Whether you have entered the world of HR deliberately or by happenstance HR is a great place to be:
Few jobs will give you the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of your company and how they work together.
Few jobs will give you as much exposure to senior leaders in the company.
And even fewer will give you all the above and the opportunity to help people at the best and worst times in their life.
So what advice can I give you? I don’t know if this is the best advice but I can say that keeping this in mind has never steered me wrong:
It is never about HR.
It’s about people, the company, the business, customers, shareholders, stakeholders and numerous other factors but it is never about HR. What does that mean? A couple examples below:
Example 1: Don’t become the policy police
I don’t like the word policy. People hear the word policy and think “the policy” is sacred and cannot be modified. This is usually where trouble starts for HR pros new and seasoned. Do not adopt the mindset that a policy must be adhered to at all costs.
When an employee is trying to save you money or genuinely needs an exception don’t automatically fall back on the HR policy. Use your common sense. Remember it isn’t about HR’s policy it’s about people, the company and the business
Example 2: You want new/better/updated technology/systems/whatever
HR doesn’t need a new Applicant Tracking System (ATS) because we are pulling our hair out tracking down paper. Instead, HR needs a new ATS because it will give the company greater insight into where recruiting dollars are being spent, where candidates are being sourced from, how long it takes to fill a position and numerous other data points that are vital to keeping a company staffed with great talent.
Is your desire to stop tracking down paper and getting paper cuts important? Of course. But the CEO doesn’t care that HR is tracking down paper like its 1985, instead she wants to know how this capital expenditure will help the business. Emphasize that.
In case that advice didn’t make the “best” cut, here are a couple other things to keep in mind:
- Don’t hang out with just HR people at work.
- Be friendly and smile at others.
- Remember if you can’t get the little things right, no one will trust you with the big things.
- Ask questions.
What do you think? What advice would you give to a newbie HR pro?