Saturday, 26 February 2011

The pull of community

Why do we tweet? Simple question....but I don't think a simple answer. I've discussed this with a few people recently, some who are twitter fans, some who just don't get it, and some who are wary of it but really want to give it a go.

I personally don't see the point in being on twitter purely to follow celebrities....their life's have no relevance to mine, and although I love a good bit of gossip I really don't give two hoots if Brittany has just seen some AWESOME shoes, or if Katie Price is just being a prized wally again!!

I was lucky that I stumbled across an amazing community of people, who are like minded and all work within a similar field to me. This was helped by the almighty force that is TheHRD, and the wonder of the ConnectingHR group but I hope I sustained my place by being honest, and exchanging the odd witticisms or two.

But I am not a naturally outgoing person, and definitely not one for large groups. Sometimes I sit watching the twitter feed and it reminds me of parties I used to go to where I would just sit in the corner and stare at everyone; wishing I could be like them....and just strike up conversations with strangers. But I've found that it's ok to be like that....and so I feel able to carry on tweeting my inane takes on life, and dip in to others conversations whenever I feel comfortable to.

And that's what I've come to really love and appreciate about Twitter. It builds communities of people that might not have ever met, and we all fall into our roles within the group, and it just works.

I have no powerful insight to share; just that Twitter is just a collection of life forces...who if thrown together in real life would probably act the same. But because we all live such 'busy' life's we sometimes forget we can be part of communities if we wish to, we can interact with strangers and make great connections if we wish to. Twitter just enables that in a very easy and safe way.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Generalist vs Specialist

So...sanity has returned and we can now get on with life as normal! I'm not saying another outburst wont occur, but for this moment all is well and I have something else to discuss with you.

Do we stay general or do we specialise? I'm going to be honest and upfront and say I'm not a fan of the business partner model. I never really got the point as I didn't see how the system needed fixing. So I'm ignoring that as an option.

My very lovely sister in law is currently working for a major corporate, within their L&D department as an administrator. She asked me the other day whether I thought she should stay put and focus on L&D or use her skills to move into a more general HR role, and learn the whole gambit.

I love being a generalist, I love having my fingers in all pies, I love knowing whats going on. I also like having the ability to directly affect peoples lives and see it happening. But yet...I am tempted by the lure of specialising, I have a real interest in employee engagement, and ER.

To my lovely those who have specialised, and those who have not - perhaps you could give me your reasons why....and why not. It might help me, but more importantly a newbie to the HR world.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Brand? What brand?

I feel like a fraud.....there.....I've said it.

I had an amazing response to my blog post written on Friday; and I was very proud of myself for writing it without making it into a rant. I've had some wonderful comments about how positive I'm appearing, how professional I've acted....I've even had the word inspirational attached to me!!!

The truth is......I drive into work every day feeling sick, sweating, dreading walking to my HR office and having to face someone who has made me feel useless for the past three months.

I sought advice from several angles on how I should deal with this, and took some action on Monday. This action involved a strongly worded email to the offending boss; detailing how she had made me feel, examples of when she had done it and basically my refusal to allow her to 'appraise' me without prior knowledge of how she was planning on doing this in a balanced way given her previous behaviour.

Now.....the response I received (as expected) was one of denial, an accusation of me being ill informed, confused and the accusation that I don't want to progress in my career - hence why I have 'refused' to have a performance review with her.

I only have to deal with this person for 7 more days.....but....then comes my new boss. And this is where my current dilemma comes into play. Do I tell them what has happened over the past three months? Do I protect myself and withhold my trust of them? Do I act like nothing has happened and see if they bring anything up?

How do I protect my personal brand? I didn't even know I had one until someone pointed it out to me. The idea of someone judging me for wanting to be treated fairly never entered my mind. Am I naive? Will I come across as awkward and hard to manage?

I am now not only anxious about dealing with a boss who is in complete denial about how they have treated me, I am now anxious about a boss I have never even dealt with!

Once of my favourite Twitter pals wrote about confidence this week, and how important it is in HR. But what happens if you've lost it?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Let me count the ways......

I am a lucky person that I am in a loving relationship; which has been bought to my attention more so as tomorrow is Valentines Day.

I love being in love, and I would never want to go back to being single. Not because I hate the idea of being alone, or cannot live without him....but because I don't think anyone else would put with me!!!

Here is a list of things that despite being husband still loves me!!
  • Up until a few years ago I thought Motown was a real place
  • I mistakenly thought Mr T had proclaimed "I ain't eating no plane food" and my husband didn't wet himself as he should have when I loudly exclaimed this on a flight to a flight attendant offering me a soggy sandwich...thinking I was being incredibly funny
  •  I have an issue with baked beans...I don't like them touching other things on my plate. My wonderful husband now serves up my dinner putting the offending items into a ramekin; allowing me to dip as I wish
  • When I get home from work I don't like to talk for at least 15 minutes
  • I still need to get my Dad's approval before making any major decisions - especially when it comes to my car!
  •  I'm a HR Pro...and ask the difficult questions he doesn't really want to have to answer
Despite all this (and much much more) he still thinks I'm beautiful, he still makes me laugh everyday, he amazes me with his understanding of me, and hes still here!

So...just for one small moment I am going to wallow in my smugness.....

Friday, 11 February 2011

An open letter to my boss

Dear Boss,

We have had our ups and downs over the past 3 months, but as you move into your final week of managing me, I wanted to take this opportunity to write you a letter to outline a few things I have learnt in our time together.

Thank you for teaching me the power of my own internal strength. There were times when all I wanted to do is break down, but by continuing to push me to the edge you showed me how strong I truly can be when faced with a barrage of abuse.

Thank you for highlighting how valued I am within the wider business. Through your clear and consistent treatment of me I have received words of support and encouragement from people I didn't even knew cared. That has been a great discovery for me, and I now cherish their support.

Thank you for showing me the importance of objectives and performance reviews. Through your continued refusal to issue me with guidance and support you have given me the ability to recognise why objectives are required, and how the lack of them can breed confusion, lack of self esteem and self doubt. I will always ensure that anyone reporting into me has a clear vision for their future and clear expectations.

Thank you for sending me on a road of self discovery. I have learnt that I like to know 'the big picture', I have learnt that I sometimes go off policy/process but that's ok if the decision is considered and well thought out, I've learnt that I'm not ready for a big role just yet but one day I will be able to do it.

I don't know where you're going, or what you'll be doing but I wish you well. Our time has been short, intense and filled with moments of tension. But as I take the time to reflect on it, it will only make me a better HR Advisor, and a better human.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Objectively Speaking.......

Objective - the object of one's endeavours; goal; aim

My question is....who owns the objectives? We all know that once a year we have to justify our actions and the results against a set of objectives, and usually we will be rewarded for our efforts. But if we get back to basics....whose objectives are they? Are they the employees, the line manager or the companies?

My reason for asking this questions is....what happens if you don't have objectives? What then? Who's role is it to write them?

If the employee is proactive and requests them, or even writes them, then they may not be right from a business point of view, or they may not match the perception of their role/duties of the line manager. This could lead to all sorts of issues around performance management, meeting expectations, managing roles and responsibilities.

Ultimately, I know the best practice answer is that the line manager and the employee should write the objectives together...but lets be honest....sometimes best practice is not feasible for various reasons.

So...what does the employee do? Do they write themselves a set of objectives, and work to them to demonstrate their ability to meet targets and goals? Or do they carry on regardless, and hope that what they do is good enough?

I'd be really interested in thoughts and comments, and how you would advise on this situation.