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Social Tech Team Profile: Ben Eubanks

Ben EubanksHere’s our next post profiling the members of our 2011 HR Florida social technology team. This time around we are talking with HR practitioner and blogger Ben Eubanks, a human resource specialist from Huntsville, Alabama. Most know Ben from his blog, UpstartHR, where he writes about leadership, culture, passion and how to become an HR Ninja.

Ben’s blog offers a variety of human resources themed series focused in areas like young professionals, careers and education. Most notably, Ben has written Rock the PHR, a step-by-step study guide to help professionals prepare for the Professional in Human Resource exam.

Be sure to go over and take a look at all these great resources, but right now please check out Ben’s answers to the five questions we are asking each of our team members.

Five questions from HR Florida

We are slightly more than halfway through 2011. What one thing has occupied most of your time this year?

My biggest focus this year at work has been culture. I’ve been honing our already-impressive culture to be one of our greatest intangible benefits for new hires and current employees. While I believe HR’s role is not to create the culture, we do have the responsibility of sharing it with others and protecting it from poor hires and leadership decisions. I’ve gone so far as to start writing a “culture guide” that I’ll be providing to new hires as a way to share some of our organization’s past stories of exemplary customer service, transparency and openness, and care for our staff. Fun stuff!

Looking at the human resources field, where do you see the greatest opportunity right now?

Wow. Big question. I honestly can’t say. Everyone’s working environment is different, and if I tell you that leadership development is a big opportunity, but your organization really needs better communication, then it’s a waste of time to speculate on that when it’s not going to be applicable for everyone. In the day job, it’s training and development. We are riding the wave out of the tough economic times and now have the time and attention to dedicate to development opportunities to better prepare our workforce for the next downturn, whenever it may be.

How has social media impacted you as an HR professional?

I was using social media from the first minute I started in the HR field. I leveraged that love of technology and networking to create more opportunities for growth and learning than most people see in ten years. I currently blog a few times per week and that is a fun, creative outlet for the ideas that I have. The communication methods and tactics I’ve learned in my time using social tools has made me the go-to person at work for crafting communications that hit the heart of the matter. I love the fact that I’ve been able to really explore the world of HR/recruiting even when I was an entry level HR guy with no experience under my belt.

Who is influencing your thinking right now? (from any direction or field)

Chris Ferdinandi. While he doesn’t write on Renegade HR anymore, I started reading and absorbing his philosophy on what great HR looks like early in my career, and it helped to shape the way I think about issues even today. Another is my CEO. And no, I’m not being a suck up. If you’ve ever come into contact with one of those leaders that challenges you to do and be better day in and day out, then you know what I mean. Mike is an amazing guy and I learn something new from him every day.

And the quirky wrap-up, Animal, vegetable, or mineral, and why?

Animal. I’m unsure which specific species, but I dressed up like this guy for Halloween a few years back and that’s about as close as you can get to an animal, right?


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