HR is a fast-paced and engaging environment for those who enjoy working with others. Those new to the field can often feel constrained by the methods used by senior members of their team. But the great thing about HR is that it can be moulded to fit your skills and interests. Provided you get the job done, how you carve your path shouldn’t really matter.
If you’re new to the HR industry and wondering how you can make your mark, read on to discover 8 tips for new HR professionals. Some of these tips look at the finer details while others encourage you to adopt a big picture attitude. If you’re working in HR and have any advice to share, please let us know in the comments.
- Define your goals
What are you hoping to achieve in your HR department? Do you want to make this the best place to work? Do you want to implement brave new working strategies? Do you want to increase productivity and profitability, earning yourself a seat at the top table? When you start your career in HR, it helps to have focus and drive, as this will help to inform how you work on a day-to-day basis.
- Practice your communication
Becoming a successful HR professional requires strong communication skills. You will have to be able to communicate effectively with people at every level of the organisation. Remember that communication is about more than getting your point across. You also need to be a highly effective listener to be able to succeed.
If you want to make yourself more accessible, you should also practice communicating using different methods. This could include phone, email, instant messenger or video chat. When your workers know they can contact you using a range of methods they are more likely to reach out when they have a problem.
- Get out of the office
A lot of people fear the HR department. This kind of stigma in the workplace can make employees less likely to ask questions or speak out about problems. Getting out of your office and getting to know the people in your company can help you to break down this barrier. Try to spend more time outside of your office to help build relationships with those in your company and spark conversations more naturally.
- Use external teams to your advantage
A huge part of being a successful HR manager is about recruitment. Hiring the right people for teams can be daunting, particularly if you don’t feel you have the knowledge and expertise to assess the suitability of candidates. This is where external teams can offer an advantage.
Specialist recruitment agencies can help to bridge the gap between the HR department and the technical departments. Working with an agency like Nolan Recruitment could help you to hire for technical roles without the need to become an expert. Using external teams for support can help to make your HR department more productive. As long as the benefits outweigh the costs, this is something you should embrace.
- Lead, don’t follow
Some of the best HR professionals forge their own path. Your training can only get you so far, eventually, you have to bring your own flair and approach to the profession. HR professionals are often seen as the guardians of policy, mindlessly following the rules, but the reality of the job is far from this limited view. Learning to recognise business needs and adapt to change will ensure you remain an essential part of the organisation.
- Get to grips with the number
Having a head for numbers can help you to go further in your career. If you have aspirations of sitting at the table where the decisions are made, you need to be able to think in terms of costs and benefits. Recognising how HR issues have a direct impact on how businesses function will serve you well.
- Get on board with tech
Technology has taken the HR sector by storm. And those HR professionals who lead the charge for technology in the workplace are more likely to succeed in the long-term. Technology is transforming HR, from the way we onboard staff to managing lateness and illness. Technology will make your life easier if you allow it, so it’s worth embracing change and leading the charge for digital transformation.
- Be a strategic thinker
Developing a strategic mindset allows you to start being proactive instead of reactive. And when strategy informs your decision, you can be a much more effective partner to the organisation. Work alongside department heads to help develop their vision and feed this back into a wider company-wide plan. This can also help you to build a business case for further training, expanding teams and investment in HR technology. If you want to get noticed in your organisation, developing strategic thinking is one of the best ways to do this.