There is something comforting about returning to a place where you felt like you belong. I recently had the opportunity to return to Denver/Boulder area. I spent most of my 20s in this area. This is where I found a great group of folks who let me be myself and I was able to truly belong. While I was in Denver, we had the chance to get together again and while it had been almost 15 years since I had seen them in person, we were able to talk about memories, our lives, life in general as if we’d been doing it all along (though as one friend pointed out, the last time we were all together we were either single or newly married & no one had kids; now, well, life has continued on).
I was in Denver for #DisruptHRDen and my talk topic was on finding your Tribe, where you belong. As I was working on my talk, I also read Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown (based on the recommendation from the #HRBookClub, which I’m super behind on, but it’s worth following for the reading recommendations). Belonging is an interesting concept. The ability to be yourself and find those who are like you, with whom you make a real, lasting connection is just phenomenal. It is freeing and grounding. But finding your community, your tribe can be difficult. One great way to find your tribe is social media.
Most of the time, when we talk about HR and social media, we are either discussing recruitment or policies and procedures. I think it’s time we shifted the focus internal and let’s talk about how to use social media to improve your career (and not just finding that new job). A strong professional network can help you get out of ruts, out of “the way we’ve always done it,” and find new and better ways of leading your HR department into the future (even if you aren’t in a “leadership” position). Your network will challenge you to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. You need to do this in order to move yourself, your department, your company and your profession forward.
Creating a network is about creating a community and this is the same on social media. You need to put in the time and effort to find and develop this group.
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First and foremost: Get on social media. Seriously. If you are reading this blog, you need to be on social media. It’s not just people looking for a date or sharing what they had for lunch (& personally, I like the pictures of awesome food, dogs and babies). Get yourself on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook & join the conversations! A few tips:
- On Twitter, follow people with HR in their bio. They are the ones with the passion for the industry and will help you get out of the same old same old. You will also find some great blog posts to follow there as well.
- Join a regular Twitter chat. And show up regularly so people get to know you and you get to know them. Find a chat that works with your schedule. I got started with #nextchat which lead to me finding other chats and getting to know a lot of great HR folks.
- Search for the hashtags and then follow the conversations. Jump in as you feel comfortable.
- The best chats are those that meet regularly and have a format to the conversation (set questions or topic); they may send it out ahead of time for those who like to prep.
- Add it to your calendar so you don’t forget about it.
- Facebook can be great for finding local folks to connect with. Local SHRM or business groups will share information on their meetings. Be sure to connect/like those pages to stay in the know of what’s happening at the local or state level. Attend their events & get to know other local professionals.
- I’m sure you are on LinkedIn. This is a great place to share knowledge – via articles, blogs, podcasts and to keep them specific to your industry with hashtags and key words. Find other HR pros to connect with and don’t just send the generic connect email. Take a few seconds to tell the person WHY you want to connect.
- Finally, be active. That doesn’t mean you have to be on 24/7 or reply to everything, but you do need to do more than like or share something someone else has shared. Comment on why you are sharing something or what you thought of it. Create conversation. Reach out to people you want to know – it’s okay to stalk them a little.
Getting to know someone on social media makes it easier and more fun to meet someone in real life. So jump in, the water’s great!