Don’t Panic! What to do when HR becomes your jobNov 28, 2022
You’re a nice person and you get along with everyone. Your organization’s leadership knows they can count on you to get things done efficiently, effectively and, when necessary, confidentially. But now that the company has grown and there are more employees on board, those leaders start getting more questions and things get more complicated. They start to think maybe they need a real human resources department in place. Maybe you already manage the office and handle some finances. So why not turn over the keys to HR to you, too?
If there’s never been a Human Resources Department before, you may not know where to start. Leadership may tell you it’s no big deal, and all you have to do is manage benefits and payroll, and answer questions from employees. You may have some compliance issues to handle and you’ll probably be asked to respond to things from the government that come in the mail. You start to feel like maybe this is a big deal.
How to Get Started When HR Becomes Your Job
You may be asking yourself, “How did HR become my job?” Getting thrust into the role is actually how many people get started in human resources. Over time, you may come to find that you love HR. But first things first: You need help.
You’ll soon learn that the qualities that made leadership select you for HR aren’t the only important things needed to successfully manage an HR department. As you become responsible for jobs like recruiting and termination, compensation and benefits, and compliance and legal matters, your lack of experience and formal training can become a problem. The truth is that you really don’t know what you don’t know. When you’re not aware of exactly what you’re lacking, you can’t fix it.
Learn to Become Human Resources
Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you learn how to manage a brand new HR department, especially on your own. Here are some of my favourite go-to resources to suggest when HR suddenly becomes your job.
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
If you aren’t a member, I highly recommend you sign up now. For under $200 a year, the resources are amazing. My favourite is the HR Knowledge Center where you can speak with a live person to answer any HR question. Another way to jump in is to get involved in your local SHRM chapter. Monthly chapter meetings are a great way to get information and meet colleagues you can reach out to if an unfamiliar subject comes up. The state SHRM conferences are generally an excellent value, and the annual SHRM conference is fabulous. A word of warning, though, the annual conference typically has over 20,000 people in attendance and can be a little overwhelming if you’re not prepared!
Expect your benefit and payroll vendors to provide support. Since a portion of your job will involve these areas, the experts you’ve contracted with can be a very useful source of information. They may be able to connect you with additional resources you weren’t even aware of. They should be able to answer questions and provide additional resources. If they offer any programs, seminars, or other events, be sure to attend as many as you can.
There are countless free webinars you can participate in to gain new information. Paycor, GoCo, Lever and BizLibrary offer weekly webinar series that are open to the public and free. Another option is to look into virtual training classes which are more cost-effective than many in-person classes.
Whatever industry you are in, there’s probably an association your company can join. As a member of an association, you may have access to have specific information that is applicable to your business. Many associations will have dedicated conferences for those involved in HR or at least a program track for HR content at their annual conference.
The Single Most Effective Tip for New HR Professionals
The most effective tip is to NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! Remember that you are not alone. One of the hardest parts about being thrust into HR is creating programs and initiatives and wondering if they will work. Embracing an effective, trusted group of HR professionals that you can connect with is essential to succeed as an HR Department of One.
Most importantly – know that you aren’t alone. Look for people you can connect with and begin to build or join your community of support!
Thanks for reading!
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