10 things you should do as a new HR Professional in summary:
- Starting a new role as an HR professional presents a glorious opportunity to positively influence a business and its workforce.
- Begin by understanding the company’s culture, its values and history to align your new HR strategies. You can then set about reviewing your company’s HR practices, set goals, and refine processes for efficiency.
- Build relationships and communicate often. Connect with your company’s key stakeholders, create open channels for feedback, embrace HR technology and prioritise the development of your employees.
Congratulations! You’ve just taken the next big step on your career journey and become an HR professional!
Becoming an HR professional is a brilliant way to positively impact people’s lives and foster supportive, successful working environments. You’re now at the heart of shaping your company’s culture, building an environment people are proud to be part of, and helping employees thrive.
Your new position also allows you to contribute to your company’s key strategic decision-making – that’s right… you’re an influential voice in the C-suite now! All the while, you’ll be constantly learning and adapting to new challenges in the dynamic world of work. It’s a truly varied and satisfying role.
However, HR can feel a little overwhelming at times – especially if you’re new to your position. If you’ve joined a new business or even just starting out in HR, you might be sitting there reading this and thinking: “Where should I start?” And that’s a good question!
The 10 things every new HR professional should do in a new role
Settling into any new role takes time, and being a new HR professional is no different. You may have grand initiatives or ideas you want to immediately get stuck into; however, the start of your new job should be a time when you reflect on your past experiences, listen to those around you and learn as much as you can about your new business.
Understanding the unique dynamics of your organisation will be key to your success. With that in mind, there are 10 must-do things I’d recommend you do as a new HR professional to give yourself the best chance of success. They are:
1. Truly understand your company’s culture
Take your time to learn about the company’s values, culture, and history. Understanding its culture will involve you delving into the shared norms, attitudes, and behaviours exhibited across the organisation.
With the knowledge you gain, you’ll better understand what motivates your company’s employees, how they collaborate, and the overall work environment. Digging deep into the company’s history also provides vital insights into its evolution, milestones, and significant events – all of which can shed light on its present state and future direction.
These aspects collectively will help inform your own decision-making process. This will allow you to align any new policies, programmes, and initiatives with the company’s ethos, fostering a more cohesive and supportive workplace.
2. Build relationships and rapport
Being an HR professional means you need to be something of a social butterfly! You’ll ultimately need everyone in the business – especially those in key decision making positions – onside with your initiatives for them to get buy-in. So, look to connect with key stakeholders, department heads, and team members as early as you can.
Building rapport and understanding their needs during your early days and weeks will help you tailor HR strategies effectively longer-term.
3. Review existing policies and processes
Familiarise yourself with existing HR policies, procedures, and compliance requirements. This includes learning all about the key HR procedures within the company, including those around recruitment, performance management, disciplinary actions, compensation structures, and much more besides.
When you have a good understanding of the policies and procedures currently in place, you’ll be in a better position to evaluate what needs updating or improvement. Identifying areas for updating or enhancement could range from streamlining cumbersome processes, enhancing diversity and inclusion initiatives, to addressing gaps in employee wellness programs or refining performance management programmes.
This proactive approach ensures that your company’s HR policies and procedures remain agile, adaptive, and supportive of both employee needs and organisational objectives.
4. Assess HR practices
Like your policies and procedures, evaluate the current HR practices to identify strengths and areas for enhancement. Creating a culture of HR excellence should be the ultimate goal for any HR professional, but you won’t be able to do that if your hamstrung by outdated or paper-based processes.
So, consider conducting a departmental pulse survey or workshop to gather feedback from your employees about what’s working in your HR department, and what’s not.
5. Set tangible and realistic goals
The success of your activities will likely be based on several core goals. These will likely include:
- Your efforts to support the business attracting and retaining top talent,
- How you foster a culture of engagement and satisfaction,
- Drive training and development initiatives,
- Assist your line managers in managing workplace performances effectively,
- Ensuring compliance and efficiency in HR processes,
- Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion,
- Managing departmental costs efficiently and reducing expenditure,
- and adeptly handle employee relations and conflict resolution.
With all that in mind, be proactive in working with company leadership to align your own goals with the company’s core objectives. You’ll then be able to develop a measurable plan outlining short-term and long-term objectives for your HR initiatives.
6. Establish communication channels
Creating open communication channels with your HR department can empower employees to express concerns, seek guidance, and provide feedback comfortably and consistently – all vital to that culture of HR excellence mentioned earlier.
Pulse surveys included with any HR software platforms, for example, offer a confidential platform for employees to share feedback anonymously, encouraging participation from those who might hesitate to speak openly. Also, digital platforms such as employee forums, shared HR portals, or dedicated communication apps provide a real-time, accessible space for ongoing discussions, collaboration, and feedback submission.
These varied channels cater to different communication preferences, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility for all employees, thereby helping you nurture a culture of transparency, trust, and active engagement within the organisation.
7. Investigate training and development
By analysing skill gaps and career aspirations within organisations, good HR managers can go on to design personalised development programmes that meet both employee needs and align with organisational objectives.
These programs, such as workshops, mentoring or perhaps more specialised or formal training, empower individuals while fostering a skilled workforce. This dual investment in personal growth and organisational readiness will cultivate a culture of continuous learning, benefiting both employees and the company’s long-term success.
8. Become re-acquainted with compliance and legal matters
You may be familiar with many core HR compliance regulations, but there’s no harm in brushing up on your knowledge. With that in mind, spend some time during your first few weeks checking your HR practices adhere to legal requirements and industry standards. And, don’t forget to stay updated on relevant labour laws and regulations to avoid compliance issues.
9. Embrace HR technology
If you’re the company still isn’t using dedicated HR software, you’re now in the perfect place to change that! By leveraging powerful HR software, you’ll be empowered to streamline processes, manage data effectively, and enhance the overall employee experience. To learn why every HR team should embrace a digital HR transformation, just follow this link.
10. Seek continuous improvement
Lastly, look to continuously evaluate your company’s HR strategies and processes. Seek feedback from employees and stakeholders and be open to making adjustments to improve the HR function. When you do this, you’ll ensure that your HR strategies remain dynamic and responsive to the evolving needs of both employees and the organisation.
Embracing feedback and making necessary adjustments fosters an agile HR function that stays relevant, efficient, and aligned with the company’s goals. This commitment to continuous improvement not only enhances employee satisfaction and engagement, but also positions HR – and most importantly yourself – as a key business partner in driving overall business success.
Kim Holdroyd has an MSc in HRM and is passionate about all things HR and people operations, specialising in the employee life cycle, company culture, and employee empowerment. Her career background has been spent with various industries, including technology start-ups, gaming software, and recruitment.