Pretty much everyone is familiar with how HR recruiters use social media, especially LinkedIn. We’ve all gotten those unsolicited messages asking if we’d consider a role. Sometimes it’s for an amazing role we’re qualified for, and sometimes it’s way off the mark. I got a request for a writing job the other day, and I’m a strategist … clearly they must have seen some of my MyCMGR articles, right? 😉
I wanted to dive a little deeper into the social aspects of HR communities, and being the resident Canadian, I wanted to put a Canadian spin on this, so I connected with two of the HR professionals I know best—Courtney Beatty, the Human Resources Manager at FCB Global in Toronto, where I work when I’m not on maternity leave, and James Purdy, who is currently the Talent Acquisition Specialist at Blue Hive; Y&R, Wunderman, and Blast Radius, but who hired me and worked with me at Trapeze and then Union Creative. I wanted to know more about how HR people see themselves as fitting in socially at companies, where they might have to haul their friends in for meetings about performance improvement plans, or even have to tell them they’ve been laid off or fired. This is fairly commonplace in the advertising world, where if a client switches agencies, it can be devastating for any people dedicated to their business on the agency side. If you can’t be reassigned to a new client, your employment is over. (Fortunately, agencies tend to be pretty good about offering reasonable severance!)
So how do HR people manage friendships at work when they’re often forced to be the bearers of bad news?
“At the end of the day, it’s much like if you’re friends with your clients,” says James, putting it into terms we can all understand. “I’m actually still friends with people I’ve let go. It’s up to people how they choose to interact with me—I’m open and friendly. That has its advantages too, because people know they can talk to me.”
Courtney agrees. “You can definitely be friendly,” she says. “You do have to keep a bit of a barrier up and not become best friends, but it’s like how you shouldn’t become best friends with your manager or someone who reports to you.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve made some great friends in the workplace who I’m still friends with several years and several jobs later. If HR people are reluctant to form true and lasting friendships at the office, and they certainly can’t talk about work issues with in-office friends, where do they go for community?
“The HR trade org in Canada is called HRPA, Human Resources Professionals Association,” says Courtney. “They have lots of get togethers both on and offline, as well as lots of seminars. I went to a party at Casa Loma around Christmas!”
James takes advantage of the HRPA community as well. “They have different chapters—there are meetups posted, and they also have CRM campaigns with news for each specific chapter. It really gets you connected with what’s happening locally.”
But both stress that there are opportunities for HR to stay connected on a social level with their coworkers: James points out that “HR appoints the social committee, and they come up with ideas going forward. We have Beer Fridays and Bagel Thursdays here!”
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