I have read a book about difficult situations that people in the HR field have encountered during their worklife (e.g. dealing with staff under the influence of drugs/alcohol, sexual harassment, racist bosses, legal issues with the workers council, abusive managers, etc.). Those are topics, one cannot talk about freely, as they are highly sensitive and often involve specific people in your workplace. But as these topics are so sensitive, they also don´t really come up at meetups or events for the HR world, where People Manager from different companies get together to network etc. So it is really hard to get advice on it. Googling often only brings up the typical stuff or stupid answers by trolls.

What it does

I have built a Slack workplace where people can (anonymously) post a question or describe situation they have encountered and then get answers from experts in this field. This helps experts to strengthen their status and broaden their audience (for example for those HR people that are also giving speeches, writing books/blogs, etc.) and also helps those seeking for answer. Especially people new to their role in HR or those that are the sole HR responsible person in a company, it gives an option to broaden their knowledge and network with similar minds. In this Covid-19 times, it can help to share best-practices on short-time work, letting people off, keeping the staff in homeoffice motivates, or similar topics.

The language of the website as well as the Slack workplace is German. I know that this makes it unaccessible to a lot of users (and also some of the judges), but I decided for this for two reasons.

  1. I know of a similar Slack workplace that is already in English and therefore quite international (although a lot of the users are from the US), so there is no need for another English platform.
  2. If users are restricted to Germany, questions that touch the topic of labour law and country guidelines are answered more easily.

How I built it

Since I don´t have coding knowledge and couldn´t join the hackathon from the start, I had to use what was already there, free to use, and easy to build on. So I created a Slack workspace with different channels for all those HR topics. I added an app that lets users post messages anonymously, so they (and the company they work for) are not linked to the question they´re posting.  Since I hope that this platform will be used for networking, too, I´ve also added a bot, that randomly pairs people using the platform every two weeks. These people are then supposed to have a (virtual) coffee together. This helps users to broaden their personal network and get more in touch with the whole HR community. Of course it is an optional feature and no user needs to sign up for it.

To sign up for the use of the platform, I also build a complimentary website, that explains the platform and its use a bit more. The website can be seen here

Challenges I ran into

Since I couldn´t actively participate in the HR hackathon until late Saturday evening, I couldn´t form a team or find a developer to help me build this platform from scratch. But as I really wanted this idea to come to life (and especially now, I think it can be very valueable), I decided to do it with the limited knowledge and resources I knew I could use for it.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The Slack workplace is done and the website just needs some final touches. So I´m proud I got this off the ground in about a day.

What I learned

It´s not important, whether you make it perfect and beautiful right from the start. Just get it done, bring it to life and get it to MVP stage. If it´s a great idea, I am sure there will be a way to scale it later on.

What's next for HR knowledge exchange platform

I will do some marketing and get the word out about it through different channels, so that a lot of users sign up for it and it can actually work. If no one signs up for it, there is not really a working product - but then again, it also shows that there is no need for it.

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