The HR department is often the lifeblood of many organisations, and with good reason. With your people often being the largest outlay that a company will incur, the success of your HR team is often reflected in that of the wider business.
Long gone are the days when HR was considered to be little more than an administrative function; HR teams are now being recognised as a department that is critical to success.
Here at Natural HR, we are lucky enough to work with some of the very best and brightest people in the profession: from our fantastic customers at the coalface of human resources to the inspiring guests that join us for our monthly HR expert webinars.
What constitutes success for HR teams can vary widely from business to business and from industry to industry. But it is clear for every business that without a successful HR team, your best talent will quickly become unengaged and move on to pastures new. And without a talented workforce of people who are dedicated to the company, there will be no business.
Recently, we took to social media to ask our friends in the industry to share their best advice for succeeding in HR.
So, without further ado, here are 14 of the best pieces of advice from experts across the profession.
“If I could offer one piece of advice it would be: get out into the business. If you can speak to as many people as you can and learn what the people you support do, your advice and in turn, your credibility will be positively impacted.”
– Sam Cahill
Business Partner, People and Culture at Peel L&P
“Engage with staff at all levels to listen, understand, and support the business/industry you work in! The better you know the business, the more credibility you have with staff and you will become a valuable, sought after voice who can affect real change in an organisation.”
– Cody Henderson
HR Generalist at CRH Americas
“Have a sense of humour, connect and network with other likeminded HR professionals but mostly, enjoy meeting, managing and developing a wide variety of people and recognising you will never, ever be bored!”
– Sarah Clements, Chartered MCIPD
Head of HR at Winchester Cathedral
“My door (real or otherwise) is always open; if you can’t come and show me pictures of your cat or tell me about what you did at the weekend, you won’t come and see me when you are having real problems.”
– Charlotte Fordyce
HR Manager at Triptease
“Always remember to be human with your advice. Not everyone fits into a box, don’t forget that everyone is different so the solution might not be the same for everyone.”
– Vicky McLean
Employee Relations Partner
“I find myself saying ‘trust the process’ a LOT. But in doing so, the best advice is really to use common sense. It always prevails. Do the RIGHT thing and don’t be afraid to challenge policy / process to enable that to happen. That is the biggest leap for me from an ‘Advisor’ into being a true ‘Business Partner’ – you need to be able to step back and be confident in making decisions, even the difficult ones!”
– Lisa Jelly
Found of The Career Connection
“Spend loads of time with Finance, they have a wealth of knowledge and I’ve found they can teach you a lot and vice versa, they should be one of your closest connections in the workplace as are operations.”
– Amanda Parsons, Assoc CIPD
HR Services Director for BestHR
“Treat others as you would like to be treated. Easy.”
Joanne Grant, Assoc CIPD
HR Manager at Ensafe Consultants
“Genuinely care and lead from the heart. Make yourself as human as possible and really consider all challenges in line with the values that yourself and the wider team believe in.”
– Annette Reid
Head of People at Mary’s Meals
“Your work is not about what HR problem you need to solve for the business, it’s about what business problem you can solve using your HR skills and expertise. The best HR business partners know how to translate their skills, knowledge, and wisdom into terms that make sense and ‘connect’ to the business unit. Talk in their language, speak to their pain, and have confidence in your ability to provide a strong solution.”
– Jordan George
Head of Leadership & Talent Development at Addition Financial
“I think to succeed in HR you need as many of these things as possible (in no particular order, and perhaps not an exhaustive list either):
– a supportive employer who will give you opportunities
– continual learning and professional development
– curiosity about people and your business
– a passion for your business
– willingness to do non-HR things often
– an understanding of how people behave and are motivated to perform
– an understanding of group dynamics
– facilitation skills
– the ability to see the organisation as a system and act accordingly
– compassion and humanity
– ability to learn from mistakes
– abs of steel”
– Gary Cookson
Director of EPICHR
“Be human and defy all assumptions and expectations.”
– Hannah Holmes
HR Business Partner at Essar Oil UK
“In order to be successful in HR, I have advocated that a capacity-centric workplace is the core of what HR can and should be focused on. It requires HR to think more deeply about its role in sustaining the longevity of the company, with full understanding that the new order of the day is different. In essence, HR leaders must adopt a fresh approach that is nothing less than being the voice of transformation inside every business. It requires a shift in how HR perceives itself; from being an adjunct to the business, to thinking, acting and displaying the capabilities of a business. It involves us all learning new skills, acquiring fresh perspectives and challenging existing habits and ways of doing things.”
– Rita Trehan
CEO of transformation consultancy, Dare Worldwide.
“We need to understand and respect that we’re living and operating in unique and challenging times. This means that what we’ve always done when it comes to engaging our people may not work now. We need to question; we need to challenge and we need to act differently to connect and protect our people and our businesses.”
– Debra Corey
Chief Pay It Forward Officer at DebCo HR
From all of us at Natural HR, thank you to our amazing contributors.