Let me tell you something about my friends in HR/recruiting/talent development/culture.
They’re the best group of people you could want to be surrounded by. They get it: success in business doesn’t come from technology. It may come through tech, but it comes from relationships.
If you touch social HR in any way—through recruiting, HR, or talent development—you probably already know this, because you’re likely already in the conversations where you see this happening.
This group doesn’t do business. They connect—live and online—and let business happen while having a great time together. It makes me happy that I get to be part of it.
Laugh all you want about how trivial Facebook updates can be, but when I know where they went drinking yesterday in NYC, which route they took on this morning’s run, and how distraught they were when their grandmother passed away, I’m in a position to connect with them. People’s willingness to share experiences about babies, health scares, and incredible acts of lunacy witnessed at airports, opens them up to one another, brings them together as a group, and turns what would be uninspired business-as-usual into a community that’s genuinely fun to be part of.
And I love them for it.
Because when this group gets real like this, these people stop being colleagues and start being friends.
Who get to work with each other.
About ten years ago, a friend of mine (from a different industry) said, “I don’t do business with friends. Inevitably something goes wrong, then you have to fire them, and it gets awkward.” I called bullshit. First of all, real friends wouldn’t let things get to that point. Second, friends don’t avoid risk, they deal with it. Third, how sad, not to ever work with people you like. And finally, it didn’t make sense. What happens if you become friends with someone after you’ve started working together? Do you fire them proactively?
That guy and me? We’re not friends anymore. But his view is still the prevailing one in business. And people like him get so focused on the transactional elements of business that when they look at technologies like social media, they skip—sometimes entirely—that connections is not about technology, it’s about communication; that relationships sometimes don’t stay in arbitrary categories like “colleague” or “work friend;” that the goal isn’t to get their people on LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s to use whatever tools are available to make real relationships happen with as little friction as possible.
If you want to see the future of business leadership, look at the nexus of social HR and recruiting. I know HR gets (and often deserves) a bad rap, but the smaller circle of social HR leaders—the ones who share aspects of their lives with each other online, get together at conferences, and support one another’s businesses,—have what my former friend and others actually crave: genuine connection. This HR group understands that sending a “happy birthday” note on Facebook isn’t about pretending to be friends, it’s about knowing what it feels like to open your phone to 100+ birthday messages and wanting to be small part of that avalanche of love for someone else.
It ain’t rocket science.
It’s love, people.
Want to know what the leader of tomorrow looks like? Look around. It’s right here, right in front of you. It’s you. It’s us.
I learn from this group every day. I appreciate it, draw energy from it, and am so, so happy to be part of it. Because they get it.
We are the leaders of the future. We know how it works: put real relationships with real people first, let the technology follow, and you can’t ever lose. Me, I’ve been talking about the melding of personal + professional for years. This group I’m part of has been reaping the benefits of it. And now marketing companies, HBR, Deloitte, and everyone else are finally catching on. Finally.
So keep doing your thing, HR… keep shining your light so others can follow.