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Ten tips to building a successful career in HR

Co-workers will act with caution, thinking that HR professionals are there to create obstructions

It’s safe to say that working in HR has something of a stigma attached to it. Too often, when working collaboratively, co-workers will act with caution, thinking that HR professionals are there to create obstructions.

If you work in a human resources position based outside of HR, becoming a valued team player is imperative to success. Failing to achieve this can place all kinds of roadblocks in your way.

So what can be done to overcome these barriers, strengthen working relationships and gain credibility in your role?

1. Prioritise the basics

Recruitment, training, and compliance matter. Have sufficient documentation across the board, so that your filing system is audit ready.

2. Know the business

If you are involved in recruitment, you should research job postings thoroughly. Explore the market and gain enough information inside and outside of your organisation to provide your own insights.

3. Become familiar with what skills and expertise your business values

Check LinkedIn on your company’s organisation chart. Are there trends or similar work experience? Study employee job descriptions and compare them with what you actually see in the workplace, as this will give you an opportunity to advise managers on what further qualifications are needed.

4. Don’t use jargon

Jargon will distance you from your audience. You do not want to be on the other end of a “They’re speaking alien to me” look from clients.

5. Make everyone your client

Rank is irrelevant. If you want to get the most out of people, it’s important to treat them with equal respect and interest. Strengthening relationships with front line staff will give you a wealth of knowledge and understanding on what issues affect staffing, benefits, attrition, etc.

6. Help me to help you

Focus on educating, rather than accusing. HR jobs are more focused on ethics than many jobs. Try not to say “For compliance reasons” and take ownership instead, to teach someone the right way whilst adding context as to “why” it’s important. Always comply with the spirit of law, not just the letter.

7. Be aware of international differences

If you are working with international clients, don’t assume that everything is the same as it is in your country. Working practices may differ, as well as expectations. Doing your research could be the difference between having a successful conversation and being that “let me check and I’ll get back to you” person.

8. Don’t try to build a huge team

Ensure your staff count exactly matches just what is required to get the work completed. Focus your attention on the longevity and experience of your staff. Grow your business only if it becomes more profitable and you are seeing consistent results.

9. Visions and values

Do you want to be known as the person with integrity, or the one that breaches confidentiality and can’t be trusted? Someone who is working in HR should be living and breathing the company ethos and maintaining excellent professional standards, in order to build the right culture.

10. Teamwork makes the dream work

Invest in people and they will invest in you.

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