Being the one and only HR professional in a company and trying to start that function is unique. As an HR department of one, you have to be a jack of all trades and be good at pulling in outside resources. CareerAddict has a great step-by-step guide to building an HR department (link below), and we start off this episode by sharing some of the recommendations we especially liked.
In her career, Carlie Vaughn has happened into multiple situations where she was creating an HR function from the ground up, and she found that it’s a unique challenge that she enjoys. Knowing where to start is tricky, and it varies by organization, so identifying the company’s top priorities when you get started is important. Being a department of one gives you lots of freedom to choose what to work on and gives you an opportunity to research best practices. Carlie enjoys getting to know the culture of the organization and meeting the needs of employees in a way that works for them.
When starting an HR function, take a step back and don’t try to do everything right away. Oftentimes, people are excited for you to be there and have a lot of tasks and ideas for you, and when you try to take everything on at once you don’t have time to create processes and decide what the department looks like. And be a sponge; be willing to listen to the people around you, ask questions, google, and utilize vendors to learn about areas you’re less knowledgeable in.
Many times, businesses don’t realize they need HR until something goes wrong. When you’re ready to hire your first HR person, start by talking to your employment law attorney about whether you need someone full-time, part-time, or outsourced. Then, find someone who has the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credentials, because they know HR and how to apply their knowledge of it.
Project management skills are key for first-in-seat HR people; in human resources, there are a lot of little projects, and if you start too many at the same time you won’t finish them. Trisha recommends a function called ADDIE when you’re getting started, which stands for Assess, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. It’s also important to educate management, leadership, and employees that you’re not an administrative assistant or just there for hiring, firing, and benefits; you’re a strategic partner to the business.
In this episode’s listener question, we’re asked about how to respond to employees who think they can’t get a fair shake because HR always sides with the boss. In the news, we discuss the new trend of “hush trips” and how they might create risk for employers.
Let us know what you think! Rate and review our podcast on Apple Podcasts – we love hearing your feedback, and it helps people find our show.