The Bog (standard) Squad

Having a blog is easy. Using Twitter is simple. That’s why any idiot can do it.

It is also why the mere fact that you can use a bit of simple tech does not in any way make you a rock star. It does not make you powerful, influential, interesting, cool or informed.

It does, however, mean that you sometimes get noticed.

Being invited to conferences is a privilege, it is not a recognition of your supreme existence. Being asked to cover an event is not a declaration of the second coming, it is bestowing a simple responsibility.

DO NOT: Think this is an opportunity to convey your superior intelligence.
DO: Think about what will engage your audience.

DO NOT: Think you have to constantly tweet platitudes.
DO: Be mindful of balance, moaning all day long isn’t going to help.

DO NOT: Treat the hospitality as your God given right.
DO: Be thankful of the organisers and sponsors that brought you there.

DO NOT: Think you can duck out of half the sessions and spend your time in the pub.
DO: Give yourself and the audience a break.

DO NOT: Think your presence there in anyway makes you clever or special.
DO: Help inform those that aren’t able to attend like yourself.

DO NOT: Tweet mindless soundbites that have no context.
DO: Ask questions and seek opinions of a wider audience.

Ultimately it comes down to this. Don’t be an arse about it, but do be human. Nobody wants to follow a stream of ridiculously vacuous tweets and blogs that mean nothing and create noise. They want humour and context and insight. They want to get the feeling of what is going on. If you’re not enjoying a session, that’s fine, but if you’re there on the back of the organisation, slagging off their entire conference makes you look like a vacuous, ungrateful leech.

There’s a skill to being a blogger, that is more than knowing how to sign in. There is a skill to tweeting about an event that is more than being there with a phone. Next time you’re asked to cover an event, think what you can do to make it a success for other people, not what’s in it for you.

HR Evolution – An Englishman* abroad

This time tomorrow I’ll be flying to Atlanta to participate in HRevolution, “an event for human resources professionals, recruiters, and business leaders to come together and talk about the problems facing businesses today”. I’m lucky that it coincides with a business trip to the US, which means that a normally difficult event for a Brit becomes more accessible.

Having been hanging around the blogging and social media HR scene for a couple of years now, I’m particularly looking forward to meeting a number of people who I have conversed with during that time and actually making a proper “connection” with them.  I’m not a natural socialite so I’m also particularly pleased that there will also be a number of friendly faces that I have already met; my friend Laurie Ruettimann and of course my fellow British attendees Gareth Jones, Mervyn Dinnen and Jon Ingham.

I’m also really interested in hearing different national views on the HR agenda.  One of the joys (and frustrations) of working internationally is that you get a diversity of opinions and perspectives.  In fact, one of my long time blogging heroes, Joe Gerstandt is talking about Diversity and Inclusion, which I’m really interested in – but that is one of many great tracks. You know, if I’m giving my long bank holiday weekend up for HR, it has to be for something special!

I’m also hoping that there will be food for thought, ideas and people who set the neural pathways buzzing, challenge and inspire. HR people, like anyone else sometimes need a shot in the arm to drive their creativity, passion and enthusiasm.  Getting together with such a veritable smorgasbord of HR talent has to be a great opportunity to do just that.

Atlanta….and #HRevolution….here I come!

*I’m actually a Welshman not an Englishman….but it just didn’t work so well!

Enough with the case studies

How many companies are there in the FTSE100?

Daft question right?

So how about this one….what percentage of UK companies do they constitute?

The answer is less than half of one percent. And even if you take out sole traders the number doesn’t quite reach 1%.

SME’s employ 13.6m people within the UK and firms employing less than 100 people account for 65% of new jobs created each year. If you include the companies sub FTSE100 but not classified as SME you get somewhere near to 90%.

So why is it that we seem so fixated by a limited number of companies explaining the “right” way to do HR and people management?  If you look at any conference list or journal article you will invariably see the usual suspects arise.

Now I should add that I don’t have anything against these companies or the people who speak per se.  But I don’t think that the constant focus on a select group does anything to improve the collective knowledge of a profession or helps creativity, entrepreneurialism or innovation.

When I was learning my trade it was Marks and Spencer’s that were being hailed as the people to aspire to.  That was in the mid 90’s and of course not many years later they were experiencing the worst, self-imposed, decline in their history.  Likewise not so long ago Royal Bank of Scotland were being hailed and recognized for their success in people management – I don’t need to add much more to that. And one of the latest entrants to the scene seems to be Nokia, which I find curious given their current “burning platform”.

So given that there s why does this happen? Well I think there are a couple of factors at play,

–       We think that big is beautiful and assume that because an organisation is large it is good. The only reason a company is in the FTSE100 is because of its financial muscle, not its intelligence

–       Once you’re on the circuit, you’re on the circuit – easy for lazy conference organisers and big brands require no explanation (is there anyone in American HR who hasn’t been made aware of Zappos?)

I’m not saying that interesting ideas can’t come from the big boys (although I do think size inhibits not enhances innovation) but by the law of averages there must be a whole host of other people out their doing good things. If we’re really interested in driving innovation and creativity in the profession then we need to hear from companies and HR Directors who are doing truly intelligent people interventions, ones that are culturally sensitive, business focussed and have demonstrable value (no this isn’t a pitch for business!). And from the feedback that I heard recently, I’m not alone.

Conference organisers/journalists – take note.