Recomended Connections

Sunday ShoutOut: Curtis Midkiff @SHRMSocmedGuy

Image by Heather Bussing #SHRM12

I’ve just got back from #SHRM12 in Atlanta, a fantastic event that attracted close to 20,0000 people. I managed to catch a few sessions but I spent most of my time for the first two days in the hive. The hive was a brilliant collaboration between Dice.Com and SHRM, providing support and advice to any of the attendees on social media topics on a one to one basis. taking the theme and inspiration from Apple, with three genius bars, staffed by 80 members of the blog squad who volunteered to give up time to get others started on their social media journey. I found it really rewarding spending time with HR professionals getting them started. It was a great reminder of starting out, and the pure joy that comes from connecting. Before thinking about R.O.I, tools, applications and strategy, it is about connecting with others and sharing. The hive reminded me of this.

It was through the hive and the blog squad that I first came in to contact with Curtis Midkiff. Curtis is the Director of Social Engagement for SHRM, the society for human resource management. The role seems to be a catch-all covering all things social, This means promoting SHRM through the social channels, providing opportunities for members to connect with the organisation and each other, as well as supporting the members use of social media. It is a challenging role with diverse demands, and one that Curtis does well. I’ve had some involvement with the trade organisations where the pace of change can be slow. It is a balancing act between progress in small steps whilst respecting the existing brand and set up. What struck me about #SHRM12 was that social media was referenced in virtually every session, and the # trended for 4 days with over 25,200 tweets coming from over 3,800 contributors, and just over 700 new twitter  accounts set up. I think the stats speak volumes about the excellent job Curtis is doing in moving the social conversation. This volume of brand exposure illustrates how SHRM, lead by Curtis, are putting SHRM at the center of HR conversations with not only the members, but more importantly the HR audience at large.

Curtis joined SHRM in 2010, and has been making steady progress since. Before joining SHRM, Curtis was Chief Marketing Officer for JCM Enterprises.  Among  Curtis’s responsibilities at JCM was helping not for profit  organisation develop fund raising strategies through the emerging social media channels, as well as supporting companies with product marketing and other initiatives. Curtis worked at JCM for over 4 years, and was at the forefrount of the switch from e-mail to social marketing. experience that would serve him well on moving to SHRM.

Prior to joining JCM, Curtis founded and ran the BAMPAC Bulletin, an on-line website, bulletin board and newsletter. BAMPAC is a non-partisan political action group who work towards change in communities, and supporting local students with education. This was the start of Midkiffs marketing career, after studying political management at The George Washington University and English at Morehouse College. His career to date has been one of exploration and innovation, propelling him towards his great work at SHRM.

I really enjoyed spending time with Curtis and getting to know him a little better. He is full of optimism and leads from the front, a quality that no doubt has served him well with the many obstacles he has no doubt faced in turning SHRM in to a social organisation. The success of SHRM12 in generating social buzz is testament to his work. Blogger Dwane Lay of LeanHR and Dovetail software sums up Curtis’s contribution on LinkedIn with the following recommendation:

“As a member of the blogging community, I’ve often found that we are at best tolerated and at worst scorned at conference time. Curtis took the lead in moving Social Media to the forefront at the SHRM12 conference. By building a structure that was not just welcoming but engaging, he captured the attention of a wider social network than ever before. 700 new Twitter accounts, 25K mentions from 4k contributors and 103 million impressions don’t lie. 

Curtis was also very generous with his time, constantly engaging with the community from the beginning of the planning to well after the execution phase. He is held in very high regard for the work done in marshaling resources from media and vendors to provide an outstanding experience for the people who really count, the conference attendee. There are few in the industry who have that kind of reach, and fewer who can turn it into results. 

Curtis is at the top of that game, without question.” June 28, 2012

I agree with the sentiment. Thankyou Curtis for all you do, looking forward to meeting up again soon. Keep rapping!



Curtis Midkiff



Sunday Shoutout: Steve Browne (@SBrowneHR)

The book Social Gravity by my friends at Talent Anarchy, Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerdastandt has become my networking Bible. In the book, Joe and Jason talk about continually making intentional connections, and two of the areas that they feature extensively are karma and “The Bank of Reciprocity”. I love what these guys have to say on this, but when i start thinking of these areas, and of networking in general one name always comes to mind, and that is Steve Browne, who is a master of both.
I first came across Steve a few years ago on Twitter. We were both taking part in a twitter chat for job seekers, and Steve was giving out some sage advice as well as warm words of encouragement. One of the things I’ve always loved about networking on Twitter is that geography goes out of the window, and good people find good people. After the chat, a LinkedIn connection request followed, and an invite to join the HRNet. The HRNet is a website and e-mail newsletter that steve sends out each week to connect HR professionals. This started long before the days of social media, when connecting people was so much harder. Steve has worked really hard to intentionally connect with others and share contacts and resources.

One of the things I have grown to admire about Steve is that he has no other motive for connecting people, other than a passion for his chosen profession and for people. Most people who network tirelessly do so because it is linked in some way to the way they make a living. Thats no disrespect to them, I am after all in that category, but it is rare to find people like Steve with no additional business motive.

Steve is Executive HR Director for La’Rossas Pizza who he joined in 2006, with HR responsibility for over 1400 team members. The summary on Steve’s LinkedIn profile summary outlines his approach:

“I am taking a much different approach to HR than many other opportunities I’ve had, or that I see in most companies.

I am working with the Executives to truly integrate HR across the Company so that it is a true Business Partner that can work with the Team Members we have to improve our Company.”

Steve is passionate about the real value of HR to business, and collaboration amongst people. I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at Ohio SHRM in 2011 when Steve was conference chair. This event summed up Steve’s unique approach, opening the event dressed in a rock’n’roll outfit with smoke, flashing lights and a song. This set the tone for the event, with less attention to formality, and more on connecting, networking and having fun. HR Rocks really worked. You can see Steve in action here:

What struck me at this event was the genuine affection and respect that Steve’s colleagues from Ohio and the HR community at large hold for him. Steve has been an HR practitioner for over 17 years. He qualified from Ohio in 1986 in BS Communications and Interpersonal Communications, and is a passionate advocate of not just being a member, but being an active member of SHRM.  I’m planning on working with Steve later this year on #truOhio because of the friends I have made in Ohio as a result of connecting with Steve. I started this post quoting Social Gravity, Karma and The Bank Of reciprocity. Steve has more than paid his dues and deserves a return on his investment. He started his blog “EverydayPeople” a year or so ago when it was set up for him as a gift from his family to share his thoughts with the world. Steve’s latest post sees him hosting the Carnival of HR series, promoting other bloggers. I’m going to be hosting the same series on the 20′th June, and will be posting instructions on how you can take part on Tuesday. It’s going to feature a video juke box, and the chance to recognise someone who has inspired or helped you. Tune in on Tuesday for details.

You can find him on Twitter most days, saying good morning and exchanging advice and resources, when you see him there say hello. I know he will appreciate it.

Thanks Steve for being a friend and inspiration, if karma has anything to do with it you deserve all the rewards coming your way.


Steve Browne

Everyday People

Social Gravity

The Sunday Shout Out: @KevinGreenREC #CIETT2012

Turning a trade body or institution social must be one of the biggest challenges. When you are a member organisation, and the REC, (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) there’s a lot of barriers to change. For a start, as the oldest and biggest body representing the recruiting industry in the UK, everyone who works in the sector has an opinion and a stake, member or not.
What I have witnessed from similar trade bodies like the larger CIPD, and SHRM in America in the early days trying to be social is that your really on a hiding to nothing. You make the right moves, but people are quick to be critical, either that they are not going fast enough, not getting it right or not really understanding what social is. Your also giving people the opportunity, often for the first time, direct access to the powers that be, the opportunity to communicate and be critical directly and very publicly through twitter and other public channels. It’s a brave man who opens themselves up to this, and in terms of the R.E.C, is Kevin Green.
If a trade body wants to be genuinely social and reach not only their members, but the wider industry at large, then they really need to understand how the social channels work. The etiquette and what to expect. The REC are very much getting this bit right, by Kevin operating a fairly busy twitter account, and encouraging others within the organisation. This is very different to other member organisations who have tried to harness the broadcast potential of the channels, without really being willing to get involved in the conversation. You only get to know social if you are social.
The recruitment agency sector have been slow to adopt social recruiting, and there has been lots of reasons for this. The move towards social by the REC can only help to get more of their members moving to explore the social recruiting options.
Every time we run #trulondon, I invite the trade bodies (and there’s new ones popping up all the time), to attend and take part. To talk to the people who are forming a new section of the market, and are probably doing it out of the established framework. The people who don’t necessarily from the old guard, and are not connected with the trade bodies, but would really benefit from dialogue. The people who are less bothered about what the lawyers are saying, and more about things like candidate attraction, sourcing and what is going to help them solve their real problems. People who are more interested in knowing what technology can help them in their business, and less in who has paid to be endorsed. I know from feedback that Kevin’s track proved an excellent addition to the agenda, and the fact that the REC were willing to engage in this way was a real plus for them. Engagement is about everyone being involved and available, and not just the marketing or social-media department.

It’s the social difference between word of mouse marketing and traditional advertising. In most cases I’ve not had a reply to my invite, so I was delighted that Green not only wanted to attend, but also to run a track, in order to talk and listen to recruiters about their views and opinions on what the future would be for recruiters. It was a very interesting track, and placed Green and the REC in the conversation, rather than trying to peer in from the outside.
In another move to do something different, Green is bringing the #tru format and philosophy in to the heart of the CIETT conference 23′rd – 25′th May. The CIETT world conference is the global conference for trade bodies and the leading recruitment businesses from around the globe, who get together in one place each year. Follow the hashtag #CIETT2012 to keep up to date with the event.
In the middle of what has always been a very traditional conference format, I’m going to be hosting 2 hours of unconference to look at how social is impacting on recruitment. That means 6 tracks that are going to offer something very different, bringing unconference to the establishment.
The tracks and track leaders are:

> Steve Ward – Cloud Nine/Elkie holland – Prospectus IT – The Social Agency
> Jorgen Sundberg – LinkHumans – Recruiter Branding
> Andy Headworth – Sirona Consulting – The Social Channels
> Siobahn Coccorran – Oracle – The Impact Of Direct Sourcing
> Jonathan Campbell – SocialTalent/ Bill Boorman – @BillBoorman – Social Sourcing
> TBC – Mobile Impact

I will also be acting as ring-leader/sheep hearder/community DJ for the tracks, as well as working with Kevin to look at how we can run a blog squad, twitter reporters, livestream etc to socialise the event for an audience outside the room. A trade body should after all be a voice for everybody and not just the members.

With the level of participants I think the content will be ground breaking, and a welcome diversion to the delegates who will have been spending a day and a half essentially listening. The event is at The Landmark Hotel in Central London. If you’re in the UK, CIETT is a genuinely global event, that aside from #tru (of course), will be by far the biggest recruiting event in Europe this year. Take the opportunity to get along, and bravo to Kevin for wanting to do something different

Green joined the REC in June 2008, and has led the organisation through a significant restructure, against a background of significant period of legal change including the Agency Workers Regulation, and the recession, which has had a devastating effect on many of the members, who have been increasingly turning to the REC for support and help. They are the leading lobbying organisation on recruitment matters, trainers, regulators and ombudsmen, among plenty of other things, as well as being the recognized spokesmen for the industry. Green has to have his eye on a lot of different conversations, with an opinion on most things, so he will be right at home on Twitter.

Green is no stranger to change. Before becoming CEO at the REC, he was HR Director for Royal Mail letters, who he joined in 2003, and was part of the management team who transformed the business from losing £1mn a day to £600Mn profit.

Prior to this he was MD of strategic HR Consultancy QTab, who had an enviable client base, which brought him to the attention of Royal Mail. I remember when Green was appointed by the REC, it raised a few eyebrows given that he came from the corporate HR sector rather than the Agency sector. From when I first met him after his appointment, it was clear that he was not afraid of change, and wanted to listen to what the industry really wanted. Members were questioning what they were getting from their trade body, and change was needed. The formation of APSCO also had the impact of splitting the membership base. Change was needed, and Green brought that change.

Hats off to Kevin for getting social. Please go and follow him and share your views and thoughts wherever you are, and follow the other members of the REC who have started tweeting. They need all of our encouragment on the journey to being the social voice of the industry, and I hope you can join us at CIETT.