Dec 28, 2009

Five things social media taught me about HR

I started my career in HR in 1999, and I started blogging in 2002 - so in my mind both of these are linked in some way.

In my career in moved from KM to e-learning, to Training to a HR Generalist stint and then to HR Consulting - and parallel to this I was discovering more and more tools as they got invented and went out of fashion - from Yahoo Groups to Ryze to Linkedin to Orkut to Facebook to Twitter.

Looking back at my career and social media journey over the last decade I thought I'd point down my thoughts on what social media taught me that an MBA in HR did not (or maybe I didn't pay attention to it)

  1. People have a lot more in common than their differences. Social media gives amplification to the basic desire of human beings - to connect and to express. Some people like to express more and some like to connect more. Giving them tools and work that meet that need is the key.
  2. Conversation is key, if you want to persuade someone - influence someone, you have to talk to them. Sometimes, conversing is hard, with the volume of connections we all have, hence the prioritisation and knowledge of whom you have to convince-is imperative.
  3. Learning happens by doing and sharing - We all learn in different ways but the key to learning something in today's ever-changing world, is to "learn in practice". Learning Officers need to understand that simulations would be key to actual learning and not "classroom" or even "e-learning" in the way it exists today.
  4. Keep connected to innovators and the Average Joe. Hanging out with social media types one can get lost between the excitement for the next shiny new thing. Not hang out with the experimenters and you might miss the next big trend. HR people have a similar dilemma, focus on the high performers or the average performers. They are as different as chalk and cheese. The answer is "both"
  5. Give to receive. Social media is the epitome of the giving it away thinking. Giving away ideas, thoughts, links. Telling people "here's how that other guy/website/community can be useful for you" makes them come back to you and drives your influence up, ironically. It's time for managers and HR people to admit that sometimes they don't have all the answers, and to know who the experts are and send queries to them. That would build better trust.
What has social media taught you?