Social is EVERYWHERE .. Social is nowhere

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the CIPD annual conference and exhibition in Manchester. I was there supporting my good friends and key client Develpment Processes Group (DPG) on their stand.

I have been into the whole ‘social’ thing for about a year now. I use Twitter, Linked In, Facebook and I blog (as you know because you are reading this post). Over this year I have really got to see and experience the immense value you get from sharing and using social tools.

Through the use of twitter etc I have made some amazing connections and also learned so so much about my profession.

At the CIPD conference, Social was everywhere!

Twitter was going nuts (the #cipd12 even got hijacked by the porn trolls it was that popular).
There were bloggers and blog posts galore.
People we meeting and sharing virtually.
Those that had previously only met online were meeting face to face and cementing that relationship.

Interestingly, I also found was that at the CIPD conference, social was nowhere.
I would meet people on the stand or walking the exhibition and at the mere mention of Twitter or blogging would cause offence or a classic comment ‘I don’t have time for Twittering or whatever you call it!’

As well as the ‘time’ excuse, we had some other classics; getting in ‘trouble’ or ‘IT don’t allow any of that sort of stuff’ or worst of all (in my books) ‘we have a policy that says we can’t use it’.

Since I have got back to day to day life, this realisation that there are still many, many people that don’t engage with Social platforms. When I discuss with my clients about ‘how are you harnessing the power of social?’ I get blank looks. When I ask how they use Facebook, Twitter or other media to engage with their customers or how they use tools like Yammer, Jive or a Ning Community to connect people within their organisations; they look at me blankly.

Take DPG, they facilitate CIPD programmes in HR and L&D and participants and facilitators (I am one of these facilitators) all use a Ning community (called the DPG Community) to:
Post questions
Share ideas
Discuss issues that sometimes are related to the qualification and others not

What that means is the participants are part of a community where they get and give support to peers, answer each other questions, take more control of their learning. What that means for facilitators is that our groups are taking more responsibility, they are less reliant on us and we can better support their learning.

The two biggest challenges we have in HR are:

Employee Engagement

Harnessing the power of Social and Sharing can overcome both of these yet we persistently shy away. Is that because it is too hard, because we have less control (god forbid it might replace our precious employee survey) or because we simply don’t get it?

There are many people out there (@perrytimms @mikecollins007 @kategraham @tompaisley @mjcarty @sukhpabial to name a few) with more knowledge and better informed than me. I am someone that sees, hears and feels the huge benefits and wants others to share in them too.

I am lucky to be part of a group that understands and harnesses the power of social. We also have a long way to go to show others how they can benefit too.

In terms of the challenge, I am excited and looking forward to it. Do you want to join? #WeAreSocialHR

Thanks to @perrytimms for the hashtag.


4 responses to “Social is EVERYWHERE .. Social is nowhere

  1. Excellent post here playing out what’s going on “out there” in digital-v-analogue land. You can imagine 12+ years ago “why would we want access to the internet…staff would waste time on there…there’s real work to be done”. Now, un-imaginable. Email though gets off scot free as this is SO tedious and painful it MUST be work. More and more of what we do at work is less effective more of what we need is collective effort and collaborative wisdom, social exchanges and digitally enhanced efficiency. When there is no other choice they will “get” social…

    • Hi Perry, thank you for your comments and love the analogue vs digital analogy, may I steal that please? Will reference you too.

      My worry is whether we can wait for it to be the only choice? Agree we need the collaboration and social exchanges NOW. The world of work is in dire need of more sharing to increase effectiveness, efficiency and crucially engagement.

      We will keep showing the way until others can see or hear the call and then we can be there to support them through the change.

      Thanks again PT, always great comments


  2. I understand where you’re coming from Phil and having been working with social tools for the last 4 years, I’ve been inside an organisation trying to build momentum with social and now as community manager for DPG I see the big divide in using social for personal / professional use versus using social technologies within organisations to support communication, collaboration and engagement.

    The latest Towards Maturity report also shows a much slower adoption of collaboration (social) tools within organisations however there are some great things happening in this space (e.g. John Stepper – Deutsche Bank ) but they do seem to be in the minority.

    I think it’s a combination of things from organisational culture, tech infrastructure, exposure to social, value vs time attitudes, capability – the list could go on. In my experience social adoption takes time and we are seeing lots of organisations at the start of this journey and dipping their toes in the social pool. I think we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more positive stories over the next 2 years as more organisations and individuals see the value that social / collaborative tools can provide.

    In the meantime we must continue to raise awareness, demonstrate value and encourage our colleagues and help others on this journey. The DPG Community is there to support CIPD qualifications however the other element that I get excited about is that we are giving a lot of L&D / HR professionals their first taste of using a social network in a professional context and I hope this builds capability and confidence to take social back in to their own organisations. So far so good judging by the comments on this blog Breaking New Ground – we need to keep going and doing what we’re doing and soon it won’t be new ground it will just be the norm.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for your comments and sharing the depth of your thinking. Also like the links off to new stuff, I will follow them late today.

      The lines between personal and professional (IMHO) are becoming more and more blurred. Whether we are considering; working practices, working hours, recruitment methods, finding learning, finding news, even the whole communication piece.

      I agree that there are a number of factors that form part of it and think there are others too, control being a key one. We want to have more of it (over what people say and share) and yet:

      ‘the more you tighten your grip … the more (solar systems) will slip through your fingers’

      A pertinent line from Princess Leia and yet if you replace solar systems with social media I think the same is true.

      We need to empower and trust, that cannot happen if we also want to retain control.

      Thanks for your comment Mike!


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