#Chru Lightbulb Moments

Yesterday was the long-awaited #Chru day. The first dedicated HR Unconference in the UK.I got a few lightbulb moments during the day (which was handy because there was no lighting in the area I facilitated a session in). HR folk need a bit more structure and order than the rest of the social media population. I think #Chru reflected that. Different to how I would do things, but great none the less.

My Top 10 Lightbulbs:

  • 1: The CIPD are quite cool. They just don’t quite know how to be yet. They remind me of  a dad with a teenage daughter. They know that the inevitable is going to happen. They know they can’t control it but they want to anyway. They are trying to be cool about it but it will be a stormy road, with a few mishaps along the way. they clearly know that eventually they are just going to have to let go.
    I think those in the HR community should applaud their efforts, give them a nudge in the right direction from time to time. like any organisation, they are going to get it wrong before they get it right. I’m sure they will get there in the end so lets encourage all their efforts.
  • 2: If you can be sacked for not following a guideline, then it’s not a guideline, it’s a rule or policy. Label it correctly and be clear.
    I believe that social Media should not be treated as a separate entity to communications. That means expanding existing policy, guidelines and practice rather than trying treating it as a special case, with special “permissions” needed. Your guidelines for social media should simply be: “Be a grown up!”
  • 3: HR folk love to complain about control. Perhaps it is because they are the reluctant enforcers, that they can see what is wrong with many of the rules in the first place.
  • 4: There’s not a lot of point talking about measuring outputs rather than inputs, when the reality is that most managers measure inputs. You can try to influence their thinking, but talk reality not utopia.
  • 5: Organisations need to find a way to recognise and reward peer-to-peer learning and self-development. I loved the story about how TGI Fridays recognised bar staff by running a cocktail making competition with an honours board, and providing a network place for sharing recipes, tips etc. It was far more succesful than when they gave them a big cocktail book and said “learn this.” What a great way to encourage learning and knowledge sharing. i need to give some thought as to how this simple concept can be applied to all learning.
  • 6: Academic qualifications are the currency of knowledge, particularly in the job market. As social learning for self-development is becoming the way in which people learn, how can we measure this. You need a measure of knowledge for employment selection and in some cases, promotions. is using academics as the measure fast becoming outdated? perhaps we need to be looking at school selection type knowledge tests as part of the selection process. These could be administered on-line pre interview to save time. Not totally secure, but a step in the right direction.
  • 7: HR practitioners are largely not social. The majority of attendees were consultants and vendors. This is not dissimilar to most sectors. Perhaps the practitioners are too busy doing the job, while the consultants (like me) see the benefit of exposure. I hope #connectingHR can go some way to changing the balance over time and encourage more muggles over to the social media world.
  • 8: As an earlier adopter (I’m not an early adopter. still finding my way around.) I need to remember to think and speak like someone who has first come to use social media. Once you’ve done something for a while, you just assume everyone knows the basics, and they don’t like to ask you for fear of looking stupid.
    If #connectingHR is to achieve its commendable aim of converting more HR practitioners to experiment and adopt social media, then the language and content of the blog, website and conversations need to change to accommodate this. We think and speak as users, does that scare people off or discourage them from commenting and taking part? A social media mentoring programme similar to that being offered by #HREvolution in the US would be a good step forward, possibly supported by a series of webinars to help with the “How to”, and on-line instructional video produced by HR practitioners for HR practitioners. Whilst I understand gareth’s reluctance to bring in sponsors, the right partners might be able to provide the cash and expertise to make this happen.
  • 9: If the target membership of #connectingHR are not active in social-media, then a different more traditional approach might be needed like a news letter distributed by mail and a traditional print media campaign. Just a thought.
  • 10: I recognised the power of associating a person with a brand, however big that brand might be. I’ve started following and talking with Catherine Mayo. Catherine is the Recruitment Officer for the Talis Group. Among other things, the Talis group run the  library management/IT system for Northamptonshire libraries. Every time I get an e-mail reminder that I need to get my books back or renew them, (this service saves me a fortune in fines.), and it comes from Talis, I think” Catherine has e-mailed me again. Thanks Catherine!”
    This might seem a small example but think of the possibilities for big brands when they can personalise my perception of them. I call it personality branding! (Not to be confused with the over hyped and misused “personal branding.”

Thats my 10 take aways. A hat tip to Jon Ingham and Gareth Jones for all the hard work they put in to making it happen. I, more than anyone know that it’s not easy.

Add your own thoughts to comments, tell me i’m completely mad or let me know what you want more of my thinking.

If you attended #chru and enjoyed the unconference format, come and join us at #truNora on the 4th November. lots of very relevent content. Social is best done in person, and when you want somones attention, you really can poke them!

Keep being ambassadors for #ConnectingHR


Other #Chru Blogs

HRDtlk – Who owns social media?

The Social Senate – #Chru: the start of something

Beginers Blog: 3 Things I Will Do Differently

Abi Signorelli: #Chru Clouds, Boos, Pics And Thoughts

Xpert HR: Crowd sourced post with Laura Chamberlain

HRloosea; Connecting HR

Ocelotchatelaine: Cultural development Of HR through Unconference Disorganisation

If I have missed any out, please nudge me and I will update the list.

20 comments on “#Chru Lightbulb Moments

  1. Bill. Completely mad…or just partly. Your point 4 is actually easy to do once you start actually “doing” performance management and not just the once a year sit down. I disagree that most managers measure inputs. Most focus on what they think people are inputting and don’t take time to notice the outputs.

    It is so very easy to see when good outputs are happening, you get the results in the business. Commend them, promote them and encourage everyone to start looking that way. It will catch on, like this internety thingy.

    • I’m with you 100% on this. I have introduced performance managment programmes that include daily, weekly and monthly reviews, clear expectation and 6 monthly appraisals. (not performance reviews.)
      This has brought about big business improvments and is focussed on:
      1; being constructive and open
      2; rewarded against agreed expectation.
      3: transparent and involving agreement not dictation
      4: about catching people doing things right

      I get mad when the only time I hear performance management talked about is when someone is up for sacking. Manage performance day to day and reviews should contain no new messages.

      That said, we are in the minority. I agree with the principle, I just feel our conversation sometimes needs to reflect the now and the reality.


  2. Excellent blog Bill. For me most of the above were the key points that came out during the day. Like referring to the “unconverted” as “muggles”

  3. Hi Bill

    Like the wrap up – these are your personal light bulb moments – and isn’t that also what the social piece should be about? Sharing our own thoughts with others.

    My morning thoughts blog can be found here: http://bit.ly/cDW68L

    Thanks for using the video we shot and posted of Doug’s excellent wrap up song – my apologies for the iPhone quality, shot from too far away.

    I might add that if your readers are interested in attending a more traditional event, to listen and engage with 10 Corporate Recuitment/HR speakers who have actually embarked on Social Media and Direct Sourcing programmes, they can contact me directly or check out the conference site at http://www.srconf.com. I will provide them with a 10% discount code as readers of your blog.


    • Al,

      Thanks for commenting and your offer for the discount. If you like traditional conference format (and this suits lots of learners), then this looks to be a great line up. I’m happy to sit on the panel if you still want me to.


  4. I didn’t think there was any more order yesterday than other unconferences/BarCamps I’ve been to. I agree that HR people sometimes appear less than social – having worked in an HR department where it sometimes felt like people never spoke to each other, I was amused the HR could be the least human department!

    It might be a truism, but in social media, I think we’re all early adopters at the moment. It is only when social media become completely normal and boring that the really interesting things will happen!

    • Thanks Patrick,
      I didn’t think the structure was a bad thing, just different. At #tru, we don’t currently do the debriefs or the wrap up sessions. we also don’t have any presentations and the only group talk is to announce sessions. This works for us at the moment and the attendees who come. if they wanted to change it, they could do anytime.
      The 2 HR Unconferences I have attended have been simmilar in that way, in contrast to the technology, social media and recruiting unconferences I have either attended or put on. the point of unconferences is that they should be different. I think this is healthy, not wrong.

  5. Great post Bill – it’s great to read about other participants’ thoughts and reactions. And, thanks for the mention of my blog about #CHRU.

    I noticed (with much interest) the tweets about your comment: “HR folk need a bit more structure and order than the rest of the social media population.”

    I neither agree nor disagree with this comment (some do, some don’t I reckon) but do have some thoughts on this…

    As communication specialist, I’m constantly looking at the best way for messages and experiences to stick ie to be more memorable. Quite often, the solution is to do something a bit different…to perhaps take the audience/participants out of their comfort zone somewhat.

    So, if indeed HR folk do need structure, isn’t taking them (successfully) out of that comfort zone going to make it all the more memorable?

    • Abi,
      Let me be clear. It was a great event. As I said in the post, it was “different”, not bad or wrong. My feeling, and this comes from other events like #HREvolution in the states, is that the training side of HR means that we are need the crutch of structured action points and follow up actions. In my opinion, and it is just that, unconferences create thinking points rather than conclusions and questions you can take away, as well as connections you can make to continue learning. I don’t do the formal debriefs, presentations or grid style running order. (we crowd source this pre-event and have a space for secret tracks that just start. I would change all of that tommorow if the attendees wanted it at one of our events.

      • Absolutely fair enough Bill and, as you know, I’m really keen to get to one of your events and many other unconferences for that matter. I love the unconference concept – the beauty being that there’s no right or wrong and there are loads of different ways of approaching the concept.

        I guess I just wanted to share my thoughts on how going against people’s natural preferences can often be a really effective way of making something stick. Something that I think worked yesterday, and something that can be built on given the infancy of ConnectingHR.

  6. Btw I realise I hadn’t thanked you for the post, Bill! It is a great list. I mean to post my own thoughts over the weekend – it’s that part of me that likes reflecting… (It is also great at procrastinating!)

  7. Nice write up Bill, you’ve put a lot of thought into this. I took a few things away from the event which I’ll scribble down early next week. Minw ill be very much a lite version – and I will link the piece to here.

    Cheers – Doug

  8. You didn’t complain about the venue or the lack of heating? Looks like my threats worked 😉

    And I think that this post is a great continuation of the awesome ConnectingHR event. Each and everyone of your statements is worth thinking about and discussing further. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but that’s not the point, as long as we continue to talk and listen.

  9. […] the reviews and breaks we discovered there were some ‘non believers’ (or muggles as Bill Borman prefers to call them) in attendance – good for them!  If anything, that’s exactly what #CHRU was about – getting […]

  10. Bill, sorry for the delay, but I’ve posted my thoughts on the structure issue: http://strategic-hcm.blogspot.com/2010/10/unconferences-social-vs-structure.html

    As I tweeted earlier, I think we were both trying to do different things. And I’d still love to support your Influence track at #trulondon!

    By the way, I think you’ll find this is the original reference to non-social media muggles!: http://strategic-hcm.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-bloggers-tweeters-and-few-muggles.html


    • John,

      Happy to credit you for writing muggles first. I don’t think we were trying to do different things, i think we were doing things differently. Neither is right,wrong, better or worse. I loved being at #Chru and supporting what you are doing with it. I am part of the community and thought everyone did a great job.
      My structure observations and HR also apply to #HREvolution.
      I noticed that attendees were disciplined over times and also that virtually everyone was actively taking notes throughout the conversations. You also needed to get debrief and a push for commitments and actions in the last sessions. My take is that these are usually individual, and that the unconference format is so much about conversation that at the close, attendees leave with a lot of new areas they want to explore, flooded with ideas and starting new conversations. Follow up is post event and it is only after a period of investigation that conclusions are drawn. You get questions rather than conclusions, hence the enthusiasm to start blogging and connecting straight after.
      I also don’t do name badges, i prefer people to ask.
      Great unconference. i have atleast 3 big areas that i’m spending time thinking about and talking to others as a result of being there.
      Thanks john,

  11. This may be this blogs best post I have ever seen.

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