HR Management: tips for your career and upward mobility

Human Resources is the new ‘hot tech’ department these days. Previously, HR was about liking people, helping people, hiring, onboarding, and looking after the needs of staff. Strong people skills were certainly good to have, and helping people to drive their careers forward was a satisfying aspect of the role. But today true professionalism in the discipline requires as much technical and business know-how as it does diplomacy, empathy, confidentiality, and taking care of the tricky dance of company relationships.

Today, while you need to keep your eye on the basics, you also need strategic business focus, knowing where the company is headed and how it proposes to get there. Without the staff properly evaluated, motivated, and committed, the road to business success can become rocky. And nobody knows this better than the HR Manager.

Keeping the balance

Employer branding. Every HR Manager has a part to play in public relations. How the company’s image is seen through employees’ eyes is often solely in the hands of Human Resources management. Building relationships with the workforce throughout the company is one thing, but presenting an outside image of good people management is equally important when hiring new staff, or turning away those who have not made the grade. Be careful how you handle people – how you make people feel is key to the image of the company they will take away.

Communication. Lines must be kept open and positive at all times. This can be an exhausting business, so learn to pace yourself emotionally. You need to inspire people in the organisation, but you also need to see that rules and regulations are fairly applied. Remember to keep a balance between being constantly available and getting the admin done. You are the interface between staff and management – a function that needs to run smoothly and which can affect the organisation as a whole.

Day to day

Hiring. Naturally, hiring is a key feature of the role, but never forget the staff you already have with you. Focus on the wider picture of the company as a whole. While a new employee may have all the necessary credentials, is he or she someone who will fit with the team at hand? Recognition of your long term staff is as important as the acquisition of new.

Career drive and succession. Keeping individual interest in each employee is important. Nobody likes to work without recognition and support. Personal contact should include knowledge of people’s goals and aspirations within both their personal and working lives. Ask questions and listen to ideas and complaints – and take action upon promises.

Mentoring. Bringing together a mix of company goals, staff personalities and training, you can develop a mentoring programme to both motivate workers and fast-track growth potential. Creativity, input and enthusiasm are the true fundamentals that drive a company forward. Mentoring requires a clear programme based on strategic planning and evaluation of results. It is a way to highlight areas that are in particular need of attention.

Flexibility and adaptability. When dealing with people you are dealing with a host of different personalities and a minefield of emotions. Be prepared to listen before judging – and don’t be afraid to show compassion. Know the strengths and ambitions of your staff; be aware of new trends, constantly reflect on the company culture – does it need to change to stay relevant? Above all, keep up with new technology, both within the business, the wider social world, and particularly any technological changes in Human Resources management.

Finance and legal

Be a budget buddy. Installing new HR analytical systems is not a fancy plan – it’s now an essential business tool. In HR today, you must be prepared to spend as much time analysing business strategy, departmental  interface and management vision, as you will as staff custodian. Not to mention the cost of change. What is invested today, will bring extraordinary returns not too far down the road. Conduct focus groups and run trial programmes; the constant input of positive results will impact bottom line profitability.

Know your legalities. Many decisions in HR can have legal consequences, so any good HR Manager is going to have to study the law relating to employment, remuneration, and hiring and firing – and of course, the unions. Know when you are in your rights, and avoid embarrassing mistakes by taking the advice of a labour lawyer when necessary. This knowledge includes understanding the benefits offered by a company, such as health, maternity, overtime, etc.

Tech and business

Strategies. Become a strategic thinker by articulating your vision and showing enthusiasm for change and growth through the constant improvement of internal company relationships. Align with business goals and support company culture and HR philosophies, but always maintain a focus on learning and improvement. The abilities to analyse, interpret, and confidently present new possibilities to your leadership team, is a vital part of HR today. In fact, HR is the perfect platform to lead discussions and influence change.

Technology. Becoming tech-savvy is more than just knowing the latest trends. It’s about always investigating a better way. You need to know how technology is improving processes within HR and you need to understand both the significance of the new applications with regard to the changes these can bring about in improving business function. The ability to digitally analyse your workforce – capabilities, productivity and potentially disruptive issues – is bringing an entirely new dimension to HR management. Make sure you are onboard, involved and up to date.

The new value of Human Resources

At the HR Analytics Institute we believe there is a smarter way to get the best out of your staff and improve your business. Not only do we clearly see the potential to improve business through better relationships, but we are passionate about training HR practitioners to understand the value of their interface role between staff and management. Our practical courses will enable you to play a far greater role in strategic decision-making within the business as a whole.

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