05 Jun 2013

Impact99 Attendee Profile - Jane Watson

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Jane Watson is a senior HR practitioner based in Toronto, and the author of the blog Talent Vanguard, where she enjoys writing about HR, work and organizational culture. In the last 10 years she’s worked across most functional areas of HR in a variety of industries, and is currently employed in the public sector. She’s an active volunteer for HRPA Ontario and HRPA Toronto, where she sits on the Mentorship Program Committee, as well as acting as a mentor through Fanshawe College and ACCES employment. She would love for you to find her on Twitter at: @jsarahwatsHR or on the web at www.talentvanguard.com.

We spoke to Jane, who will be attending Impact99 for the second time… and this is what she had to say.

In your words, what is Impact99 about?

Impact99 is a unique event. It‘s based on an authentic, underlying desire to question the status quo and explore alternate approaches to HR and the workplace. You’re not just sitting there, listening to speakers give the same canned presentation they give at every conference. The relatively small group of participants, the interactive format, and Pam and Christine’s whole approach and presence really contribute to an exciting, organic experience.

How did you hear about the event?

I met Pam Ross on Twitter (like so many others have!), and then in real life at the HRPA conference in 2012- she mentioned an event she was working on, and I was really intrigued by the progressive focus on how social technologies had the potential to transform the workplace. And then I kept hearing about it on Twitter from people in my network that I really respected - so I knew I had to go!

What was an “aha” moment for you when it comes to HR and Social?

Last year at Impact99 I loved hearing from speakers about the value of just getting started. In many cases, employers assume that social technologies mean a loss of control and so they close the door entirely. But I heard from, and spoke with, so many people about taking the first step, or considering how technologies that support collaboration can impact business outcomes. Ultimately, I came away realizing that there’s no one right approach for HR and social media, but there are a lot of different possibilities and success stories.

What takes up space in your brain? What keeps you up at night that you wish you had answers to? 

Oh boy, how much time to do you have? There is no shortage of things whizzing around my brain on a daily basis. Some of the more pressing items include how organizations will manage the implications of an increasingly contingent workforce, the need to find career paths for specialists and manage the succession and knowledge transfer risk they represent, and the more general fascination I have with organizations as social constructs and networks. Oh, and I also spend a lot of time thinking about how HR (and business folks in general) need to cut through the superficial buzzword-speak too often applied to discussions of employee engagement and organizational culture…

What made you decide to sign up for 2013 impact99?

I had a terrific experience last year - I came away energized and filled with concrete, practical ideas. Plus, I met a lot of really smart, creative HR thinkers who I remain in contact with. I wouldn’t think of missing it this year. The fact that Jody Thompson, of the Results-Only Work Environment, is the keynote makes 2013 even more exciting!

What advice do you have for your peers in the Canadian HR community when it comes to Social and the workplace? 

Honestly, I think that I can still learn from others on this. But the one thing that I think we can all keep in mind is that social, like anything else, needs to be a genuine solution to a business need, not just a tactic for the sake of jumping on the social bandwagon. And I think that Impact99 is all about that viewpoint.


Note from Impact99 Producers: We get so excited when we hear brilliant HR leaders like Jane saying they came away last year with concrete, practical ideas. One thing we really want to make sure we do every year is share not only thought leadership but also actionable ideas, so this means so much to us! We are thrilled to have Jane back again this year! Plus, we love her blog - check it out!

Join Jane and 98 others Oct 2 or Oct 23… reserve your seat!

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