How to Establish Credibility (HRYP Series)

how to establish credibilityCredibility. Some of us have it, and some of us don’t. Do you know how to establish credibility? What about how to maintain it for the long term? If you’ve lost it as a result of a dishonest action or some other similar factor, then that’s one thing, but it’s a whole other issue when you are starting from scratch. Today we’ll look at how to establish credibility when you have none to begin with.

(Note: this is a post in the HRYP (HR Young Professional) series. If you know a young HR pro, please pass this along to them. I’d appreciate it, and so will they! :-))

My thoughts on how to establish credibility

I get it. You have to build credibility over time by completing the work (and doing it well!) that is assigned to you. Well, what if you’ve mastered your work but your manager won’t let you do anything that requires more responsibility? I suggest carving out time each week (even as little as 30 minutes can make a difference) to work on things that stretch you and help you develop within your career. While it may not affect (or be appreciated in) your current job, it should be something valuable that can be used at some point in your career.

Three ideas for how to establish credibility

  • Try to spend more time with the people who need to see your work to evaluate your credibility. If you truly are, then it will shine through.
  • Do little things like showing appreciation for the efforts of others and informally mentoring new people. It helps you to build a base of people who will vouch for you.
  • Take responsibility for problems and solve them. This opens more doors than you ever would have imagined.

From the top: six people on my “credible” list speak out

  • Problem: Lack of credibility
  • Question: How can a new HR pro establish credibility?

Credibility is so essential to being able to get a job done and to have any degree of influence or impact on decisions or change. For a new HR pro to establish credibility, it starts with, for me, doing what you say you are going to do. It continues on to saying, “I don’t know but I’ll research that for you” when you are asked a question you don’t know the answer to and not making answers up or guessing on the fly. It means even if you think you know the answer, you keep researching until you are sure. Then, owning your advice and recommendations – if you missed something, if you advised improperly, if you made a mistake – own up to it and be prepared to articulate what you can and will do to correct it this time and to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Credibility means being consistent with your opinions and values and not tailoring them to suit a particular situations to gain an advantage, to not rock the boat or to be liked. One key I learned for how to establish credibility was to be professional and not join the office grapevine.

HR is not rocket science. I can deal with mistakes but once I can’t/won’t deal with credibility issues for long.

Lisa Rosendahl-blog@lisarosendahl

Become so knowledgeable that people seek you out. Getting certified helps! Never stop learning!

Become a true resource for your company. Even if someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, get back to them in a timely manner and give them additional information they may find helpful as well. That is how you establish credibility. Become knowledgeable about your company and HR\’s role in it. Know how can you best help and meet the needs of the company and employees.

Keep up to date on new laws coming out, become knowledgeable of what the company you work for does and how you can make them more successful from your position: save the company money, train their workforce, anything to stay competitive, etc.

Stephanie Walsh-LinkedIn@salawren

Starting out in HR is like starting out in any other function: you have no track record. It doesn\’t matter if you\’re just out of school or changing careers. What you need to do quickly is establish a track record of effectiveness that includes being focused on learning and committing to the team.

Above all, you must begin to produce results. Whether you\’re coming in ahead of time on projects or doing your work right the first time, what you want to establish is the reputation of being able to do whatever is asked of you quickly and thoroughly, with no drama. In short: become the dependable, go-to person in your department or organization. Your age, gender, or other perceived limiters will disappear. You\’ll be sought out for your ability to deliver results. That’s how to establish credibility in today’s workplace.

China Gorman-blog@chinagorman

Credibility takes time to build and seconds to destroy. One thing that we will all do is make mistakes. Generally speaking, people want to blame others for their mistakes. In a lot of cases, that may be right.

However, credibility can come by excelling in the face of challenges. Be willing to accept your mistakes and learn from them but not only that-take responsibility for making it right. In other words, tell your customer (clients, team, etc…) what went wrong and what steps you are taking to fix the problem and what steps you are taking to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Generally speaking, people don’t expect perfection. But most people (hopefully all) respect honesty and integrity. Those two things are the foundation of credibility.

Rusty Brand-LinkedIn-2010 NASHRM Chapter President

I’ve never really had much of an issue with credibility. To me, it’s always been about three key points. Be straightforward, honest, and consistent. There are ways to get things done even when you don’t (yet) have the credibility you need. When trying to push something forward, garner support from multiple stakeholders, build momentum, and even if you didn’t have the credibility/authority to drive the process from the beginning, you’ll be looped back into the process when it comes time to make it happen.

Allen Robinson-blog@logicwriter

I don’t know who said this but it has been out there for a long time. The quote is this: Leaders lead. If you want to be an HR pro, I think you need to have leadership qualities and you have to lead, So one thing I thing I think a newbie to HR should do to learn how to establish credibility is to seek out, find, follow and pounce on any and all leadership opportunities that come their way.

These opportunities can come in many different forms or shapes. Here are some that might be available to a young HR pro:

  • A leadership capacity in your place of worship
  • PTA
  • Neighborhood association
  • College/High School Fraternity/Sorority Alumni Association
  • Volunteer committee at work (United Way, Safety, Project, Holiday party)
  • Car Club
  • Local Not for Profit Agency or Board (like a local SHRM chapter)
  • Local/Regional Charity event
  • Youth Sports League

This is a short and simple list of some potential leadership opportunities. Often times with these types of groups there is a dearth of involvement, let alone leadership. So this will give you an opportunity to shine without having to be highly skilled, experienced leader. Furthermore, with some of these groups you will get opportunities that you might not otherwise get at work.

Certification is another way that a young HR Pro can establish credibility. Receiving your PHR certification will demonstrate to everyone in the community that you know your stuff and are serious about what you are doing.

Credibility can also be established by doing the right things everyday. If the young HR Pro always dresses properly (whatever that may be for the organization), gives their superiors more than they ask for, carries a positive outlook and always has an upbeat word for all, then this will tell the world a great deal about them. This list is not all inclusive but my point is this; do the right things every day and make sure that everyone knows that you are doing this. Keep a high profile within the organization.

Dave Ryan-LinkedIn@davethehrczar

Do you have something to add? How did you start building it from scratch? How much of a role does credibility play in someone’s career? How did you learn how to establish credibility for yourself?

4 thoughts on “How to Establish Credibility (HRYP Series)

  1. Alison Green / Ask a Manager

    I love Lisa’s answer. To me, that’s exactly the essence of credibility: Do what you say you’re going to do, say when you don’t know something, and proactively admit when you were wrong or made a mistake. So few people function this way consistently that if you, it’ll become your “thing,” something that people notice and associate with you.

    And China is right on about needing to get results. All your activity has to add up to results, or it’s just activity.

  2. Dave Ryan

    Ben good work compiling this information. One thing that jumps out to me is this. Your panel comes from many different aspects of HR, but all seem to stay on the same theme – hmmm, there must be something to that. I have a young-co-worker in my office and I will make sure that she reads this, as well as members of my local chapter CIC-SHRM. Keep it coming Ben, you may as well be writing, since you’re not sleeping!

  3. Michael Haberman, SPHR

    One thing that was missed in earning credibility is “understand your business.” Do not just be an HR person. Be a “business person” who deals with the people aspects of the business. Understand how you business is impacted on the bottom line by the actions that are taken with people. That means you have to understand what the “bottomline” is. Learn the terms of finance and do not misuse them. There was a good on the Compensation Cafe called Why HR is undervalued
    that provides a good example why this is important.
    .-= Michael Haberman, SPHR´s last blog ..The I-9- Just a Simple Little Form – Yeah Right! =-.

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