Social Media, SHRM, and Curt Midkiff

SHRM's social media guy-Curtis MidkiffSHRM has some work to do to catch up on social media, and a while back they hired a guy named Curt Midkiff to make that happen. You may remember me writing about Curtis before (part one and part two). Well, it’s been six months since his first appearance here, and I thought it was time for us to give him a performance review.

What do you think went well this year? What did you accomplish?

When I came to SHRM in April, our team had several initial goals for the balance of the year which were:

  1. Enhance our engagement with some of the key “HR voices” in social media.
  2. Increase engagement in our Annual Conference via social media.
  3. Create some initial beta platforms for engagement via social media.
  4. Be a resource for other SHRM departments and leaders looking to engage external audiences via social media.
  5. Get Ben Eubanks to become a SHRM member :-)
  6. Work with the collaborative social media team here at SHRM to develop a strategic approach to social media.

I think that we achieved some of those in these first six months but there is much more we want to next year!

2. Do you see any areas that need improvement?

Hmmm… Let’s see. Quicker blog posting from my SHRM10 blog squad (my fault guys, we will get all your work up next year in Vegas… :-)). And maybe we need to enhance our cloning software here at SHRM so I can be at six or seven places at once especially all the great social media conferences going on. But seriously, I think that next year offers a great opportunity for growth in the social media space here at SHRM. We have a number of people here at the headquarters that are integrating it into the work they are doing so collectively you can expect to see some cool things next year.

3. Goals for the Upcoming Year

  1. To enhance our external social media platforms. I think we made a good start in these areas but in 2011 we can plan to do more. We will generate more content (videos, blogs, etc.) to give people a fuller picture of the work SHRM is doing as a global organization.
  2. Annual Conference 2.0 — We are already working on some interesting things for 2011 to really increase engagement via social media. The feedback we received from the Social Media Lounge, The Blog Squad and TweetUp last year has now set the bar much higher and I think we are up to the challenge. At least from a social media perspective, we want to make sure what happens at Annual Conference in Vegas doesnt just stay in Vegas!
  3. Equip our Leaders and Members with Social Media Tools — I think that we will be in a position next year to provide more tools for our Volunteer leaders and our Members which will enable to understand the power and potential of social media. As I mentioned before, we have a great cross-divisional initiative going on here at SHRM that is going to better equip our employees in the social media space which we can then pass along to our leaders and members.
  4. Blogapalooza 2011 — We really want to get out there among the members to talk about social media and also listen to some of the best practices happening in the “field”. In my travels this year, I have met SHRM members like yourself (who by the way along with Victorio are doing some great work with #ProjectSocial) who are making some great strides in social media. We can assist as well as learn from these experiences as well. I am headed to Ohio in Dec and some of our other state conferences in 2011 so the tour bus is ready to roll.
  5. SHRM11 — As I mentioned before we looked at Annual Conference 2010 as a launch pad for enhanced social media engagement. Since then, we have had a presence at our SHRM Thought Leaders Retreat, SHRM Strategy Conference and our Diversity and Inclusion Conference. You will be happy to know that Annual Conference 2011 will be the next step in that progression. As is everything at SHRM its a team effort, so we are working witn a number of departments here on a social media presence that will build upon last year’s “beta test”. Stay tuned.

Peer reviews (360 feedback)

In an effort to get a well-rounded review for Curtis, I asked a few people to tell me about their own perception of him and the work he’s done so far. I asked for honest feedback, and that’s what I got!

I have met with Curt several times (at SHRM conferences) and found him to be engaging and knowledgeable. The overall impression he gives regarding the possibility of national SHRM adopting social media and encouraging its use is commendable. I still see national SHRM conferences offering sessions that lean more toward the control of employee use of social media platforms, but I do not see this as something that Curt alone can impact.

I would like to see him continue to reach out to HR practitioners in the field who are using sites in their organizations successfully. By sharing those cases with SHRM leadership, he’ll continue to advance the positive image we need. I also recommend having Curt pull together a round table of these same professionals to talk with SHRM leadership about the benefits and how we’ve overcome the concerns of social media use. —Trish McFarlane

Curtis has done the best job he can in his short time with SHRM. He in essence has two bosses, the people at SHRM and the social media HR community. SHRM writes the checks. The challenge lies with SHRM itself and the red tape and seas that Curtis must navigate to help bridge the gap between SHRM and social media.

I would like to see Curtis spending more time engaging and leveraging the social media HR community while also learning more about what it’s like to be a HR practioner. I’d recommend that Curtis spend at minimum four weeks shadowing a typical member and learning about some of the obstacles and issues they face. This will increase his knowledge and credibility among the human resource members he serves. —Jessica Miller-Merrill

As a member and volunteer leader, I was super-pleased when SHRM named Curtis to his position (better late than never, hey SHRM?).  He’s had a lot to accomplish in a short time, but has gamely engaged with his audience of members; an audience which is often clueless, afraid and reluctant    I particularly enjoyed participating in the Curtis-led CLA Membership webinar – “Social Media for Chapters and State Councils.”  Well played Curtis – I hope you can keep it going! —Robin Schooling, SPHR

And that, my friends, is a review! Have any thoughts on the work Curtis is doing? Let’s hear ’em!

4 thoughts on “Social Media, SHRM, and Curt Midkiff

  1. Chris Ferdinandi - Renegade HR

    Well honestly… I was pumped to see Curtis take on this role, but I very quickly stopped following him on Twitter because it all sounded like a lot of SHRM cheerleading.

    There’s a huge population of HR pros on the web that are disenfranchised with SHRM (as evident from the recent series of SHRM 2011 posts). I’d love to see Curtis get more involved in conversations with those people and use that info to help shape SHRM into a more relevant organization.

    I also think Curtis’ third goal, equiping members with the right tools to be more social media savvy, was a big failure. Has SHRM put out any meaningful tools to help people? If so, I didn’t see any (so please, make me eat my words).

    Not trying to beat up on Curtis, but I’d rather see more value-adding and less horn-tooting from SHRM.

  2. Victorio

    I don’t envy Curtis and his role within SHRM. Much like the HR field in general, he’s been given a challenging and potentially rewarding task. What remains to be seen is if he’s been given the leadership support and organizational resources to perform it.

    If I could persuade him to do 1 thing it would be to revamp SHRM Connect. It could be a great platform for the HR community. The numbers are there; all that’s needed is a better interface and active community management. It would also behoove SHRM to make it a public platform. Enabling non-members to engage with the organization through the site would be a great benefit, allowing it to position itself as a more forward-thinking organization.

    Good luck Curtis!

  3. Ben Post author

    Great advice, Victorio! That’s a ripe opportunity.

    Definitely, Dave. Thanks!

    @Chris-you know I’m with you on that. Love your final comment, though. That’s tweet-worthy. :-)


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