How to Succeed in Human Resources

Here it is… the definitive guide…

My thoughts on succeeding in HR and adding real value to both the organization you work for and your professional career:

1. First, you cannot effectively manage human resources from a book, a website, or some online forum. You can’t. You can pick up tips and tidbits, some compliance knowledge, and a few very generic processes. Most of the rest — the other 98% — takes individual thought, planning, experience and creativity.

Compliance is simple — a CD-ROM could do it. Effective application of employment laws in a successful business… THAT takes work.

2. Quit searching online and asking others for templates. Sit down, learn a bit from those plethora of books you should have, talk to a few people who may have some insight, THEN CREATE YOUR OWN. Using someone else’s, even customized, isn’t yours. And it usually won’t work, since someone developed it SPECIFICALLY for their organization. And no, you don’t really just want to “see what one looks like.”

3. Rating categories and forms will not, under any circumstances, make an effective performance management system. Just one more pain in the butt for line managers to deal with. It’s bigger than the forms, folks. Forms may have a role, but they are not the core of performance management.

4. Learn to recruit. REALLY recruit. It is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE DO. Second to none. Those who feel they have “outgrown” recruiting — rethink that. Maybe you’ve outgrown hourly recruiting, but you still better be an effective talent manager, and that includes sourcing and recruiting.

5. Never train because someone asks for training. In all likelihood, training isn’t the answer. Except in matters of compliance (usually education, not training) or technical skills, training is really only effective for development, seldom for corrective action.

6. Google is your friend. Research. A lot. Of everything… asking in some online forum INSTEAD of researching isn’t just lazy (though yes, it is), you are harming your learning experience. You need more than pointed answers, clouded by someone else’s experience. Find out WHY things work that way, HOW we got where we are, and WHAT you can do to impact meaningful change.

7. Speaking of training, learn it. If recruiting is #1, employee/managerial development is a close second. Knowing how to develop managers — coaching and training, is a skill ALWAYS in demand. Go to Toastmasters. Offer to teach at some affiliate or association group. Learn with green “wannabe” supervisors. But learn to train and develop.

8. Don’t ask anyone “How can I justify XXX” until you can JUSTIFY IT TO YOURSELF. Attending conferences, implementing a new program, allocating resources… if YOU don’t know why, how the heck can you convince someone else???

This field is no longer for those with good “people skills;” it’s for those who understand that human capital is an adjustable, malleable resource that we are responsible for developing. Time to step it up a notch.

But that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann

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