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Flying solo: tips for being an HR department of one

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HC Online | 17 Apr 2014, 09:27 AM Agree 0
Are you the only HR person in your organisation? HC looks at ways to deal with the challenges of operating on your own.
  • Belle | 17 Apr 2014, 10:59 AM Agree 0
    This article is spot on. I am in a stand-alone role looking after 200 staff nationally (however I am not a manager) and sometimes it is nice to have someone who is in the same team as me to bounce ideas off or talk through issues with. I do use an external ER organisation which helps a lot.

    The upside of this is that it has allowed me to have a closer working relationship with people from all levels in the company.
  • caca | 17 Apr 2014, 11:02 AM Agree 0
    I think it's always ridiculous to have one HR person for a company.
    I can tell you from experience, managers are always looking to you as legal, recruitment, OHS, and absolutely anything remotely related.
    BUT because you're on your own, senior managers are constantly trying to push back on LEGAL requirements. As if you can just make it go away.
  • Leanne | 17 Apr 2014, 04:27 PM Agree 0
    I too am in the same situation, newly appointed into the role looking after 100 employees across Australia and New Zealand!
    Whilst it is busy (always) being organised is the key. I made it clear from the outset that I can't be everything to everyone and the Directors I work with are all understanding of that. To be honest, they are all happy we finally have someone dedicated to the HR function to free up their time!
    I'm loving the challenges and the exposure to all levels of the organisation in Australia & NZ plus the ability to report in at a high level to our parent company in the UK. I do identify strongly with not having anyone to bounce "stuff" off, but the relationships I have developed internally and my external network helps with this.
  • Kate | 17 Apr 2014, 04:35 PM Agree 0
    Can someone please tell me the company that has 10 HR people for 100 employees?? Does such a thing exist?? If so, I want a job there!
  • BB | 17 Apr 2014, 08:53 PM Agree 0
    I am also alone and although I only look after about 100 staff in one division that includes 5 countries it is not an easy task. Challenging? Yes. Productive? Maybe. Successful in a long term? I do not think so! Ok, I vented, now I can go back to more admin, emails, excel sheet reporting, mobilisations and more emails. :)
    This challenge offers great opportunities however I will be requesting permission to recruit an HR Officer/Admin type person soon. I am sure it will help me succeed! Happy days! :)
  • caca | 22 Apr 2014, 12:15 PM Agree 0
    I don't about the rest of you but when I see companies trying to combine payroll in addition to everything else into 1 HR person I run!
  • LJ | 22 Apr 2014, 12:19 PM Agree 0
    I think the challenge for me as stand alone HR is the ability to balance operational v strategic. So often I feel I am getting bogged down in the day to day operational matters that I don't have the opportunity to 'step away' and look at things strategically as other managers do. I think this affects the way I am viewed and valued by the business in terms of my contributions and puts somewhat of a ceiling on my development and potential from their viewpoint.

    I appreciate HR in my situation doesn't generate any direct income, however the value of retention programs, sound recruitment practices, comprehensive professional development programs, manager coaching, and the preparation of competitive remuneration packages certainly contributes to the bottom line and overall business performance!
  • BB | 22 Apr 2014, 05:40 PM Agree 0
    LJ, I appreciate your comments and I feel exactly the same as you. I am at that stage where I need to put my case forward and request assistance in order to get out of the admin/day to day operational issues and concentrate on more strategic HR.
  • SG | 23 Apr 2014, 01:58 PM Agree 0
    LJ and BB, your comments mirror my situation exactly. It's comforting to know that others are in the same boat.

    The most disappointing thing for me is the impediment to my professional development, and the most frustrating is how underutilised my skills and knowledge are by the organisation, simply due to the circumstances. As far as I can see, nobody is really benefiting and it's me who is really suffering.

    I have so far been unsuccessful in my requests for admin support, and I wish you both all the best in securing some for yourselves and in turn enhancing your own roles and contributions to your workplace.
  • PS | 06 May 2014, 02:37 PM Agree 0
    Agree with all of the above comments - perhaps we could benefit from a regular networking/forum dedicated to stand-alone HR practitioners, to de-brief and share ideas...?

    To try and meet the balance between operational and strategic value-add, my vision is to rid the need of an exclusive 'operational' HR role in the business, by coaching and developing line managers to do their own HR admin/paperwork! (good systems and processes work) Freeing me up to focus my attention at the executive/strategic level.
  • HPK | 11 May 2014, 12:09 PM Agree 0
    I agree with all comments and would like to meet up with other HR managers in a similar position to share ideas and challenges. I believe a lot of companies are going down this path as it is more economical. I am located in Milsons Point and happy to meet up.
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