Today we have a guest post from Steve Browne, an HR pro who I’ve recently come into contact with and have already developed a respect for. I recently joined his HR Net group, and after you hear what he has to say, you might want to do the same. Hit him up in the comments if you’d like to know more about the group. In this post, he’s sharing his thoughts on HR’s isolation and how we need to be getting out there. Enjoy!

Human Resources is one of the most fulfilling, challenging, uplifting and… lonely professions. You see, almost any position within a company has a place they can go to and vent (HR) or complain about employees (HR) or grouse about Senior Management (HR). Where can HR go?

Often it’s to a bar. I mean really! Since we are the bartenders (with no copyright infringement to Sharlyn Lauby) in our own organizations listening to every story of woe and sense of frustration from our employees about other employees, we’re just missing the long wooden bar and the stools. (That would be a cool office for HR though!)

People are tough. However, that’s why most great HR professionals are in HR! They truly are “people” people. So, where can they go?

The great voices in HR that are flooding the waves of Social Media forums such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter are sending out great messages… But, more often than not, it’s to each other and their great thoughts never reach practitioners.

Why?

Because most HR people keep isolated from each other as professionals and don’t even know that forums like the ones we frequent even exist. Seriously. There’s such a fear of what they don’t know that they steer clear of resources that would help them enjoy their field and excel in ways they’ve never seen, because they would now have access to where the field is going.

The people in Social Media need to pair up with practitioners and learn from each other instead of roaming in separate camps. Practitioners need to encourage other practitioners through modeling the great aspects of Social Media so they see how it works and don’t just hear that they “should be connected.” Heck, most of the people I follow on Twitter aren’t connected to each other on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. We all can tend to be narrow when it’s necessary that we be broad.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a music freak. I’m not writing about this topic because it makes for a guest post for Ben. I’ve been trying to connect the HR profession for the past 8 years – through HR parodies. Each week I write a song that makes fun of the profession I love. So, to close this, I thought I’d take a shot with this audience. Sung to the classic 80’s hit “Only the Lonely” by The Motels . . .

(Isolated HR practitioner)
“We work in a field hostile
Don’t know how to use our styles
For resources we all long
No redemption
We try, but it seems we sink
We strive and keep thinking
What in the world can we do
Is there something new?
(Engaged Social Media HR practitioner responds . . .)
It’s right before you
Join us we’ll show the way
So, come on and let’s go
Try it and you soon will know
That you aren’t lonely
It’s right here
Go on-line, you’ll meet us all together
And then soon you never will remember
That you were once alone, but you are not now.
Because I told you, join us we’ll show you the way
You won’t be lonely, come make those changes today.”

As you go out on YouTube to look up this classic to sing along (and I know you will), take this challenge.

Be different and reach out to show one practitioner this week what you do and what others do. If each of us reached one person each… We’d double the HR presence in our forum. Don’t let HR be lonely anymore.

Steve Browne, SPHR is a passionate HR pro who practices for LaRosa’s, Inc. which is a Cincinnati tradition as a family pizzeria chain. He also is the programming chair for the 2010 Ohio HR Conference, facilitates the amazing HR Net, and is a music lovin’ fiend. Find him on Twitter (@sbrownehr) and LinkedIn.

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  • 6 thoughts on “Steve Browne-Only the Lonely

    1. As a former HR practitioner, I know what it’s like to feel like you have no one to talk to about your own organizational gripes and frustrations. Unfortunately, on a couple of occasions, I chose to talk to my boss like most people would go to HR – and let me tell you… THAT did not work. I learned very quickly that was not an avenue to go down and spent many years talking to my cats instead. And while they are very good listeners, they aren’t very good at offering potential solutions or understanding. :)

      Your suggestion to use social media to find other practitioners to partner with and build community is a good one. HR pros should not only be building supportive communities through in-person networking opportunities in their specific locations, but social media provides a way to do that as well with people all across the globe. Thanks for being a fierce advocate of both types of networking and career development and for pushing people in your network to do so. Many HR pros have you to thank for encouraging them to get out there and connect with others!

    2. Jennifer – Thanks for the comment and the kind words. I hope more HR pros get the message to keep our community thriving and relevant.

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