Top 50 Shades of Grey of valentines day

Christian Grey

We don’t really do valentines day in our house.  Mr HR Em works in the restaurant business – apparently he’s a bit busy at this time of year.  So instead I’m off to see 50 Shades of Grey with the HR Em Director of Procurement & Sailing.

However, I am a bit worried. I did read an alarming blog earlier in the week warning of the danger of grievances, or worse, arising from discussing 50 Shades of Grey in the workplace. Now, I haven’t read the book and I’ve stayed away from the publicity so as not to spoil the film.  I am a bit confused about how a film about interior design might land me in trouble in the office.

Apparently it’s quite steamy, maybe they have to take the wallpaper off before deciding on which shade of grey they are going to use.

I’ll let you know when I’ve seen it, just don’t mention it in the office.

Christian Grey
Christian Grey

Out of Coffice

I’m supposed to be on a digital detox, it turns out I’m not very good at it.  I started this because pretty soon I will be somewhere with, pretty much, no internet connect and no WiFi.  NO WIFI.

I’ve got 5 twitter accounts for different things, which I nurture with varying success! Sometimes they leak into each other by accident, which can be embarrassing.  But hey, who doesn’t love a cute cat picture from #CatFriday or (new this week) #Caturday.

I’ve got my personal Facebook account, a Facebook page and am member of various groups.

I’ve got four email accounts – not bad for someone who doesn’t ‘do’ email.

I’m not even counting – yammer, pinterest, google+, linkedIn & a Linkedin group.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got a Vine and an instagram account lurking somewhere.

Then there’s my employer’s internal online social networks too.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Oh and You Tube, I nearly forgot You Tube…

Basically I think in blogs, posts and tweets.

I’m not saying this to show off, I know there are people with more than me!  It’s just a reflection that since having virtually no digital footprint four years ago to now, I was actually quite surprised when I added it all up.

So what?

Well, I stated my intention to do a ‘digital detox’ partly so that I would stick to it and then it started feeling like I was saying to all my friends – I’m sorry, but you’re cluttering my brain up, I’m not speaking to you! Which is just a bit rude and not true.

I also wanted a way of saying I wouldn’t be online, without telling burglars to come and help themselves, A social ‘Out of Coffice’. (Don’t, there are people in my house while I am in the place with no WiFi and a big dog.)

The idea of the ‘digital detox’ just serves the argument that being online, social,  is bad for you and I don’t agree with that. It gives fuel to the people who just don’t agree with Social Media.

What I do agree with is that sometimes it can be difficult to juggle it all, even with Hootsuite. The other thing is that given that a lot of my work is to encourage other people to get involved* – what does it say to them. No wonder they look at me like I’m a crazy woman when I try to persuade them that this stuff actually makes their life easier!

Arianna Huffington describes her life just before she collapsed with exhaustion “The space, the gaps, the pauses, that allow us to regenerate and recharge – had all but disappeared in my own life”.  I don’t have a media empire and I don’t know anyone who does.  I’m not about to collapse with exhaustion,  but I will be thinking about how to help people to navigate all this better when they are already overwhelmed with email, so that it does actually add something worthwhile to their days.

So consider this my ‘Out of Coffice’ message.  Emma can’t answer your blog, post or tweet right now.

When I get back I’ll be putting many more pauses back into my day – I think it will be better for everyone.

(*My other mission is to encourage use of the work ‘Awesome’)

Shoulda, woulda, coulda…

I may not run fast, but I am fabulous!

Well, it’s that time of year and I might be slow off the mark but I can’t help but write a topical blog on resolutions!

Setting goals can be a surprisingly emotive thing I reckon, for me it really sets my inner critic (lets call her Penny) loose. She’s got my best interests at heart, wanting to keep me safe. Penny starts sentences with words like –

• You should…
• You must….
• If only…

So not helping.

In my head I am rubbish at running and in real life too. This is not false modesty, I really am crap. I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter. However, it turns out that what I am pretty awesome at is getting out of the house for 30 minutes, getting some fresh air and some space to think – whilst putting one foot in front of the other wearing dodgy running kit.

For so many year’s I’ve stopped and started running because I haven’t really been specific about what I wanted to achieve. I thought I wanted to run a 5k for charity, probably because that’s what people do. But it’s never motivated me, only making me feel more gloomy and giving Penny more ammunition to say things like –

• You should run faster…
• Why can’t you run 10k…
• If only Stella McCartney did running kit in size 16 you would be better… (what do you mean she does?)

It was only when I realised what motivated me that I was able to tailor my goals for me and so instead of run 5K by June it became – Create space in my day, get outside and move around a bit.

My measurements of success then became more approprate. Out with ‘Run 5k in 20 minutes’ It becomes ‘I will not leave more than three days between 30 minute runs’.

This is much more realistic given my lifestyle (hectic, natch, working on that!). I also set mysefl chunks of time, 20 days, in which I really focus on making my goal happen. At the end of the 20 days I reflect, learn, tweak (not twerk) and I have a little celebration.

And, no, Penny is not invited.

Before you go… If you like this blog you might like

Merry Christmas!

Not many people realise how much Rudolph loves a #HRblog

I’m going to be logging out soon and having a digital free holiday until the new year!  Thanks so much for reading and for all your comments. I’m looking forward to the new year and having lots to share and learn about my ongoing adventures as a HR person in social media! I’m especially exctied to bringing some chums along with me in 2015, keep an eye out for them.  I know you will welcome them as much as you have me :-)

Until then – have a peaceful Christmas and an outrageous new year!

Not many people realise how much Rudolph loves a #HRblog
Not many people realise how much Rudolph loves a #HRblog

HR in 2020


I’ve just finished the first module of the CIPD MOOC and here is my response to the first challenge, write a post about a typical day in the life of a HR Professional in 2020.  To be honest when I was little I thought we would all be living in space by 2020, but as it’s not actually that far away I’ll leave out moaning about the commute to the moon

I start my day by getting the HR Em Director of learning & Leisure (now aged 9 3/4) to school by threatening to take away all his wearable technology for a week.  Just before he slams the door he reminds me that I can’t because he has to analyse his personal data on his activity for the week as part of a school project.  Technology may advance but children still have all the answers.

With the Director of learning & leisure safely at school I grab a coffee, make myself comfortable at my desk at home and set my alarm for 90 minutes, which I do throughout ‘desk days’ to remind me to have a break.  I sit down to concentrate on the tasks in front of me.

First, I quickly check in on various social platforms (whichever ones exist in 2020). I say hello to a few people, add a few comments to ongoing debates and discussions, share my latest blog.  I check the social platforms internal to my organisation and update my

profile with what I am up to for the day.  I drop into staff forums to check out what debates are happening online.

My ongoing task is to try and get a feel for the general mood, what people are happy about, not so happy about.  I join in some of the discussions, flag up feedback with colleagues who may not have seen them.  Make sure that HR’s voice is heard, that we are adding to the discussions and visibly responding to feedback.

In 2020 – I am also able to have a look at some real time data to check mood on engagement and wellbeing, are people saying they are happy / engaged,  any pressure points for wellbeing concerns.  I can use website analytics to see what news items people are clicking on, what is interesting them / useful.  I make adjustments and interventions as necessary and tweak any communications that might not be performing or engaging people as we would like.

By understanding new technology the HR team have been able to join in the conversation and influence the direction of IT.  Making sure that new technology is implemented in a way that supports a ‘social organisation’ culture – promoting authenticity, transparancy and helpfulness. By (safely) opening up access we have been able to address the ‘digital divide’ between front line staff who rarely sit at a computer and office staff – with many more staff accessing internal platforms via work’s or their own mobile devices.  Many communicate with the communities they serve through open platforms, further blurring the lines between the ‘internal’ and the ‘external’.

I can then move on to my work with trade unions and check in on our collaboration site for new comments on new policies and consultations we are working on jointly.  Based on these notes I update the agenda for next week’s face to face meeting which, although we still have a healthy debate,  go much more smoothly with the work done collaboratively beforehand.

Next I  use  the social platforms to research challenges facing my organisation,  ask for help and make new contacts with people working on similar things.  I’m going to present the ideas I collect at our senior leadership team tomorow.  I’ll also record the presentation and put it on our team social network afterwards so that everyone can see it and join in the discussion.

Since 2014 entreprenuers have been innovating and creating apps that meet the needs of the city – for example Casserole Club or Good Gym.  In 2020 many have had a big impact on the way that local authorities deliver front line services.  I have a video chat with the manager of one such service to have a look at how the team might adjust and how the manager might manange the change.

In 2020  – At the end of the day I look in my emails , just to check my subscriptions to newsletters and blogs.  My manager video calls me and we laugh about all the emails we used to send in the old days…

I log off at the end of the day, jump on my hoverboard to go and collect the HR Em Director of Learning & Leisure (aged 9 3/4) from school.


Bring Brilliant Everyday – developing high performance leaders (notes from the session)

HR Em:

and breathe…. Science says so!

Originally posted on Pontecarlo or Bust :

After a rousing Key Note speech, a quick battery charge and water stop I’m ready for my first session.

Presented by Dr Alan Watkins an international expert on leadership and human performance from Complete Coherence Limited – and the son of 1970s comedy TV writer including episodes of Terry and June {impressed face!}. The session promises to cover:

– how to go beyond behavioural biology, to permanently step change performance
– how learning differs from development; and how to transform talent by working the difference
– practical techniques to strengthen leaders’ decision-making skills and overall performance levels

A great start as we are encouraged to Tweet from our seats in the session using the #CIPD14 by Gill White from CIPD.

Dr Watkins started talking about living in a VUCA world and that the world is getting faster and faster and becoming more ambiguous. Post world war 2 knowledge was doubling…

View original 862 more words

Street Wisdom

Street Wisdom

This morning I rocked up to Street Wisdom on the CIPD conference. I’ve had a headache for days, just thought I would mention it.  I can’t really do the experience justice here – it’s one of those things so individual you have to experience it for yourself.

What I can share is the following things that I noticed –

You think you slow down? You think you take time out? I noticed that what I thought was slow, wasn’t. In the first exercise I thought I had slowed down – until in the next we were asked to go even slower. So I did. I noticed that my idea of slow has been to only focus on one thing at a time, one channel at a time. That’s not slow, slow is sloooow. Slow is turning off all devices. Think like a tortoise. It was a peculiar experience to slow down in the middle of Manchester people and traffic rushing around everywhere, but a revealing and worthwhile one.

Trust – trust yourself, you will end up where you need to be. It might not be where you expected to be or thought you wanted to be. Notice how you got there. Things work a bit like that on the internet – one minute I’m tweeting pictures of biscuits, the next I’ve connected with someone and finding awesome ideas. Would the awesome idea have happened if I hadn’t tweeted the biscuit? We may never know. If I ever end up being disciplined for excessive use of social media at work ‘The interconnectedness of all things’ will be my main defence.

Stretch your eyes, stretch your perspective. At Uni an artist friend of mine used to say – you’ve got to stretch your eyes! As a philosophy student I was more concerned with whether your eye

s exist in the first place, never mind stretching them. But, I think I understand now. If, like me, you spend most of your time at the computer you are mostly not looking much further than the end of your arms. Never mind noticing stuff – there’s no time between emails, status updates and posts to look up. Or go to the loo. Street wisdom restored my sense of perspective – I know the world won’t end if I don’t check my phone for a couple of hours, but does that stop me checking every two minutes? Pressure stops the brain working, it helps to look up every so often.

I loved Street Wisdom. I slowed down, I had a good cry (much to the bemusement of CIPD conferencers passing by) I feel clear on what is important to me, I feel grounded. I know I’ll need a top up when my brain fills up again soon and I’ll have forgotten all my own advice! I’ll just aim for it to take longer for my brain to get clogged up each time.

Oh – and my headache has gone.

Street Wisdom
Street Wisdom

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Scary thoughts…

Oh mummy! Scary thoughts!


Oh mummy! Scary thoughts!
Oh mummy! Scary thoughts!

Not so long ago I was feeling rather frazzled – I was tired out.  I had no energy, I couldn’t keep up with the HR Em Director of learning and leisure (age 3 3/4) and I was stuck!  Everything else was going ok, I just needed to do something differently so that I had more energy!  I knew I wanted to get a bit fitter, but I didn’t have time – or didn’t I?

It turns out this was just one scarily wrong assumption that I was making that was stopping me from digging my trainers out from the back of the wardrobe and getting out there!

No matter what your goal that you’re not quite getting to, be it for work, fun or health, I would bet my last toffee apple that just like I did you are making a whole load of assumptions that you are not even noticing!

So in proper internet list style – here are the assumptions that I was making that were stopping me from getting a bit fitter!

1) I don’t have time

2) I should be doing something else

3) I might get addicted to running

4) A dog might bite me

5) I can’t run in the dark

6) Running is bad for your knees

7) I’m rubbish at running

8) I need a new ipod

9) I’m too unfit

10) I’ve lost my trainers

None of these things have been true so far!

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Oh mummy! Scary thoughts!
Oh mummy! Scary thoughts!