I was entrusted to lead the team of webinar producers in January 2013. It was a huge a opportunity, and an even bigger challenge (and it still is), so I embraced it and became the new team leader of the webinar department.
At that time I had solid experience in putting together webinars, as well as a rather concrete understanding of the business side of the job, and I had some ideas how to improve the overall performance of our department. However, I had no experience with managing and leading people, besides some coaching of new colleagues. I was thrown in at the deep end, and had to come up with my own team management approach. I was facing issues like how to give feedback to my team members – positive and negative – as well as how to motivate them and encourage them to discuss any idea they might have for improvement, or any single doubt about any aspect of our job. Moreover, I had to hire and train several new producers. Thus I needed a good source of information, with ideas and tips about every single aspect of managing the people in my team.
I was lucky enough to work in a company that facilitates information exchange between professionals in various fields, with one of the most important fields for us being HR. Therefore I had a chance to participate in every HR webinar we held this year, and many times I found inspiration and thought-provoking ideas that got me thinking about ways to improve my approach to leading the team. At the beginning of the year we introduced a new webinar series consisting of six very specific, hot HR topics. The first part of the series was in May, covering the topic of using social media for talent acquisition, and featuring two excellent speakers: Mr. Wim Boiten (Global Director of Human Resources at AB Enzymes) and Mr. Michel Guye-Bergeret (Recruitment and Sourcing Specialist at CERN). The main takeaway from this webinar for me was that we are unfortunately lagging behind these forward-looking organisations when it comes to top talent acquisition via social media; the question of whether we should make efforts to utilise social media for hiring is a no-brainer. Wim and Michel covered the best practices in their companies related to utilising social media for talent acquisition, and we heard about the importance of HR social media in a company's branding as well. The second part of our series in June dealt once again with a very innovative topic: online interviews. I learned about CERN's asynchronous interview technique, which is an extremely cost-effective way of interviewing a large number of applicants. Upcoming parts of the series will also feature some interesting topics: apps and mobile devices for HR, HR gamification, and my personal favourite for December: best ways to keep your employees motivated.
Aside from the HR webinar series, there is another event I am looking forward to: Corporate Learning & Leadership Development This will be the second annual webinar on this topic, and the first annual was one of the best and most interactive webinars I've ever witnessed, so I am sure the second one will be great too.
For me personally, our HR webinars proved to be a great source of new information and inspiration. I quickly gained insight into topics I would have otherwise needed to research and read about for several hours. At the webinar, however, just two twenty-minute presentations allowed me to learn enough about these new issues to greatly help in my new job of managing and leading my team.