Fall ERE Expo 2009: It’s a Wrap!

ExpoFall09_facebook I’m back from attending the Fall ERE Expo 2009 in Hollywood, Florida and I can safely say that it was one of the best conference experiences that I’ve had yet! It’s also safe to say that I suck at “live-blogging” conferences, because I really get wrapped up in learning from the session leaders and interacting with other conference attendees. But apparently I’ve got some skills at “live tweeting“… (Is there a job where I can get paid to do that?)

So here’s a wrap-up from around the recruito-sphere (and HRo-sphere), while I let the good stuff that was shared digest and marinate for future posts…

AWESOMENESS: All conference presentation slide decks and videos are available on the ERE Expo Blog.

Steve Fogarty – Recruiting Captain and Steve Bonomo – Head of Global Recruiting at adidas covered a lot of ground in their “Impossible is Nothing” Recruiting presentation. The Steve’s talked about the importance of employment branding, metrics, candidate experience and asking forgiveness rather than waiting for permission to make things happen. They also discussed their new branded and interactive Careers site and Fogarty does a great job of capturing some of the trends he noted from attending and presenting at the Expo on his own blog – Recruiting Revolution.

On HRmarketer Blog, Jonathan Goodman summarizes his thoughts and takeaways from the conference including one of the many great quotes shared in the presentation by Tony Blake – Director of Recruiting at DaVita. It’s from Michael Foster – Founder & Chairman of the Human Capital Institute: “The next killer app in recruiting is – the recruiter” – ERE Fall Expo ’09: The next killer recruiting app. If you’re a Recruiter, hopefully, you are at least on version 2.0 by now…

“If networking is King, then Twitter is Queen” declares Sarah White – who was inspired to share her thoughts on how Twitter enhances the conference experience by a photo of Mr. Recruiter Tweeter himself – @TheRecruiterGuy – wearing a t-shirt proclaiming “I’m Huge on Twitter”. (indeed he is)

Sarah also recaps her conference experience in ERE Expo – The best HR Conference I have been to yet – Behind the Scenes – which includes a link to some great photos from the event as well.

Jason Buss – VP, Talent Acquisition & Diversity at Ameriprise Financial managed to find 10 tweets from the thousands shared at the conference to capture his experience in ERE Recruiting Expo Re-cap, Twitter Style and he also snagged an interview with Expo Chairperson Kevin WheelerSocial Media & Recruiting: Do We Have It Wrong? (Stay tuned to Fistful of Talent for my upcoming post/interview with Kevin following his session on What Will 2010 Bring? Insightful stuff from a Talent “futurist”!)

Industry Guru Gerry Crispin believes that the ERE Expo 2009 will be a Tough Act to Follow due to a little giveback (the ERE Charity Poker Classic which raised $10,000), a lot of Community, a lot of Learning and a Trend or Two. Gerry’s always way out in front on talent management issues. We’d be wise to pay attention – although sitting next to Gerry at the Poker game didn’t seem to help me much. 🙂

HR Pro Sharlyn Lauby makes a great point in her post on hr bartender encouraging conference organizers to embrace the opportunity to share content freely and allow attendees to actively participate as ERE has successfully done. Sharon states that “It’s time for conference organizers to realize that social networking is a key component of the conference experience. Attendees want to tweet, post photos and videos and share their experiences – while the event is taking place.” <I agree!>

Senior Editor at SmartBriefMary Ellen Slayter puts her journalist skills on display with her post “Where Social Media Meets Our Biases” and cautions against its use in the employment process: “Prolific isn’t competent. A social media maven, who has figured out how to get their name out there in all these channels, isn’t necessarily a better fit for a job than someone who hasn’t adopted these tools. Someone can have an amazing professional network and not have a single Twitter follower. Social media communities can quickly get cliquish; make sure you use these tools to broaden your networks, not push people out.”

Newly announced chairperson of ERE’s next Social Recruiting Summit in NYC – Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock HR – continues the “networking is the best part of attending conferences” theme by giving props to the inspiring Women of #EREExpo. Indeed. We’re planning to take over the world soon… so watch out!

Laurie also posted her thoughts on a frequent question that came up at the conference “Should Recruiting Report in to HR?“. Granted, this was a conference filled mostly with Recruiters, so when it was suggested during one presentation that HR should report to Recruiting, the audience cheered. For the record, I’m with Laurie on this one.

Leanne Chase of careerlife connection found the secret for connecting with and engaging attendees on the Trade Show floor to garner interest in her company focused on flexibility issues in the workplace. All it takes is some food, a few blow up chairs and a guy wearing your shirtTales from the booth at ERE.

And finally, Stephanie Lloyd shares her thoughts and several photos in her post Wrap-up: ERE Expo 2009, as well as a video interview with yours truly, which I’ll leave you with below. In summary – thanks to David Manaster, Scott Baxt and the ERE crew – the Fall ERE EXPO 2009 ROCKED – so start making plans for Spring 2010 in San Diego!

Fall ERE Expo: Day 1 – Swanky & Hot

ERE Fall Expo Day 1 – 09.09.09 from Jennifer McClure on Vimeo.

This week, I’m at the 8th Annual Fall ERE Expo in Hollywood, Florida September 9th through September 11th soaking up some knowledge from many of the recruiting industries movers and shakers. If you aren’t lucky enough to be here – no worries – because thanks to ERE, you have the opportunity to participate in many of the conference activities through live video streams of several of the sessions starting on Thursday September 10th at 8:45 a.m. EST!

For more information and a schedule of the sessions to appear, go to www.ERE.net or here.

You can also follow along to to see what many of the attendees are saying and doing at the conference via the Twitter hashtag #ereexpo using Twitter Search (even if you don’t have a Twitter account).

I’ll be taking pictures, doing some video interviews and blogging about what I learn at the Expo so I can share that with you here at Cincy Recruiter’s World and also at Fistful of Talent so stay tuned!

(email subscribers – click through to to see the embedded video in this post)

ExpoFall09_facebook

Social Networking – What HR Needs to Know

Recently, Paula Santonocito, a business journalist specializing in employment issues, contacted me to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities for HR professionals and Employers with using social networks. The article she wrote following our conversation appears this month on HRWire – an online subscription resource that provides news and information for Human Resources professionals – and she kindly allowed me to share it in its entirety with my readers here.

After you've read the article, I'd love for you to take just a few moments to share your thoughts and opinions in the Comments section on what needs to happen for HR pros and Employers to address their concerns with social networking and begin to use the tools to meet their professional and business needs. Inquiring minds want to hear from you – because you already know that I think it's past time for everyone to get on board!

——

Online Social Networking: What You Need to Know Now

Paula Santonocito

LinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. You no doubt know the sites, and you are likely a member of at least one. But are you leveraging these social networks to improve your work performance and enhance your career?

Beyond an online presence

If you're like a lot of HR professionals, you have a LinkedIn profile, which provides details about your current employment, work experience, and education. You probably also have a number of associates as connections.

However, the business network is more than a site where you can park your resume and contact list.

Similarly, social networking site Facebook is not merely a place to show your face.

These social networks, along with Twitter, offer HR professionals tremendous opportunities.

What can you do using social media?

Learn, develop yourself, and grow your career, says Jennifer McClure, vice president of Centennial, Inc., a company providing business advisory and recruitment services.

You can also build relationships and seek advice, she says.

Meanwhile, from a day-to-day work standpoint, social media can facilitate employee recruitment and retention, and further efforts at employment branding.

HR's position

Yet, while opportunities to take advantage of social media are readily available, HR professionals as a group are reluctant to fully embrace what the technology offers.

McClure, who was an HR professional for nearly 20 years before transitioning to consulting, understands the hesitation.

She tells HRWire she knows the tendency toward isolation, to put your head down and do the work at hand. Be that as it may, McClure says she also knows that HR professionals should think more about how they can develop themselves and interact with others.

Used effectively, social media tools allow for interaction and relationship building, she says.

But first an HR professional has to overcome another obstacle, one that, ironically, makes him or her good at the job: the risk management factor.

McClure finds an HR person's initial perception with regard to social media is how to control and how to manage the risk, from both personal and company perspectives.

"How much of myself do I put out there?" is the personal conundrum. From the company vantage point, it's about risk and possible repercussion.

Risk averse

Unfortunately, when an HR person gets bogged down in this kind of thought process or analysis, it only contributes to lack of participation.

The reason?

Looking at social media through a risk-management lens doesn't work. "Social media is the exact opposite of that," McClure says, adding that the lack of guidelines in not how HR is wired.

To further explain the situation, McClure likens HR's role, or its perceived role, to that of a church pastor. You're put on a level where you represent the company and its policies and as a result tend think of yourself as one step above the everyday, McClure says.

Social media, by its very nature, allows for exposure. In effect it allows people to wander into a social setting where they see the pastor having a beer.

Given this scenario, even those HR professionals who use social media generally take a vanilla approach so they don't risk offending people. McClure believes this is a mistake, and recommends HR professionals put themselves out there more.

Setting the tone

One reason is rather basic. "Being vanilla kind of makes you boring," McClure says.

At the same time, social media wallflowers need to understand sharing isn't about becoming the life of the online party. There's a business reason to put yourself out there: It allows for more connection opportunities. And, according to McClure, the benefits far outweigh any potential risks.

This isn't to say a no-holds-barred approach to interaction is advisable. McClure doesn't recommend venturing into controversial areas like politics and religion, at least not without some restraint.

But sharing information of a personal nature can help forge personal relationships. McClure gives the example of how disclosing her interest in horses has helped her get to know other professionals.

With so many people working virtually today, interacting via social media makes sense. The tools allow for business relationships with a social component, just like in the face-to-face world.

"For me, it's how I do business now," McClure says.

Professional resources

And doing business via social media allows for a wide range of opportunities.

For McClure, social media is a valuable source of information. If she doesn't know the answers to particular questions, she can easily connect to people who do. By participating in LinkedIn Groups, for example, she can tap into a huge network of knowledgeable associates.

Following people on Twitter offers opportunity as well. By reading the tweets (Twitter postings) of various professionals you quickly learn who the experts are. When a question arises, you have a resource.

HR professionals can also use Twitter to establish themselves as experts in the field, which can help further their careers.

Social media provides a connection to community, and although the community has a social component it furthers business objectives.

McClure tells HRWire she gets an average of five business inquiries per day that are the direct result of social media activity.

Company presence

HR professionals can acquire professional knowledge, make new contacts, and brand themselves as experts using social media.

They can also use social media for employment branding.

McClure gives the example of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, which has branded its culture using Facebook. The company's CEO is also on Twitter, where he shares news.

The concept behind using social media for employment branding is to show that a company has a human face, that the organization is comprised of people. The way to do this, according to McClure, is simply to show the person or people who work at a company.

In addition to Zappos, McClure cites high-speed Internet and cable provider Comcast and Southwest Airlines as examples of employers that use social media effectively.

From an HR perspective, involvement with social media for the purpose of corporate recognition takes time. But according to McClure there is a return on the investment. "When they do need to recruit, the brand is out there," she says.

Social online, social offline

In an age where social media continues to gain ground, it may be advisable for HR to shift resources.

Instead of newspaper ads, marketing campaigns, and websites few people use, McClure advocates joining communities where people are already interacting.

In fact, she says social media isn't that different from good old-fashioned networking, the kind where you meet in person and exchange business cards. What's more, it can facilitate live interaction.

McClure tells HRWire she attended this year's Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual conference as a blogger and found she had a core group of people she already knew at the event. Even though she had never met any of her colleagues in person before, it was a reunion of sorts and they were able to socialize with ease.

Contact: Jennifer McClure, vice president, Centennial, Inc., cincyrecruiter@gmail.com.

Online: Cincy Recruiter's World, Jennifer McClure's blog, which includes social media tips and other information for HR professionals, http://www.cincyrecruiter.com. 

© 2009 Thomson/West

This article originally appeared in the Thomson Reuters publication HRWire and is reprinted here with permission.