I just dropped a pretty little chunk of change on a seminar by Penelope Trunk called “How To Write About Your Life” and I blame the entire HR industry for the fact th
at I even need to attend it.
But I do because I’ve been conditioned to keep my personal life off the internet, to fear transparency, and to make sure that I’m setting the perfect example for employees in my organization by never stepping foot near the grey line of being human on the web. Because to be transparent means I could get caught doing something, somewhere, at some time in my life that might offend a single person and then I’d be forced to wear the Scarlet Letter of Looser-hood for the entire HR world to see.
The truth is that our fear of putting ourselves on the web stems from the fact that we’re so good at judging those who do; namely, our candidates and our employees.
I read blog posts by Penelope where she combines career advice with stories of her sex life, eating disorder, chaotic family, and daily struggles that would make any HR Pro blush. And as I sit there in shock with my mouth wide open all I can think about is how I wish I could write with her honesty, candor, and humor. She doesn't give a s#*t what people think of her and she knows that in order to truly impact people she has to be honest about who she is. And as one of the most successful independent career advice bloggers on the web it's apparent that her honesty is good for her organization (her own company).
Kris Dunn just wrote a post speculating that our fear that how to get your ex back councilor
they-are-ugly-and-thats-getting-in-the-way-of-organizational-effectiveness.html#comments” target=”_blank”>we’ve been beat by the ugly stick is keeping us from being transparent on the internet and, in the end, hurting our organizations. I couldn't agree more but I think the fear or being ugly is only one reason for the lack of transparency. I believe the bigger issue is that we are, by the nature of our roles and responsibilities, focused on playing the part of the level headed glue that holds the organization together, the person who can create clarity out of chaos. In times of stress employees look to HR to essentially make it okay. We’re afraid that if others see us on the internet for who we truly are – humans who don’t always have the answer or know the right thing to say – we will no longer have the ability be the glue.
The truth of the matter is that we are so much more effective as HR professionals when we open up and let people see who we truly are. Embracing a sense of transparency on the web about ourselves and our organization will lead to more meaningful connections with industry leaders, customers, candidates, and employees. The internet is powerful when it comes to winning the business game yet it feels like HR pro's are too afraid to take the leap.
I’d like to challenge every HR blogger out there to stop being so fearful of being transparent. Let's start by making the posts we write focused more on our personal thoughts and opinions and less on the politically correct ones. Let's use our personal experiences to teach others about our businesses and our industry. And let's start connecting at a deeper level.
I’ll get the ball rolling with a post called “My kid just shat in the tub and four more reasons I miss Corporate America”.
Who wants to join me?
Marisa is a Culture Coach for small and quickly growing organizations trying to establish the infrastructure required to create a company full of passionate, motivated, and engaged employees. She has held culture and engagement roles for two nationally recognized great places to work, founded the research and networking group Culture Fanatics, and is an industry recognized blogger. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and twin boys and is looking forward to the day she can bike across the country to raise money for MS research. @marisakeegan.