Starting a new job can often be daunting, no matter what department or industry you work in, or what level of experience you have. And joining a new Human Resources Department is no different. In fact, it can feel even more overwhelming for some people due to the people-centric role the department has to play in the company.
After all, you’re about to become part of a team that is fundamental in shaping company culture, enabling people to progress through their career in the organization, making decisions on software solutions, creating company policies, and yes, being involved in less pleasant aspects of the job, such as disciplinary action.
So what can you do to help ease yourself into your new role so that you can quickly become an invaluable and productive part of this vital department?
In this article we’ve taken a look at a few things that you might want to keep in mind.
7 Ways to make starting a new job in the HR Department easier
And so in no particular order:
Don’t be afraid to jump in feet first!
Nothing says ‘we’ve made the right choice by hiring this person’ than an enthusiastic attitude and a willingness to learn all the ins and outs of a new company. Of course you won’t know absolutely everything there is to know at first and nobody will expect you to, so you may as well just get cracking, get involved and start soaking up that knowledge from day one.
But make the effort to really learn the business
No one will fault you for your enthusiasm, but you’ll need to show that there’s some substance underneath that eager exterior too. Even if you’ve come from a very similar position or company, every organization has its own ways of doing things so don’t make the mistake of assuming you know everything. Arrange meetings with other managers and department heads, and the C-suite too if you’re in a position to, and take copious amounts of notes.
Get to grips with systems, software and solutions
Modern, efficient businesses run on a variety of different software solutions, tools for collaboration and communication, HR Information Systems (HRIS), and platforms and processes. Get logged in, familiarize yourself with anything you’ve never used before and don’t forget that as a part of the HR Department you will also want to cast an analytical eye over anything already in place to see if you may want to suggest any changes for the better.
Understand policies and the reasons behind them
Obviously as someone working in Human Resources, you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of your new company’s policies and practices. For example, how do the maternity and paternity policies work? What about the annual leave policy? The sick days and other policies for time off? What is the policy around lateness and poor timekeeping? For online communications and remote and hybrid work?
Assess the onboarding process as you go through it
As a new hire yourself, you are in a unique position to assess your new company’s application and onboarding processes. As you go through the stages that employees who aren’t in the HR team go through, also make notes as you complete each stage and jot down what works and what doesn’t. Is the new hire checklist lacking in clarity? Could the process benefit from a buddy programme? Is the application process engaging or were you tempted to drop out?
Get to know your team
Immerse yourself in your new team. Get to know people and learn what they do within your department. Ask questions to educate yourself about your new company and coworkers and - crucially - listen to what they have to say. It is only by taking onboard this information and actively putting it to good use that you will be able to build a relationship with these people and gain their trust and confidence in your abilities.
Get to know the other employees in the company too
Thanks to your centralized position at the hub of your organization, as a member of the HR Department you will no doubt cross paths with almost everyone working for you, particularly your office based employees. You know that a company is only as good as the people who work for it and that they are your most valuable asset (and all those other clichés!) so make sure you say “hello” to everyone you encounter, introduce yourself, and let them know how you can help them if they need.
Be kind to yourself
As we said at the beginning of this blog post, it can be overwhelming when starting a new job. There’s so much to do and learn and take onboard, and so many new faces to meet and names to remember. But you’ll get there. If your to-do list is becoming frighteningly long, or your notes are starting to get jumbled and nonsensical, step away from them, take a deep breath, and take a moment to clear your head. Prioritize everything you need to do - not everything will be urgent - and rewrite frantically written notes into a clearer and more orderly format.
7 Ways to make starting a new job in the HR Department easier: conclusion
Unless you’re an exceptionally charmed human being, starting a new job is always bound to come with at least a little trepidation. And that’s completely understandable! Keep the above pointers in mind and just make sure that you’re open, friendly, professional and willing to learn - and that you make it clear, both verbally and in practice, that you’re there to help.
And when you’re comfortably settled, things are ticking along, and you have your feet firmly under your desk, it’s important to remind yourself not to get too complacent. Keep pushing yourself professionally and make sure you add real value to your employers, organization and other employees by finding new and improved ways of doing things, and positively contributing to your company’s culture.
Now go get ‘em - you’ll be great!