How to Succeed in Human Resources

Human Resources as an organizational division has come quite a ways over the past few years. Gone are the days of hiring, firing and filing. In fact, some of an organization’s most valued assets reside in HR – and they know it. Nevertheless, there is a strategy behind being successful in Human Resources – a way to ensure you add real value to both the organization and your professional career.

While it may be tempting, you simply cannot effectively learn to manage human resources from a book, a website, or an online forum. You can’t. You can pick up tips and tidbits, some compliance knowledge, and a few very generic processes. Most of the rest takes individual thought, planning, experience and creativity. Compliance is simple. In fact, a CD-ROM could do it. But effective application of employment laws in a successful business- that takes work. 

Recruiting is Number One

Learn to recruit. It’s the single most important thing you can do. And for those who feel they have “outgrown” recruiting – think again. Maybe you’ve outgrown hourly recruiting, but you still need to be an effective talent manager and that includes sourcing and recruiting

The Art of Developing Managers

Managerial development – knowing how to grow effective managers through coaching and training – is a skill that’s always in demand. Consider going to Toastmasters or offer to teach at an affiliate or association group. Learn with green “wannabe” supervisors. But learn to train and develop.

Make Your Own Way

Quit searching online and asking others for templates. Sit down, learn a bit from the plethora of books you should have accumulated, talk to a few people who can share some insight and use that information to make your own agenda. Remember, someone else’s model, even customized, isn’t yours. And it usually won’t work, since it has most likely been developed specifically for their organization. And no, you don’t really just want to “see what one looks like.”

Keep in mind, rating categories and forms will not, under any circumstances, make an effective performance management system. In fact, they really amount to just one more thing for line managers to deal with. Besides, solid performance management is bigger than the forms. And while certain forms may have a role, they are not the core of performance management.

Training Is Not Always the Right Answer

Never train because someone asks for training. In all likelihood, training isn’t the answer. Except in matters of compliance (usually education, not training) or technical skills, training is really only effective for development, seldom for corrective action.

Embrace Research

Make friends with Google and research everything. And remember, asking questions of professionals in an online forum instead of researching isn’t just lazy, but also, harms your learning experience. The truth is, you need more than pointed answers that are clouded by someone else’s experience. Find out why things work the way they do, how we got where we are and what you can do to impact meaningful change.

Finally, don’t ask anyone “how can I justify XXX” until you can justify it to yourself. Attending conferences, implementing a new program, allocating resources – if you don’t know why, how can you convince someone else?

Human Resources is no longer a field for those with good people skills. It’s for those who understand that human capital is an adjustable, malleable resource that we are responsible for developing. And after all, an organization may only be as good as it’s people, but it’s people that make it work.

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