doors for their organization by bringing her knowledge, skills and experience. I reached out to two dear HR friends who lived in her area of the country and asked them all to meet each other and network with each other on purpose.

At SHRM17, she was able to share all that had happened after our conversation. She is now a close connection with the two folks that I introduced to her, she found a few new HR roles to consider and convinced a company to allow her to create a role that they had not seen in the past. I was geeked to hear all the great things that occurred from a phone call and two e-mails. Three opened doors.

This week, take a look at two things: (1) Are you truly an open door at work for ALL of your employees and (2) Are there folks in your life that you could open doors for?

When others shut doors on you, and they will, don’t get discouraged. Just look for the next opportunity where you can step in, reach for the knob and pull open a door. It may change your life and the life of others. Trust me. Opening doors is worth it.

IRL !!

I’ve been active in social media for over a decade now, and I’ve done it intentionally. It’s amazing to me in a world where social media forums are methods to communicate literally around the world that there are those who still see it as a “waste of time.”

Do you honestly feel that connecting with other humans is wasting your time? That is hard for me to comprehend because I truly think that we’re wired to be connected to other people. I don’t think that we’re meant to be isolated or alone. I know that I have an abnormal perspective on meeting others. I get geeked with every single new person I encounter. I don’t mean to project my approach on others because I know it’s not how most others see meeting people.

The point I’d like for you to consider is that when you have a chance to meet others – that you understand it makes you both better for having that encounter.

This is something that is lost by HR pros because we buy into the myth that it’s so important to “get things done” more than any other factor of their job. The same is true with social media. We talk about the people who share their ideas through posts, blogs, and podcasts. Yes, the content is important, but in the end, we tie it to the people who create the content. What is funny about all of the people we follow and like is that the number one thing they enjoy – is meeting each other IRL (in real life). It’s true more that people are willing to admit. Behind the avatar, people want to get to know each other as people.

This past weekend a good friend from my past, Curtis Midkiff, made IRL come to life !! Southwest Airlines opened some new routes at the airport in Cincinnati and he coordinated so that two of my great friends, Dave Ryan and Joey Price, flew in from Chicago and Baltimore respectively to commemorate this event. We saw each other and greeted each other with hugs (because I’m a notorious hugger) and caught up on life and family. Our time in person mattered so much more than just following each other online.

In less than two weeks, I’ll be at #SHRM17 with Dave and Joey as well as other social media folks. I can’t wait to see them all !! There will also be 15,000 other folks at the conference and it will include known friends and friends to be made. I want you to know that if you’re attending the SHRM Annual Conference, I really want to meet you IRL !!

Remember this above everything else . . .

The people you meet in person will be the BEST resource you’ll ever get at a conference !!

So, take the time to with people in person and on purpose. You have the chance to do this every day in your role and when you attend events. Make the step forward to make friends and establish relationships. Trust me, when you do this, you will become a better HR pro and, even more importantly, a better human !!

For The People !!

Two weeks from now I’ll be in Washington, D.C. at SHRM16 – the annual conference and exposition put on by SHRM. I’m tangibly geeked to be going once again, and I can’t wait to swim amid the sea of people who attend from all over the globe.

I look forward to every aspect of the Conference. There are great keynote presentations, a diverse and full set of concurrent sessions that run throughout the whole event, the SHRM Smart Stage that features TED type talks, the fabulous SHRM Store and the incredible vendor hall !! I’m sure it sounds like I’m a SHRM devotee, and I don’t apologize for that at all. I’ve chosen to take in the whole conference because it enhances my experience and I encourage you to do the same.  I try to look at the whole event as “new” so that I don’t have certain filters or misconceptions creep in. Every Annual Conference has it’s own nuances and dynamics that keep it fresh for me.

One aspect that is both new and familiar is the people. There will be many folks who are attending for the first time. I love seeing these rookies. The event can be overwhelming if you let it, but there are ways to make it accessible and inviting. Don’t get swallowed by the scale of everything. Instead, plan ahead and be intentional about what you’d like to do and who you’d like to see speak. Stretch your boundaries and don’t just go to sessions that mimic your current role. See what else is out there.

The other group of people I’m REALLY excited to see !! Those are the people who come often. Some of these great people are ones I’ve “grown up” with through SHRM volunteering including many SHRM staff. Others are friends from Social Media who always add life and a fresh perspective to everything. Most have become lifelong friends – literally. This isn’t an exaggeration or an overstatement. I have met people at SHRM Annual events that I talk to and see often and on purpose. They have enriched my life in ways they may not even realize. Seeing these folks makes the event priceless !!

So, I have a challenge for you that you may not have considered before attending SHRM16. I want you to go because of one reason – for the people. Seriously.

We are in a tough industry and in challenging roles. Often, we have very few people we can talk to internally in our organizations. How much better would it be for you if you had people you could reach out to as a resource, and even better as a friend?

Simple HelloIt’s simple to do and I’ll show you how. First, say “Hello”.

You may scoff at this, but I continue to be amazed by the hundreds, if not thousands, of HR pros who pass each other as quickly as possible at HR conferences without interacting with one other peer. For some reason we think our recertification hours, or hearing some speaker, will provide the silver bullet we need to get out of the situations we’re dealing with at work. What we miss is that the people passing by you are IN THE SAME FIELD AS YOU !! They may be facing what you’re facing, or they may have been through it themselves. If you happen to get out of your normal pattern and introduce yourself, who knows where it could lead?

Trust me when I say that the whole Conference rocks, and it even gets better when you connect with the people who are there with you. Be intentional about this !! Make sure to meet at least five new people. Go to sessions with them. Walk through the vendor hall with them. Go to dinner with them. Don’t let someone be a straggler. Bring them in and include them. I plan to meet as many folks as possible, but I’m an incurable extrovert. You should meet as many folks as you feel comfortable doing.

Always remember – In HR, and as humans, we are better together !! Go to SHRM16 for the people !!

And You Are ??

This past week I attended the SHRM Talent Conference and it was spectacular !! The keynote speakers were all solid and the concurrent sessions had depth and relevant content.

I love that people come to conferences to learn, gain skills and get professional development to do their jobs better. I also dig hearing speakers that motivate me, make me laugh and allow me to have a release from what I do on a daily basis. All of those facets of attending a conference are needed. Chances are you’ll even be asked to give a report back to your boss about the takeaways you had.

What if you missed the best takeaway when it was sitting right next to you?

For those of you who may not know, I’m an absolute extrovert who just loves being in a sea of new people. I see events like this as an opportunity to mingle and meet peers. I think we lose sight of the fact that people who practice HR are all around us during a conference. It seems that attendees are surprised when you attempt to make eye contact and say, “Hello.”

As in most conferences I’ve gone to, attendees flow past fellow attendees and people keep to themselves. They make sure to get a seat in the area of the room where the presentation occurs, and then they sit and wait to hear what the speaker has to share. Did you know that when you listen to a presentation, you remember 10% of what was said on average? Even the great ones !!

I have a much different approach to HR Conferences. I go to them to meet people. I understand that this isn’t the norm, and I’m good with that. What I’ve found, however, is when I meet new HR people and connect them with other new HR people, great things happen. During SHRM Talent, I met folks from all over the U.S. and from around the globe !! I learned different approaches, insights and also what they expected from the conference.

I also make sure to meet vendors and see what they do. I may use their services, but I also may not. The key to me was to see who they were and how they interacted with HR folks. If they were all about the sale, I remembered that. If they were about learning about the attendees and how to meet their needs to make their company better, I remember that too (and made sure to connect with them.)

People You MeetYou see, I can give you countless examples of why taking this approach to conferences matters. I have met people that I keep in touch with on a regular, if not daily basis, that make me a better human. They also make me a stronger HR professional. With them I have a whole set of resources available with the click of a button on my phone or laptop. With them I have a deeper appreciation of HR because they give me their perspectives on things. With them I have established life-long friendships that I cherish.

To be honest, I couldn’t tell you which speaker I was listening too when I met these folks. However, I am assured that I can reach out to any of them at any time to stay connected.

So, when you go to your next HR event whether it’s a local HR chapter meeting, a networking forum or the massive SHRM Annual conference, step back and notice the people. When you get their attention, introduce yourself and ask, “And you are ??” Trust me. You’ll be glad you did !!

 

Do The Work !!

Do you enjoy meeting people personally and professionally ?? Does there have to be a compelling reason to do so ?? Is the only reason you meet people is because you read a blog post that tells you to ??

I’ve been thinking about this lately because I thrive on meeting new people. That’s a fact. Whenever I go to a new environment, I reach out to meet people. I really want to get to know them, know who they are and something unique about them. I understand that this isn’t the norm and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have the capacity to take in more and more folks.

You see, I’m not a collector. Many people who network are because they have some ulterior motive that is intended to result in a sale of their services or products. When this occurs, people are only scratching the surface of truly connecting and yet people continue to do this. Just last week a person who was a guest at the restaurant I work at came up to me and said, “You look friendly and are always smiling. Here’s my card, I represent . . . .” I was floored. No name. No introduction. Just a chance to whip out the 30-second sales pitch because this is how you think it’s effective to meet other people. I threw his card away.

Let me share an example of how networking has a lasting effect – as it should !! My best friend, Fred, calls me every week. Every. Week. He checks in to see how things are with me personally and professionally. He also just stepped up to run a monthly networking group, GETDOT Cincinnati, as their new President. By the way, he’s officially “retired.” Meeting new people really shouldn’t matter to him anymore should it ??

Fred is not only a dear friend, but he’s a great mentor and example that you need to have relationships with those in your network. That is the key !! If you can’t tell others about a connection past a rectangular piece of paper, then they really aren’t a connection at all. Remember, if you’re too busy to make time for others, don’t have them in your network and don’t be in theirs. That may sound a bit harsh, but great connections encourage each other. They don’t use each other.

Do The WorkThe key to networking is to Do the Work !! I think that having a viable network and being an effective networker should be a mandatory skill for all business people and especially for those in HR. Let me be clear – this is a business skill and not a job hunting skill. We’ve lost sight that having a set of “go to” people makes you a stronger professional in your role both within your company and in your industry.

The challenge I see is that HR people are hesitant to reach out and meet others in our field. I don’t understand this because I’ve only seen it benefit me personally and allow me to have access to incredible folks !! This isn’t a factor of being extroverted or introverted. It is a factor that we don’t see the value of taking the time to connect with others.

This week, I’d like you to start doing the work of connecting. Make a commitment to connect with one or two new people in HR. Send them a Linked In request with a personalized invitation. Be active on Twitter and connect with other HR folks and share HR blogs you read with others. Go to events and find a few people you don’t know and take the time to intentionally meet them.

Be good with adding just a few people to your network each week. If you have a larger capacity, meet more people. However, commit to making sure they are connections and not collections. You’ll be a stronger HR pro when you have others around you that can encourage you and share their experiences and knowledge.

I hope you understand that I know that this makes a difference. It will be some of the most meaningful work you’ll ever do !!

It Only Takes 3 Chords !!

I don’t know if many people were as excited as I was about some music news this week, but I was Geeked !! Rock giants, AC/DC, released their seventeenth album called Rock or Bust.  I’ve heard a few tracks and it sounds much like their whole catalog.

You may not be a fan of these Metal legends, but I found myself immersed in them because the Classic Rock station on Sirius XM was “taken over” as AC/DC radio.  Members of the band shared their past experiences and their excitement over their new work.

AC/DC is one of those bands who people have been critical about because they follow a simple three chord method to their songs.  It’s true that their songs don’t have a ton of musical variety, but they have released songs that will be played for generations to come.

So, what does this shout-out to one of my fave bands have to do with HR ??  Everything, but it takes you looking at something that is missing and how this can fix it !!

I continue to come across HR people who are in transition.  I am surprised that the first time I meet them is when they are looking for a job.  It is disappointing because I have this crazy goal that I want to be connected with as many HR people as I can.  I don’t want to see anyone who isn’t a part of a greater HR community.

I don’t understand it.  I don’t understand how you can be in HR and not be intentionally connected to others in our field.  These connections are so much more than a method to find another HR gig.  They result in strong, life-long relationships filled with resources and knowledge that you can’t get on your own.  It’s just not possible.

Three Chords ShirtI don’t feel that everyone should try to have as many contacts as someone else, but you should have three !!  You see, I believe in the power of mentoring.  I don’t follow the definition that you find in many HR circles stating that you set up a mentoring relationships for a set period of time and then it should fade away.  I think that this approach often turns out one sided and focuses on someone’s specific need instead of looking at the whole.

So, here’s the model I do follow !! You can’t have a mentor unless you mentor someone yourself.  The three “chord” model makes sure that you are giving as well as learning from someone else.

I also feel that you should seek out these triads intentionally.  I have a few mentors who I’ve been with for decades and I have a few mentees who have been with me for many years as well.  I also make sure that the relationships are as deep as needed.  The mentor/mentee relationships I have vary from somewhat more on the surface to others that know no end to their depth !!

In fact, I just reached out to a friend to ask if I could have him be a mentor and work with him in 2015.  His response was awesome – “color me intrigued and honored.”  I’m excited to see where it goes.

So, I ask you to join me and set up your trio of connections !!  Remember it only takes three chords to make a band !!  To get you started, I leave you with this . . . (you’re welcome.)

Image courtesy of Old Skool Hooligan Tees

I Can’t Wait !!

ExcitementIn a few weeks, I will be heading to Orlando, Florida for the SHRM Annual Conference. To say that I’m Geeked would be an undersatement !!  It’s a chance to break away from the daily norms and be with 14,000+ of my HR peers.  Some may find that overwhelming while I see it as welcoming.

There are many reasons that are making this year’s conference even more intriguing.  The obvious item that will gather the most attention will be the next steps in the SHRM Certification transition.  I want to see where things will go and it will be great to see and hear things first hand.  I also have the great chance to meet with the SHRM Board of Directors as part of the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC).  I’m fortunate to be a part of a great team of other volunteer leaders from around the US who are seriously intentional and engaged HR pros.

To top all of this off, as if that wouldn’t be enough already, I get to speak !!  When I heard that was going to be a part of the program, I was humbled.  I truly was.  You see, giving the presentation will be a thrill in itself, but even more than that I’ll be talking to my peers.  I have been at many conferences and hear that HR folks want to hear from fellow practitioners.  Now I get the opportunity to do that.  Wow !!

Conferences give you a chance to meet great HR pros from all over, develop lasting professional relationships and get connected to resources that help you do your job better.  If you’re going to SHRM14, I’d love to see you and connect !!  I mean that.  I try to meet as many folks as I can because I find that I have learned more from these great people over the years than I ever would have on my own.

I know that there are several reasons why people go to conferences, but for me it truly is all the people.  It’s fascinating to realize that there are so many others who practice HR and have a chance to do it in various ways !!  I also plan to see other sessions from people that take a different look at HR.  I look for sessions that stretch and challenge me because I want to bring back items that will allow me to improve HR in my workplace.  I don’t want to settle for something or sit through a topic just because it gets a certain level of credit.

So, as my level of excitement continues to grow, I hope to see you !!  It would make my Conference to get to see you, meet you and experience it with you.  Geeked !!

Image courtesy of blogworld.com

 

Connecting !!

This week is truly a week I eagerly anticipate every year !!  That is because I know when September rolls around, so does the annual Ohio State HR Conference !!  I get excited because it’s a chance to break away from the day-to-day and be with my peers.  I know this sounds HR Nerdish but I’m unapologetic about it.

The Conference has an intimate feel to it even though we’re approaching 900 attendees and 90+ vendors.  The theme this year is “HR – Making Connections that Count” and I really dig the feel of this.  The question is, will people step out and make connections?

One of the real challenges of HR is that we try to gut it out or go it alone.  I don’t know when this trend where  isolation is seen as a strength ever started, but it needs to end !!  Ironically, there will be attendees who come to this great event (and others like it) and will do little to no connecting whatsoever.  No connections with resource partners, no connections with peers and no connections with people who could make HR truly come alive for them !!  Why is that?

I don’t think it’s a matter of introversion or extraversion.  I think it’s a case of risk aversion !!  I’m amazed how the folks who are in the field of HUMANS are so hesitant to meet others.  Is it because we’re different and won’t have anything in common?  Is it because someone will meet you and immediately ask you some insanely hard HR question, and if you don’t know the right answer, they’ll kick you out of HR ??

Then what is it?  What continually keeps folks apart and not connecting?

I have a theory . . .

ButtonsYou see, I collect buttons.  I have loads of them and they don’t follow any particular pattern or grouping.  They range from Monty Python, to types of beer, to rock bands to hippie related ones, to classic cartoons, to HR ones, etc.  Here’s a quick pic of just a few of my collection.  I’m trying to organize them to show them off and enjoy them !!

So, what’s my theory?  Just like the buttons we are a mix of a million different interests, emotions, ideas, insights, viewpoints and approaches.  However, we either think others won’t find us interesting enough, or we think we won’t find people who share our interests.  And that my friends is sad !!

I LOVE that we’re different !!  How dreadfully boring would it be if we were all the same ??  Seriously.

So, I have a challenge for you this week.  I plan to connect with every (EVERY) single attendee and vendor at the Conference.  Not just meet them – connect with them.  I want to learn about who they are and see how we can be resources to each other.

Your challenge is to meet one (1) new person this week and connect with them.  I think that keeps things pretty balanced.  If you’re one of the 900 attending #OHSHRM13, I’m geeked to see you, meet you and connect with you.  Maybe . . . you’ll even be wearing a button !!

5 New Ideas !!

SHRM13 has wrapped up and it was honestly the best National SHRM Conference I’ve attended.  The vibe was cool and people seemed to be at ease and engaged at the same time.  Just prior to the Conference kicking off, my good friend, Mark Stelzner, put a challenge out on Facebook to see if anyone could come away from the event with 5 new ideas.

I loved the challenge and responded immediately.  Now, let’s get the “there are no new ideas” cynicism out of the way.  This may be inherently true, but you have to remember that the HR universe is a gigantic bell curve !!  The conference had folks from those new to the field to CHRO’s.  The idea of “new” is really dependent upon the individual and not whether you think it’s new or not.

Too often we read blogs and think everyone’s heard that before !!  I think you need to rethink that because as much as we’d like to think we carry a broad swath of our profession, we are reaching a truly engaged minority.  That is very cool, but we aren’t going as deep as we can.  This was reflected in the myriad of people who flocked to the transactional HR sessions because I’m sure it was important to their role.  I went to others that reflected mine.  That’s not being critical – that’s being practical.

Lightbulb PlantsNow to the five new ideas !! (at least to me)

#1 – HR needs to be integrated throughout business not just “know” the business.

There were a billion sessions who broke Matt Stollak’s rule of saying “seat at the table,” but they weren’t encouraging it, they were noting that this wasn’t enough (and in actually never has been).  The C-Suite expects HR to be woven throughout the organization – not just show up at Executive meetings.

 #2 – Giving shouldn’t just be done by writing a check.

Listening to Blake Mycoskie was so refreshing !!  To see someone from Gen Y who is truly reflective of a success story of his generation was cool.  During his presentation he showed how a company can be profitable and giving simultaneously.  Also, the expectation that his employees are all in on the efforts of Toms gives folks a great model of living a culture vs. trying to program it.

#3 – No one is as dumb as all of us.

Other than being incredibly inspirational, listening to Mark Kelly speak was very grounding.  He noted that this saying was on the wall at NASA after the Challenger tragedy.  It warns us that group-think is more dangerous than an individual idea.  Too often HR jumps into a group decision in order to tag along in organizations.  Be wary of this and truly review all ideas that come down the pike.

#4 – We’re all in sales.

Daniel Pink was phenomenal !!  His ideas that “we’re all in sales” isn’t particularly new. But he noted that few truly practice this approach.  For HR to be integrated (see #1), you need to sell what you’re company does.  In fact, Jennifer McClure noted in her session that she wanted to see Businesspeople who practice HR vs. HR people who happen to know the business.

#5 – Surround yourself with leaders.

Jen McClure provided a completely different ending to her phenomenal session when she encouraged people to surround themselves and get connected to people who are leaders in HR.  This wasn’t just the same old – follow people who are well known.  It was a stronger approach to get truly connected to HR practitioners who show they are leading in the field.  The folks she listed are givers.  They make sure to give first to all those that connect with them.

#6 – HR people want to connect with others, but they don’t know how.

(Bonus Idea) 15,000+ folks wandered through the halls of McCormick Place for SHRM13, and I tried my best to encounter and meet as many as I could.  There was a sense that people wanted to meet others, but they didn’t seem willing to step out and make that happen.  At each session I attended, I introduced myself to all those around me and asked their state, city, role, etc. and then listened to their story.  I also did this on the elevator, escalator, hallways, HRCI Hideaway, Blogger’s Lounge and SHRM Volunteers Leaders lounge.  This isn’t to brag.  It’s to give you an idea of the vastness of the number of HR folks who aren’t being reached.  True, they’re attending and getting their credits, but their sphere of connectivity was limited in general.  There are many, like me, who were trying to meet folks and change this paradigm, but it’s still an uphill opportunity that is exhilarating !!

Whew !!  This post is almost as long as the Conference.  I didn’t even talk about the great SHRM Kickball game, the incredible vendor hall and the unforgettable SHRM Tweetup !!  Another day.

In the end, the whole thing rocked !!  I came home even more geeked than when I went.  Seeing old friends, making new ones and being a part of the future of HR is energizing. Stay tuned !!!

 

HR in the Five One Three !!

This blog post is part of a collection created by various Human Resources professionals that was the brainchild of Victorio Milian (@Victorio_M). This “Carnival” of HR posts centers around the theme of HR and Home. To read the rest of the collection click here. You’ll be glad you did!

I am a Cincinnatian.  It’s not where I “started,” but having been here since 1986, I can say proudly it’s my home.  Being an HR pro in a conservative city has its advantages and disadvantages.  It’s safe and stable, for the most part.  But, the struggle for innovation took some time to blossom honestly.

You see, HR has deep roots in Cincinnati !!  Back when SHRM was the American Society for Personnel Administration, two local SHRM HR chapters gathered.  The Butler/Warren County SHRM chapter, just north of Cincy, has the designation of chapter “001” and the Greater Cincinnati HR Association (GCHRA) , my home chapter, is designee “008.”  So, we were in on the ground floor once chapters started forming.

Like most areas of SHRM, the chapters kept to themselves, but then a group of HR pros began stepping forward.  When you look at the history of the Ohio State Conference and the State Council of SHRM, you’ll find many Cincinnatians who were Conference Chairs, State Directors and Regional reps for SHRM.  These great folks laid the groundwork for what’s happening now in the Queen City.

You see, we started reaching out and connecting HR pros before Social Media came along.  We didn’t know that we were going to be “ahead of the curve,” but it appears that we were.  The HR Net was started through GCHRA back in 2001 to try and get HR pros more connected.  It started as a simple e-mail listserv tied to an internet message board with 200 people.  Now, in 2012 it reaches over 6,000 HR pros worldwide and allows them to post questions and events that are HR related.  Two things that differentiate this forum from most is that it’s free (and always has been) and each week people can sing along to a song parody about HR !!

As Social Media started to be born, Cincinnatians jumped in with both feet !!  It was like people were just waiting for the mechanism to get more connected.  Some of the early adopters (who are still active and visible) include Jennifer McClure (@JenniferMcClure), Margo Rose (@HRMargo) and Benjamin McCall (@BenjaminMcCall).  One of the things that “put us on the map” was when we “won” the most active HR community as the (513), our area code, on an episode of Steve Boese’s (@steveboese) great HR Happy Hour blog radio show !!

More and more HR practitioners and consultants from Cincinnati jumped into the Social Media HR space and began phenomenal blogs and started reaching out to become part of the larger HR community.  When I was asked to finally jump into the Social Media pool, I brought the platform of reaching HR pros that we started with me and then things exploded !!

One of the genuine positive outcomes of Social Media is that it has taken communities that only existed in their hometown and started intertwining them together.  Many of the great things we had done in Cincinnati were being done in other pockets around the country.  Being in Cincy, you are in a place that exudes that hometown feel.  We are doing our best to make others from around the Social Media space and the HR profession join us and make that hometown feel permeate throughout all we do !!

So, now I’d say, looking back at things that we have been innovative and the future only looks bright !!  I hope that we are a catalyst that continues to bring HR folks together for years and years to come !!

Image Courtesy of Zazzle