Tuesday, 2 February 2016

#hrevent16 blog #4 of many

In any HR conference there is always an Employment Law update and this event is no different. Always useful but how engaging depends on the speaker, and I've seen some very good and some very bad. 

Up today is Richard Thomas from Capital Law. He had a very fast paced style and didn't dwell too long on any particular case. Possibly too fast. 

He started by giving a summary of recent and future developments on the issue of Holiday Pay, and advised us to watch case law development closely as this area continues to evolve. 

He also covered the issue of working time, which for mobile workers can be deemed to start at the point they leave their home. On sick pay, he clarified that workers can carry forward sick pay entitlements to a new holiday year, but only for 18 months. 

An interesting case on subject access requests was highlighted, with a clear lesson for HR sections to manage internal emails in disciplinary cases because these could be covered by a subject access request. 

Of interest to those promoting social media use in organisations, like myself, is that courts are increasingly taking the view that Facebook, where privacy settings can be applied, can be employees own views and difficult for employers to act against, whereas Twitter is more open and people need to be careful...

I have to confess that at this point, Richard was going way too fast for me to blog and I have ended up five or six slides or cases behind him. He was clearly very knowledgeable and a good presenter too, but he had packed FAR too much into his session and it was all very interesting so we were just getting our heads around one case and its implications when he moved onto the next. 

Too fast. He was excellent otherwise. But he lost most of the audience by going too fast. 

I stayed in the room to listen to the next session with Louise Reed from Alere, but there was some problem and the session was cancelled with a minute to go and we were all advised to find an alternative session. 

As luck would have it, I had wanted to view Gem Reucroft and Tim Scott's session on social media at work but had found myself needing to make a hard choice. Thankfully this development made my choice for me and as it was in the hall next door I was able to get in before it got too full, although I had to sit at the front which I never like. 

I liked Gem and Tim's style and approach and, having spent time with both of them, I can vouch that their enthusiasm is genuine and their knowledge of employee engagement wide ranging. They use social media as a lever to manage employee engagement and use it well. 

What does surprise me though is how many people at a conference like this aren't active on social media. How many HR professionals think they can get by nowadays without being active, professionally, on social media. And yet here were people joining Twitter mid session, and of course the room was full of delegates wanting more advice. My advice is just go out there and do it. 

You could do a lot worse than following the examples set by Gem and Tim, and others. 

In this session, Gem and Tim were extolling the virtues of internal social networks. In my current role I use Yammer extensively, and the organisation uses it very well to promote achievements, highlight and develop collaboration between employees, and to get people actively involved in what the organisation does and disseminate news. 

It works really well, and yet I think I agree with Gem and Tim that more could be done. 

Another good point was about the use of social media like Twitter to engage customers and staff, and to create some visibility for leaders, and Tim made an excellent point about using media like Storify to bring Twitter to non Twitter users, something I've only done once or twice but recognise I could do more of. 

Listening to Tim and Gem's stories about people fearing change made me reflect on some of the debates I had in my organisation 7-8 years ago about staff use of social media, but I acknowledge there are still organisations who have yet to have that debate. The role of HR is to help individuals and organisations get used to social media, overcome their fears and get comfortable with usage. 

HR should be role models, say Gem and Tim. It's not about writing the policy on it - you do need one, but keep it brief - but spearhead the approach and live the values. 

An excellent talk. But now it's lunchtime. 


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