Sunday, July 5, 2009

Social Media and Human Resources

This was going to be my own final wrap up for #SHRM09. I would have written it earlier, but I had a major presentation to an HR department staff on Social Media that I had to do on Thursday following #SHRM09, and I lost my final version of the presentation in a computer crash on Tuesday afternoon during Ryan Estis' excellent presentation on employment branding 2.0.

Needless to say, I freaked out, but being a totally committed networker, I went to the tweetup at Ruth Chris steakhouse (one of the conference highlights for me) and then went along for dinner at Broussard's in the French Quarter with a bunch of really smart and committed HR professionals, including many of my blogging peers.

I don't care what you do in HR or who you are, you should wish you had been lucky enough to be hanging out at that table.

I think it might be a business model: "Dinner with the HR social media geniuses!"

So I went to dinner, the carousel bar, and then back to my room, and by sleeping only 4 hours out of the next 48 hours - I rebuilt the complete presentation and delivered it on time with smashing results.

My main point is a simple one, yet powerful.

If you are in business, and especially if you are a major brand, you are already involved in the social media dialogue. The choice your company faces is whether you want to do anything to proactively manage, direct or influence the conversation by taking part in that dialogue. My advice is that you should be, but that decision is not an appropriate one for every organization.

Which brings me to my concluding thoughts on #SHRM09.

SHRM and Social Media

I am thrilled to see the approach that SHRM took this year, not only by working with those of us in HR who are immersed in social media by allowing us press access to the conference, but also by incorporating pieces of social media into the actual conference. This included providing access to various speeches including the opening speech by Jack Welch via their web site, and the awesome panel of HR blogging experts on the final day, that was moderated by SHRM COO China Miner Gorman. If you aren't a regular twitter user, China and many other members of the SHRM staff have adopted Twitter wholeheartedly and are using it as an outreach tool to HR professionals. Jack Welch is also on twitter and mentioned it in his speech.

It was also noticeable that many of the speakers had incorporated aspects of social media such as video into the usual drab and boring PowerPoint slide decks.

HR professionals are already engaged in the social media dialogue whether you know it or not. The choice you face is whether or not you want to do anything on an individual basis to proactively manage, direct or influence the conversation taking place around you. My advice is that you should be, but that decision is not an appropriate one for every HR professional.

So my final impression of #SHRM09 is that while it may not yet be at a tipping point, members of the HR community are slowly being herded like cats into coming to grips with social media.

To paraphrase one of the people that I was seated at the table with on my last night at #SHRM, being there with all those committed intelligent and engaged people is exactly the type of HR community that was I looking for when I first started using social media and networking as a professional. It was fun. It was vibrant, and I believe it is the future of Human Resources.

Get on board. There are many of us who would be glad to help you!

See you in San Diego for #SHRM10, and many of you in August in Orlando for #HRFlorida!

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  1. Great points Mike! While social media isn't the one answer for HR or anyone else, it's a tool that needs to be added to the toolkit. I can personally say that the SHRM Conference was a completely different and awesome experience for me because of it. From meeting the "faces behind the avatars" that I've interacted with for so long, to getting different viewpoints on blogs from others who attended and being able to follow the conversation on Twitter of both sessions that I was attending as well as others I could not. Social media provided an enhanced experience for me at SHRM09 and that's something we can carry into our everyday work lives as well. And I can't believe you lost your entire presentation on Tuesday! You never mentioned it and remained cool and calm. Great job - you're a true professional! :)

  2. @Jennifer

    I mentioned it to a couple of people, but I knew I could resurrect it. It was great to hang out with you, and you did awesome work covering the show. Looking forward to more such events! Stay in touch.

  3. Great post Mike! The advice you are offering to your organization is important. Hopefully they will think through it and make a good decision.

    Great to finally meet you in person at #SHRM09! I look forward to many more meetings in the future and (of course) brainstorming sessions! ;-)

  4. @Michael aka @theredrecruiter
    Dude, I know you know how to brainstorm. My problem is keeping up!

  5. Just now catching up on my blog reading but like Jennifer said, I got MUCH more out of this conference than the last one I attended. I think I even got more out of the tweet-up and the dinner than I did most of the other sessions. The commitment to giving bloggers as well as using social media to extend those who couldn't attend is a good first step and one that is needed in SHRM. China is certainly taking this ship in the right direction.

    PS Great to met you during the conference.

  6. @BenMadden

    I agree with you. She is working her butt off to get SHRM out there in front of HR professionals in a big way. You already saw my comments on the dinner.

    Thanks for dropping by and don't be afraid to leave a note every now and then! It was a pleasure to meet you as well!

  7. Just a terrific post Mike. Really touched on some important points and I love that we were able to spend some time together!

  8. @Stelzner

    Me too, Mark. Like Robert Scoble says, all I want out of life is to meet someone who makes me smarter today. You are definitely one of those people, and I appreciate the comment, dude!

    Let's start that presentation for #SHRM10 in San Diego. ;-)

  9. I enjoyed your post as well as the conference. One question for you as a blogger, tweeter and presenter. Do you have a problem with someone pecking away on a PDA or laptop while you are making a presentation?

  10. Great post, social media has changed the game.


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