HR and being a Mum!

Home work life balance

I haven’t written a post for a very long time – life has taken over and as I come back to putting pen to paper (well fingers to the keyboard) I find myself reflecting on the two major strands of my life and the transferable skills between them both….what I am talking about here is what is similar between working in HR and being a Mum.  I am NOT claiming to be an expert at either but the following help me.

  •  Resilence  I am doing what some people would call “having my cake and eating it”.  I am working full time and bring up two wonderful children.  It’s not easy but then no one said it would be.  Any parent knows you need resilience to deal with the 5am “Mum, I’m not sleepy any more!!!” or the “its not faaaaiiirrrrr!”.  Any HR practicioner can also tell you that it takes resilience to deal with the employee who cannot see the reason in your approach or when the ET lands on your desk and you know its spurious.   You need to make sure you build in things that top up your ability to cope.  Take time to enjoy the bits of both work and home life that give you that extra energy to go on.  For me I also need to ensure I sleep.
  • Step Back I know that it sounds so patronising to say “count to ten” but it works.  There are occasions in parenting where taking a miniute before answering can be more than valuable.  “Mummy how do babies get into your tummy” was a question my son posed to me that illustates this point beautifully.  I stopped and thought before I answered so that I chose concepts and words that he would understand without dodging the question completely.  It is also the best advice when a ER case lands on your desk, or a staff requisition form or a change managment proposal – step back and consider all the alternatives before advising.
  • Pick your Battles  I do a lot of ER work.  I often have cases where a member of staff is underperforming, has misconduct issues and minor ill health concerns.  When the frustrated manager calls me in with the phrase “just get rid of them!” my response is normally to pick your battle.  Which element of this case is the real problem, or where can we make a real difference… know what the same goes for my kids too.  Yes my daughter is picking up her carrots and dipping them in her gravy….no it is not the best table manners and I don’t wish to encourage this behaviour, but last week she wouldn’t even feed herself without continuous callogoling and its a step forward – pick your battles.
  • Know your Tech Im a geek and I like my figures….lots of us in HR do.  Good tech when it comes to applicant tracking and HR databases are key and not that surprising that I mention them here.  So is Linked in, twitter and facebook both for keeping up with your colleagues and for keeping up to date.  And finally there is a lot to be said for that App that keeps your little darlings quiet in the cafe so you can finish your flat white in peace and get ready for the next game of “tickle chase”.

Is this OK

I have a social media/HR type question (she says, fully aware that its been ages since I blogged and may not get answers)…

I was working on a volunteer case recently.  It had a horrible safeguarding element to it so I was being cautious and ensuring that the appropriate people were well informed of all detail.  When sharing this case with a more senior member of my team she immediately googled the individual.   I have reflected on this course of action over the last few weeks and find myself wondering why I found this an inappropriate action…  What are your thoughts

Reflections on 7 years – Retention

Came to the realisation this morning that today marks the 7 year anniversary of me joining my current role.  7 years is a long time to stay in one company….so in true HR style I started to reflect on why:

  • I love the people I work with.  I have amazing colleagues.
  • The culture of the organisation really suits me.  I am lucky enough to find a place to work where its staff are trusted and empowered.  I don’t fear making a mistake because I know I will learn from them.
  • I am still learning.
  • I work with Volunteers and that can be amazingly challenging and amazing rewarding all at the same time.
  • I don’t wish to sound too “gushy” but I really support what the organisation is doing (benefit of working 3rd sector).
  • They support my development (even when I want to do something a bit left field!!)

There is no mention in my list of reward or benefits but about recognition, trust and personal development.  Interesting what can influence retention.

Filling in the blanks

Not posted for a while….feel bad so will share a reflection I had yesterday.


I was walking the the beach yesterday morning with my family, the tide was out and at one point Mr M stopped to demonstrate to our children what happened to a stream (this was water from an overflow pipe but you get the gist) when you divert it…something to do with meanders and oxbow lakes…..he was always the geographer.  As I watched them as Mr J was making trenches in the sand and the water was rushing in, changing direction but still finding its goal.

Later that day we were talking – Hubby and wife stuff and we were getting to the nub of the issue when I had a moment of clarity drawing a similarity to that mornings events and what we were currently engaged in…I had asked a specific question – rather than carrying on talking, or giving what I thought was the answer …I simply waited…eventually Mr J filled the space and we diverted a little but got to our final goal.  

Now all that personal stuff doesn’t really belong on an HR blog…except to remind you that when dealing with people (in all sorts of conversations…but especially those tricky ones)  it is good not to forget about the power of silence.  Something will fill that space and more often than not it is key to getting to the nub of the issue or helping you reach your objective.

#Tru London 5 – Why do I go…

So why do I go back to TruLondon

Is it because:

@     it is a great way to spend your birthday?

@     it’s because Jobsite provide me with free sweeties?

@     you get to view new and upcoming on line recruitment tools?

@     you meet thought leaders in the fields of social media, recruitment, HR , blogging, talent communities and more?

@     it is a free flowing “unconference” so you get out of the day what you need and what you put in?

@     you can share ideas with like minded professionals in your field?

@     you meet wonderful, motivated graduates looking for that first exiting opportunity

@     you get a great curry for lunch

@     it’s a fantastic networking opportunity

@     you learn more in a day that you would in weeks of research

@     you get advice and guidance on blogs, campaigns and day to day recruitment

@     you get to heckle your husband as he leads a track…

The short answer is YES to all of the above and that is why I go back and why I highly recommend it to any in house HR or recruitment professional. Do Something Do Something…: This month so far I have either undertaken, or committed to, two activities that I have never…

Here’s what I should have said


Last weekend my Brother and his wonderful girlfriend got married.  The morning after the night before (where we had camped and I have been woken at 5.30am by my delightful singing daughter) I was handed their wedding book and asked to put a message….to say it was a bit crap is an understatement, here is what I should have said…….

My darlings, thank you for letting us share your wedding with you.  I am so pleased that you have tied the knot and so proud to call you sister.  You join an exclusive club of Mrs Mu’s.

It was an idilic day arranged and enjoyed in keeping with our family style.  I wish you both a long and happy marriage full of laughter and tears.  Look after each other and those boys.

All our Love and Hugs

B, J, H and K xxxxx

What do mistakes say about us?

I’m dyslexic, for obvious reasons it’s not something I shout about but then again I am not ashamed of it either.  My dyslexia is not severe and on the whole I find that technology helps, with spell checks and alike.  I am aware that I struggle to spot mistakes in written work so try to be extra vigilant and on the whole that serves me well…. especially now the days of being an Administrator are over.

But I do find that my vigilance drops when it comes to using on my phone.  When it was just text messages you could send, then in some ways it was not such a problem.  Good old predictive text helped enormously and I tended to text friends and family who understood or laughed (either was fine).  Now things are different; from my phone I updated Facebook, Tweet, Google+, text (and these are far longer than they ever were) update Linkedin, and email.    I am struggling to get into the mindset of checking and double checking what I type.

I have sent some quite nonsensical texts to my poor long-suffering husband.  I have managed to rename my son on a Facebook update.  I tweet with silly mistakes and then look like a proper numpty when I tweet a correction!  None of these are too damning (and I attempt to explain  them away using “fat fingers” and “stupid predictive text” as an excuse!) … but then I read a recent post from Bill Boorman where he was asking if you were a “Manger rather than a Manager” – highlighting the number of glaring errors on Linkedin – and it really made me think (thanks Bill).

Am I presenting myself in a bad light?  Does this have an effect on my professional standing?  There are some out there who I am sure would say that I do have to get it right.  Then again there are some out there who get their knickers in a twist about apostrophes and maybe that’s taking it too far.

So now I need to check my Linkedin and correct the errors… dot the t’s and cross the i’s…..Doh!!!

Connecting HR – Come on HR get blogging!

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Connecting HR Conference.  I have to say it was a great experience, meeting new people and not as intimidating as I feared it might be in my previous post – this was due in no small part to the lovely Alison Chisnell, who greeted me in such a friendly manner that my nerves just fluttered away.   I am very very grateful to her for this.

Alison also ran a session or PK on HR Blogging.  I found the key bits to this (which I thought I would share) were:

  • Some HR Bloggers (myself included) blog for themselves (ie the content is what interests them and its not aimed at a specific audience), using it to structure their thoughts, learn from comments and get things off their respective chests.  Alison commented that she felt that blogging was good for her personal development and improved her professional confidence.  I completely agree with this comment.
  • Lots of bloggers feel the pressure of blog – either on topic, what to say and when to say it or even just plan terror!  The advice is keep going it gets better.
  • Blogging can help you find your voice and in time love your voice.
  • Blogging can bring you into a community – especially #hrblogs and #connectinghr.
  • Feedback and comments are hugely important and getting involved in others blogs can be very rewarding.
  • Those who are worried about starting a blog (but want to) because they have nothing to say often have the most.
  • The US has hundred of HR blogs the UK far less.
  • The best blogs are authentic and express their opinions.

Alison said that she was inspired to blog following last years ConnectingHR unconference.  I have to say she was hugely encouraging when I started blogging five months ago.

I hope that ConnectingHR continues to inspire us HR types to blog – its fun and we can learn so much from each other – as the lady said “HR literature can be dull but blogs are short and sweet”.

So….Connecting HR here I come

I am looking forward to Connecting HR it should be a great experience and I have wanted to go since last year, but I am really nervous too.

I am still very new to this unconference thing but enjoyed TruLondon so the format doesn’t worry me, in fact it suited how I work and learn.  So why am I nervous?

Partly, I think it’s because I am not that good at networking.  My husband is fantastic at it, he can walk into a room of strangers and the next thing you know they are buying him a drink and following him on Twitter.  I, on the other hand find it daunting – but I am going to put faces to the network of people I am beginning to get to know on Twitter and #Connecting HR so they are not really strangers – or so I keep telling myself.

Professionally I will get a lot out of it gaining HR contacts, and idea sharing on engagement, recruitment, social media etc.  I hope also to get personal development too – advice on blogging would be more than gratefully received.

Here is the where the nerves reside…I have looked at the delegate list and wonder what do I have to offer.  Those attending are “social media rock stars” (to quote an associate) and what do I have to give back?  Well I think I am the only attendee with Third Sector experience (unless @onatrainagain has decided to attend – and I really hope she has) and I do have lots coal face experience with volunteers as well as paid staff… so bring it on…Here I come… and please forgive me if I do loose my bottle and hide in the corner.