Table of Contents Hide
  1. The Importance of Networking for HR Professionals
    1. Making Connections Opens Doors
    2. Keeping Pulse on Industry Trends
    3. Gaining Insights for Career Growth
  2. Best Ways to Expand Your HR Network
    1. Attend Industry Events and Conferences
    2. Get Active in Associations
    3. Connect with Leaders on Social Channels
    4. Meet Peers at Company Events
  3. Nurturing Your HR Network
    1. Focus on Quality over Quantity
    2. Help Others First
    3. Stay in Touch
    4. Follow Up and Follow Through
  4. Avoiding HR Networking Mistakes
    1. Don’t Be Desperate
    2. Don’t Just Take Value
    3. Don’t Brag
    4. Don’t Forget Existing Contacts
  5. Using Social Media for Networking
    1. Expand Your Digital Footprint
    2. Comment and Share Broadly
    3. Research Contacts in Advance
    4. Sustain Engagement Over Time
  6. Strategically Growing Your Sphere of Influence
    1. Identify Areas for Expansion
    2. Craft a Compelling Elevator Pitch
    3. Set Quarterly Networking Goals
    4. Earn Thought Leadership Indicators
  7. Staying Updated on HR Industry Trends
    1. Read Widely
    2. Listen to Podcasts
    3. Attend Panel Debriefs
    4. Follow Key Influencers
    5. Talk with Peers and Clients
    6. Create a Personalized News Feed
    7. Join Online Communities
  8. Taking Action on Emerging HR Trends
    1. Apply Trends Strategically
    2. Run Pilot Initiatives
    3. Benchmark Early Adopters
    4. Survey Employee Sentiments
    5. Launch an Innovation Team
    6. Attend Hands-On Demos
    7. Visit Innovative Company Sites
  9. Overcoming Roadblocks to Staying Updated
    1. Sort the Signal from the Noise
    2. Align Innovation Goals
    3. Sell Relevance to Leadership
    4. Neutralize Change Resistance
    5. Phase Initiatives and Set Milestones
  10. Securing Executive Buy-In for HR Initiatives
    1. Quantify the Current State
    2. Outline Clear ROI
    3. Spotlight Competitor Adoption
    4. Neutralize Biased Perspectives
  11. Building an Innovation Culture Within HR
    1. Launch a Dedicated Team
    2. Make Space for Experiments
    3. Spotlight Early Adoption Wins
    4. Poll Staff for Ideas
  12. Evaluating Cutting Edge HR Vendors
    1. Verify Few Major Clients
    2. Research Founders’ Pedigrees
    3. Ask for Forecasts
    4. Validate Funding Sources
  13. Handling Biases Among Networking Peers
    1. Listen Generously
    2. Find Common Ground
    3. Suggest More Inclusive Options
    4. Lead By Example
  14. Promoting Workforce Innovation Globally
    1. Translate Trends Locally
    2. Champion International Assignments
    3. Sponsor Diverse Digital Nomads
    4. Spot Regional Pockets of Innovation
  15. Networking Your Way to a New HR Role
    1. Connect Deep, Not Wide
    2. Communicate Your Goals
    3. Obtain Referrals
    4. Prepare Stories Showcasing Impact
  16. Building an Advisory Board of HR Leaders
    1. Curate Diverse Expertise
    2. Convene Quarterly
    3. Maintain Individual Relationships
    4. Ensure Mutual Value
  17. Fostering a Culture of Continuous Learning
    1. Reward Curiosity and Growth Mindsets
    2. Budget Dedicated Innovation Time
    3. Showcase Early Adoption Wins
    4. Incentivize Implementation
    5. Feature Emerging Content
    6. Sponsor Rising Stars
  18. Frequently Asked Questions About HR Networking and Industry Trends
    1. What are the biggest upcoming trends in HR?
    2. Where can I find the latest HR innovation examples?
    3. How much should HR professionals focus on future strategy vs. daily operations?
    4. What are red flags that an HR trend is more hype than substantive?
    5. Should HR teams pilot every new technology product pitch they see at conferences?
    6. How can HR directors best align adoption roadmaps of new systems with executives?
    7. What metrics best showcase the impact of HR networking and industry awareness?
    8. Should HR experts specialize deeply or generalize across categories?
    9. What time commitment is realistically required each month to nurture an influential HR network?
    10. What’s the best way to capture key takeaways from HR events and insider meetings?
    11. How can I evaluate whether an HR networking community is worth engaging in regularly?
    12. What questions generate the most valuable strategic insights from CHRO networking conversations?
    13. Should HR networking efforts focus more on peers or executives?
    14. What etiquette lines should HR professionals avoid crossing when networking?
    15. What tactics create goodwill with reporters and journalists covering HR industry news?
    16. Should introverts approach HR networking differently than extroverts?
    17. What generic business networking best practices also apply in the HR context?

In the ever-evolving landscape of Human Resources (HR), staying abreast of the latest trends, technologies, and best practices is crucial for professionals to remain competitive and effective in their roles. Networking plays a pivotal role in this endeavor, providing avenues for learning, collaboration, and professional growth. This article explores the significance of Networking in the HR field and delves into emerging trends that are shaping the future of HR.

The Importance of Networking for HR Professionals

Making Connections Opens Doors

Networking allows HR professionals to build relationships with peers, executives, industry leaders, potential partners, and candidates. These connections are invaluable for sharing ideas, learning about new trends, finding mentors, advancing your career, and landing new job opportunities.

Attending HR conferences and events, joining associations, and connecting with top HR leaders helps professionals stay updated on the latest workplace practices, technologies, compliance issues, and other trends shaping the field.

Gaining Insights for Career Growth

Network contacts provide insider advice on building the right skills, framing your experience, acing interviews, negotiating offers, and more. They can alert you to open positions and put in a good word with hiring managers.

Best Ways to Expand Your HR Network

Attend Industry Events and Conferences

Top conferences like SHRM Annual and local meetups facilitate networking with thousands of HR colleagues nationwide. Look for learning, speaking, and sponsor opportunities.

Get Active in Associations

Join prominent groups like Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Association for Talent Development (ATD) for access to events, research, credentials, peers, and leadership openings.

Connect with Leaders on Social Channels

Follow top HR executives, authors, speakers, bloggers, podcasters, and award winners. Comment on their content and engage to raise your visibility.

Meet Peers at Company Events

Chat up HR colleagues from other organizations at sponsored happy hours, golf outings, sporting events, trade shows, and other corporate hosted or sponsored occasions.

Nurturing Your HR Network

Focus on Quality over Quantity

Prioritize building strong bonds with a diverse but select group of highly-regarded professionals rather than superficial relationships with as many people as possible.

Help Others First

Look for opportunities to offer insight, provide referrals, make introductions, share resources, and give back to old and new connections before asking for favors.

Stay in Touch

Check in quarterly via email, meetings, social comments, etc. Consistent engagement helps nurture professional relationships over the long term.

Follow Up and Follow Through

After meeting new contacts, connect via LinkedIn within 24 hours. Suggest meeting again or introductions to those with common interests. Then actually follow through.

Avoiding HR Networking Mistakes

Don’t Be Desperate

Avoid conveying desperation in networking conversations via flattery, name dropping, or aggressively selling yourself. Stay positive and focus conversations on learning.

Don’t Just Take Value

Don’t view contacts solely as stepping stones for your own gain. Strive for mutually beneficial relationships built on trust by providing value to others first.

Don’t Brag

Resist the temptation to arrogantly brag about your accomplishments. Remain humble, credit your team, and focus on positive outcomes achieved.

Don’t Forget Existing Contacts

As you expand connections, stay engaged with those in your inner circle by checking in regularly and identifying new ways to collaborate.

Using Social Media for Networking

Expand Your Digital Footprint

Maintain rich, updated social profiles that showcase your HR background, skills, accomplishments, and thought leadership to contacts 24/7.

Comment and Share Broadly

Weigh in on discussions and share content in niche HR forums on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. This builds relationships.

Research Contacts in Advance

Review social profiles of attendees before events to identify common connections and discussion topics. Continue the dialogue online afterward.

Sustain Engagement Over Time

The relationships made at events or online shouldn’t end after initial meetings. Keep engaging via comments, shares, and messages.

Strategically Growing Your Sphere of Influence

Identify Areas for Expansion

Notice networking gaps and opportunities by tracking all contacts in a CRM by categories like role, industry, specialty, location, met at X event, etc.

Craft a Compelling Elevator Pitch

Prepare a brief spiel conveying who you are, what you do, what you want, and what makes you unique. Refine over time based on reactions and engagement gained.

Set Quarterly Networking Goals

Outline objectives each quarter for events to attend, people to meet, groups to join, social post frequency, profile updates, and other targets.

Earn Thought Leadership Indicators

Secure contributing blogs, speaker roles, published credits, press mentions, and LinkedIn skill badges to position your expertise with new connections.

Read Widely

Subscribe to email newsletters from top companies, thought leaders, influencers, associations, and publishers to stay on pulse of emerging perspectives and news.

Listen to Podcasts

Stream top-rated HR podcasts during a weekly commute to hear insights from innovators and workforce experts across specializations.

Attend Panel Debriefs

Digest key takeaways from large conferences by watching recorded session briefs or reading detailed event rundowns blogged by expert attendees post-event.

Follow Key Influencers

Bookmark social media feeds, blogs, and columns of leading authorities for easy access to commentary on new developments as soon as they publish or post.

Talk with Peers and Clients

Discuss industry questions, pain points, solution debates and other timely topics with an advisory circle of trusted contacts across domains to expose blindspots beyond your niche lenses.

Create a Personalized News Feed

Curate a custom news feed using Google Alerts for designated industry keywords, leaders’ names, company updates, authors of interest,jogthe day’s pressing headlines with diverse perspectives.

Join Online Communities

Engage actively in niche LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, listservs, Slack channels, and forums for peers and experts sharing the latest resources, best practices, partnership opportunities, and trending topics.

Assess trend applicability against workforce needs before investing heavily in new technology, practices, policies etc. Move forward where clear ROI potential aligns with priorities.

Run Pilot Initiatives

Test applicability of an emerging workplace solution with smaller controlled launches focused on willingness to adopt, implementation requirements, and measurable impact before approving company wide initiatives.

Benchmark Early Adopters

Research how top employers or industry leading companies on the cutting edge have successfully adopted an intriguing HR model to replicate their change management and best practice playbooks.

Survey Employee Sentiments

Collect broad feedback on the appeal level, potential adoption challenges, and perceived benefits of an outside-the-box idea via quick pulse surveys before pouring resources into concepts without ground support.

Launch an Innovation Team

Task a dedicated and diverse innovation team exploring HR tech and strategy breakthroughs with deeply researching emerging models, running experiments, gathering employee input, and providing adoption roadmap recommendations.

Attend Hands-On Demos

Sign up to experience detailed virtual product walkthroughs showcasing cutting edge HR technology solutions at conferences or dedicated demo events to evaluate real functionality beyond vendor marketing pitches.

Visit Innovative Company Sites

Tour pioneering campuses firsthand that have radically reimagined everyday workplace processes using interactive kiosks, automation bots, AR/VR environments, hot desking protocols, and agile work principles.

Overcoming Roadblocks to Staying Updated

Sort the Signal from the Noise

Curate input channels carefully around trusted industry advisors, demonstrated innovators, and proven leaders rather than every vendor with a new pitch to filter hype from applicable models.

Align Innovation Goals

Evaluate industry trend spotting opportunities against company values, operating models, business needs, and HR strategy pillars rather than adopting new approaches randomly without serving workforce priorities.

Sell Relevance to Leadership

Earning buy-in for bold ideas requires framing cutting edge practices in terms of direct cost savings, productivity gains, recruitment advantages, retention wins, and other bottom line arguments that resonate across the C-Suite.

Neutralize Change Resistance

When encountering reluctance from executives on needed HR transformation initiatives, leverage research on competitor adoption plus employee survey data and focus groups to overcome conservative objections.

Phase Initiatives and Set Milestones

Break overwhelming innovation roadmaps into smaller phased rollout plans with clear goals and milestones to build internal confidence for new HR models through incremental demonstrated success rather than drastic change.

Securing Executive Buy-In for HR Initiatives

Quantify the Current State

Capture analytics on productivity drains, turnover and hiring costs, lost time tracking systems, and manager frustration levels with outdated HR processes to showcase the depth of need and costs of inaction.

Outline Clear ROI

Frame proposals around cost savings, revenue gains, retention boosts, recruiter capacity lifts, and other concrete outcomes that resonate across the C-Suite rather than just HR gains in order to earn investment dollars.

Spotlight Competitor Adoption

Research uptake rates from industry leaders, early adopters at respected brands, recent overhaul wins making headlines, and adoption indicators in analyst reports to underscore how peers are advancing while your organization falls behind.

Neutralize Biased Perspectives

Some executives cling tolegacy operating models that served them well historically, now blinded to emerging best practices. Overcome preconceptions with irrefutable data points on modern employee expectations and outside innovations.

Building an Innovation Culture Within HR

Launch a Dedicated Team

Task a select group of creative, analytical and business-minded HR staffers to deeply research the latest workplace technologies, models and ideas while crafting adoption roadmaps for those that align to company needs and culture.

Make Space for Experiments

Allocate budget for controlled pilot initiatives around technologies like digital assistants, wearables, augmented training tools and flexible work protocols to nurture intrapreneurship and evolve dated policies.

Spotlight Early Adoption Wins

Prominently celebrate specific managers and departments embracing HR innovation early through volunteering for pilots, suggesting leading vendors, creatively renovating spaces etc. to motivate organization wide buy-in.

Poll Staff for Ideas

Crowdsource creative suggestions from all employees on refreshing outdated processes and systems through quick pulse surveys, ideation challenges throwing problems to cross functional teams, and hackathons focused on enhancing their daily workforce experience.

Evaluating Cutting Edge HR Vendors

Verify Few Major Clients

When demoed slick platforms with limited flagship customer wins beyond seed stage rollouts, press cautiously on longer term issues like scale support, stability, roadmaps, and client retention rates before buying promises.

Research Founders’ Pedigrees

Look beyond sales messaging to analyze technical capabilities, solution focus and implementation experiences of executive teams guiding startups. Well rounded, complementary skills that fill gaps drive greater credibility.

Ask for Forecasts

Inquire not just about current capabilities but also about multi-year vision, strategic partnerships forming, market dynamics shifting, and talent investments that suggest aggressive imminent growth versus stagnancy ahead.

Validate Funding Sources

Vet backers and investors whose deep pockets, stellar reputations, rigorous selection processes suggest confidence in the vendor’s trajectory from parties with the most context and vested interest in their scaling success.

Handling Biases Among Networking Peers

Listen Generously

If contacts make biased assumptions or controversial comments, avoid immediate confrontation. Ask thoughtful follow-up questions first to understand their full perspectives and experiences leading them there before pushing different viewpoints.

Find Common Ground

Once tensions emerge, pivot conversations to shared goals around nurturing great workplaces, developing all talent, embracing empathy, and other themes all HR professionals rally behind despite other disagreements.

Suggest More Inclusive Options

Rather than directly saying a narrow practice is wrong, offer alternative inclusive policies you’ve researched that create value for a wider range of workforce demographics while accomplishing the same intended objectives.

Lead By Example

Stand up for underrepresented groups and balanced perspectives through your own speaking opportunities, blog commentary, community building efforts, and daily workplace practices to model shifting mindsets through demonstrated action.

Promoting Workforce Innovation Globally

Given geographic differences in talent pools, laws, norms and infrastructure, adapt emerging models from HR hubs like Silicon Valley for local needs before directly transferring policies to secondary global regions.

Champion International Assignments

Rotate high potential HR staffers through strategic global offices immersed in those localized workforce transitions to broaden insights before returning them home to inject lessons learned driving relevant adoption roadmaps.

Subsidize remote work trips for unique demographics like Gen Z employees, parents with flexibility needs, multi-region teams or neurodiverse workers specifically to capture fresh global perspectives exposed while building future skills.

Spot Regional Pockets of Innovation

Scout ideas from global cities known for creative community spaces, niche benefits packages relevant to local cultures, human-centric automation approaches, landmark public transport models enabling access etc. even beyond corporate contexts.

Networking Your Way to a New HR Role

Connect Deep, Not Wide

Build genuine reciprocal relationships with a targeted, modest number of respected professionals able to refer or hire rather than very thin connections with everyone you meet. Prioritize quality conversations over handing cards to all.

Communicate Your Goals

Tactfully inform key contacts you wish to take on an HR leadership role leveraging your niche background. Ask about paths at their high growth organizations that could utilize your specialized skills and interests.

Obtain Referrals

Once aware a dream company has the right opening, politely ask networked executives at that firm if they can submit your resume directly to the hiring manager given your aligned strengths.

Prepare Stories Showcasing Impact

With insider advice from senior HR contacts on framing your background for interviews, refine stories demonstrating how you drove measurable HR results at key career moments rather than just listing tasks completed. Quantify wherever possible.

Building an Advisory Board of HR Leaders

Curate Diverse Expertise

Assemble a small council featuring both highly seasoned legacy operators and next gen innovators spanning key HR sub-domains like analytics, DEI, people science, automation and operating models to pressure test ideas.

Convene Quarterly

Host consistent exclusive convenings to review strategy, emerging tech, talent practices and culture diagnostics while soliciting candid counsel, contrarian input and research resources privately through structured advisory sessions.

Maintain Individual Relationships

Beyond big group debates, nurture one-on-one bonds with each adviser over informal coffees discussing their career journeys, lessons learned, leadership styles and motivating principles to apply insights personally as an mentee.

Ensure Mutual Value

Treat talented network members generously by referring business opportunities, spotlighting their work internally, providing visible association nominations, and celebrating wins to incentivize ongoing reciprocity and counseling rather than just taking their guidance.

Fostering a Culture of Continuous Learning

Reward Curiosity and Growth Mindsets

Praise employees for researching emerging workplace trends, visiting industry events, suggesting creative ideas from other sectors, admitting knowledge gaps without shame, and pursuing continual education.

Budget Dedicated Innovation Time

Allocate paid quarterly innovation hours for all staff to explore workplace evolution topics through attending conferences, touring pioneer companies, or testing new technologies to stimulate fresh perspectives.

Showcase Early Adoption Wins

Prominently celebrate individual teams and managers embracing HR innovation early through volunteering for pilots, suggesting leading edge vendors, renovating spaces creatively etc. to motivate organization wide buy-in.

Incentivize Implementation

Consider offering spot bonuses or eligibility for leadership training programs to managers who meet targeted KPIs for rolling out HR systems, policies, technology or facilities that push workplace advancement.

Feature Emerging Content

Obtain licenses for trend forecasting research reports, book summaries on leadership principles, courses on design thinking, podcast playlists from experts etc. to populate company intranet portals with inspiration.

Fund up-and-coming HR staffers eager to attend additional industry events, speak on future focused topics, lead international site visits, earn niche credentials and otherwise position themselves as ambassadors of innovation.

Some major trends shaping HR include remote and hybrid work models, accelerated use of automation, analytics and AI informing all processes, candidate-led recruiting experiences, VR/AR gaining adoption for learning, and greater personalization of EX and rewards programs.

Where can I find the latest HR innovation examples?

Leading sources for inspiration include SHRM’s HR Technology Conference, HR Executive Magazine’s annual Top HR Product awards, the Josh Bersin RESEARCH library, Forrester reports, Gartner surveys, and columns from influencers like Meghan Biro.

How much should HR professionals focus on future strategy vs. daily operations?

While execution is critical, HR leaders must still dedicate at least 20% of their time to exploring industry evolution, visiting pioneering companies, attending demo days, subscribing to expert trend spotters, and otherwise preparing for how work will transform in future years.

What are red flags that an HR trend is more hype than substantive?

Indicators of short-lived hype vs. lasting ideas include: bold claims without data backing, few adoptions beyond tech startups, lack of serious VC funding, no uptake from respected brands, poor UI/UX, warnings from analysts, and no integration partnerships.

Should HR teams pilot every new technology product pitch they see at conferences?

No. Carefully evaluate tools against actual needs first. Beware solution looking for problem plays. But do greenlight low risk pilots focused specifically around defined use cases to evolve systems and processes.

How can HR directors best align adoption roadmaps of new systems with executives?

Showcase competitor use data plus findings from staff surveys and focus groups on current pain points. Calculate direct ROI through metrics like time savings, retention boosts, recruiter productivity lifts, etc. that resonate across the leadership team.

What metrics best showcase the impact of HR networking and industry awareness?

Track mentions/follower growth on influencer platforms, invite rates for insider events, web traffic and contacts generated from published articles/keynotes, new vendors identified, staff surveys on HR tech satisfaction, and HR budget directed to forward focused projects.

Should HR experts specialize deeply or generalize across categories?

Tailor breadth vs depth balance based on career aspirations. Specialists dive deep into single domains and compete as leading authorities while generalists consult more holistically across functions which better prepares them for the top job.

What time commitment is realistically required each month to nurture an influential HR network?

Consistently investing just 30-60 minutes weekly in sharing relevant articles, commenting on posts, sending introduction emails, scheduling catch-ups, researching connections, etc. compounds over months/years to build an invaluable support community.

What’s the best way to capture key takeaways from HR events and insider meetings?

Taking photos of slides, bookmarking useful resources mentioned, requesting shared docs, and taking organized notes backed by apps like Contactually that automatically log meetings and relationship details aid memory and preserve insights.

How can I evaluate whether an HR networking community is worth engaging in regularly?

Assess group quality via activity levels, professional diversity, discussion value, resource sharing frequency, firehose versus focus flow, # of recognizable experts actively contributing, leader hospitality and whether meetings lead to direct job/partnership leads.

What questions generate the most valuable strategic insights from CHRO networking conversations?

Some thought starter queries include: “What outside sectors offer intriguing workforce models?” “Where do you see HR adding the most value in 5 years?” “What capabilities are most undervalued?” “How are expectations shifting across generations?” and “What scenarios keep you up at night?”

Should HR networking efforts focus more on peers or executives?

HR peers provide critical mid-level connections and tactical guidance while CHROs and best practice company execs offer big picture vision and influence. Network broadly then double down nurturing those who can one day sponsor your growth.

What etiquette lines should HR professionals avoid crossing when networking?

Don’t aggressively sell services, bash competitors, hijack conversations, name drop excessively, gossip, complain about leaders, compare compensation, overshare personal details, take calls mid-chat, shut out emerging voices, forget to follow up or ask, “How can I help?”

What tactics create goodwill with reporters and journalists covering HR industry news?

Suggest relevant story ideas occasionally, provide informed background context without attribution when requested, respond promptly to inquiries, meet for occasional informal coffee chats, celebrate their wins on social media, send new research or reports proactively that may interest them.

Should introverts approach HR networking differently than extroverts?

Yes. Set achievable quantity goals for short interactions focused on learning rather than driving volumes of contacts. Attend smaller events. Suggest moving conversations into smaller breakout groups. Follow up online in spaces where you contribute best. And debrief to trusted allies.

What generic business networking best practices also apply in the HR context?

Do research attendees in advance, listen more than speak about yourself, follow up with personalized invites and share resources mentioned, look for ways to help others first, volunteer for introductions or event support roles, don’t job hunt aggressively, write thank you notes.

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