We were talking about Twitter names yesterday, as we were ‘educating’ a couple of colleagues about joining in with the fun. Some Probation Trusts have taken quite a uniform approach to names, whereas others have supported more organic growth – like ours – within reason. This led to one of the usual debates about the capacity in which one tweets, personal or professional, or a bit of both?
I was pondering on this with my boss, Sally Lewis (@CEOLewis), as my Twitter name is hardly linked to Probation, nor to my organisation. This means it doesn’t quite fit the convention suggested in Russell Webster’s excellent series of blogs on Twitter Etiquette either http://www.russellwebster.com/how-to-be-twitterfective-in-10-easy-steps/ I may have started #fitprobationstaff, but I’m not into yoga either. However, colleagues seem to think it uniquely identifies me – a bit like a CB radio handle? (Wow, that ages me!)
So why ‘familyhrguru’? Well if I was being thorough, and bearing in mind I use the term ‘guru’ ironically, it would be ‘family, friends, friends of friends and acquaintances HR guru’! Also, and importantly, I would only have been using it for about the last 2 years, yet I have been HR qualified for over 10 years and working as a manager of people for several years before that.
So what is so different about the last 2 years? Well, not my competence as I hope I am always learning and developing. There wasn’t an overnight change from family member, friend, friend of friend, or acquaintance into highly knowledgeable HR guru! Nor did this group of people I know turn into difficult, lazy or challenging employees …….. What changed was the economic climate.
What came with this economic situation was quite a number of people I know, or people who know someone I know, with job insecurity, problematic situations regarding their terms and conditions of employment, and in a couple of cases, people losing their jobs (for very little or spurious reasons) or redundancy not quite handed correctly. They know what job I do, and so more than ever before, I get approached out of work for my opinion or advice on things. In fact it has become quite an occupational hazard, not that I mind helping others!
There have always been fantastic managers, middling managers and downright awful managers. Equally there has always been a range of great and not so great employers. What worries me greatly is that the current economic situation - austerity, public sector job cuts, and slow growth in private sector jobs – will mean that this situation becomes more common. Not so great practice may become more prevalent as short cuts are sought by poor managers and less scrupulous employers in order to remove ‘problems’. I hope I don’t, but expect that I will continue to be needed to advise and support my friends, family, friends of friends, and acquaintances.
So to conclude, where did this Twitter name come from?
When supporting one of my cousins with some of her concerns (she is still in work by the way) she said “You’re like our family HR guru.” So there it is. I was quite flattered and the term has stuck.