It’s always fun when you’re surrounded by people who are like you. Who ‘gets it’ when you’re riled up after attending a learning session where you find out businesses are actually hiring people to sit around and MONITOR social media not to engage… but SQUASH employee participation. That sees the relative importance of understanding generational differences. Or whatever your hot-button issues are; those just happen to be a couple of mine. Well, ours, really… because we have things in common.
In a way, you could say Jessica Miller-Merrell has created something of a ‘micro-community’ of talent with the ‘blog squad’ here at OKHR. We’re a team of individuals, with common interests, in similar place, rallied around a common goal: spreading the buzz happening here at the conference & along the way educating attendees about the positive power of social media in HR. As Jessica pointed out in her webinar this morning; online communities, networks, etc have all the buzz right now; there’s a lot of conversation and questions with far fewer answers. We look for the pillars of conversation, friendship, business, fun, or education to identify the community. We look to membership and engagement as the ‘social proofs’ of success.
Bill Boorman says that there are no “Talent Communities.” That there are really only communities of already talented individuals. Most of the time, I’d have to say he’s right. But… I disagree with the premise that it HAS to be that way. In the right community, surrounded & interacting with the right individuals… you can take a talent(ed) community and it becomes a ‘talent community’ in the truest sense of the word. Because the engagement in the community spurs creativity and thought that ‘ups the game,’ so-to-speak for the participants within it; ultimately increasing the depth/quality of the individual’s talent. As a Recruitment Marketeer and Talent Acquisition professional; this scenario is the stuff that dreams are made of.
This is not some ‘pie-in-the-sky’ dream world, though; it does exist. One of my clients has such a community. They’ve set their rally point around a development framework that they’ve created and made it an open-source project. By opening up this contribution – which arguably they could have kept to themselves – they’ve created value that has brought some incredibly talented professionals to their ‘talent table’ & a community has formed. They’re genuinely concerned with helping each other; even beyond the scope of this new framework project. In return, they’ve strengthened their network, made new connections; and have received a wealth of knowledge, of notoriety, of respect, and most importantly – trust.
There’s the upside; but it struck me this morning that the reality is that if that positive scenario can exist; then the inverse can be true, as well. If being surrounded by talented individuals can increase your game by expanding your knowledge horizon; then surrounding yourself with those who have limited views can likely inhibit your growth, as well. As HR & Recruiting professions, we historically have not done a fabulous job of stepping outside of our “comfort zone” and moving outside of the conventional thoughts held within our established networks/communities. While Cat Carlos (2) was in a session this morning, she overheard a conversation where some HR professionals essentially viewed social media in a negative light & so were monitoring employees’ usage for the purposes of having anything written removed. How sad is that?! I was hoping to hear that the speaker (3) was going to challenge the misplaced, ‘conventional wisdom’ – but that’s not what happened. Instead of challenging each other to try to see the other side; they quickly dismissed that which they didn’t understand.
While Lisa was relaying that story & we were all responding to it, I couldn’t help but see in that the shining example of WHY it’s so important for us to not only build talent(ed) social media communities that can BECOME ‘true talent communities;’ but seek out communities that challenge our current professional limits & engage our creativity centers, as well. Because after all, if we wanted to engage in a conversation where all we hear is the echos of our own opinions? We need to look no further than our bathroom mirrors… And where’s the fun in that?
(1) and one could argue a shaky network at that.
(3) on the topic of FB, btw