Paris 13/11/2015

I don’t normally randomly blog but I feel that it would be appropriate to pay my respects to the people of Paris.

My thoughts are with the French people at this devastating time.

I have no words for these horrifying events, to all my colleagues, friends, family and contacts; stay safe and cherish every moment with your loved ones, sadly there are too many who are unable to do this today.

Paris, France; 13th November 2015

How to handle your social media channels; without getting told off by your better half!

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My husband was always telling me off for being on my phone and using social media as it ate into our limited time together. At first I wasn’t aware until I put the phone away for a few hours and realised I was struggling to leave it alone!

Upon reflection I then became concerned about the effect that it would have on my step children and the example it would set them. I thought about ways to limit its use without missing out (and its an incredibly difficult balance to find!) so I researched ways to improve the situation and it really works! So here they are; my top five tips for handling your social media whilst still having a life!

1. Use an automated app to send your tweets and update your LinkedIn; many people often ask me how I can get all of my work done and still have the time to update social media? It’s pretty easy because I generally don’t! I allocate one hour each evening or a couple of hours on a Sunday evening, I then identify trends in the HR world then put it all into my Hootsuite application on my iPhone. Hootsuite works on your behalf and can even schedule updates to appear at peak times to ensure you get noticed. Now that I have it I don’t know how I lived without it!

2. Get business updates to your desktop, all of my CIPD, ACAS and People Management updates are sent to me directly via email and appear at lunchtime when I have time to read them whilst having lunch.

3. Put the smartphone down! Working without your phone on your desk or not getting it out of your bag when you meet a friend for coffee will stop you getting distracted and allows you to switch off and focus on the task at hand. You can then recharge your batteries and allow yourself some much needed “you” time and trust me, you will feel a lot better for it.

4. Don’t look at your emails all day; allocate certain times during the day to check your emails; go and talk to a colleague instead of sending an email or pick up the phone if they’re not based at your site. People often prefer a more personable approach, this allows you to build effective relationships in your workplace, well let’s face it you can’t get a personality across via a screen!

5. Download a radio, podcast or a playlist from iTunes or Google Play; when at home instead of checking Facebook, put on the playlist and listen to it around the house, this will keep your mind busy and help you resist the temptation to pick up the phone or tablet. If you listen to business podcasts, it’s a great opportunity to learn about current trends but if you listen to some of your favourite music, nothing can be better to help you relax or have a dance around your kitchen if that’s more your thing!

I hope these handy tips will help you free up your time and help you become more productive, not just at work but at home too.

Check out this article to find out more about smartphone addiction: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201307/smartphone-addiction

Where it all began… HR with added Girl Power!

When I first decided to start my own blog, I spoke to one of my dear friends Cheryl who told me to go for it but the biggest piece of advice she offered was “to be myself” so I thought it would be a great idea if I started from the very beginning so you can get to know me a little bit better.

Believe it or not my drive and motivation stems from July 1996 when the Spice Girls shot to the top of the charts, I kid you not!

They inspired me; I adored their music and I literally wanted everything from Emma Bunton’s wardrobe! But the one thing that really stuck with me was the hard work they had put in to conquer the world, it seemed, overnight.

Upon researching their story I realised that they had sacrificed their education, employment and even lived on the dole for two years in order to become the most successful girl group of all time. Can you imagine Victoria Beckham collecting her dole money in Maidenhead town centre? No neither can I….

You’re probably thinking; what on earth does this have to do with HR? This formed the basis of my determination to be the best that I could be, as Karren Brady said in her autobiography “even if I was a cleaner, I’d make sure I was the best cleaner I could be” and I make sure I keep this at the forefront of my mind every day before I go to work.

One of the biggest hurdles I faced when I first started going for HR interviews was a lack of HR experience. I was a strong administrator with customer service experience and bags of determination, after nine interview these were the qualities that my first employer spotted and offered me the HR Administrator position on the spot. Many would be disheartened after nine interviews, but I had channeled my inner Ginger Spice! The Spice Girls had sacked their first manager, and not one for missing an opportunity; Geri Halliwell’s determination to work with a hugely successful songwriter, Elliot Kennedy (who went on to produce their second number one “Say You’ll Be There”). He was reluctant to work with the girls due to the lack of management but soon came around to Geri’s way of thinking after seeing how much passion she had to make the group a success. Spice Girls

Each Spice Girl was different, and let’s face it we all had a favorite! But by being unique and having individual contributions allows diversity and creativity to shine. They taught us all that it is okay to be different which helped women boost their self-confidence to get them “out there” and be proud. It takes a lot of confidence to push yourself forward and stand out from the crowd, but this is how I have managed to create a successful career, now I am using my experiences to inspire and motivate others, all whilst doing a job I adore!

One thing we could all certainly learn from  Scary, Sporty, Ginger, Baby and Posh is that a small team can accomplish anything when supporting each other and that is why it is so important to ensure we support each other in our work and personal lives. Making time to help our friends, family and colleagues is a HR strength, we should play to it and use it more often.

HR is all about support, we need to support the needs of an organisation, we need to support the employees but we also need to support the needs of our own teams. When a HR department is in tune together, large projects don’t seem so large and a heavy workload seems much lighter. The key thing is to stick together and identify viable solutions to the challenges that each HR team faces; one thing that is certain is that you will succeed as long as you work through the challenges together. It is these challenging situations that keep us focused and allow us to develop ourselves, embrace them!

If you are new to HR and want to push yourself, think about what you want to achieve, how you can bring this to your role and always remember to keep sight of your goals, it is only you that can hold yourself back.

Swing it, shake it and show them how good you are!