The “How To” Era Has Arrived

logoGuest post by: Jeff Waldman

Let’s take a trip back in time to the medieval days.  The date was December 16, 2011.  Yes, that was the medieval period in HR. Fear not, a lot has happened since then and here is the story.

I had some experiences, which turned into several observations, which evolved into ideas, which morphed into a concept, and then emerged into a launched initiative.  That initiative (drum roll please) was called SocialHRCamp.  During this period of time between “experience” and “launched initiative” I identified a handful of specific reasons why this initiative was an investment in the future of how we do business in HR.  This is what I came up with:

  1. The value social media can create for human resources are infinite.
  2. Adoption of social media tools in the workplace within the global human resources community was extremely low.
  3. Using a simple math formula with #1 and #2 above, you realize that (infinite value” – low adoption) = a huge gap.  It was a no brainer that the gap needed to be narrowed and I the person to lead this.
  4. Conferences that have talked about social media have only focused on why social media in the workplace is a great idea and what social media in the workplace is.  They failed to talk about the “how to”—how do you use social media? How can you strategically integrate and leverage in HR and Recruitment business practices?
  5. Members of the HR community love to learn by experiencing and engaging.

Tada!  Welcome to SocialHRCamp (SHRC)

The idea was to make the SHRC event interactive through sessions that employed experiential learning principles, predominantly focusing on the “how”.  Forget about the why and what.  We already knew why social media was important and we knew what it was (and if we didn’t, there’s a beginner session for that).  How does somebody actually use social media?  I felt very compelled that this was the way to tackle the gap between high value and low adoption.

SHRC is an unconference.  If you are curious about what this means, have a look at this fantastic definition.  Essentially it’s a participant-driven event where the schedule/agenda is organized in an organic, impromptu manner. They are highly interactive with two-way dialogue unlike traditional conferences, engaging, social, and are relatively inexpensive to attend (unlike traditional conferences).  In my opinion a critical downside to an unconference is they do not do as good a job at teaching people how to do something.  Why?  In my experience unconferences have been popular for early-adopters, and not early majority.  SocialHRCamp targets “early majority”.  They need, crave and want solid learning so when they wake up the day after SocialHRCamp they can start to implement and action!

What Does a SocialHRCamp Look Like?

To date we, my SocialHRCamp camp partner and collaborator Salima Nathoo and I, have run Camps in Vancouver twice, Toronto (soon to be twice), San Francisco (soon to be twice), Boston, Singapore and Manila, and have run other interactive events in Atlanta and Chicago.

We set the agenda well in advance of the Camp through a couple of iterations based on what YOU, the participants tell us. We identify topics in consultation with the local HR community, speakers and the latest industry trends.  We run 1-hour concurrent sessions in two tracks, beginner and advanced.  This allows each attendee to chart their unique learning path during the course of the day, being free to choose any session to attend based on personal interests, skill level and requirements of the organization they work for.

The most number of sessions that are taking place at any given time is three, all led by session leaders experienced in workplace learning, facilitation, training, public speaking, and expertise in social media.

Have a look at the agenda for SocialHRCamp Vancouver, which took place on May 10, 2013 to get an idea of how the Camp works.

The Audience

In order for change to take place by way of adopting new practices, we believe everyone needs to learn how.

SocialHRCamp targets the human resources industry—all job levels from HR business student to senior HR executive, and everything in between.  Popular job titles who have attended include Recruiter, Senior Recruiter, HR Manager, HR Generalist, HR Director, VP HR, Director of Talent, Manager of Talent and Manager of Recruiting.  SocialHRCamp is relevant for all organization sizes (start-up to multi-national corporations) and industries.  Industries that have been represented include financial services, insurance, healthcare, retail, hospitality, technology, engineering, government, not-for-profit, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, sales and marketing and entertainment.

Call to Action

Even if you are just slightly curious about social media and the infinite value it can create for you, or you are already using it, SocialHRCamp is for you.  Join us Friday November 1st at our Toronto offices for #SHRC13 Toronto!


Jeff Waldman is a senior HR strategist who integrates web technology into traditional HR solutions. His work emphasis is on social recruiting, employer branding, employee engagement, performance management, rewards and recognition, emotional intelligence and talent management. He co-authored “The HR Trailblazer—Unlock the Potential of Your Employer Brand in a Digital Age.

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