Write the HR You Want the Next Generation to See

When the next generation of HR pros are finishing their HR degrees at univeristy, they are beyond mad keen to be entering this profession. For a few years they have listened to professors talk, researched, written essays and engaged in debates over the subject of HR. They’ve done Occupational Health and Safety, Industrial Relations, Organisational Behaviour, Strategic HR, and random crap like Knowledge Management. For those of us who were actually engaging with the business world, we were probably reading a shite load of business magazines, going to networking events with local professionals and attending career seminars too. 
During my three year degree, I spent six months in France studying in a business school with students from around the world. Somehow I was studying with European kids doing their masters, in my 3rd semester of university as some 19 year old punk. My nickname was Baby Sarah. And I got a fire lit under me as my fellow students were talking about internships they completed last summer that were beyond my wildest career ambitions.
I returned to Australia, aced Microeconomics, became a Microeconomics study assistant paid by the university, won a few business student awards, did a Global Experience Program and learnt skills like network mapping, resume writing and career management.
And during my last semester at uni I started a part time HR job that became my full time HR job after graduation.
At no point did I ever think HR sucked, needed improvement in its general definition, or was an inferior profession to train in than any other course available at the university. Yes, I do want to complete financial training but that reflects on my personal skill set preference, not on HR as a lacking profession.
So quit the whinging you role models!
You people writing with years of experience, wisdom and insight that I can only aspire to have – get over what HR ‘should’ be.
Talk about HR as it is, the challenges, the pitfalls. Talk about your skill set as it is, your future training ambitions, your weaknesses (not the profession’s). Talk about why you chose this career, why you’re staying in it, what future you envisage for it that encourages and complements our profession. Talk about our profession as a real profession.
Who cares what our professional bodies are like? They’re filled with people who are losing sight of what the young generation see. 
Who cares what our peers say about HR? They’re as intelligent on our practices, and expertise, as we are on other professions in the company that can be disruptive to our work (i.e. property maintenance).
Who cares what anyone says about us except ourselves?!
So write the HR you want the next generation to see.
Because the next generation are already highly trained, switched on and ready to go. They just need that opportunity to get in and do it. And when they arrive, let’s not piss on their party with all our misgivings over the profession. Let’s show them that they have arrived at a party with people happy to be there, and not at all intimidated by the parties being held by the kids across the road.
They’ve just been waiting to bring the salt and lemon to your very tasty tequila, and give a big cheers to doing something they see as worthy of a huge student loan debt with future career prospects.

Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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Expanding Your Network as an Introvert (or how to meet people by avoiding small chat)

2013, the year that all special birthdays and wedding dates are finally over because 13.13.13 is not a real date! Anyway, hope it’s an awesome one for you and that you are inspired to keep some excellent resolutions.
Alain de Botton’s tweet captures new year resolutions perfectly to me:

Resolutions: we’re all so much more bearable once it’s known we ARE trying to improve.
— Alain de Botton (@alaindebotton) December 31, 2012

So although they’re a constant disappointment to ourselves, they really are a major factor in our likability, which is actually an important thing (“I am what I am” ain’t all that). And who hasn’t breathed a sigh of relief over a loved one announcing a resolution regarding a flaw we weren’t quite sure they saw in themselves?
Repatriation is probably in the 2013 cards for me, and that means a big start over for my partner and I, especially in building our network all over again. And what can I say? I got this. I was asking interesting people out for career-chat-coffees since I was 18, networking is my thang and I love to let my freakishly-loves-getting-to-know-strangers-flag-fly. But my partner? He probably wouldn’t do networking even if he was paid to. This is because he’s an ISTP, or in other words, someone who prefers action to talking, is super skilled and hands on, and has no time for bullshit. Yet, he’s grown a network that overshadows mine in Singapore.
There are so many articles on the internet about how to network as an introvert, but they mostly focus on professional situations. He would never place himself into those situations, so how did he expand his network into so many quality contacts who have since become close friends to both of us?
These are my observations, and network expansion tips for an introvert, but especially those of the ISTP orientation.
Join a big and popular club of an activity you’re really good at. Come on now – ISTPs are usually athletes, or else, very skilled at something. You are artisans. You will meet people who are just as skilled at an activity as you are, and maybe their conversation will interest you. Oh yes, I have witnessed a group of big gruff rugby men making small chat about the previous game’s play for hours. Small chat in general may not interest you, but chat about your rockstar area will. Be a mensch while you kick ass with your skill, and you will be highly valued and respected in your club. In no time at all, you will be known by, and engaging with, a large network quite easily.
Ask people to champion you. Nails down a blackboard probably sound more enticing to you than talking about yourself (OMG I don’t get you, I have a blog just so I can write about myself after I’ve finished talking about myself because it is just so much Fun, but I digress). Let a friend know you are seeking an opportunity somewhere, and if they could put in a good word for you it would be much appreciated. Let them know that you find talking about yourself so difficult that it would be awesome if your friend could help sell you to their contact before you meet them yourself. I bet your friend would be totally honoured you approached them, and would bend over backwards to sell you and your skill set to anyone they know.
Arm yourself with an extrovert. If you’ve got a friend or partner who you are very close with and whom is extroverted, they are your tool to conquering social gatherings. Follow them to events, let them do the talking to the multitudes of randoms while you scan the room for someone who you actually want to talk one-on-one with. They will be your extrovert beard, saving you from the empathetic extroverts out to save the lonely left outs of the room (who are actually introverts just chilling out from the social interactions). They will be your springboard, making the small chat with someone you do want to talk to, making your introduction and then championing on your behalf to get the other party interested, before you dive in to enjoy an actual conversation. And after they’ve done all that tell them you love them, because they will be just as exhausted as you after the event. You, the introvert, will be drained after the social interaction, and they, the extrovert, will be drained after exerting the social presence of two people at once and engineering interaction bait you will actually bite. But for both of you, it will be a successful social event.
Get a Facebook profile and friend everyone you’ve ever met. You’ve got nothing to worry about privacy wise, because it takes you so long to reveal intimate details about yourself with people you’ve known for years in real life. So add everyone you’ve ever met and get an online network that’s as big as possible. You probably won’t be that interested in posting lots of status updates and interactions, so why not just post pictures of the action you’ve been up to, or links to cool shit you’ve found. Your friends will do the rest of the interaction for you with their liking and commenting. Presto! A global network of people who are interested in what you’re up to, and how they could help at the next step. Gold.
Make allies with colleagues and managers that get you. You will detest anyone who plays politics that negatively affects you getting your job done and about half your other colleagues and managers will agree with you. They will get you, appreciate your motivation to just get the job done, and will enjoy having someone else at work who is just an interesting person that doesn’t transform their personality into a butt-hoover during work hours. Bring in food to share with them, go out for drinks after knock off, share funny work related things on your facebook profiles, and just be the dude everyone can hang out with when they can’t deal with the bullshit for a second more. That doesn’t mean becoming an angry advocate on behalf of your colleagues (which you would very rarely do anyway), it just means be the same chill person you usually are and extend the chill-out-vibes to your colleagues. You will quickly become well loved, fiercely protected and highly valued in your work area, and maybe score a few friends too.
What do you think? Got some ideas to add?
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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My 100% Assured System of Training People to Engage on Social Media

Update: Thank you to Michael (@MJCarty) for offering me the opportunity to have this post hosted on the wonderful blog XpertHR. You can see my guest post here. How much fun is this blogging thing?!

This would be my imaginary task:
1 day of training to get a group of HR people to engage on social media.

This is how I would do it:

  1. Aim solely for them to engage on Twitter – Facebook can be learnt later, but Twitter is the easiest and best way to jump into the fun of social media.
  2. Set up Twitter accounts for each of the participants and set them up to follow a good list of people and each other. Feel free to look at my list of who I follow on twitter @whippasnappahr  – I really like my feed and think it’s a good group to kick off from.
  3. Meet the group at 9:00am for the training to start and line up to jump on a bus with good, fast wifi enabled, and a smart phone in each participant’s hand.
  4. At the bus door I’d hand out their log-on information, the 140 character limit rule, a #HRtwitute hashtag, and a twitter themed scavenger hunt list.
  5. We would drive from 9:30am to lunch time, and arrive at our destination of a great pub with good food and drink. Lunch would be real world networking time to complement the twitter networking done before and after. Then we would drive home.
  6. In that driving time, we would have a twitter themed scavenger hunt including:
  • Write your profile information
  • Follow 10 people who are in your industry
  • Follow 10 people who are in your geographic location
  • Follow 10 people who are in your hobby
  • Tweet a photograph
  • Use at least three different hashtags
  • Favourite 5 tweets
  • Link to 5 articles
  • Reply to 10 people’s tweets
  • Write 10 original tweets
And when we arrive back at the end of the day, everyone would be a twitter aficionado with a few friends they have enjoyed engaging with over the day. If they really, really didn’t want to try it out, I suppose they could just nap on the bus and have a good lunch – napping on the bus is way more comfortable that on a training room chair anyway. So everyone’s a winner in Sarah Miller’s training haha!

Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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Social Media – I Just Wanted To Connect!

So here I am, wanting to create this dialogue and connect with HR professionals.

So why does it feel like joining social media is like consenting to water-boarding by advertisement?

There’s just too much crap, and not enough real voices and connections.

This is meant to be my domain, and social media truly is my domain for personal use, but when it comes to social media about HR – well it’s a dirty murky water out there… I’m a bit lost to tell the truth.

Any suggestions?

Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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