Meet Melissa Fairman. Melissa is the author of the HRreMix blog. She has worked in the HR industry for over five years and is currently working as an HR Generalist. Melissa has an MBA with an HR concentration from Baldwin Wallace College and holds the PHR certification form the HRCI institute. You can follow her on Twitter at the handle @HrRemix.
Joey Baird, Sage HRMS: We love the name of you blog and your Twitter handle. What inspired you to choose that name? Did you use to be a DJ?
Melissa Fairman: Well I do love music, and a good friend of mine is a DJ! When I was thinking about starting my blog, I wanted a name that was different, that communicated the idea of change. Techno and house music, especially mashups, are a form of music that is heavily tied to change. Quite a bit of it is a blend of other different types of music, and oftentimes it builds upon older music and makes it better. So it was in that vein that I decided on my name. I almost decided to name the blog HR mashup, but I liked HR remix better.
Blogging is very popular way to share information in the HR industry. How important is it for an HR professional to participate in engagement through blogging and social media?
Social media is an excellent way for HR professionals to get involved in the community. It helps you to learn and grow within the field on a daily basis. It isn’t something to go into half-heartedly; I make time every day to be on Twitter and Facebook. That consistent presence has helped me to build a large network of other HR professionals I can reach out to when I have questions. Jump in with both feet in order to build a community and establish a presence.
Blogging is a much bigger commitment, but I encourage everyone to do it. You develop such a great knack for synthesizing your thoughts in a few hundred words, and that is a great skillset to have. I’ve been blogging about a year now, and I’ve learned so much from blogging; it makes it easier to keep up with the pace of HR news because I’m constantly writing and thinking about the issues.
There must be an endless amount of topics as they relate to HR write about. How do you prioritize and choose topics to blog about?
I wish I had some ordered system, but I really don’t. I use Evernote to take notes about potential ideas because it allows me to sync all my notes across all my devices. These notes are usually short thoughts about news stories that stick with me. After I think about these stories for a while, I’ll then develop the ideas into posts.
Do you have any insight as to what some industry trends will be in this upcoming year (2013)?
It’s hard to predict what is going to be impactful in the future. So much of what affects HR depends on what happens in the general world of business. I know that a big force of change we are currently seeing and will continue to see is technology. There are constant additions of new technology to the industry, and I can barely keep track of all the tech solutions. Social media is another aspect of technology that’s helping to push human resources forward. The overall driving force though is how quick technology is changing. If a company can keep up with the pace of technology, that will give it a huge edge in the marketplace.
The HR blogger community seems like a close bunch. Do you have a change to get together with members of the community throughout the year outside of conferences?
I’ve only been in social media for a year but I’m really starting to develop some connections. Earlier this year I was able to meet Buzz Rooney from The Buzz on HR. I recently attended the Minnesota SHRM State conference and had the opportunity to meet many people from Twitter in real life as well as some of the great speakers.
There are so many HR publications! What are your go-to resources that you find inspiration for your blog posts?
I think it is important for HR professionals to read information that is geared toward business, not just HR. To truly partner with a business, you need to understand how money is made. I read the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, the Economist, and articles from BusinessInsider.com. It’s a lot of information, so I’m always a few months behind!
I’m a member of SHRM so I read the email newsletters and their magazine as well. I also read a lot of HR blogs. Some of my favorites, my must reads, are CostofWork.com by Chris Fields, the Buzz on HR, the HR Capitalist, and Fistful of Talent.
Sometimes I cut back on blog consumption in order to read some of the great books that come my way. I have limited time so I have to prioritize my reading selection.
We noticed you’re a fan of the NFL. How are you feeling about this season’s encounter with replacement refs? Do you have any friendly HR advice for the NFL?
The NFL can learn a number of things from this season’s replacement ref ordeal especially along the lines of talent management, succession planning, and workforce planning.
For example, I worked briefly at a company where some of their manufacturing team was part of a union, but some were nonunion. We started planning a year in advance for the contract renegotiation just in case there was a walkout. We knew we needed to be prepared for that and other instances.
It shocks me that with the money the NFL generates that they didn’t have people on top of the issue. Their back-up plan was to bring in refs from the lingerie league. Really? What kind of a joke is that? I didn’t even know it existed.
Thanks for the interview, Melissa!