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6 Essential Tips for New HR Managers

Six insightful tips from HR experts to help new HR managers make connections and thrive in their roles.

June 11th, 2024

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New to the exciting (and sometimes daunting) world of HR management? Don't worry, you're not alone. Stepping into this role requires a unique blend of skills and savvy. But fear not – we've got you covered with advice from seasoned HR professionals on excelling in your new role.

In this article, we unveil six powerful tips from seasoned HR veterans, including HR Managers and HR Consultants. From suggesting innovative HR process improvements to learning company culture through direct engagement, these insights are crucial for anyone new to the world of human resources.

Building a Strong Foundation

Many new HR managers may find themselves tasked with establishing good HR practices and culture in their organization, which can be daunting. Here are what our experts recommend focusing on to establish a strong foundation.

Advocate for Employees and Ethics

A tip that's close to my heart for any new HR manager is this: always be an advocate for your employees and never compromise your morals. Why is this so crucial? Well, HR typically sits at the unique intersection of supporting both business objectives and employee well-being. 

By championing your employees' interests and maintaining your ethical standards, you not only foster a trustworthy environment but also empower a culture where people feel valued and heard. This approach enhances employee satisfaction and drives engagement and retention, which are gold for any organization. 

The best part is that if you focus on being an employee advocate, you’ll never do anything that damages business objectives. Plus, let's be honest, sleeping soundly knowing you've done right by your team? Priceless.

Tamica Sears, HR Consultant, Sears Coaching

Suggest Innovative HR Process Improvements

As contentious as it may be, don't be too timid to suggest new and innovative ways that could streamline or improve HR processes. Of course, it's worth working in your role for long enough to understand how and why things are done the way they are, and then implementing your suggestions appropriately. 

But as a new HR Manager, you may be aware of improved resources, software, and ways things could be done that would be more efficient and collaborative. It pays to be proactive with the latest releases of digital HR software, and although it may ruffle a few feathers, the end result could create a far more productive, transparent, and data-safe HR team.

Wendy Makinson, HR Manager, Joloda Hydraroll

Leading and Connecting with Employees

As the name suggests, human resources' primary function is connecting with employees and ensuring they have a positive experience that allows them to succeed and grow within their roles. Here are the areas our experts suggest focusing on to create positive connections with employees.

Prioritize Transparency and Relationship-Building

As an L&D expert and a leader, one invaluable tip I would offer to a new HR manager is to create value for the organization as well as the workforce. This starts when they prioritize communication and relationship-building through transparent communication channels for building trust between employees and management.

Additionally, by actively listening to their concerns, offering support, and showing genuine care, HR managers can build strong relationships that contribute to employee satisfaction and retention. These connections enable HR managers to better grasp the workforce's needs and dynamics, allowing them to upgrade and tailor strategies effectively. Ultimately, being perceived as a trusted advisor by employees elevates their influence and contributes to overall organizational success.

Gargee Davda, Principal Associate, NamanHR

Emphasize Clear and Empathetic Communication

One valuable tip that would be very beneficial to any new HR manager: he or she has to prioritize effective communication. Clear and empathetic communication is vital within human resources to ensure every employee feels they are on the same page and supported in the work environment. 

This practice is very important, as it helps in conflict resolution, building trust, and fostering transparency among the workers within the organization. Good communication skills can greatly improve the engagement and satisfaction of employees, which in turn can further boost productivity and retention rates.

Vit Koval, Global Hiring, Remote Work Advocate, and Co-Founder, Globy

Focus on Active Listening for Trust

One valuable tip I would offer to a new HR manager is to prioritize active listening. When you do so, it generates trust and shows empathy. Hear the concerns of employees, their ideas, and feedback. Because who knows when you'll get the crucial information that can be beneficial for the company's growth?

You can promote a positive work culture in the office. It will infuse a sense of satisfaction among employees. Active listening also facilitates better decision-making and problem-solving. Employees think of the HR manager as having a thorough understanding of employee perspectives and needs.

Establishing a strong relationship with employees helps in creating a good workplace culture. It is possible when the HR manager gives importance to what employees think and want to say. Moreover, it enhances communication and enables HR managers to fulfill their role more effectively in supporting both the organization and its employees.

Saikat Ghosh, Associate Director of HR and Business, Technource

Learn Company Culture Through Direct Engagement

Do not confuse company culture with what key stakeholders tell you about it.

If you also read industry publications, you may have heard a lot about how important it is to familiarize yourself with company culture early on. The most common piece of advice is to talk with key stakeholders or review company materials. In the end, it’s a pretty nebulous tip to observe the company.

The problem is that you’re a stranger, so employees do not give you full access to their internal culture.

So, you have to learn how to interview them in the right way.

Begin by asking managers if you can attend their team meetings. During team sessions, you can observe group dynamics and make people feel at ease when you are around. Introduce yourself, take part in some ice-breaking exercises, and get to know the other team members if leaders agree to dedicate some time to it.

The next step is to invite employees for one-on-one meetings. You won't have time to meet everyone, but when forming your group, try to keep it diverse. Look for employees from various departments, ranging from entry-level to executive.

Remember that your first words really matter because they set the tone for the entire conversation. Friendly small talk can help you start an honest discussion and encourage transparency. Another strategy for overcoming communication hurdles is to avoid HR jargon. Believe me, folks outside the HR sector can't understand our lingo. Ask simple questions, like what makes them stay with an organization, what disappointed them, whether they can list reasons to promote this company to others, and so on. Then, you'd adapt it into your own language of corporate principles and culture.

I came up with this strategy while studying my present company's culture. I was very impressed with how it presented a well-rounded image from a variety of angles. Also, for the first time, I felt like I had insider knowledge of the business culture.

Karolina Górska, Senior HR Coordinator, Delante

Final Thoughts

The world of HR is dynamic and ever-evolving. As a new HR manager, you have an exciting opportunity to shape the employee experience and contribute to your organization's culture and overall success.

Remember, the human element is at the heart of HR. Prioritize clear and empathetic communication, actively listen to employee concerns, and build strong relationships. By fostering trust and transparency, you become a trusted advisor and gain valuable insights to shape effective HR strategies that will make a lasting impact.

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