When it comes to starting a career in human resources, no two paths are ever the same. There are endless ways to make a difference — from supporting a company’s growth to having a valuable impact on the people behind it. But no matter what your experience in the HR profession may entail, there are several key things you should remember.
Below, six successful human resources executives from Forbes Human Resources Council discuss the most important advice they have for young professionals just starting out in HR today.
1. Don’t Forget The Human Element
It’s easy in the midst of policies, procedures and initiatives to forget the “human” element. Early on in my career, I was surprised to find out that our director had every member of our team, regardless of title, log into the HR hotline and assist. Her agenda was simple: you learn the impact of the work you do when you connect with the people who are affected by it. – Rohit Paul, Academy For Urban School Leadership
2. Remember To Ask “Why” When Making Decisions
Too many times, we forget to explain the “why” to someone who is not an HR executive. It can leave the individual feeling disconnected and as if no one heard/understood their core need. By starting with “why” we can educate employees and simultaneously build their understanding of long-term decisions we make that are in support of them. – Dynasti Hunt, Rocketship Education
3. Help Others To Help Yourself
Ask others what makes them lose sleep at night. Hearing the true problems of others and working to solve them aids in building trust, which is something so few HR leaders have within an organization. Once you have trust, and people can lean on you for solutions, you will have made yourself indispensable. Having the true desire to help others will help your career tenfold. – Sarah O’Neill, Digital Trends
4. Streamline Through Software
Find one good piece of software through which you can run payroll, retirement plans, insurance plans, employee and employer taxes, time and attendance, scheduling, and employee information. It stores and tracks everything and streamlines a bulk of my most important processes. These tools are only getting more powerful, and the expense of using one outweighs the time you would spend organizing. – Kelsey Martin, Bristlecone Holdings
5. Listen, Ask Questions And Keep Learning
The best executives are lifelong learners. They never rest on their laurels because they understand that business operations and innovation don’t wait around for the complacent. In the first 90 days, talk to different departments about what they do, what challenges they face, and work on piecing together the big picture and the company’s place in it. Talk to customers and vendors too, if possible. – Angela Nguyen, Ad Exchange Group
6. Have The Mentality Of A Startup Owner
If a strong desire to create jobs, guide, and develop talent is at your core, all you have to worry about is putting in the work and not burning out. Always have the mentality of a startup owner. As an executive, you’ll be able to set your own goals, or at least recommend to your CEO what you think is feasible. Aim high, work hard, hustle, take breaks and have fun! – Brett Comeaux, LG Fairmont