Many nonprofit HR practitioners say they are too busy to attend networking and learning events. We all feel your pain, but remember Parkinson’s Law: the amount of work invariably expands to fill the amount of time available. So you might as well block off a couple hours and get out of the office. In addition, sometimes in nonprofits we get a bit of a complex; we think that what we do is so highly specialized that we tend to restrict networking and education to the nonprofit HR realm. Instead of doing that, I recommend making a concerted effort to expand your horizons to seek out time with your corporate HR counterparts.
Three reasons to get out there and meet people:
1. HR is hard enough to begin with, and it’s harder still when you try to go it alone. Many people in your organization don’t understand what your role is, what you actually do, or the unique challenges of your job. But your HR peers do; and can offer support and a place to vent, commiserate, problem-solve and brainstorm.
2. Networking is one of the best ways to grow professionally, said Chris Ferdinandi in his 1/10 e-book, Do Amazing Things. It’s about learning, informal mentorships. It’s about being exposed to new and emerging trends which might benefit your nonprofit, boost your learning, give you a shot in the arm.
3. We have much to learn from the for-profit world. We can learn how much we have in common; for example, that many small-to-medium organizations struggle with HR technology; it’s not just a nonprofit issue. And we can learn about the ways that we are different; e.g. many nonprofits might be completely unaware of the infamous HR vs. recruiter divide, since many of us rarely, if ever, use third party recruiters.
Networking takes time, but it’s an activity worth your investment as the dividends can be generous. And who knows: maybe for-profits can learn from us, also!
photo by oooh oooh