I first heard this term six years ago at networking event. I could kick myself now for not really understanding the power it holds and engaging with it to an enormous advantage.
Firstly, what is a LION?
It stands for LinkedIn Open Networker, and means you are open to accepting connections or invites from any one.
Why do HR people need to build their HR networks?
In the past, most HR people built their network on LinkedIn in a haphazard and opportunistic way. We may have met another HR professional at a live networking event. Exchanged details, and connected on LinkedIn. All sounds good right? The problem is that it is a short sighted strategy.
LinkedIn (and Google+) is fast becoming a business data base, and search engine, that needs to be managed strategically. Now as our knowledge of LinkedIn and its features expand, we learn it is a useful, direct, tool to be used within our day to day work life as HR professionals. Yet many still see it as personal data base. Well truth is that it is, and it isn’t.
What will becoming a LION do for you?
Open networking expands your extended network exponentially, therefore making you more easily found by recruiters and companies searching for quality Human Resources professionals. Like you! LinkedIn is the #1 tool used by recruiters to find good passive candidates. If you are loving your company and job right now, you are a classic passive candidate. LION’s have an interest in engaging with other LION’s because they know each have massive (or are working toward) extended networks. This means once they are both connected the cumulated network allows them to be found, and to find, what they want and need across a greater extended reach.
The other important reason to become a LION is that over your LinkedIn lifetime you only get 3,000 invites to extend. That’s it. That may sound like a lot to be connected to, but it is a fraction when you consider a 40-45 year working career. However, there is no limit to the number of invitations you can receive on LinkedIn. By having a greater extended network you build the power for greater reach for anything that may happen in the future. Being found and approached for speaking opportunities, or media comment, a career change, searching for services or products, or even fulfilling a dream of opening a business. A larger network matters. Your search on LinkedIn is only as good as your network reach. It’s insurance for the future.
What are common concerns HR people have about open networking?
Many don’t want to connect with people they haven’t met yet in person, like they are vulnerable or exposed. Others feel it is irrelevant, or plain weird to be connected to ‘Sandeep Mudhari’ who is a Engineer in Hyderabad, or even that they may be stalked by some crazy. It is a limited mindset around ‘networking’. However we are at a point where networking is splitting into two levels. Traditional networking for building traditional relationships for the present and near future, which is highly important and still relevant. The other level is ‘viral’ networking, which is creating reach for specific, latent, or currently unknown purposes in the longer term. Remember, you can still control who you want to accept as a LION. You don’t have to connect with everyone. Choose LION’s who are likely to have connections in similar or parallel industries.
How Do You Become A LION?
In my previous ignorance I thought you had to have a certain number of connections to gain status as a LION. So I waited until my connections reached a significant number. Duh! It is as simple as letting others know you are a LION or ‘open networker’ by placing these keywords into your Name, or title, or summary. Other LIONS will find you in a search. You find other LION’s in your network by searching the same keywords. You can even join LION and Open Networking groups in the LinkedIn Groups function, however if you want to limit your open networking to people in specific industries you can simply use search string e.g, ‘LION’ or ‘Open Networker’ AND ‘Human Resources’. This will show you only LION’s in the HR industry. Cool huh?
Start increasing your network exponentially now. To start with, I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. Go to my profile here au.linkedin.com/in/annemarieorrock/ and connect with me. You will be connected to an extensive network of other HR professionals.
Post your LinkedIn profile URL link in the posts below if you want other HR professionals reading this post to connect with you.
Anne-Marie Orrock is a leading Human Resources expert helping companies raise the level of sophistication of their HR practice and strategy through her consulting organisation Corporate Canary HR. Anne-Marie is regularly sought out for expert comment in the media on human resources, recruitment, leadership, and has featured in BOSS Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, HR Monthly, HRD Magazine, Management Today, Dynamic Business, ELLE, Cosmopolitain, CLEO, Marie Claire, NETT#, My Business, Sun Herald. She is a consultant writer for online sites includingSchool Hours and contributing author to the book, ‘Mind Your Own Business’ published by Mithra Publishing, in June 2012 in the United Kingdom. Anne-Marie has worked with a range of companies to develop their HR strategy including blue chip organisations such as ANZ Bank, NZI Insurance, Deutsche Bank, 3M, Symantec, PeopleSoft, Citrix Systems, Ella Bache, and NASDAQ.