How I Survived My First Few Weeks As A New HR Executive
When I finally got the job, I was over the moon. An HR executive post in a renowned corporation was exactly where I wanted to start my career as an HR professional. I had an exceptional educational background, experience as an HR intern, the required skills, and a whole lot of excitement over the opportunity I had got.
However, it wasn’t until I started working as an actual HR executive, did I realize that I needed a lot more experience than what I had gained as an HR student and an intern. In a strange place with a lot of new people and a list of duties, I didn’t know how to even begin; I felt lost and afraid that I wouldn’t be able to survive my very first job. But then, I got to work with the most helpful HR manager.
With his guidance, I was able to learn a few tips that not only helped me survive but also thrive as a new HR executive in a large corporation.
1. I Used Organizational Charts, And It Saved Most Of My Days
I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I had to take in about the employees in the company; from their names and job roles to their salaries and rights.
No rule at the organization dictated that I should memorize every little detail, but the truth is I wish I could.
I had to refer to the same information about employees over and over again to get most of the tasks completed, and it was a headache to say the very least.
This was when my manager approached me and revealed a trick he used when he had started his career as an HR executive. He asked me to stop everything I was doing and start drawing an organizational chart of the company.
Now, I know that an org chart is a visual representation of an organization; it helps clarify the responsibilities of employees and how they are connected to each other based on their job roles. However, creating an organizational chart of a company that included over 50 employees scared me a little.
Luckily I found an online diagramming tool that helped me accomplish this task; before I knew it, I enjoyed drawing org charts, not just for one department, but for all of them.
I always referred to these organizational charts whenever I wanted to figure out the working relationships between executives and managers or preparing pay sheets, and by now it has become a habit. Not to mention that by the end of the 2nd week, I knew everyone at the office and what titles they held.
2. I Studied The Company’s HR Management System Like It’s The Key To Everything
I studied the HR management process of the organization as if I was about to write an exam about it, because every little thing I did, ultimately linked back to it.
I was grateful to find out that the company uses an online system to store all the details; each employee had a separate HR account which he/she would maintain and use to apply for leave and address other HR related matters.
As an HR executive I have to work with this system closely, which is why before I could do anything, I had to get the hang of it. And guess what; it turned out to be the key to fulfilling all my HR duties.
From company to company, this process may change; some may incorporate an online database while others may utilize the old school method of keeping hard copies of all HR records.
In any case, without an idea how the process plays out, and HR executive won’t be able to perform his/her tasks (like preparing pay sheets, recruiting, training, reviewing performance, etc.) successfully. This is exactly the reason why it is important to learn the ABCs of the company’s HR management process.
3. I Got My Priorities Straight Before Everything Blew Up In My Face
In the beginning, it wasn’t a question to me what my first priority was; drinking my coffee before coming to the office! But this alone didn’t help me get through the day.
One minute I would be filing the leave forms of the employees and the next minute I would be interviewing a potential candidate for the product development team over the phone.
At first, everything seemed chaotic, and I couldn’t finish my tasks on time. After noticing this, my manager finally suggested that I use a personal task manager. This truly helped me; it allowed me to organize my tasks properly while at the same time keep track of the progress of each task I was in charge of. I set milestones for urgent tasks just to make sure that I would finish them in time.
Tip: This might seem like the oldest tip in the book, but, I finish the most urgent tasks first thing in the morning before my 2nd coffee break, and the rest of the day I catch up on the other tasks that are not due immediately.
4. I Went On A Quest To Find Out About The Business The Company Is Running
At first, I believed that good HR management knowledge would be adequate to help me get to the top as an HR professional, but then I felt a little left out.
I was not able to contribute 100% in planning workshops to train and motivate employees/ trainees, understanding the requirements of different departments (especially when I was in charge of writing job descriptions for job listings) or carrying out telephonic interviews with candidates.
Feeling a little incompetent, I started conducting research on all the aspect of the business; the services we provide, the industry we belong to, our business goals, marketing strategies, target market, investors, shareholders, etc. I also found out a lot of information from my colleagues and my manager.
Being informed thus helped me immensely when I was in charge of recruiting and training newbies. This knowledge I gained during my first few weeks still helps me out when I contribute to complete company projects.
These little tips I learned during my first few weeks as an HR executive have become the foundation of my career. They have helped me perform my duties faster and better. I have not only been able to impress my manager, but I have also been able to get promoted to a senior post within the department. These simple few steps I took to survive my first few weeks as an HR executive have brought me a long way from where I started, and it has only been one and half years.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.