My next move: creating a good impression

I am looking for some advice on the best way to approach my new and first position as an HR manager. I currently work within manufacturing and have just secured a standalone HR manager’s position in the education sector. I am just looking for some advice on how to create a good impression and be accepted by the workforce.

Before you start, research the sector you are about to join and find out what particular challenges it faces. Look objectively at what alternative solutions other organisations are implementing to tackle them.

To make a good impression, you will need to go through an induction and meet with the executive management to discuss their expectations.

Review the information and put together a plan for how to approach the role.

During your first few weeks, you should eet the boss and stakeholders. Managers who are new to organisations should get to know the boss to find out what their ideas are on the direction of the business, what needs to be achieved, what the strategic plan is and how HR fits into that plan.

Talk to the rest of the business. Be aware that if they have never had an HR function in the organisation before, staff may be suspicious and may not know what to expect. Let them know what you are responsible for, and how they can make the best use of your skills.

In a standalone role, it is important to have a network. If you currently do not belong to one, then attend local or national Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development events or other HR or business networks.

As the only HR professional, make sure that your understanding of employment law is up to date. Failing that, you could form a working partnership with legal and insurance organisations that have been recommended to you, or that you feel would provide the appropriate amount of support.

As you will be providing generalist HR support, you will need to understand the culture of the organisation and the issues and challenges it faces. By using an internal survey, you can easily capture this data to produce an HR business plan. You can then use this to create solutions and put plans in place to meet the strategic objectives of the organisation.

Once you have established the information you need, you will be able to prioritise your workload, which should have an immediate impact on the organisation. Then you can start to make some strategic decisions about the way forward.

Gail Bell, managing director, Interim Performers

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