Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Progress of Social in the HR World

Three years ago when I first decided to write an introductory e-book for social media in organizations 99.9% of the available information was directly related to marketing. The remaining scarce sources of information were mostly about how an employee at some business or other had posted something inappropriate related to their employment online. In discussions with HR practitioners most of the comments were either flat denial of any need to even think about social media in the business context to viewing it a something to be forbidden. It was a rare but refreshing conversation when an experienced HR practitioner saw the same possibilities I thought could be available in organizational use as well as understanding that ignoring or forbidding it will create long-term problems going forward.

Today, "social" as an important aspect of the HR role has become mainstream and this has mostly occurred in the past eight months. There is growing awareness that it is far better to take charge of the 'social' promise of these tools early on to mitigate problems and to take advantage of the opportunities to improve communication, knowledge sharing, project innovation, idea generation, and connection. I read a cross section of blogs in various disciplines, participate in a lot of online forums, and check in with knowledgeable connections in entirely different fields to keep refreshing my knowledge and keep my mind open to the possibilities. I have also learned to filter more effectively as my poor brain has some limits and have also learned to use various online tools to save items that may be valuable later but not today.

One thing that comes along with adoption of social tools is that the information overload you thought you had before seems like nothing pretty quickly. So my above noted filter progress has been mandatory. I mostly use Evernote to clip and save information for later, make notes in client meetings, seminars, webinairs etc. I use it for work, volunteer and personal activities and it has made a huge difference to my ability to readily filter when I check into my social sites on weekdays. I also like Evernote because regardless of which device I enter information on, it automatically syncs to all devices which means I am never without what I might need.

I also have a rule for myself, on weekends and vacations, any social activity is personal-professional or work related activities are banned from those time frames. And that is okay, because the internet is like a big old archive, you can search and catch up later if you need something. And going offline for awhile rarely has the negative effects that people worry about-it usually is just the opposite-people feel refreshed and ready to jump back in. So, if you have been reading those, must be online all the time advice givers, ignore it.

What progress have you made in adopting 'social' into your work life? What tools do you find helpful? Most importantly, how have you grown in your professional capacity because of your online connections? What have you introduced to your organization that has the projected results?

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