I have LOVED the #SHRM16 conference and it has really forced me to get out and meet some fantastic people - both ones that I've had the opportunity to connect with online and also some completely new friends.
That's the amazing thing about our HR world becoming more and more connected. Having worked across Australia and New Zealand it was the advent of social media allowing professionals to share and collaborate that really changed the game for me. All of a sudden, it wasn't just the few having access to information about HR in other organisations and countries through printed journals, conferences and site visits. The many can now collaborate, share and create together, coming together on Twitter, LinkedIn, through blogs and vertical platforms (and many other ways) to work across industries and oceans.
The effect this is having on HR is massive. Our employees were already globalising through migration - but now our HR approach is globalising. We're being able to access information about state of the art employee attraction schemes happening in the USA, learning and development taking a front seat in the UK and I'm able to talk to the creators of such things through Twitter, Skype and a host of other social platforms. People, and companies, are sharing more: the session from Craig Briscoe and Jenn Saavedra from Dell was a testament to that, an excellent example of a large company inviting others to learn from their journey.
It is through social media that I connected with the good folks at SHRM and had the opportunity to get closer to a whole new world of ways to approach people at work. I had initially used social media professionally as tool to observe - I began to follow some prolific HR and learning experts on Twitter and the more they shared the more engaged in this community I became. I began to share content that was relevant to me and then began to blog myself, I also engaged in tweetchats, LinkedIn groups, discovered more great resources and authors and also began to share this knowledge and my own journey in real life.
Often the 'social media role' is, by default, given to a millennial. What is critical to remember is that while these technological changes may be most associated with millennials it does not mean they're the most expert in the subject, nor that those changes aren't impacting other generations just as much. In fact, one of the most prolific tweeters I know in Australia is a baby boomer L&D professional who has taught me a huge amount about the value of social media in learning.
My breakthrough HR moment from SHRM16? It, without a doubt, has been that technology has the power to change the world for the positive. Sal Kahn moved every single person present in the closing keynote describing the impact that Kahn Academy has had on people the world over. I was very misty eyed (OK, I was tearing up) when Kahn described the emailed letters of impact from his students from children and their parents around the word. This man has changed the world with his “delusional optimism” and I’m so happy that the world has embraced his message.
Don't be scared of technology. Don't think it is something that you can't learn because you're of a certain generation or the couple of times you've dipped your toe in the water you've found it confusing. The power to connect is incredibly powerful and technology is a great way for you to access a world of people who are willing to help you, your organisation and your employees develop.
Just try it.