A unique initiative, #nzlead is the first tweet chat on HR matters in New Zealand. (A tweet chat is when people simultaneously engage in conversation around a particular topic on Twitter, using a hashtag to identify conversation threads – in this case #nzlead.)
“The main focus is New Zealand HR, but a spinoff of that is also connecting HR people from around the world to get an international perspective on ideas,” said Amanda Sterling, organisational development partner – Frucor Beverages and founder of #nzlead.
The idea sprang from a pilot course on leadership development that Sterling designed and ran last year, and on which she met her co-host Natasha Pieterse, change management co-ordinator – Ministry of Education. The tweet chats, which were a component of the course, worked particularly well and made Sterling consider opening them up to HR people to discuss HR topics.
For Sterling, some of the benefits of Twitter include the fact that tweets are instantaneous and have the potential to go viral, but above all its power as a networking tool. “It’s not like LinkedIn, where you know the person and have to send them an invite, or Facebook, where you have to ‘friend’ them…you can follow whoever’s interesting, so there’s no barrier to that connection,” she explained.
There were already New Zealand-based HR professionals on Twitter, so it was a matter of co-ordination: establishing a time and place for more structured discussion. There are now 20-25 people who regularly and actively participate in the tweet chat.
The point of the conversation is to provoke genuine discussion. “We don’t want to just rehash the same material – we want to push the boundaries and talk about the sacred cows and really get people thinking about what value HR can add as a profession,” Sterling said.
Some of the topics that they have discussed so far include, the purpose of the HR function, adapting to the future of work, and HR’s ROI.
While inspiration for the tweet chat came from #tchat – an American initiative founded by Meghan M Biro, CEO – Talent Culture, the New Zealand version is a little different. “We’re like the friendly local tweet chat, so it’s a little bit less scary for people as well,” Sterling said.