Seriously? How Not to Use LinkedIn

One of my friends forwarded me this private message they received from someone on LinkedIn. This was an unannounced, out-of-the-blue message from an HR person at a company they previously worked with. Check it out:

What is your employee headcount and who is your HR leader? I used to see Pinnacle in the news quite often, but have not recently.

Um, really? You get a limited number of characters to reach out to someone, and that’s what you put into the message?

Sigh.

In case you didn’t know, that’s not really the appropriate way to approach someone that you don’t know well. It’s insulting and falls solidly into the “rude” category.

Thankfully the person who received the email is a good friend and laughed it off. She likes her HR leader. :-)

If you’re using LinkedIn for networking and connecting with others in your industry, please keep this in mind as a great example of how not to connect with others.

Have you seen other issues with LinkedIn etiquette? I’d love to hear some other stories…

To the Social Media Whiz Kids at #SHRM12

dinner with friends at SHRM12

Loved having a quiet dinner with friends to unwind at SHRM. From left: John Nykolaiszyn, Jason Lauritsen, and me

I started to put “bloggers” in the title, but there are so many people from the conference who started using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for the first time, and I wanted to include those as well. These are my thoughts on where we’ve come, where we’re going, and what everyone needs to do now. Hope you’re inspired!

The SHRM 2012 annual conference is now in the books. As usual, this event consists of few days of frenzied running to sessions, meeting with old friends, making new ones, and generally having an amazing time.

Why I go to any conference

I attend these events on two levels: first and foremost, I’m attending as an HR practitioner. I’m looking for ways I can help our operations team and company be better through smarter people practices. In that role I’m attending sessions, taking notes, and trying to meet people who might have insights in our industry.

On another level, I’m attending as a blogger. I’m trying to gather content, I’m trying to make connections, and I’m trying to find out what my audience is looking for in the way of great content (hint: sessions that are filled/overflowing would be good topics to explore in blog posts).

My hope for the social media community

Whether you’re writing a blog, participating in the fantastic HR-related chats on Twitter, or building a Facebook community, I hope that you take the connections you’ve built to another level. I’m already talking with a few people from the conference about working on some partner projects (Heather at A Leading Solution, for instance).

Why?

Because I want to learn from them. Because I want to be energized by them. Because I want to help both of our audiences be exposed to another person who is on fire for this HR thing. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll make this profession better one person at a time.

We are just like you, only we talk louder

Those of us in the blogging community aren’t any smarter than your average HR professional. We don’t even talk more than the average HR pro. We just do it louder. We channel it through the social tools to help us reach a larger audience.

When people come up to me in awe because they recognize me from my photo or blog, I just smile. I’m just a guy who likes to write and share what he’s doing right (and wrong) so people can learn a little bit. I’m no different from you, and I hope you can tell that when you’re standing there waiting for some brilliant statement to come out of my mouth, and I have nothing to say. :-)

Small victories are still victories

If you looked at the Twitterstream flowing from #SHRM12, you might have seen quite a few tweets about HR professionals visiting SHRM’s Hive area for social media advice/help. SHRM (and Curtis Midkiff, especially) did a great job of pulling in those of us passionate about using social tools in HR and leveraged our strengths and knowledge to be ambassadors for those without social media experience.

We helped set up Twitter accounts, discussed LinkedIn for recruiting purposes, and talked about using HR blogs for professional development. Each person helped was a small victory. Did we reach all 13,000 attendees? No way. But if we reached even 500 people (which isn’t an outrageous number based on the traffic we had each day), then that’s a win in my book.

Keep up the momentum

I had several conversations during the event about how people “like us” have been using social media extensively for the past 3+ years. At times, it seems like the topic is old and stale, because surely “everyone” knows how to use it by now. But then I run into an HR professional at a local SHRM meeting who wants to know what Twitter is or if they should have a corporate LinkedIn page, and I realize yet again that the number of HR professionals using social tools is still relatively small compared to the size of the group overall.

Closing thoughts

On Monday I start back to work. I get back into my routine. And it would be incredibly easy to just keep going like I have been going for the past year. Or I can take the time and make the effort to keep up with the connections I made at SHRM. I can keep the promise I made to keep educating HR professionals and recruiters on the value of social tools. I can work to incorporate the things I learned at the event into what I do at work.

Only time will tell which direction I take, but what I do matters much less than what you do. Well, what’s it going to be? I’m waiting…

7 thoughts on handling employee LinkedIn recommendation requests

LinkedIn RecommendationsHow should employers and HR pros handle employee LinkedIn recommendation requests? I received this great question the other day, and I wanted to answer publicly because she’s definitely not the only one curious about the topic. Here we go:

What is the recommended position for HR employees to take when other employees ask them to endorse them on LinkedIn (or other social networking recommendations)? I know I am old school, but it seems like an awkward position to be in as an HR professional.

Looking forward to your insights on this,

Naomi

  • There’s no way you can do it for all employees, so don’t set a precedent with one of them. Tell ’em no.
  • I might endorse a fellow HR coworker, but not someone outside my department. There’s just not enough close work experience to go on for other employees.
  • If it feels weird to you, don’t do it. There is no reason to feel pressured to do something like this.
  • Some of the scary lawyer types might tell you that it’s a bad idea to recommend someone, because if you have to terminate them a month later, they have this glowing recommendation to use against you.
  • I’d try to find out their reasoning. Are they asking everyone, or just you? If they just want to look good (and I don’t know any other reason for LinkedIn recommendations), then it really isn’t your job to do that for them.
  • I guess if you’re in a small company, you could do recommendations for anyone who asks, but I would limit it to their position and dates of employment (blame it on a policy) and that will probably turn them off from the idea.
  • For the record, I have no LinkedIn recommendations, but I have a dozen people who would recommend me to you in a heartbeat. They’re not all that useful. :-)

Anyone else have ideas? And while you’re pondering, I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn!

SHRM Volunteer Leaders-New LinkedIn Group

SHRM Leadership Back when I surveyed SHRM volunteer leaders about what really frustrated them, one of the most common responses was a lack of interaction among leadership. Another big issue was a sense of being the only one out there. So from that point on I resolved to help remedy that.

The long story

Interesting story… I usually take it easy on Friday nights and coast through the weekend, then pick up steam on Sunday night to get back into the week at full speed. Well, I had about half an hour of free time last Friday night. Melanie had the girls, and I felt like I needed to get something done before they got home.

Of course I had to write a post about the new social media mentoring project I’m working on, and I also went through cleaning up my email. One in particular struck me.

I had talked to a few people a while back about creating a resource to help SHRM chapter and state council leaders connect and collaborate with each other. Then the email conversation stalled out. Everyone was positive about the idea, and they all agreed it needed to happen, but that’s where it ended.

Let’s make it happen

So, if you know anything at all about me, I’m a doer. I need some action, baby. :-) So I created a LinkedIn group called SHRM Chapter and State Council Leadership.

Fair warning: It’s not for everyone. I don’t want everyone joining.

No, I’m not being a snob, it’s just that I want the conversation to be highly targeted to topics that would be beneficial for chapter and state council leaders. They need this kind of thing.

Leader? Don’t look at me!

I’m way new to this SHRM stuff. I’m not even in a leadership role in my own chapter really (unless webmaster/social media coordinator counts!). But I know that there are amazing people out there who have the knowledge and abilities to help fill this group with helpful ideas and other information. My goal is for this thing to be the resource that SHRM volunteer leaders turn to in order to network and learn how to do their job the very best they can. Just a few ideas for conversations I’d like to see crop up:

  • How can we attract and retain members in our local chapter?
  • What are some of the big steps in planning a statewide conference?
  • Is there a good way to develop a chapter succession plan?
  • How can we jump into social media as a chapter?
  • Who can share some tips for finding compelling speakers?

Heck, those are just off the top of my head. And like I said, those people who are already in there know more about this stuff than I could cram into my noggin in a year. It’s a brain trust, and it’s going to change how SHRM volunteer leaders do what they do. If you are in a leadership role or you know someone who is, please send them the link to the group (or to this post for more info). I’d really appreciate it!

HRevolution Attendee LinkedIn List

HRevolution listMy buddy Benjamin McCall inspired me with his HRevolution Twitter list, so I went to another popular social network and pulled together more information to help our people connect with each other.

Click here to see the HRevolution Attendee LinkedIn List

I had the opportunity to speak with Trish McFarlane yesterday, and one of the things we were both excited about was the list of attendees. We have people who we’ve never even met, but they believe in HRevolution enough to come. I want to make it worth their time. After the first event, we had one person out of the entire fifty-plus attendees who was less than completely satisfied. Her issue was that she wasn’t connected with anyone before the event really occurred. Continue reading

LinkedIn+NASHRM=Networking

Networking with LinkedIn, no handshake necessary

Networking with LinkedIn, no handshake necessary

Did you know that we have a LinkedIn group exclusively for our NASHRM members? Currently, over 130 members are taking advantage of this tool. Are you? If not, this post is going to help you learn more about this valuable tool.

In a recent meeting, new members of the chapter were asked why they joined. The number one reason cited? Networking. In the amazingly large HR community that the world has grown into, it’s harder than ever to stay connected with the people you need to know. However, the NASHRM LinkedIn

group offers a solution. The monthly events are wonderful, but it’s difficult to build lasting relationships in the short amount of time provided. Why not move the conversation online?  Since the creation of the group, I have connected with several dozen members of our local group, and it has opened up some connections with people outside my normal range.

Now I understand that many of you probably aren’t even on LinkedIn just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it! It’s becoming an amazingly powerful tool for networking, sourcing, and job hunting. The article 15 Sneaky Ways to Use LinkedIn to Advance Your HR Career is definitely worth a read. I guarantee you’ll learn something that you could put to use within a week’s time, and the time invested will be invaluable.

Still on the fence about LinkedIn’s value? Leave a comment and let me know why. Already a member? Then join the group and introduce yourself!

Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library
SHRM Chapter Leadership Guide