How can HR be better?

If you are starting your career in HR and you can juggle the list below then the profession will get better over time – due to you…

• Get really honest feedback from the business you work in, so you can see what needs to be done. Nothing external matters unless you get this bit right
• Don’t be scared – of mistakes,of speaking up, of being a lone voice, of making hard decisions, of making unpopular decisions, of admitting you don’t know, of the unknown
• Focus on helping the business grow, not just keeping it out of trouble. You need to do a bit of both – but the first one is the bigger call to arms
• Don’t get distracted by the noise around data until you REALLY understand how your people and business work. You can pay someone to crunch your data, you can’t pay them to understand the world on your behalf
• Focus less on perceived shortcomings of the profession and more on making a difference as an individual
• Never eat yellow snow
• Don’t expect people just to do things because you tell them or to think your deadlines are important
• Keep rules to a minimum (but don’t be afraid of guidelines)
• Learn from others and their mistakes – and be open to learning from yours
• Respect what has gone before, but don’t be constrained by it
• Don’t use big words to try to impress people – small words that make sense work even better
• Don’t become obsessed with new things, just fixing the old things will be novel in most organisations
• Just because it is what Google would do doesn’t mean it is what you should do
• Use others to help solve problems, but get used to taking the blame yourself
• Have fun – you don’t get paid any more for frowning
• Make sure you have the same goals and ambitions as the business, nobody likes you when you are working against it
• Become one with the business. You are part of the business, you aren’t a weird adjunct, most CEO’s want you there and want you to do a good job
• Don’t ever forget about about the people. Yes, that person you let go was bad at their job – but they still have a family to feed
• Don’t ever be paralysed by thinking about the people – yes, that person has a family, but so does everyone else who was working extra hours to pick up the slack
• Don’t let your organisation continually request extra processes, focus on working with it to help people make better decisions
• Don’t bother changing the name from HR unless it really makes sense. If you act like the kind of HR department you don’t want to be then a rebrand isn’t going to change that
• Think about the system, think about what else is going on, keep your world and your thoughts big and rich
• Be relentlessly pragmatic – if it doesn’t make a difference it doesn’t make a difference.. It doesn’t matter if it was smart on paper
• Learn from others – you won’t be able to keep up with the changes happening in the different parts of the profession, but the span of your network can
• Don’t listen to anyone about making HR better that doesn’t work in your organisation. We are all full of wisdom when we don’t have to do the dirty work
• Always get an external view, it’s invaluable to listen to people outside of your organisation to be able to think broadly
• Get used to change, it’s the one thing that is certain

I will be chairing the CIPD Midlands Student Conference on 11 March, if you would like to find out more about the lineup for the day and how to book see here.

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