Making an impression

I have recently landed a new position. How can I make the most of the opportunity I have been provided with and build my credibility as an HR professional?

Q. I have recently landed a new position. How can I make the most of the opportunity I have been provided with and build my credibility as an HR professional?

A. Think about why you were selected for the job in the first place and not the reasons that you should not have the job. In other words, don’t doubt why you are there. It is quite reasonable and healthy to feel apprehensive, however, remember that you have passed the first test. You got through the interview, and secured the role against any number of people. You got the job because you demonstrated at the interview that you have what it takes to add the value that the organisation is seeking. You probably demonstrated some insights into the culture, the organisational challenges and strategic direction. You will need to do more of this now that you are working there.

Remember the effort you invested to make an early and lasting impression in the interview –planning, research, anticipation of questions, demonstrating your wares, selling yourself and looking the part. More of this will help to secure a good impression, so you need to research the education sector and find out who is who. Identify within your competitors where best practice is occurring and educate your own workplace of some of these initiatives. Identify what the trends are in the sector with things like work force planning and talent management. All of this will position you not only as an HR expert but as an industry expert as well.

Also, as your role is a stand-alone one, establish an external network either through the sector or through the profession itself. Many industries have networking forums to share knowledge etc, and if they don’t, perhaps consider initiating this yourself. This will enable you to quickly understand your organisational similarities and differences relative to the sector and will provide a roadmap to best practice environments and HR strategy. More heads is better than one, and as a stand-alone HR person, this represents a great opportunity to further your knowledge and develop insights.

Always display a strong sense of customer service and focus by remaining positive, asking sensible and probing questions, and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, stressing the benefits.

Remember that you may need to educate your workforce of the benefits of what you are proposing, which may appear obvious to you but not to them. Most of all remember to display genuine interest and commit to follow up when you can’t assist then and there. Don’t ever over promise and under deliver. This is a fast track to poor reputation.

Navigate your way across the workplace as quickly as you can and build up an understanding of the culture and values. Nothing will enhance your internal image more than high visibility. Meet your stakeholders, book times to catch up with them and ask them about their role, their challenges and most of all, how you can be of assistance. Remember that your role in HR is to assist the line managers in achieving their business objectives through their people. Don’t burden them with fads and extras. Demonstrate your real value by knowing what your internal stakeholders are trying to achieve strategically and then providing the tools and support for them to get there.

Having spent time ‘out’ in their businesses, you are much better equipped and informed to develop a relevant, meaningful HR strategy that will deliver a return on investment through people. You will win support for this strategy if it addresses the very concerns that they have relayed to you in the first place. Effective HR staff are those who have a ‘business first’ mindset. To enhance your own reputation, you need to firstly enhance the business through its people and talent. In your HR role, you have a privileged opportunity to impact people performance so that it has a lasting and sustainable effect on the organisation.

By Diane Kane, managing consultant, HR, Talent2

Recent articles & video

How recruitment agency marketplaces can save time, costs in talent acquisition

Manager made redundant while on leave: Is it unfair?

Oral termination vs. dismissal via email: Which is more effective?

Work health and safety – increased activity means employers need to be proactive

Most Read Articles

2 in 3 Australians OK with date change for Australia Day

Does a change in working arrangement also change employment status?

FWC: Employees entitled to double pay for insufficient breaks between shifts