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.

Time to Spring Clean

My house is a mess – no really it’s not in a good way

Both Mr M and I are busy working and frankly we would rather spend time with the kids and each other than do house work (ok I know I sound nauseating).

So this week with Mr M off work for a few days and Easter fast approaching we are making a concerted effort and spring cleaning.

I thought this was an excellent opportunity to ask all those HR and Recruitment types what jobs do you need to do to get them off your to do list and spring clean your desk?

The long term effects of bullying

A long time ago (but obviously not that long as I am still only 24!!) I worked for a small firm in a small HR department.  There was an HR Director, and HR Manager, a Training Advisor and me – HR Advisor and in realistic terms Administrator too.  This was not a huge company but we were very busy.

The HR Director had been with the company for a very long time and at one point was the only HR there was – in her opinion one person could probably do it all by working all the time!   In my eyes she personified all that is wrong with our profession, she was paperwork obsessed (something that I struggle with as I am dyslexic), controlling, micro managed everyone and very very secretive.  Our department was therefore not as open as I felt effect HR support should be.  She actually had a list of people she wanted out of the organisation and work actively seek ways to exit those people – nuff said.

I was at a conference one day when I was urgently called back to the office – very cloak and dagger!  It turned out that there was an investigation for disciplinary action being carried out against me.  What had happened was I had mistakenly picked up a piece of paper regarding staff pay, when taking files from my desk to talk to a manager, and left it on that managers desk.

For clarity I should say that employees at this organisation were not paid to a scale but each individual negotiated their own salary.  It was “forbidden” to discuss pay with a colleague.  Fair enough I made a mistake and fair enough that I was pulled up but the manner in which it was done left me in tears and basically freaked me out.

The investigation showed that this was a one-off and no further action was taken, however I remained really shaken.  Also I felt/knew my cards were marked – I had literally been told I was not good enough.   I got more and more panicked and made more and more silly mistakes – hindered only by my dyslexia – which had not been an issue before (or since) in an Advisors role.   I got really depressed and in the end resigned.  She had got what she wanted – or so it seamed to me.

I am pleased I don’t work in that sort of environment any more, I now work for a great company where we are encouraged to be transparent in all things.  In discussions over management the phase “no surprises” is uttered more times than I’ve had hot dinners.  But that sort of bullying (and it was a sort of bullying) has a lasting effect.  Whenever I am called for a formal meeting with my manager or director I get that same knot in my stomach.  Performance reviews are very stressful as I am secretly worried that I am going to be told that I am just not good enough again.

So now that I am arranging my next performance review, with my lovely boss, I will try to go into it positively and let go of the daemons.   After jkf years its time to let go.

So tell me, what experience have you had of bullying and how do you cope with the aftermath?

Late Review of Tru London

Here is another chance to read my guest post on Bill Boorman blog on TruLondon

Nearly six weeks on and I have finally had time to properly reflect on my first experience of an Unconference – and may I say I hope there are many more.

Bill had kindly invited me to this years first TruLondon, unfortunately I was only able to attend for just the one day.

In my blog prior to the event I marked out what I hoped to achieve i.e.:

  • How has social media changed the ways some organisations recruit paid staff
  • Can we use social media to effectively recruit volunteers and can this been done from a very local level
  • How have other organisations improved staff and customer engagement via the use of Social Media
  • In practical terms how do you trust your staff/volunteers with social media in the workplace.

Did I achieve my objectives??  On the whole the answer is yes, to all but one.

I did start to understand how social media has changed and constantly changing recruitment.  It is now abundantly clear that Social Media is vital in effective and efficient recruitment of a diverse workforce.  This is a huge topic though, but by networking (with aide of the meet meme cards) I am learning more and more as I follow the other lovely attendee’s on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin – to you all a huge thank you.

I also started, with the help of Gavin McGlynn’s track, to understand the power a blog or employee hub has when it comes to staff/volunteer engagement.  Again a huge topic but it was great to get a taster for it. It was this session where I learnt that you have to trust your workforce in social media to be self-moderating, and if they don’t you are judged on how you handle it not that they have said an inappropriate thing.

The organisation was very different to that of any other conference I have been to but I loved its informal nature and for me it felt like home.  It was a great day, a huge learning curve, and lots of fun.  I have never felt that tired after a conference before either!

Oh and the objective that didn’t get met?   That was around Volunteers, there were lots of people there with expertise on employee recruitment (regardless of whether its strategic or not) and I would have loved an opportunity to talk volunteers with someone – if there is anyone out there who wants to share volunteering experiences then please get in contact – @kbmayes

I have been able to take a lot away with me from just one day.  Thanks Bill it was really good – I owe you one!


Do heed our own advice

I was reading a very touching and personal post from Onatrainagain last night – she mentioned that she was having some problems and I commented that perhaps she should try and look at things from a professional perspective.  That is to say stand back and review the situation as if she were advising an employee or manager.

This has made me think – do we as HR professionals take time to stop and think about an issue or do we (and by we I mean me) plough on regardless in an attempt to resolve matters quickly or even to appear more experienced/clever/efficient/etc?  Is it such a bad thing to say to a line manager – let me think on this and get back to you?

It is something I am trying to do more and more.  I was/am worried that I would appear “weak” for want of a better word, but in fact I have been giving better advice and have been able to second guess myself with colleagues – again something that I would advice – if you have willing colleagues that is.

So tell me HR people, what is your top tip for handling the problems that our job can throw at us – and do you heed your own advice?